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Teachit.co.uk is self-described as “a tried and trusted education resource used by thousands of teachers.
Specialising in English, Drama and Media Studies from 11-18, the Teachit libraries offer thousands of pages of materials, all created by classroom teachers and constantly growing.” More detailed information can be found in the “About Us” section of the website.
The website is intended for use not by ESL teachers, but rather by primary and secondary teachers in England and Wales and is part of the “Teachit” family of websites; its sister sites include content for teachers of other subjects, like history, geography, and math, among others.
The website is accessed membership only. There are four levels of membership. The basic level is free, and requires the user to sign-up with a valid email address, creating a password for login.
The website mentions that is designed to support the National Curriculum in England and Wales, which has “Key Stages” that follow certain objectives and content requirements. The stages are assessed using targets defined by the National curriculum in these countries. Most of the materials on the website are designed for instruction of prose, poetry, plays, and non-fiction writing. There are no resources specifically designed for use by English as a Second Language or English as a Foreign Language professionals. That said, certainly, many of the contents would serve useful in the ESL or EFL classroom with a bit of creativity and adaptation.
The website is accessed membership only. There are four levels of membership. The basic level is free, and requires the user to sign-up with a valid email address, creating a password for login. Information about memberships is available here.
Only the most basic membership is free. The other three member options range in price from $50-$500 annually. The free membership enables the user to access 18,000 PDF files of materials, a newsletter, and a classroom timer. The other memberships include resources like a student site and a number of interactive games and tools. Paid memberships also allow users to access Word documents for materials, which allows for the editing and customization of resources. The computer-based interactive materials are known on the site as “Wizzy Things”. Teachers can make things like magnets, whiteboard lessons, and games.
Materials on the website are created for teachers, by teachers. Those interested can contribute materials and lessons to the website and earn royalties. More information about this opportunity can be found here.
Professional layout and design
If appearance matters when it comes to how user-friendly a website is, Teachit gets high marks. It has a smooth, professional design that is attractive and streamlined. Because it’s is a member’s only website, there are no annoying advertisements streaming across the screen during a visit to the site. Furthermore, it’s association with sister Teachit sites, will make users familiar with other those other websites comfortable immediately.
Opportunity for paid contributions
ESL teachers love to share, and most of us do it graciously for free. However, it never hurts to get paid for your expertise, and Teachit is one place to do just that. The option to apply to be a contributor is a great opportunity for those with materials and lesson-planning ideas that they may like to share. Also, this padi process likely increases the caliber of materials available, alleviating the need to sift through less-than-quality materials.
Topical Top 5’s
One of the resources that may be useful for ESL teachers is the “Topical top 5’s”. This section of the website includes lessons centered around important holidays and events like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Shakespeare’s birthday, and the Olympics. For those teachers interested in including cultural content in their courses, this is a great place to find pre-prepared lessons. Originally, this collection of resources was included in member emails, but the content is not available exclusively on the website for easier access at any time.
Access to resources is limited without purchasing a higher-level membership. I joined Teachit for free, which gave me access to a number of PDF files, a newsletter, and an online timer. Even though it only took a few minutes, I found the process of signing up to be a bit of a hassle, as it required providing personal information and accessing my email. As a bust teacher, this is time I’d rather not spend. I prefer to use websites that I can access without having to remember a login and password, so immediately, the convenience of using Teachit was diminished. The hefty price of the other memberships is unappealing, especially since it’s difficult to preview content before purchase. With so many free resources available online, it’s difficult to justify purchasing a membership to site.
Not intended for use by ESL teachers
Teachit is meant for use by mainstream classroom English teachers. As a result, the materials are intended for a different audience than ESL learners. While many of the materials can be adapted for use in the ESL or EFL classroom, they worksheets and games are not always ESL-friendly. For the creative ESL teacher using drama or poetry in the classroom, this might be a great place to find some novel resources. However, for most of us, the content on the site is not typical ESL or EFL-fare.
The website is primarily based on curriculum standards in England and Wales and uses British English. For ESL teachers not teaching this curriculum (probably all of us), the categories and materials are not relevant. Again, many of them can be adapted, but it’s not an intuitive organization of resources for those unfamiliar with this set of standards. Furthermore, the English dialect a huge issue or problem, but teachers using American English in the classroom need to be careful, especially when printing ready-made worksheets or activities in order to ensure that the vocabulary and spelling is appropriate for their classrooms.
PDF only for free membership
The lack of access to documents in Word format is always less desirable. With the free membership, users can only download PDF versions of worksheets and lessons, making it difficult to tailor them to their individual purposes.
Teachit.co.uk is not a very practical website for ESL or EFL teachers.
The membership process is tedious, even for the basic, free version, and the other membership options are pricey. I can’t imagine that this would be a go-top site for any EFL teacher abroad with so many more relevant sites available for free. For teachers looking to do something creative in the classroom with literature, drama, or poetry, Teachit might be worth a try. Keep in mind, though, that without purchasing a membership, access to materials is limited, and does not include the option to customize, given that everything is available in PDF form only. I would recommend taking a pass on Teachit and spending time on websites that are intended for use by EFL teachers. Furthermore, the time involved with becoming a member (even a free one) could be better spent developing one’s own materials and lessons. There just isn’t enough incentive to go through the hassle of this process for what the user receives on Teachit. Has anyone else had a better experience with Teachit.co.uk? Perhaps I’ve missed some of the great resources, but I’m not a fan. I’d also be curious to know if anyone has gone through the process of submitting materials. It’s difficult to get information about compensation and the general process on the website.
This is a guest review by an independent author. This review reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of BusyTeacher.org as a publication.