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EverythingESL.Net was founded by an experienced ESL teacher and published author on ESL topics, Judie Haynes.
Judie is from the USA and has been teaching ESL for in excess of 20 years, so is a very experienced teacher. She co-founded the site with her son, Charles. She also runs an educational chat on Twitter, #ELLCHAT. Involved in the site are several other ESL teachers, teachers of other foreign languages, writers and those who have contributed widely to books and ESL information. All appear to be very knowledgeable about learning and teaching ESL and EFL. The overall appearance of the site is very professional, and it is divided into easy sections. The sections are Home, Lesson Plans, Teaching Tips, Resource Picks, Ask Judie and Contact. The site is aimed at teachers only.
There are many comprehensive resources on the site for all levels of learners, which could be useful for all teachers, regardless of the number of years’ teaching experience. There are many useful tips that can assist you with teaching certain topics, understanding common issues in ESL teaching and also provide a bit of guidance and reassurance for new teachers. In my opinion, whilst most of the information is very useful, there are some areas that are quite dry, as well as others that would be more appropriate for academics as opposed to regular ESL teachers who must prepare for the classroom and deal with students day in and day out.
Free to Use
The website and all material contained therein is free to access and use.
Very Detailed Ideas Suitable for a Variety of Levels
There are 41 different lesson plans on everythingesl.net, some for beginner students and some for intermediate level learners. The lesson plans cover a wide range of topics and they contain full downloadable activities and classroom resources. The plans have been created in great detail, meaning that a busy teacher can find a fully planned class on this site with very little further preparation time needed. Topics include pre-school teaching, hurricanes, teaching about America, polar regions, and animals.
Handy Hints and Tips
With 73 different tips for teachers, no matter what issue you are struggling with or just want a different opinion on, you are sure to find something useful and informative amongst all the information in this section. Whilst you do have to go through the titles to find something appropriate, along with the title is a brief description of the content for each article, making it easy to skim down the list. Whilst I think maybe there could be some more order to this section, there is still some very useful general advice for teachers.
Good Contact Details
There is a selection of ways to contact the site owner, including an email address, FaceBook page details and Twitter details.
Some links to other resources provide sites where teachers may not already have thought to look. For example, there is a suggestion to look at National Geographic for classroom ideas, and details of a website aimed specifically at Spanish students learning English as a foreign language, colorincolarado. Whilst I think this section entitles Resource Picks could contain a lot more information and details of many more useful websites, it makes a good start at providing some basic sign-posting. It would be better if there were also some links to other ESL websites also.
An unfortunate reality of many free to use websites is that advertising is almost an essential feature these days. It is still fairly irritating though to have advertisements on the pages.
Few External Links
There could be many more links to other useful websites, including those sites aimed specifically at ESL teachers. In relation to teaching resources, there is a strong focus on books written by the site owners, and there do not seem to be any other independent resources to buy suggested.
Some Sections do not Work
The Ask Judie questions section looked like it was going to be a good way for teachers to ask for opinions and advice, but unfortunately the system did not seem to work. I clicked to post a question, but was taken back to the main list of previous posts screen; I was unable to post a question. I was also unable to read responses to previous questions; again, I was defaulted back to the main list of questions. You are not able to read the full post or the reply. I could not see any requirement to be a member to be able to use this facility. Additionally I could not find anywhere to become a member, so I can only conclude that this section no longer works. On the bottom part of the home page there are some questions and comments from other people. These also are not accessible; clicking on them diverts to the Ask Judie section, where nothing can be viewed further.
Some sections I felt were perhaps more aimed at an academic level rather than a practical teaching level. Although many points are informative, I am unsure as to how much they would help me with my day-to-day teaching. For greater insight into being a teacher and to learn more about deeper aspects of teaching this information would be great, however, for those looking for inspiration for forth-coming lessons I feel some of the content is not so useful.
I think that the lesson plans are very useful for taking ideas from, even if you do not want to do the entire lesson as structured on this website. There are many great ideas from experienced and dedicated teachers, although some of the content could be considered dry. The tips can also be useful, and new teachers especially may find areas that they had not previously considered. This area is maybe more suitable for general perusing for ways to improve as a teacher overall and different teaching styles to consider, rather than helping with a particular tricky subject or area. I also think a way to improve this section would be to put the tips into some sort of order. I think the site could focus a little more on practical activities for in the classroom, but that overall the resources are good. I think the site could be improved by having a forum, a comments section, or for the Ask Judie section to be put to use. A way for teachers to be able to share ideas or comment on the site’s material would be a great tool for teachers. I also think that more inclusive lists of links to other websites and resources would make the site a lot more balanced. Whilst I understand why links are provided to the site owners own published ESL Books, I think the website may gain more credibility if it were seen to be fairer in its recommendations.
This site is certainly worth a look when trying to find information about ESL teaching, but you may wish to have more time to look through and digest the content; it is not the best place to find quick answers, solutions or ideas.
What are your opinions on everythingesl.net?
Do you find the site to be a useful source of information, and what things do you primarily use the site for?
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.