Evaluating ESL, TEFL, TESOL Resources For Use in the Classroom

Resources are a tool every ESL TEFL TESOL teacher uses daily in order to enhance the language learning environment, motivate students or assist in student comprehension. Resources can be basic materials such as worksheets, presentation materials (PowerPoints, etc.) or even online learning via the web. Deciding which resources to incorporate into the TESL TEFL TESOL school or classroom take some consideration.

When deciding on any resource it is best to look at the usability of the ESL TEFL TESOL resources. We can’t always go by what we like. Will the material be readily understood by the teachers? In addition, does it have clear instructions for the preparation and incorporation required? Sometimes what seems like a great resource can be inappropriate for the teachers that will be using it.

Resources should help with bringing out creativity in both teachers and students. The best resources will push teachers to expand the horizons of learners. In addition, the students will be encouraged to explore and expand their learning experience. Resources can be a great way to spark the creativity of a class.

Finally, the age of the students should also be considered when choosing resources. We should make sure to choose resources based on the physical, psychological and cognitive characteristics of the learners? In other words, will the resources actually appeal to the students based on their age? For example, A&E may be a great source for literary texts but it may be more appropriate to look at PBS Kids. Always keep the age of students in mind when selecting the resources.

When dealing with online educational resources, there are many other considerations. The follow is from Becta ICT Advice for Teachers (ictadvice.org.uk/index.php)

How to evaluate and review websites

The effectiveness of online educational resources depends heavily on the context they are used in. However, there are also some basic criteria that should be fulfilled. Here are some important questions to ask when evaluating online educational resources.

Is the resource authoritative? Is it produced by an authoritative source? Will it support students with different learning styles? How does it use media to cater to people with auditory, visual, kinaesthetic or other preferences? Does it have links or refer to appropriate stages of the National Curriculum or examination body? Does the content make its educational purpose explicit? Is the content accurate, up to date, reasonably comprehensive, objective and relevant for the learner, and does it use appropriate vocabulary? Is the interface intuitive, with well-organised material and clear navigation? Is the content meaningfully interactive, engaging the learner with key content or concepts and not merely creating virtual versions of activities that can take place easily and to better effect without computers (for example, dice-rolling or simulating magnetic attraction)? Does the resource provide support and give feedback? Does the resource enhance collaborative learning by encouraging learners to discuss problems, share information and ideas and reach group agreement? Is the resource technically stable?

Internet safety

Your school may have an internet safety policy that suggests some criteria for the evaluation of internet material. For advice on drawing up such policies, see the DfES Superhighway Safety website.

InclusionOnline resources should be flexible and adaptable to enable learners with a wide range of needs to use them. For example, some resources can be configured for different visual requirements or reading ages. The most effectively designed content generally has an awareness of the complete range of potential users. For more information, see the Becta Inclusion and SEN area.

Selecting sites for teaching and learning

Here is a suggested structure for reviewing web resources. It is fairly rigorous, but is probably necessary for sites that are to be included in curriculum planning.

  1. Initial review: Use the links above to select sites with your learning objectives or educational purpose (curriculum learning or key skills such as communication) in mind. Look at what the site offers in terms of content, structure and supporting teaching and learning. Compile an annotated shortlist of sites.
  2. 2. Learner review in pairs / experienced learner review: Ask pairs of pupils already familiar with the curriculum content to review sites and complete the evaluation sheet. Alternatively, gather a range of perspectives by asking subject experts or ICT experts to review resources.
  3. 3. Action research review : Once the resource is in use, carry out action research in your classroom, to evaluate its effectiveness.

There are many resources for teachers to choose from and it is always suggested to locate a directory of ESL TEFL TESOL teacher resources (totalesl.com/resource.php) based on a range of school subjects such as ESL/EFL, language arts, literature, science, maths, history, health, art, etc..

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