January 22, 2018

Online resources for teaching and learning English as a Second Language

© Language and Leisure International, Ireland, 2011: Creative Commons license

There are several sites with resources for those learning (or teaching) English as a Second or Foreign Language (ESL or EFL).

TESL Canada Federation is the Canadian national federation of English as a Second Language teachers, learners and learner advocates. Its web site has a number of useful resources, including an English Language Proficiency Test web site and English Language Test score requirements for major Canadian universities. Its Teachers’ Resource Centre contains a wealth of free resources for teachers of ESL.

The British Council also has a wide range of resources. Its LearnEnglish Kids has lots of free online games, songs, stories and activities for children to have fun and learn English too, and a host of resources for teachers..

Capilano University, a public university in North Vancouver, Canada, has the following resources:

UsingEnglish.com provides a large collection of English as a Second Language (ESL) tools and resources for students, teachers, learners and academics.

ESL Monkeys also has a free site of resources.


An Online Resource for EFL Learners provides EFL learners with comprehensive exercises, tasks and useful links related to various skills and components of English language. It is the work of Hamed Ghaemi, a PhD candidate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) in University of Tehran, International Campus.

A Google search under ‘Online resources ESL’ will identify hundreds of other sites, but the quality varies.

Please note:

  • I do NOT recommend any particular ESL program, since I have no means to evaluate them, so please do not ask
  • I do not accept advertising on this site from commercial language schools so please do not ask for links or guest blogs
  • Please DO send other examples of sites that offer high quality free online resources for teaching and learning English as a Second or Foreign Language.


News on educational games

Thanks to Natasha Boskic for this:

1. Jane McGonigal (2010) URGENT EVOKE: Help us run a 10-week crash course in changing the world, Avant Game, January 11, 2010

Jane McGonigal has announced on her blog a new ARG, a “crash course in changing the world”. The game will start in March and the goal will be to address issues and find solutions for hunger and poverty, education, climate change, etc. The game will last for 10 weeks and each week the players will be presented with a new challenge.

The designers are looking for game assistants at the moment: http://blog.avantgame.com/2010/01/urgent-evoke.html

2. John Rice (2010) Five Video Games for ESL and Language Development, Educational Games Research, January 11, 2010

As an addition to his article “Virtual ESL”, that will appear in TechEdge, John Rice writes in his blog about five video games that are particularly well-suited to ESL acquisition and development: Second Life, World of Warcraft, My Word Coach, Webkinz and Whyville: http://edugamesresearch.com/blog/

3. Gavin Ogden (2010). Applications Open For Sony’s G.I.R.L. Scholarship Program, EDGE, January 20, 2010

To help educate more women about video games and prepare them for the production and design, Global Sales and Marketing, Sony Online Entertainment offers for the third time G.I.R.L. (Gamers In Real Life) Scholarship in the amount of up to $10,000 toward tuition and other educational expenses. http://www.edge-online.com/news/applications-open-for-sony%E2%80%99s-girl-scholarship-program

4. Bjorn Billhardt (2010) Engaging with Games and Simulations, Training Industry Quarterly Winter 2010

The article offers five strategies for making games and simulations successful in corporate environment. Billhardt’s paper focuses on creating a meaningful game for the task at hand, presenting challenges that give opportunities for failure as much as for success, and allowing people to compete against each other, rather than against the computer. http://www.trainingindustry.com/ezine.aspx

5. John A. Weiss. Jr. (2010) Gaming in the classroom? New class says yes, The Michigan Daily, January 21, 2010

One more course about games at the undergraduate level has become part of the regular offering at the University of Michigan School of Education. http://www.michigandaily.com/content/2009-02-16/videogames-and-learning-new-class-u-studies-videogames

6. Reimagining Learning Digital Media and Learning Competition, HASTAC and MacArthur Foundation

This is the third year of the Digital Media and Leaning Competition initiated by HASTAC and sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation. It “challenges designers, entrepreneurs, practitioners, researchers, and young people to put participatory learning to work on behalf of science, technology, engineering, math and their social contexts in the 21st century”. The online application system was open January 15, and the due date for the preliminary application is January 22, 2010 http://www.dmlcompetition.net/index.php