Resources and Suggestions for ESL/EFL Teacher
During the past few weeks, an increasing number of schools have turned to distance-learning as a precaution against COVID-19. This shift, in turn, has created a unique challenge for English teachers around the world. On one hand, we have lost the ability to use our beloved routine teaching techniques and on the other hand the circumstances of an online class are so different from the physical class that it will surely take some time for us to regain our personal styles.
Here, I have created a list of practical resources which can be used in online classes to add some variety to your teaching practices. Whether you are using Zoom, Skype or any other platform to get in touch with your students, you can use these resources in variety of ways depending on your teaching style.
Free Educational Websites
IXL: This is a great free website which offers hundreds of activities which can used in online English classes. You can either assign activities to you students or do the activities when you are screen-sharing with them. IXL is not just limited to English; if you are an immersion program teacher or you have English coaching classes in which you teach content to the students, IXL can be very useful to you since besides English, this website offers math, science, and social studies.
Kahn Academy: Quite similar to IXL, Kahn Academy offers a vast variety of activities which can be used in an English class. The activities have been carefully graded and are almost always of highest quality. However, this website’s focus is more on science and math and the number of resources you will find for teaching EFL/ESL can be limited to some extent.
Live Worksheets: This website offers a massive number of teacher-generated worksheets in many subjects and it is suitable for many grade levels. As the name suggests, the most distinguishing feature this website offers is that you and your students can interact with the worksheets and receive instant feedback. You can either share the link to a worksheet with your students or work on them with your students in your online class collaboratively. Either way, Live Worksheets can be a useful tool during a time in which having students print out a single sheet of paper might not be possible.
Little Alchemy 2: This website does not offer anything directly related to teaching English. What it does offer, however, is a single game which can engage your students for several hours. On this website, you start with four elements (air, earth, fire, water) and by logically combining them you create new items (ranging from simple things such as stone, pressure to more complex things such as a human). This game can be used as a great vocabulary-builder in which you and your students play the game as an in-class activity and while the students are engaged figuring out what items to combine with each other you can make use of the opportunity and teach them a few vocabulary items or have them explain why they would like to combine certain elements and what do they expect to get from each combination.
Learn English Teens by British Council: This website offers many resources and activities which can easily be adapted for distant learning. The website offers interactive materials categorized according to the four major skills and sub-skills. Personally, I find their reading section as especially useful since they are carefully graded and have interactive pre- and post-reading activities.
Kahoot! And Quiz-Maker: These are two valuable tools which can be used for testing your students in distance-learning. While, both websites are free to use and offer many options for you to create tests and quizzes. The main difference between the two tools is that Kahoot! Creates a more game-like environment for your students while Quiz-Maker is more serious and offers a wider range of question formats you can use.
PinkFong: This is a YouTube channel I have been using in my daily teaching for some years now. This channel mainly offers animation stories and songs with language appropriate for younger beginner to intermediate ESL/EFL students. There is range of possible activities you can design with the resources on this channel. For example, you can select a story and share the link with your students. Once they have watched it you can have a Q&A with your students. Another possible application is to have your students make a comic-book-style drawing of the stories and retell the story in the online classroom. Another possibility is to watch a story for several times and have a role-play activity in which each student assumes the role of one of the characters is the story and the students engage in retelling the story through dialogue with teachers’ occasional support.