Trying to reduce your environmental impact by photocopying less? Worried about passing around materials or playing physical games in the age of social distancing? In this post, we’ll explore some great online resources for your face to face EFL classes that will help you plan creative, engaging lessons that teach your students what they need to know. All are tried and tested by members of the experienced Oxford TEFL Connect team, and most include materials that are suitable for a range of ages and levels. We’ve selected a mixture of paid and free resources, so whether you’re able to splash some cash or are on a shoestring, there’s bound to be something you’ll find useful! Without further ado, and in no particular order, here are our top picks:
The bad old days of throwing on a film to kill time in a lesson are well and truly over. Film English helps you make the most of a range of short and mid-length videos to teach new grammar and vocabulary as well as encouraging meaningful discussion. There are full lesson plans available for a range of levels, but we’d recommend using these as a starting point for classes that you can really tailor to your learners’ needs. Our personal favourite? Validation (2007) – it’s a heartwarming short film which helps your students learn vocabulary for giving compliments. *Aww*
Price: €21 for 12 months
With Triptico Plus, anything can become a game. This colourful, interactive website lets you create shareable quizzes and other activities that students find extremely motivating. We’d especially recommend Triptico Plus for teachers looking to liven up an uninspiring coursebook, or for language review tasks that don’t leave students snoozing. Our personal favourite is the fiendishly difficult memory matching game, but there are dozens of templates which make gamifying any course material a breeze. Another plus is that activities can be saved, adapted, shared and reused, which in time makes lesson planning much quicker and easier.
One impressive thing about this online resource is the sheer volume of material available. There are activities for practicing all four of the main skills at levels from Beginner to Advanced. You can also find specialized pages for Business English, Young Learners and much more. At first it can be a little intimidating to be faced with so much choice, but visit the page with a specific vocabulary or grammar point in mind, and you’re sure to come across something that your students will find useful. Something fun to get started? Sushi spell – a fast-clicking spelling game that your younger students will love.
Price: €33 for 12 months
If you’ve been teaching a while, it’s almost certain you’ll have encountered an activity or two from Teach This. Like British Council, they have an enormous bank of resources for all ages and levels. Most of the material consists of full lesson plans and printable activities, but you can easily pick and choose from these, adapting what’s there to make something really personalized. Teach This is a site that has helped many a teacher out of a sticky situation: whether you need additional material in a rush, have a last-minute substitution or are simply lacking inspiration, there’s bound to be something for your face to face classes.
You might already have visited the Cambridge English website to do some research before teaching exam classes for the first time. Did you know, though, that they also have a huge selection of lesson plans, mock exams, videos and other resources? The page might not look the most inspiring with its dull grey and navy colour scheme, but if you’re looking to get your students up to scratch before an important Cambridge exam, you need look no further. Another bonus is that students can practice the increasingly popular computer-based test before taking the real deal.
This simple but effective resource is great for all ages and levels but is especially popular with teens. Choose a song you think your students will like, and you’ll hear it line by line while they click or type the missing lyrics. You can choose one student to sit at the keyboard, or pass around a wireless keyboard so that everyone gets a turn. Lyricstraining also has the option to create printable gap fill tasks and is a great way for your students to practice listening inside the classroom or at home.
Price: FREE (registration required)
This page has just had a redesign so looks really fresh and is very easy to navigate. It contains a massive bank of resources and has material for children, teens and adults about almost any topic or language point you can imagine. One Stop English focuses a lot on its community – the section on professional development is a must for anyone looking to advance their teaching career. We’d see One Stop English as a great go-to resource that you’ll find yourself returning to again and again.
Price: Lots of FREE content, extras for €2 – €5 per month
This stylish website has a large selection of whole lesson plans which have a focus on getting your students talking about the matter at hand. Topics skew towards business, but a wide variety of subjects is covered and there are plans for levels B1 – C1. We’re particularly impressed with the listening tasks on ESL Brains; they use up-to-date, authentic resources like TED talks and provide a range of creative questions and communicative tasks. Some content is paid, but there’s a great selection of free resources which we’d advise you to check out before taking the plunge.
Struggling to find enough practice materials for your students who are preparing for Cambridge exams? English Aula is the page for you! It includes various KET, PET, FCE, CAE and CPE exam tasks, with answer keys and listening extracts where relevant. These resources can be used to create a mock exam for your students, as homework tasks or as extra material for learners who need more support. We think the exam activities are the star of the show at English Aula, but they do also have a range of grammar and vocabulary practice activities that you might want to check out.
Price: Various FREE activities, extras for €5 – €7.50 per month
Do you ever feel like your lessons are lacking pizazz? Students bored of the same old exam activities? You should definitely consider checking out Wordwall. This very user-friendly online platform lets you create, for example, lists of vocabulary and then practice them using a variety of games, puzzles, competitions etc. These can be played using an interactive whiteboard, or by having students take turns using the computer – both methods help to add dynamism to your lessons. Another advantage of Wordwall is that an activity can be set for homework and the teacher will receive a report indicating how long it took each student to complete the tasks, which questions they got correct, and any mistakes they made. To get started, we’d recommend making a simple crossword or word search; you’ll soon get to grips with the tools and be ready to explore some of the more exciting options!
BONUS! 11. Oxford TEFL Connect
€240 just €120 (Save 50% when signing up for a 12 month membership)
- 2 x 1-hour dynamic workshops
- 1 x 1-hour webinar
- 1 x 30 minute coaching session
- 1 x online social event
- Access to all past webinars
- Access to workshops for up to 7 days
- Access to our bank of resources and articles
- Access to our community of teachers
- Oxford TEFL Connect certificate (12 month memberships)
Yes, we couldn’t wrap up the list without mentioning our very own Oxford TEFL Connect! As well as providing you with monthly tailored coaching sessions, workshops, webinars and more, Oxford TEFL connect is a great place to find online resources online and face-to-face lessons. Check out our library of resources to take advantage of the most up-to-date materials from across the web, as well as sharing your own ideas and suggestions with a like-minded group of teaching professionals. Find out more and join our vibrant community of teachers here.
This concludes our round-up of the best online resources to use in your face-to-face EFL classes. We’re sure you’ll enjoy exploring the material we’ve suggested and hope you’ll watch this space for more top ten lists, teaching ideas and insights from our expert team!
If you would like to discover useful online resources for your EFL classes, receive support from experienced teachers and join a vibrant community of international teachers, join our community, Oxford TEFL Connect.