If you teach English as a Second Language (ESL) there are a plethora of resources on the Internet for curriculum development, job seeking, and connecting with other educators. One of the most popular web resources, by and large, is Dave's ESL Cafe, a free resource for ESL and EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teachers all over the world.
Started in 1995 by Los Angeles multimedia consultant Dave Sperling, the site attracts millions of hits monthly. Having spent almost a decade teaching in Thailand and Japan before becoming a published author and multimedia consultant, Sperling strives to connect both teachers and students all over the globe. His site offers job postings, lesson-planning materials and discussion forums, among other resources. Here are some ways in which educators can take advantage of this useful site:
For teachers looking for an ESL position or are interested in working abroad, the site has an ESL Job Center. Not only are there links to certification and recruitment programs, there are job boards for Korea, China, and other international opportunities. The listings are plentiful and updated daily. Teachers can post their resumes and geographic areas of interest in the Job Wanted Resume Board, where potential employers can view them. There is even a discussion forum for job-seekers.
Building Your ESL PLN
All teachers should have a Professional Learning Network (PLN), and the Internet offers many forums for ESL teachers to connect with other educators. Dave’s ESL Café has a live chat area so teachers can connect in real time. There is also a Teacher Discussion Forum where educators can collaborate and discuss numerous topics, ranging from textbooks to incorporating videos into lessons.
Besides a Teacher Training Forum, Dave hosts podcasts and offers a collection of audio and video resources. In the video section, teachers share their experiences working abroad and how they overcame some of the different challenges, like not speaking the native language.
This is where the site really shines. The Idea Cookbook is a comprehensive resource to improve ESL instruction and design great lessons. There are tips on classroom management, teaching business English, using music to motivate students, software recommendations, and much more. Of particular interest is the grammar section in which multiple teachers give step-by-step methods on teaching difficult concepts. The site also provides links to complete lesson plans.
The site provides excellent resources to supplement instruction for students. English language learners can ask questions in the Help Forum, complete short grammar lessons, take quizzes on a range of subjects and connect with other students in the Student Discussion Forums. --- Overall, the site is very user-friendly and easy to navigate. Teachers also benefit from Sperling’s advice, as he is a real expert and incorporates humor into his writings and podcasts. The wealth of free resources offered at Dave’s ESL Café assists teachers in designing dynamic multimodal lessons that engage the most difficult-to-motivate students.
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