Free resources for learning languages

One that came from one of my favourite RSS feeds — the excellent Lifehacker.com — free (mostly podcast) resources for learning languages (37 of them, including English). Useful to your students, useful to you too if you're heading off to teach English somewhere exotic…

"Don't search, have stuff come to you," I always say, and RSS is a great way to make that happen, whether you're a teacher or a learner.

>> RSS feeds for ELT

Teaching other languages

Some of you that do the CELTA course in Barcelona with us in fact finish up teaching other foreign languages, not English — or sometimes both.

Some online resources you might find useful (possibly also as learners of other language yourselves):

  • The Times Educational Supplement (TES) has a huge bank of resources for teaching foreign languages (it also has a useful weekly email about new resources, etc)
  • LanguageGuide.org has "free sound integrated resources for learning languages" developed by volunteers. For some languages (English, French, Spanish…) you have grammar as well as vocabulary sections
  • Internet4Classrooms.com has a series of links to resources on other sites for French, German, Spanish, Chinese, Hebrew…
  • There are a number of UK-based bodies with good resources — like the resources bank at the Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies at the University of Southampton; CILT, the National Centre for Languages; or Scotland's MFLE, which also has an interesting modern languages blog
  • If the language you are interested in has an official body like the British Council, their websites are also a good place to look — somewhere like the Instituto Cervantes (for Spanish) or the Goethe Institute (for German)

See also
There was an discussion recently on Answers.com as to "Which language is more difficult for you to learn as a second language?", which itself might make for an interesting class discussion.

On nvtc.gov you will find extensive information on the languages of the world, with Wikipedia also being a good site for information about languages.

Interactive grammar exercises

On ESL Blues, you will find a huge number of interactive grammar exercises, from "Pre-intermediate to high-intermediate level English".

Note also the diagnostic quizzes and tests.

Would you want to use them with your learners?
I'd suggest that, broadly speaking, we could divide the websites that we might use as language teachers into one of three different categories:

1. Sites for our own professional use
2. Sites that we could use with our learners
3. Sites that we could recommend to our learners

We might also have a fourth category — into which we might dump all those sites that we would not use, because…

ESL Blues I would put into that third category — a site I would recommend to my learners, somewhere where they could get lots of further practice and revision, one which they could use outside class, in their own time.

It isn't, however, one I'd use in class…

More exercises
We also have grammar, vocabulary and reading exercises on our English courses site.

Learning Spanish?
For any of you struggling to learn Spanish, there are also Spanish grammar exercises.

If you are looking for more exercises, our "Learn Spanish" site again has grammar, vocabulary and reading exercises.