13 Experts Share ESL Learning Advice (Plus Over 70 Online Resources)

ESL

Are you a teacher? Would you like to share your experience? Send us an email to participate at help[at]thespanishplace.net.

In an effort to make the English language learning process easier and faster for international ESL students, we’ve asked some of the best and most active English as a Second Language teachers and bloggers out there to answer three questions about learning languages. Many of the experts that we contacted were happy to share their advice and teaching experience to help language students avoid very common and easily avoidable pitfalls of learning a new language. Also, our team did deep research online to find some of the best resources to help you learn the English language more easily. The online resources section, located after the expert Q&As, includes free resources for English grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, spelling exercises, great resources on reading and writing in English, a list of websites that have collections of English slang and idioms, ESL practice worksheets, ESL podcasts, and ESL YouTube channels. Enjoy!

This page is quite long, so be sure to bookmark it.

ESL Learning Advice From Experienced ESL Teachers

Wimbai Family. April 2013.

Elena Mutonono from www.eto-onlinenglish.com

My name is Elena Mutonono. I am a third-generation teacher. Teaching is my passion, my hobby, and my job. I get a bit carried away at times, but I know that this drive of mine has helped a lot of people master the language and succeed in their careers. I hope you have an enjoyable learning experience!

What is the most common mistake that ESL students make and fail to correct in their study efforts, and how do you correct it?

I mainly teach Russian-speaking students, so all of the mistakes are the consequences of Russian language interference, for instance, the absence articles (this is the most common mistakes for students of all levels).

The best way to correct them is to give them an easy matrix, like a pattern, that they can follow, since articles are non-existent in their mother tongue, but the students still need some sort of guidance.

For instance, to teach them the basic uses of articles (mainly indefinite) I give 5 major sentence-structures where an article is most likely used in English and where they fail to use it, e.g.: 1. This is/It is a ball; 2. I work as a teacher. 3. I have a wife/a daughter/a son. 4. There is a man in the lobby (a bus on the street/a letter in the mail). 5. I live in a town/city/house/flat.

What is your favorite study tool for ESL students?

Perhaps each teacher will define a “study tool” differently. Since I run an online platform and teach students only via internet I prefer to define a study tool as an online resource/course that has been most effective for my students. I’ve actually been looking for a resource that would work as a one-stop-for-all-skills tool.

This resource would combine listening comprehension training, speaking, vocabulary development, cultural exposure, reading, and writing. I found it last year, and my students are loving it! It’s www.usconversation.com - a resource that allows students to practice all the skills that they need in a very well organized manner.

What skill or knowledge should students spend the most time on and why?

Based on the frequent questionnaires that I send out, the hardest skill for my students, readers and subscribers is listening comprehension. Learning English as a foreign language, they have very little exposure to the “live” speech and thus have very limited opportunity to hear English as it is spoken.

Traditional language courses in the former Soviet Union (my target group) tend to teach English listening in isolation, thus producing large groups of people who can read, write and even speak, but have vague listening skills.

By “vague” I mean the students can often listen to a British/American textbook CD and answer questions, but when they have real communication with native speakers their first response is never “Oh, they speak so clearly, I can understand every word, not just some random words,” but rather “They “eat up their words,” and I can never figure out what they are saying.” For some reason, English language tutors find connected speech (which any native speaks) “academically wrong,” and they proceed to teach the isolated version of English (unwittingly, of course), limiting listening assignments only to select portions in the textbook.

Sometimes to offset the “unnatural listening practice” through textbooks such language courses offer “movie clubs,” which end up being of very little value because, again, students are never taught how to understand connected speech, but are “immersed” into it anyway. Such immersion results in a lot of frustration, lack of confidence and further negative attitude towards any kind of listening activity.


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Andrea Giordano from www.eslbasics.com

My name is Andrea Giordano and I absolutely love English! I am the creator of ESL Basics and have been teaching ESL for 8 years at a private university in Kentucky. I have been honored to teach English to nearly a million students online. You can join my weekly classes by visiting www.ESLbasics.com/class.

What is the most common mistake that ESL students make and fail to correct in their study efforts, and how do you correct it?

ESL students sometimes focus too much on studying definitions and rules and forget that authentic communication with a native English speaker will bring you the most success. Many of my university ESL students come all the way to the United States but never make American friends. That’s a tragedy! You should focus on communicating in English with English speakers. Ask a lot of questions, be bold, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The risk is worth the reward.

