Where to Find Materials for Online English Lessons


Hello and welcome to the weekly ITTT live session, my name is Liza and I'm glad that some people have joined already. I hope everything works smoothly here and you can hear me clearly and see me well, if not please let me know in the comment section so that I can fix it quickly. Today we are going to talk about the vital topic of lesson materials.

I know that many people struggle looking for resources and content for their lessons so this is something I want to look at today. While we are waiting for some more people to join us, please let me know where you guys are tuning in from. I'm located in the Euro region of Russia in Yekaterinburg city, it's pretty chilly today and it is also snowing so my plan is to go skiing right after this session. Let me know where you are in the comment section. You can use it for interacting with me, which is a really awesome idea because I will be able to know that there are some people over there behind the screen. I am basically talking to myself right now and feel a little bit uncomfortable, so just let me know where you are from and let's have a quick chat at the beginning of the session.

Okay, there are some people from Beirut on, hello Rafik, I hope I pronounced your name correctly. There are also people from Panama, what time is it there?

Okay, I've already mentioned that I'm from Yekaterinburg and the weather is not sunny, so I feel pretty gloomy today. Hugo is from Sweden, nice to meet you Hugo. There are also people from Myanmar and Nepal, great to have you guys here today. I hope this session will be interesting and you'll find it useful. Thanks for sharing your locations. Ok, so it's 4:00 a.m. in Panama, why are you waking up so early? That is so cool, I'm not an early bird and I sometimes judge myself for being late every morning, but it's just who I am, so I can't get up early in the morning.

Hello Margaret, thanks for coming to today's session. As I've already mentioned, we are going to talk about lesson materials so I'll focus on online lesson materials mostly, but I believe all of these things can be really flexible and if you teach in a real classroom just feel free to adjust whatever tips you find interesting and useful for yourself.

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I also want to mention that we go live every week, twice. My online sessions are every Tuesday and my colleague Linda goes live on Fridays and all of the live sessions are recorded so if you want to re-watch or you don't have time to watch in real time just go to the Facebook page or to our YouTube channel and you'll be able to watch everything we have done before. And by the way, last week we had two interesting guests on, they were both ITTT alumnae and they shared their teaching experience, so if you didn't see those sessions I highly recommend it because you'll be able to learn first hand about online teaching and teaching abroad in Japan. So if that is something you are interested in, check those sessions out.

Now let's go to the main point of today's presentation. Let me make the video a little bit bigger so that you can see it. Hello guys, thanks for tuning in, I am really glad to see some familiar faces. It's always cool to know that some people join us regularly. Let's look at this slide, so this is something to discuss before we go to the recommendations themselves. So when you start looking for materials for your lessons do you usually think of your students and do you consider their learning goals? Let me know in the comment section. Do you have any challenges with it? Also let me know what your teaching format is. Do you teach online or do you work in a real classroom? And what challenges you might have with it in terms of looking for teaching materials. Let's just have a quick discussion here using the comments box and I'll share some of your answers. I think that this way will be more interactive and we will be able to have an experience exchange.

As for myself, when I prepare for my lessons and look for additional materials and basic materials I always find it difficult to keep up with my student’s interests. What I prefer is having a special course and circle everything around it, but when it comes to my student’s interests I find it challenging to adjust because some of them come just to discuss something they like and they don't want to talk about sports or books or anything else and I just feel frustrated when looking for specific materials. My teaching format is completely online so I also have to organize my lessons for online experience and it's also complicated in terms of design. So what about you, if you teach either online or in-classroom what challenges do you face when you look for teaching materials? Can you share your experiences please and I'll show it on the screen so that everyone can see it and either agree or disagree.

I hope that you can add something to this part of the session because it's really vital to know that we are on the same page here. Do you usually think of your students or do you try to come to teaching generally and you don't pay much attention to their personality or their interests, what do you think?

We will come back to your answers in a bit. So when it comes to preparing, it is always better to think of some points beforehand so that you limit lots of options you find on the internet or in a library and you can be more focused. So this is my point, when it comes to looking for specific teaching materials they can be either ready-made professional or self-created.

Now I just want to share a couple of thoughts because there are some people who've just sent them to the chat box. Maya, I hope I pronounce your name correctly, says that she believes that technological engineering students are quite complicated and it's quite difficult to adjust to their needs.

