Resources for the English Teacher in Spain
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A comprehensive list of REAL resources for English teachers plying their trade in Spain covering everything from acronyms and lesson planning to grammar reference and peer support.
Say What? Deciphering the Acronyms
EFL/ESL/ESOL – English as a Foreign Language/English as a Second Language/English for Speakers of Other Languages. In other words, what your students will be learning. Hopefully.
CEFR – Common European Framework of Reference. A Europe-wide standard for foreign language learning from the Council of Europe that is divided into six levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2. A1 and A2 levels are called Basic users, B1 and B2 levels are called Independent users, and C1 and C2 levels are called Proficient users.
CELTA/DELTA – Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults/Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults. English-teaching qualifications offered by the University of Cambridge.
ESOL exam – Exam of English for Speakers of Other Languages, which generally refers to the exams offered by the University of Cambridge. The most common exams include: KET (Key English Test), PET (Preliminary English Test), FCE (First Certificate in English), CAE (Certificate in Advanced English), CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English), BEC (Business English Certificates) with three levels, and BULATS (Business Language Testing Service). The latter exam is used at private companies to assess their employees’ language abilities. In Spain, successfully passing an exam from the University of Cambridge is a common way to demonstrate one’s English-language ability to potential employers or others.
TEFL/TESL/TESOL – Teaching English as a Foreign Language/Teaching English as a Second Language/Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. What you’re doing or will be doing.
TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language. An English exam offered by Educational Testing Service (ETS) that is often required of non-native English speakers to attend U.S. institutions of higher learning.
Trinity TESOL – Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages qualification offered by Trinity College London.
Lesson Plans, Materials to Use in Class, and Ideas
BBC Learning English: For Teachers
The site is a gold mine offering a variety of material to use in class: audio, radio, video, worksheets, etc. It also has quality ready-made lesson plans based on news articles and current events for intermediate and higher levels. Teachers with beginning students are out of luck here however.
As its name reveals, it aims to be a one-stop English-teaching shop and it nearly is, covering the majority of topics an English teacher will probably encounter. The site has excellent news-based lessons that are adapted to three different levels. Some site content is only available to paid subscribers though.
Excellent lesson plans and activities based on current events, but since the format is the same in every lesson you *shouldn’t* rely on these lesson plans more than once in a blue moon unless you want your students to revolt. A new lesson plan is released every three days in HTML, Word, and PDF versions.
Action Plan for Teachers: A Guide to Teaching English from BBC World Service by Callum Robertson and Richard Acklam
A useful booklet on teaching English, particularly if you haven’t taken a TEFL course. It covers lesson planning, teaching pronunciation, teaching tools and strategies, and other topics to help a new teacher get going in the classroom.
About.com: English Lesson Plans for ESL/EFL Classes
A fairly good site for the English teacher’s arsenal, it offers an assortment of lesson plans for different levels and language skills. Unfortunately, they don’t offer material as pre-made handouts though.
British Council and BBC: Teaching English
A good site, it offers a collection of resources (activities and things to do in class, lesson plans, worksheets, articles, etc.), as well as some food for thought about teaching English.
Dave’s ESL Café: Idea Cookbook
Not up to the standard of the site’s famous forums, the Idea Cookbook at Dave’s ESL Café offers English-teaching ideas sent in by teachers, but the ideas and tips vary widely in quality – some of which are quite poor.
Hypergrammar from the University of Ottawa
Good grammar explanations, but since the site is geared towards academic writing for native English speakers, not all of it is appropriate in an ESL setting.
About.com: English Grammar Help
An excellent collection of grammar reference topics for teachers (and especially for teachers to use in student handouts). It also has some good lesson plans for teaching grammar in class.
EnglishClub.com: English Grammar
A pretty good grammar reference. It’s geared towards ESL learners, but it can be useful for teachers as well.
ESL Desk: English Grammar
Limited, but solid information. A grammar reference for pronouns, nouns, verbs, and adverbs with simple explanations. Good for teaching lower levels of English.