What is your favorite study tool for ESL students?

My favorite study tool for ESL students is the collection of videos on TED.com. The wealth of knowledge on TED is vast, so students can find content the connect with, all while listening in English. One of my favorite TED talks is “The World’s English Mania” by Jay Walker. You can find it at: http://www.ted.com/talks/jay_walker_on_the_world_s_english_mania

What skill or knowledge should students spend the most time on and why?

Students should spend the most time on developing the skill they will need the most in the future. If you will be working in tourism, you will need to have excellent oral communication skills. If you plan on pursuing academics in English, reading and writing skills will be essential for your success.

If you plan on becoming a doctor, focus on medical terminology in English. English is a tool that will help you pursue your life calling. You should ask yourself what your end goal is in communication, and then work toward that goal.


Lisa

Lisa de Jong from lisadejong.ie

I am a part-time ESL teacher and part-time students taking a Masters in Linguistics at Trinity College Dublin. I grew up bilingual in a Dutch-Irish English household and have loved language ever since. I also do a bit of work in editing and translation. In my free time I love to read, watch movies and write. Someday I’d like to write a novel.

What is the most common mistake that ESL students make and fail to correct in their study efforts, and how do you correct it?

I’m afraid I have to contradict myself in my answer but I think both points are important. The most common 2 mistakes I have seen so far are:

  1. 1. Students being afraid of making mistakes and letting that hold them back. Learning a language is like learning to ride a bicycle. In order to learn, you must first learn how to fail.
  2. I see students over complicate their sentences with complex grammar structures and not taking a step back and focusing on meaning. Keep it simple. That’s what Hemingway did!

What is your favorite study tool for ESL students?

Popular series/movies with subtitles in English. Anything that tells a story where you are lost and don’t realize you are learning is a wonderful tool to use.

What skill or knowledge should students spend the most time on and why?

All skills are important but if I have to prioritize, then I suggest focusing more on speaking and writing.

Grammar and vocabulary will be learned through speaking and through listening to series and movies. I have seen so many students struggle with writing. It’s a totally different part of the brain and students over think it.

Just write and don’t judge what you write! Have fun with it.


AnabelAnabel Fernández from oneclickcloser.wordpress.com

I am an English as a Foreign Language teacher in Spain. I am passionate about language and learning and I’m seeking strategies to use technology for language learning and looking forward to seeing how social media and web 2.0 can boost my student’s skills.

I love my job but I have my own hobbies, too. I am an amateur photographer and an obsessive music consumer.

What is the most common mistake that ESL students make and fail to correct in their study efforts, and how do you correct it?

In the past I would easily be able to point out certain grammar or morphological mistakes as being particularly common among ESL students, like word order or collocations. But it is difficult for me to pick one as it will also depend on the student’s mother tongue and its influence.

Nowadays I tend to believe that most mistakes can be amended as long as the student gets enough practice and uses the right tools. What I sometimes see as a common mistake might be anything to do with a wrong approach to learning; for example, not being exposed to enough listening, or being reluctant to speak or write. Another problem might be sticking to very rigid methods and being unwilling to try anything new.

What I feel I have to do is try to correct the linguistic and communicative mistakes that my students make when speaking and writing. But also, help them embrace new ways of learning and supporting them to experience it in more challenging ways with the hope they make less mistakes and achieve their goals.

What is your favorite study tool for ESL students?

It is difficult to choose only one tool for learners.

The ones I usually recommend for listening are:

http://www.eslpod.com

http://www.elllo.com

http://www.englishmedialab.com/

http://www.bbclearnenglish.co.ukfor many types of resources.

I also like paper.li for students to personlise their learning experience.

What skill or knowledge should students spend the most time on and why?

I think learners should try to spend as much time as possible doing something in the language: listening, speaking, reading and also writing. It should help them feel motivated and challenged, especially if they try to read or listen to the kind of texts they are interested in.

I think it is essential for them to acquire this habit in order to consolidate whatever they learn in class, and eventually make fewer mistakes and become more confident and fluent.


AnthonyAnthony Schmidt from anthonyteacher.com

I am an ELT teacher with 7 years of experience and an MA in TESOL and Language Education. I am interested in all aspects of linguistics, applied linguistics, and TESOL.

What is the most common mistake that ESL students make and fail to correct in their study efforts, and how do you correct it?