Okay, and Louise from Italy says that she teaches b2-c1 levels and they are totally online. So Louise, what struggles do you have when you prepare for your online lessons? Let us know.

I will just go a bit further with my thoughts. There are different types of materials, but I would divide them into two main groups. They can be ready-made or self-created. What I mean by ready-made is that there is a course book or any other professionally designed materials which you can use as a whole syllabus. And as for self-created materials they are just single worksheets or maybe parts of your lesson that you can do yourself or you can find online. Many teachers distribute their works on the web, so it's easy to copy them and give it to the students. I believe that both types of materials are really important in English teaching but it is important to think of some balance between the first option and the second one.

There are some professional materials that I usually use and they are mostly from Cambridge, Oxford, or Macmillan, and there is also a really great course book from National Geographic called Perspectives, it is so cool. We will go back to this type of material a little later. I feel like it is really important to use this type of material in teaching because it is so helpful in terms of preparation. It saves time to use ready-made professional materials because there is a course structure and the skills are developed gradually throughout the whole course. And the books are so user-friendly. I really like it and as a student I would definitely prefer to have a course book over some odd materials because it helps to have everything structured. What do you think guys?

On this slide I would like to share some of my favorites. I hand picked some of these books during my professional teaching experience and I should say they are not the only course books I use myself, but I feel like they are the best. So here you can see a couple of books from Cambridge, they are for young learners, either young adults or teenagers and these ones on the bottom are for adults. But for advanced grammar or English vocabulary they can also be used for teaching young adults. They are quite flexible. And the same with the Perspective book, these course books are quite fascinating in terms of design.

They look really beautiful and when students get those books they really want to study every topic they get because there are beautiful pictures and interesting articles and the whole structure of the books is really awesome. If we for example talk about this one, Fun for Movers, this book is for exam preparation like for the earliest stage in the Cambridge exam scheme, but it is very adjustable to the needs of those students who struggle with reading, listening and with sentence building. So I use this one with one of my daily English students, she wants to improve for school as she has some English lessons at school but she just doesn't understand anything and her main problem is reading, spelling and everything related to it so this book is really nice for adjusting to the needs of the youngest students.

Right, you don't need to write anything down. Here are the same books mentioned and there are some useful links for you at the end of this session. I will share this presentation and you will be able to click and go to the resources mentioned and of course there are not only these books, there are even more course materials on the professional websites so you will be able to find whatever suits your needs and your students. So make sure you wait for the presentation at the end of the session. There is also this resource library link, this is a really cool website, it is called Verpix. I'm not sure if it is in English but I feel like it is a great resource library with different PDFs of the most vital course books. I know it's not right to download PDFs, but for teachers who are just starting their career such resources are really convenient because you can't afford to buy new books all the time as they are quite pricey. So why not use something from the internet? I recommend checking out this link and maybe you'll find something useful for yourself when you register on the website. You'll have around 100 bonuses to download whatever resources you need, but when you run out of those 100 bonuses you can pay some extra fee, like a really cheap subscription, and you will be able to download whatever you find interesting.

Okay, let's talk about some creative materials. So of course there are a lot of websites that offer interesting materials like worksheets, lesson plans, and whatever. They are usually done by teachers through online communities. It's a great idea to check some of these resources because they are really cool in terms of lesson preparation. Also make sure you check our ITTT website because we also have a lot of free materials and you can just go to it and you will find a whole list of different resources. As for these websites I would say that my favorite one is Teachers Pay Teachers. This platform is not only for adults, you can find any materials there because they have cool filters. You can basically choose your students level or age group or whatever and find absolutely any type of resources and if you create your own materials you can also use this website as a platform for selling your content.

So when we talk about creating materials and choosing materials for online lessons I would say that the best recipe would be to choose a base material and add something extra. And when I talk about add-ons for your online lessons or even real classroom lessons you can think of taking a YouTube video or a podcast, it's also always interesting to use a real article. So some authentic materials, I believe that students value it a lot and we as teachers have to facilitate this need. So don't forget to use whatever real materials you can.

