Lesson plans in your mail box

You've got mail, lesson plans, in fact…

There are lots of places on the Web where you will find lesson plans — some of them with an email subscription service, a handy way of having things come to you, rather than having to go looking for them.

All of those listed below are free resources, though most require registration.

In alphabetical order, with [weekly], [monthly] or [none] indicating whether or not you can subscribe.

BBC "Words in the News" [none]
The BBC has a weekly lesson plan on a topical story with "notes and instructions for teachers, worksheets for students and a full answer key" — and the added advantage of an audio version of the same story.

Business English lesson plans [weekly]
MacMillan will send you a weekly Business English lesson plan — which you can register for and get the Inside Out lesson plan (see below) in the same mail. Further Business English lesson plans on OneStopEnglish (see below).

DevelopingTeachers.com [weekly tips], [monthly newsletter]
DevelopingTeachers has both weekly tips and an excellent monthly newsletter (ideas and activities (…) centred around a different subject (…) links to web sites for resource material" etc. Also a great archive of useful things, including lesson plans.

Inside Out [weekly]
Inside Out is a popular general English coursebook with a weekly "e-lesson".

OneStopEnglish [monthly update]
OneStopEnglish is an excellent website for English teachers, with stacks of resources, lesson plans and articles of interest, including an excellent lesson plan bank, with lessons at three different levels based on articles in The Guardian Weekly. The monthly update keeps you in touch with new content.

And not just lesson plans…

Humanising English Teaching [6 issues a year]
HLT is an online magazine — though in fact "online" means that you have to done load it. In your mailbox, you'll get only an alert that a new issue has come out. In your download, some very interesting articles…

TeachingEnglish.org.uk [monthly update]
The BBC / British Council TeachingEnglish.org.uk website is — like OneStopEnglish — one of the best: for lesson plans, articles, ideas, tips… Like OSE is has a monthly update to tell you about new things on the site. If you become an information junkie like myself and get into RSS, it also has a feed: you get updates by the minute, instead of by the month…!

Business English, links and books

Some of the ELT publishers have useful resources for teaching Business English on their websites — including MacMillan (at OneStopEnglish)…

There are also interesting Business English resources on the OUP site.

You will also find things of interest (notably a Business English blog) on te4be.com — which stands for Technology for Business English.

There's another (horribly designed) Business English blog here.

The wonderfully named "Business Balls" site has "free materials, articles, and ideas for ethical personal and organizational development", which anyone teaching Business English may find useful.

You will find a fuller list of Business English links on the IH Barcelona website, including primary sources like the BBC and Financial Times.

In your mail box
The discussion forum of the Business English SIG (Special Interest Group) will bring things of interest to your mailbox. The group also has an interesting links page and is part of IATEFL.

MacMillan has a Business English site which, among other things, will send you a weekly Business English lesson plan.

Don't search — have things come to you…! More links to stuff in your mailbox here on this blog.

Business English basics
On our Celta Course website there's a brief introduction to teaching Business English. But never turn to the Web if the information is readily available to you in a book, I would say.

The Web can be useful if you are looking for authentic materials for your Business English class but if it's how to teach Business English, then there are a couple of good books on the subject that are well worth reading.

  • Teaching Business English, Mark Ellis and Christine Johnson (OUP, 1994)
  • How to Teach Business English, Evan Frendo (Longman, 2005)

Both will give you the basic notions of teaching Business English (and make you feel you are better prepared for it, and hence more confident) as well as practical ideas.

If it's a coursebook you want, then — among the scores of Business English courses available — I can highly recommend the excellent Market Leader series. Market Leader is particularly good for its "case studies".

There is also a Market Leader website, with additional materials on it.

More on case studies in Business English.

Teaching 1-2-1
You may also find yourself teaching Business English "one-to-one" (as private classes), in which case there are a further two books I would recommend, again both for getting the basic principles and the practical ideas:

  • One-to-One: A Teacher's Handbook, Peter Wilberg (LTP, 1987)
  • Teaching English One to One, Patricia Osborne (Modern English Publishing, 2005)

On the Web, OneStopEnglish also has a section on Teaching 1-2-1.

Like to suggest something else?
Use the "comment this post" link below…

Learning strategies

Not really sure that this site is going to be that useful to teachers — it's primarily designed for US college students — but it does have a lot on learning strategies.

That might make it one you might recommend your learners (especially if they are taking an exam like FCE or CAE). I'd suggest that one of the best uses of the Internet you can make is that — recommend sites of interest to your learners to use independently (assuming that they then do, that is ,-)!

Note the 14 suggestions on influencing teachers (!). (Suggestions on influencing learners, now that would be interesting!)

Finding texts for use in class

Where can you find texts to use in class? The following are places that I look…

  • The BBC, where you will find texts on virtually anything under the sun…
  • Among other things, you have an "on this day" section, with historical events of the past for every day of the year
  • A good newspaper site, like The Guardian, particularly if you want something topical (but do you need to edit the text to bring down the level of vocabulary difficulty?)
  • The Guardian also has a "Historic events as The Guardian saw them" section, where you will also find links to similar "Today is…" sites
  • The wacky news items to be found on eg. Yahoo (look for the "Oddly enough" section) make fun texts
  • Ananova has a similar section (look for the "Quirkies" section). The bizarre crime stories make good texts for class…
  • On Netscape you will find any number of "pop culture" items (some of it, note, perhaps a little risqué for use in class)
  • Songs are also "texts", don't forget… AllMusic is an excellent site, but type the name of just about any song, together with the word "lyrics" into any search engine, and you'll find it

Don't forget that you can change the default start page on your browser, so that it opens on a page like one of these. "Don't search, have things come to you," I always say — and, if you look for them out of the corner of your eye when you log on, that's one way in which you can do just that.

Finding images for use in class

Possible sources for images:

  1. Magazines and newspapers
  2. Draw the image yourself
  3. If you must use the Internet, the Microsoft site has thousands of useful images on it (though it can sometimes be tricky to download from)
  4. Clipart is sometimes a good option, apart from anything else as the images are designed to be clear (need pictures of animals…? vegetables…?). Example, above.
  5. More clipart on Discovery.com
  6. Another clipart site that that I can recommend
  7. Yahoo News, if you are looking for something topical (choose 'News Photos')…
  8. Google… and most of the other search engines, too (a9.com, Dogpile, Yahoo and Windows Live, for example) — don't just use Google!

Note the two items that I've put first on my list — and which (in)famous name I've put last. You want a good image — don't go to Google-is-Evil: it has zero interest in the quality of the images it steals, and how suitable they are for use in a language class certainly isn't one the criteria it uses.

More on finding and using images from the Internet on our Celta course website.