There are a range of grammatical, lexical, and semantic mistakes that all learners make regardless of their first language. There are also a number of mistakes specific to certain groups of learners. However, all of these mistakes are trivial in respect to perhaps the two biggest mistakes all learners make, everywhere: lack of confidence and lack of motivation.

If students do not have the confidence to seek out opportunities to engage with the language, they can never expect to learn it and internalize it. Not seeking out these opportunities, and not being confident in using whatever language and abilities they currently possess is a big hurdle that they must ‘correct’.

Likewise, falling out of motivation is a big mistake, as being an unmotivated learner can damper even the most effective lessons or tools.

What is your favorite study tool for ESL students?

I don’t necessarily have a favorite study tool. Others fall in and out of favor. I’d say that a well-rounded learner should be comfortable using a good bilingual dictionary, an English dictionary (e.g. www.learnersdictionary.com), and some corpus tools (www.wordandphrase.info, or for the brave, http://corpus.byu.edu/coca). In addition, I personally find flashcards very useful, so I always recommend Quizlet to students.

What skill or knowledge should students spend the most time on and why?

Students should spend the most time on the areas that give them the most trouble. Grammar, vocabulary, speaking, listening, writing, reading – these are all important and none should ever be neglected.

But, students should know their weaknesses and strive to address them. In addition, I also recommend both intensive and extensive study. Most students can get intensive study in their classes, but should still devote some time to learning on their own. That include studying grammar, vocabulary, etc. In addition, extensive listening, reading, and speaking will be just as useful.


IdahosaIdahosa Ness from www.mimicmethod.com

“I speak 5 languages fluently and run www.MimicMethod.com, where we focus exclusively on developing your ability to perceive and pronounce the sounds of your target language. 

Check out our kickstarter! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mimicmethod/mimic-method-pronunciation-and-flow-trainer-for-sq

What is the most common mistake that ESL students make and fail to correct in their study efforts, and how do you correct it?        

Biggest ESL problem is pronunciation.  People learn from written text and English, much more than other languages, is pronounced much differently than it is written.  There is already a “Sound Barrier” that exists between learners of any language – so learning by reading and writing alone only strengthens the barrier and inhibits the ability to become fluent in English

What is your favorite study tool for ESL students?

My future app of course haha.

What skill or knowledge should students spend the most time on and why?

Mimicry.  If you can listen to an English speaker say a phrase naturally and mimic his pronunciation exactly, you will have no trouble picking up the language through media and immersion.  Period.


SteveSteve Kaufmann from www.lingq.com

68 year old, former diplomat and businessman with an interest in languages. I have learned 14 languages, 6 of them since the age of 55.

What is the most common mistake that ESL students make and fail to correct in their study efforts, and how do you correct it?

They rely on the teacher, and don’t take responsibility for their own learning. They need to decide what interests them in the language, and pursue that interest. In pursuing their interests, they will learn the language.

What is your favorite study tool for ESL students?

The massive amounts of interesting content available on the internet in audio and text format. You just need a computer, an MP3 player, and if possible a smartphone or tablet to enhance the experience.

What skill or knowledge should students spend the most time on and why?

Listening and reading, since understanding is the core skill. This is easy to organize and inexpensive. It can be carried out anywhere and anytime. This builds up the ability to express oneself.


Ana LuisaAna Luiza Bergamini from www.inglesonline.com.br

I’m a USA born Brazilian teacher who got involved with teaching in schools, as well as privately, around 2003. I started my blog three years later, with English tips and a podcast for Brazilian students. I offer a self-study online course as well, which has had over 3 thousand students, and I currently live in London.

What is the most common mistake that ESL students make and fail to correct in their study efforts, and how do you correct it?

Their most common mistake is a non-existent listening routine using comprehensible input. While exposing yourself to English in general doesn’t hurt, and grammar study and fill-the-gap exercises may help somewhat, nothing will help your acquisition and speaking as efficiently as listening to English you already understand on a regular basis.

What is your favorite study tool for ESL students?

I’d say a good collection of audio that they are able to understand, plus an mp3 player.

What skill or knowledge should students spend the most time on and why?

Definitely something that speeds up their acquisition in general. For all levels, I can’t recommend a routine of Listening highly enough. Spend some time understanding the content of the audio, then get Listening.