Now let's look at some useful YouTube channels. There are some useful resources on YouTube for adults and young adults. For example, a Great Big Story has short videos like two or three minutes or so and the content of those videos is very easy to comprehend for students from pre-intermediate level or so. It's a really great channel to use for your online lessons or in-class lessons. As for channels for young learners, there is Maple Leaf Learning which is super simple, they are mostly based on singing things but there are still some patterns to follow and learn as well.

So these YouTube channels are really useful and you can even recommend your students use these resources as a part of their home practice as well. Sometimes I assign my students videos from these channels and they watch for pleasure and you can also add some extra resources like articles or podcasts. They can be from things like the Economist and the National Geographic, you just need to consider your students age and level, but still you can adjust the articles, maybe restructure them. Podcasts can be vital for building strong listening skills as well, so you can also recommend them as a part of homework or just for listening for pleasure. And if you are non-native speaker, it's a great idea to listen to podcasts on your own because there are so many interesting ideas and language tips.

I hope that you find these resources interesting, as I've already mentioned you will be able to get the same presentation at the end of the session. I'll just share the link to this presentation and you'll have it at hand. Right, let me check the chat box here. Yeah, I agree that the Economist is very difficult, but if you teach c-1 students or business English students it's a great resource for practicing and also the Economist is really helpful for exam preparation like IELTS or TOEFL because those international exams are usually focused on something really difficult and specific.

Right, I believe I've just about covered everything so this is the end of the main presentation. So now we can have a Q&A session. So if you have something to share or to ask, if you have any problems to discuss, let me know in the chat box and I'll try my best to assist you. This is also where we share the 30% discount. If you scan this QR code you will get directly to the ITTT website and you will have the coupon link. You don't need to apply straight away because the coupon will be saved in your browser, you can apply and then come back and pay whenever you are ready. The other way you can get the same coupon is by following this link from the chat box. So if you follow it from your computer, you will have it on your browser.

We have a few comments in the chat box: Could you please repeat the name of the resource library?

I will send you the link to the presentation just now and you will be able to follow all of the links. Don’t be afraid that the link is so long, you will get to the website for designing presentations. By the way this is a great resource to design your lessons as well, there are many templates you can use for lesson planning and just worksheets or whatever you need. So if you follow the link you will find all of the YouTube channels I listed there and all of the podcasts and so on, so I hope it will be useful. Let me know later if you use some of the materials I mentioned.

Okay, there is another question: I'm struggling to find a student book for my adult learners, their beginners, can you help me out with this?

As I have already mentioned, let me go back to this slide, so I usually use some of these course books and I also choose between different publishers. For example, Cambridge or Oxford have great course materials for beginners and for those who are over 18 years old. So you can follow the link I shared from the presentation and check the whole resource library on their websites. I won't recommend anything particular apart from these ones, but it's always up to you if you find any materials useful and interesting you can just check them and think if they will be useful for your students.

Let me take a look at the chat box. Louise says that she likes the Fun for Starters book.

Yes, that one is really cool. One of my students was a really bad reader at the beginning of the course and we've worked through six or seven units and she has changed so much. Her reading skills are getting better and better, so I really like this course because it's well structured and it's very useful to have some structure, especially with exam preparation, it's something really vital.

Okay, the session is coming to the end, so thanks a lot guys for joining me today. I will stay a little bit longer to share the presentation with you because some of you are still having trouble with opening the link. If you guys have any questions related to teaching, lesson materials, TEFL or whatever, please let me know in the comments section. I'll try my best to help you out. Also, if you are looking for any teaching materials for free right now you can go to the ITTT website where we have a whole library of resources. Make sure you check it out.

Thank you so much for joining me today, I hope this session was useful and you found something interesting. And I hope that I'll see you next week. If you have anything on your mind related to teaching and if you want any specific topic to be covered in these sessions, you can let me know and I will be super happy to talk about it because it is always better to adjust to the audience needs and to consider the audience interests. So if you need anything specific to be discussed suggest your topic and I will use your ideas in the next sessions. If you want to find anything interesting in terms of materials or English teaching tips go to our ITTT resources and we will try our best to help you out with it. We share different materials daily on Facebook mostly, but we are also present on Instagram and YouTube, so stay with us and keep in touch.

It was really awesome to talk to you guys today and to discuss all of these things.

Thanks for coming today, see you next week.

Bye, bye.

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