MatthewMatthew Ellman from Teachertolearner.com

I’m a teacher, blogger and materials writer based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I have a DELTA and I’m currently completing my MA in Applied Linguistics at the University of Birmingham. Like Henry Widdowson, I believe that “learning and teaching should not be regarded as converse activities at all, that the logic of a communicative approach calls for an emphasis on the learner’s development of abilities through his own learning processes which the teacher should stimulate rather than determine.”

What is the most common mistake that ESL students make and fail to correct in their study efforts, and how do you correct it?        

Mistake is probably not the right word, but I think there are two main failings that hinder ESL students. The first is that they simply don’t get enough exposure to English, in either its written or spoken form. To remedy that situation I think students have to find what works best for them, whether it’s books, films, TV, podcasts, or whatever, but regular reading is indispensable and teachers should do all they can to encourage it. Increasingly I believe that where reading takes place in class it should be for pleasure, meaning that students spend the bulk of the lesson on, say, a graded reader, and discuss it. The typical ‘read this quickly; now read and answer true or false’ approach from textbooks contributes very little to students’ language development, I think.

The other ‘mistake’ is a fear of speaking, or fear of making mistakes. No one has ever learnt to speak a second language without making mistakes on the way, and they are an indication that the brain is getting to grips with the ins and outs of an L2. The best way of dealing with this issue is a combination of learner training, and the creation of a supportive classroom environment that fosters a growth mindset in students. Students need feedback, but it should always deal with meaning before it deals with form.

What is your favorite study tool for ESL students?

My favorite study tool, as a student myself, is turning out to be comics. They provide everyday conversational language in written form that is contextualized and scaffolded by images, and they’re fun to read. I think that publishers should be investing far more in ESL comics, but for now they are difficult to come by.

The best study tool for ESL students will depend on the student, and that’s why learners should be encouraged to explore different tools and find out what works for them. The role of teachers is to introduce them to such tools and demonstrate how to use them in class, so that students can make informed decisions.

What skill or knowledge should students spend the most time on and why?

Again, I feel that this really varies from one student to another, and it often depends on the kind of English teaching that students have received in school, or on the linguistic environment that they live in. It also depends on the individual student’s ultimate aims.

Generally, I think nearly all students could do with reading more, and most students should pay much more attention to vocabulary than they do. Where class time is limited, students should be spending it speaking, and dealing with any language issues as they arise.


BethBeth Murrow from www.CanWeJustRead.com

Beth Morrow is a freelance writer, columnist, education blogger and veteran middle school ESL/Reading teacher in Columbus, Oh. Her most recent work has appeared in ASCD Express, the ASCD InService blog and as part of an EdWeek Instagram project. When she isn’t writing, she volunteers as a program director at a summer camp for teens with diabetes, or hangs out in education chats on Twitter as @BethFMorrow.

What is the most common mistake that ESL students make and fail to correct in their study efforts, and how do you correct it?

Mistaking fluency and accuracy for comprehension. I have students whose oral fluency surpasses native speakers’, but when I quiz them on their comprehension, there is nothing retained. Oral fluency and comprehension are two separate skills that require two separate parts of the brain–just because you can read out loud does not mean you understand what you are reading!

To correct it, I stop frequently (by sentence, paragraph, page or chapter, depending on student levels) and probe for comprehension. If they read at home or away from a teacher, they can summarize paragraphs into a single sentence in their own words for practice.

What is your favorite study tool for ESL students?

There are so many available, but my favorite method is journaling and reflecting. Students quickly grow accustomed to going faster, covering more material and reading more, but if they don’t stop to pause, reflect, absorb, internalize and connect their new learning to their prior knowledge, they won’t retain it.

Prompts, discussion questions, word webs and content maps are good visual accompaniments to the journaling and reflective writing.

What skill or knowledge should students spend the most time on and why?

That’s easy–summarizing. If students can’t put the content they are reading into their own words (orally, written or both), then they aren’t grasping the content. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘comprehensible input’, and if it content doesn’t make sense going into a student’s mind in a way that they can connect and express that content verbally, written or through demonstration, they simply aren’t learning.


PaulPaul Gallantry from Paulseltjournal.blogspot.com

I’ve been teaching ESL since 1993, starting off my career in Turkey in private language schools. I became DOS of a school before returning to the UK, where I started work at a Further Education College. I write on ELT subjects, and deliver presentations at ELT conferences, as well as lurk on the #ELTchat forum on Twitter. I’m passionate about using tech in class. Apart from the ELT/Tech geekiness, I write, cycle, climb and cook, although not necessarily at the same time.

What is the most common mistake that ESL students make and fail to correct in their study efforts, and how do you correct it?

The most common mistake is also the simplest one – namely, that one can learn a language simply by being in a classroom. Language has to be experienced, lived, practiced and used. To help learners get this, I encourage them to immerse themselves as much as possible in the target language outside class – for example, read everything or listen to the radio (for receptive skills), or actively search out and record examples of the language around them. At the moment, I’m encouraging learners to keep real (or virtual) scrapbooks of bits of language.

What is your favorite study tool for ESL students?

Their minds, their experience and a pen. That’s all anyone needs to learn, at least at first.

For a more bells and whistles approach, I’m partial to using VLEs such as Moodle to keep learners engaged, plus using smartphones in a, er, smart way. I encourage learners to download language learning apps, and to record themselves.

What skill or knowledge should students spend the most time on and why?

This depends entirely on the student and his or her circumstance. One of the teacher’s most important skills is being able to differentiate the learning experience for each and every learner, and guide them to what they need accordingly. As a general rule however, I would say that students should read as much as possible, and read everything – I have noticed that the most successful learners are those who do LOTS of reading.


Judy

Judy Thompson from www.thompsonlanguagecenter.com

Judy Thompson, B.A., TESL Certification, teacher trainer, author and TEDx speaker has been teaching for over 25 years. A student herself of French and German, Judy knows firsthand the frustrations of learning to speak a new language. Judy lived and taught in South Korea and it was there that she had the first of many revelations about spoken English and how it should be taught. 

What is the most common mistake that ESL students make and fail to correct in their study efforts, and how do you correct it?

ESL students focus too much on grammar and trying to be ‘perfect’ before using their English.
I tell my students a true story about my student Pablo from Columbia. Pablo was late for class one day which was unusual. He was so excited he shared with the class the story about his morning.

He was waiting for the bus at the usual time. He was the only one there except for a little old lady. While they were waiting for the bus the old woman started to make weird noises, grabbed her chest and fell to the ground. Pablo was 19 years old, he had only been in Canada for 3 weeks and someone was going to die because he didn’t speak English.
Pablo could see a security guard in the lobby of a nearby office. He ran to the building and banged on the door. The guard saw the crazy young man and opened the door a crack, “”What do you want?”” he asked.
Pablo pointed to the bus stop, “”Woman! Heart! Bus!”” he screamed.
The security guard understood and called 911 on his cell phone.
I asked Pablo how long the ambulance took. He said 5 minutes. I asked him how the old woman was and he said, “”Good.”” Then I asked him how much grammar he used. He thought about it for a minute then answered, “”None.””
Pablo quit school.
Three months later he came to class for a visit. “”Where did you go?”” I asked him.
“”I thought I needed grammar for people to understand me and I didn’t so I got a job.””
Pablo’s English was much better from working than it ever would have been had he stayed in class.
Important words and body language carry the message in English. You don’t need to provide perfect grammar for native speakers to understand you. Now go and get a job. : )

What is your favorite study tool for ESL students?

The Thompson Vowel Chart pairs the 16 vowel sounds in English with the 16 colors that have those sounds in their names. Spelling doesn’t make sense in English and there are no rules. There is no bridge from writing to speaking with the alphabet and students are always insecure about their pronunciation, even of little words.


The Thompson Vowel Chart provides a bridge to pronunciation through the color association. The correct pronunciation of every word in English can be found somewhere on that free simple chart.
Lots of goodies are now available for the chart like sound dictionary and the spelling and pronunciation app but the magic for students is the Thompson Vowel Chart with the system that provides perfect pronunciation 100% of the time using information they already have – colors.

What skill or knowledge should students spend the most time on and why?

If their goal is to speak English and I have never met a student who didn’t want to speak English better, listening is the access. Of course a little guidance about listening for word stress and listening for expressions or small groups of words that work together (because English is idiomatic) doesn’t hurt but in a word. Listening.


Reading is GREAT for vocabulary building, expressions, culture awareness… but reading doesn’t lead directly to speaking. Only listening does.
Writing should come last not first. It is the hardest skill and less than 3% of the total population ever gets really good at it. In other words no how long students spend trying to write well – it will never happen.
The secret to learning English is listen, repeat, listen, repeat, listen repeat – repeating without understanding. Adults learn languages backwards (and unsuccessfully) by trying to put understanding first. Understanding, speaking, grammar… everything comes after listening. 


Graham Stanley from blog-efl.blogspot.com

Graham Stanley is project manager for the British Council on the Plan Ceibal English project in Uruguay, teaching primary school children English via video-conferencing. Before that he was an ESL teacher and trainer in Spain for many years. He is also the author of two award winning handbooks for teachers: ‘Language Learning with Technology’ (CUP, 2013) and ‘Digital Play: computer games and language aims’ (Delta, 2011). More about Graham.

What is the most common mistake that ESL students make and fail to correct in their study efforts, and how do you correct it?

It depends on the country and the learners, I think, but many learners have problems with English vowel sounds. I recommend listening to recordings of interviews or podcasts in English and for learners to repeat some of what is said and to focus on the sounds and pronounce the words as closely as they can to what they hear. This can raise awareness of pronunciation and how the learners themselves are speaking. Recording yourself and listening back can also be a useful way of improving pronunciation too.

What is your favorite study tool for ESL students?

The Internet! No, seriously, there are so many, but keeping a blog and connecting to other students is a very useful way of improving your English and practising writing.

What skill or knowledge should students spend the most time on and why?

It depends on why the learner is studying English. If the goal is to be able to have conversations with people they know, then they should focus on listening and speaking and try to listen to people speaking (again through YouTube, etc) from the places where the student’s friends are from. If the goal is to be able to read literature in English, then reading more widely in English is the key.

Summary

We want to thank all of the experts who participated and shared their knowledge and experience.  I wanted to summarize some of the highlights and reoccurring ideas that were expressed.  In no particular order here are my main takeaways from this round up of ideas.

  1. Don’t be a perfectionist! – Making mistakes actually helps you to learn more quickly.  When you try and be perfect every time you spend so much energy and effort on one thought or idea that you end up costing yourself valuable experience and time. Fail quickly, learn from your mistakes and make improvements the next time.
  2. Start Doing! This compliments #1 but is really the best advice.  You can spend endless hours in the classroom but if you don’t get out and start experiencing the language you will never learn the language.  That is how you learn your native language as a child.  You work on formally studying after you have developed a strong level of speaking fluency and listening comprehension.
  3. Best Tool – Graham Stanley said it best. “The Internet”. Of course that tool wins because it encompasses almost all of the other tools that were mentioned but it is an amazing resource.  You can get online and find resources to study English a thousand different ways.
  4. Best Tool #2 – This tool really shares the #1 spot equally with “The Internet” and was mentioned by almost every ESL teacher.  Native materials.  Experience the language in every form of media.  Newspapers, websites, podcasts, youtube, movies, comics (I love learning through comics), music and books.
    1. I will add one bit of advice in regards to native content.  It is good to have times when you are just absorbing the language just to gain exposure.  It is better to be deliberate when consuming native content. You should read, listen, and watch in small pieces and then make sure you understand what is being said then move on to the next piece.  As you do this your listening and reading comprehension will start to increase rapidly.
  5. Be  Copycat – When you are little you might get in trouble for doing this to your siblings or friends.  As a student of English or any language is very important.  When you are listening to someone speak mimic what they say,  Idahosa gave this great advice.  Focus on copying their pronunciation, intonation, and rhythm. You won’t get all of the parts correctly every time so just keep practicing and making improvement each time you practice.
  6. Keep a language journal – I liked to keep a small pocket notebook on me at all times.  When I learned a new word, heard or saw a new word I wanted to know, or had a light bulb moment I wrote it down.  This is a great tool because it becomes your personal glossary or dictionary.  Dictionaries have tens of thousands of words and few of them are used frequently.  This let me create a list of words that I needed or wanted to use regularly and review them anytime.  Instead of looking through a large dictionary to learn new words I could review the words that were most important to me.  I would also write down when the word was used and how the person used it in a phrase so I could use them properly.

If you have questions or advise of your own to share please join the conversation!


Resources

English GrammarEnglish Grammar

http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/english

BBC Skillswise is created for adults to help them learn English effectively with their lessons, worksheets and games.

http://www.lingolex.com/simplepast/allverbs.htm

Lingolex’s list of all irregular verbs in English with past and past participle.

http://aliscot.com/bigdog/

Big Dog’s Grammar: Interactive online lessons for beginners to help them improve their English grammar.

https://www.udemy.com/paraphrasing-prevents-plagiarism/

Udemy course that will teach you how to rewrite those quotes and citations into your own words (paraphrasing).

http://www.davidappleyard.com/english/grammar.htm

A glossary of English grammar and linguistic terms for teachers and students.

http://english.stackexchange.com/

English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It’s 100% free, no registration required.

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/678/01/

Purdue University’s OWL has curated a list of resources for ESL teachers and students to help with language learning.

http://www.esl-lounge.com/student/index.php

ESL Lounge has hundreds of free resources to learn English. Improve your grammar, vocabulary, reading and listening with the lessons listed at this website.

http://www.usingenglish.com/

A large collection of English as a Second Language (ESL) tools & resources for students, teachers, learners and academics, covering the full spectrum of ESL, EFL, ESOL, and EAP subject areas.

http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Writing/contents.html

Guide to Grammar and Style – By Jack Lynch, at Rutgers University.

http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar

Grammar Girl’s great articles on English grammar are listed here and will help you improve your language fluency a lot.


Vocabulary, Pronunciation, and SpellingVocabulary, Pronunciation, and Spelling

http://www.englishleap.com/other-resources/learn-english-pronunciation

If you’re struggling with pronunciation, here’s a comprehensive guide on learning English pronunciation easily.

https://www.learnthat.org/

Learn English vocabulary and spelling online with award-winning educational technology.

http://www.antimoon.com/how/pronunctransdemo.htm

This page shows you how to read and write the phonetic transcriptions of English words. This will help you a lot with pronunciation.

http://www.manythings.org/pp/

Here you can listen to American English pronunciation lessons that are available in mp3.

http://international.ouc.bc.ca/pronunciation/

English pronunciation guide for ESL students by Okanagan College

http://www.manythings.org/vocabulary/

This is a collection of English vocabulary word lists with online activities that use these word lists.

http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/errors.html

This is a list of some of the most common English language errors compiled by Paul Brians

http://wordyenglish.com/words/vocabulary.html

A collection of five thousand English words with usage examples to improve your vocabulary. Helpful resource for SAT and GRE preparation.

http://www.soundkeepers.com/SAT/

SAT Vocabulary Builder with over 500 words commonly used in SAT tests.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/language/

BBC Learning English is a great resource to learn English by improving your pronunciation and expanding your vocabulary with all the resources being updated each day, such as the today’s phrase, words in the news, the English we speak…etc.

http://www.languageguide.org/english/

Practice English vocabulary, the alphabet, and numbers. Place your cursor over an image to hear it pronounced aloud.


Reading and WritingReading and Writing

http://www.worldwidewords.org/index.htm

World Wide Words. More than 2700 pages on the origins, history, evolution and idiosyncrasies of the English language worldwide. New words and words in the news are regularly featured.

http://fog.ccsf.cc.ca.us/~lfried/stories/stories.html

Easy stories for ESL students to read in their free time and improve their comprehension of the English language.

http://literacynet.org/cnnsf/archives.html

CNN SF stories used as lessons for ESL education and distance learning.

http://www.umass.edu/aesop/fables.php

Aesop’s fables are listed at this website. Very enjoyable and easy readings for beginner ESL students.

http://www.bbc.com/news/

The BBC News site is a great resource to learn English and at the same time stay update with what’s happening in the world. Reading news might not as enjoyable, but still a great resource to learn more about the usage of English language.

http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice

Advice on academic writing by the University of Toronto.

http://writefix.com/

Writefix will help you write better essays in English language. Great resource for students who are preparing for IELTS or TOEFL exams.

http://www.eslbee.com/

ESLBEE.com is another website for non-native speakers of English who want to write in English for academic purposes

http://users.wpi.edu/~nab/sci_eng/

In this page there are lessons on writing in English language for scientific purposes. The lessons are also available as a PDF file.

http://www.uefap.com/writing/writfram.htm

This is another great online guide on using English for academic purposes.

http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/PlanResearchPaper.html

This is a great step by step guide on writing a research paper in English language.  Created by the University of Wisconsin.


Idioms and SlangIdioms and Slang

http://www.answers.com/library/Idioms

The Dictionary of Idioms by Answers.com contains idiomatic words and phrases, slang terms, figures of speech, common proverbs and metaphors, each clearly defined and illustrated with at least one sample sentence or quotation.

http://www.manythings.org/slang/

More Than 280 Common American Slang Expressions.

http://www.daveseslcafe.com/slang/

Dave Sperling’s website is probably the most valuable resource when it comes to ESL. This page is about learning English slang words by understanding the meaning of them with Dave’s brilliant explanations.

http://www.vec.ca/english/11/idioms.cfm

A collection of English idioms to help you communicate more naturally with other English speakers. 101 idioms with explanations and examples.

http://www.idiomsite.com/

Idiom Site has a really large collection of English language idioms, together with explanations. The more idioms you know, the better you understand native English speakers.

http://www.daveseslcafe.com/pv/

A collection of English phrasal verbs created by Dennis Oliver for Dave’s ESL café website. It’s very important to learn phrasal verbs if you want to speak more naturally in English.

http://www.effingpot.com/slang.shtml

The best of British English slang. This was created for Americans as an introduction to British slang, but anyone who is learning English might find this useful.

http://thoughtcatalog.com/nico-lang/2013/09/71-simple-british-slang-phrases-everyone-should-start-using/

Very nice article by Thought Catalog on the British slang phrases everyone should use.

http://www.peevish.co.uk/slang/

An online dictionary of English slang used in the United Kingdom.


ESL WorksheetsESL Worksheets

http://www.usingenglish.com/handouts/

UsingEnglish.com has a lot of grammar and vocabulary worksheets available on their website for ESL students and teachers.

http://en.islcollective.com/

An excellent website where ESL teachers from all over the world share free teaching resources and other ESL material to be used in classrooms.

http://bogglesworldesl.com/worksheets.htm

Boggle’s World website has many ESL resources worth checking out, such as worksheets, quizzes, crosswords, and more.

http://esl-kids.com/worksheets/worksheets.html

ESL-Kids’ Worksheet Generator is a great way to create printable worksheets for your students to improve their English language.

http://www.elcivics.com/esl-grammar/lessons

Free downloadable grammar worksheets for ESL beginners.

http://www.esltower.com/vocabularyteachers.html

Printable ESL lesson plans and vocabulary exercises for teachers and students.

http://a4esl.org/q/h/

Over 10.000 self-study quizzes and grammar exercises for ESL students

http://www.eslsite.com/

ESL Site also has lots of resources for students and teachers to improve their English language skills. Many printable worksheets are available.

http://www.eslbase.com/worksheets

PDF worksheets with teacher notes to be used in classrooms.


ESL PodcastsESL Podcasts

English as a Second Language (ESL) Podcast – Learn English Online

By Center for Educational Development

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/english-as-second-language/id75908431?mt=2

Culips ESL Podcast

By Learn English naturally

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/culips-esl-podcast/id279999557?mt=2

QualityTime-ESL – English Drills and Practice

By Marianne Raynaud

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/qualitytime-esl-english-drills/id267218958?mt=2

ESL Aloud

By Sherman Rosen

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/esl-aloud/id148731747?mt=2

ESL Podcast – Previous Episodes

By Center for Educational Development

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/esl-podcast-previous-episodes/id120830753?mt=2


ESL Channels on YouTubeESL Channels on YouTube

British Council | LearnEnglish

https://www.youtube.com/user/BritishCouncilLE

Anglo-Link English Made Easy

https://www.youtube.com/user/MinooAngloLink

English with Jennifer

https://www.youtube.com/user/JenniferESL

Rachel’s English

https://www.youtube.com/user/rachelsenglish

EnglishLessons4U – Learn English with Ronnie

https://www.youtube.com/user/EnglishLessons4U

Learn English with Let’s Talk

https://www.youtube.com/user/learnexmumbai

ESL and Popular Culture

https://www.youtube.com/user/LearnFree2007

KidsTV123

https://www.youtube.com/user/KidsTV123

Speak English with Steve Ford

https://www.youtube.com/user/PrivateEnglishPortal

ESLbasics

https://www.youtube.com/user/ESLbasics


ESL Mobile Apps and SoftwareESL Mobile Apps and Software

ESL Pod ensider

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ensider.eslpod

ESL Daily English

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.blogspot.imapp.imeslpod2

ESL Podcast- Unofficial app

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.feellike.eslpod0103

Learn English, ESL, TOEFL

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.langlearner.lessons.full.en

Language Nomad ESL

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nga.flashcards.activity

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