EFL / ESL Teaching Tip: Two Helpful Websites for your Students

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This week’s video features yours truly introducing two cool websites that students can use outside of class to work on their English. They are wordreference.com and lyricstraining.com.

Wordreference.com is basically a dictionary site, but it’s very comprehensive. It has a lot of different languages—it’s not just English. Now, I know that you might feel a little squeamish about encouraging your students to use a bilingual dictionary, but when words do have a direct translation (often with concrete nouns and active verbs), translation can be quite effective. I am not saying that this dictionary is an acceptable substitute for a teacher’s explanation, but keep in mind that students can use this website when they are on their own and then double check what they found with you in class. There is also a monolingual option, a basic thesaurus, UK and US pronunciation and a language forum where students can post questions and interact with other language learners.

The other website is lyricstraining.com and it’s a lot of fun (even for me). Basically, you search popular songs and then it allows you to do a fill in the blank activity while you are listening. You can choose from 3 different levels. At the beginner level you just have to fill in one word every couple of lines; with intermediate there are more words to fill in; and finally with advanced you have to try to type the whole lyric as it is being sung. So, students develop typing skills and exercise their bottom up processing muscles. It can also train them to start predicting what they will hear next. This is an essential skill for fluent listening. One other thing that I like about the fill-ins is that they are a mix of content and function words even at the beginner level. This makes the beginner level challenging as you are trying to catch words like “he, it, and” (function words) as well as words like “love, kiss, forever” (content words). Cool stuff, right?!

I hope you find these sites helpful. Let me know how your students liked them :).

This is a really really fun website. Basically, it takes popular English pop songs and then it allows you to listen and fill in the blanks. So this really works on your bottom up processing, also your ability to collocate and predict what the next collocation is going to be. Each song has 3 different levels. So, you can see here, “Oh, her eyes, her…” and then it has a blank. So, I’m supposed to listen and type in what I heard him say. If don’t hear it, it will stop and wait for me to type. So, I type in the answer. So again if I miss it, it will stop. I’ll have the chance to do it again. I can move back. I can play it again. It’s a really really great website. So, the students can choose song that they are really interested in. This can lead to new vocabulary that they can then look up on wordreference.com. And it is also a great way to developing listening skill and bottom up processing skills.

So, I hope you can share these websites with your students. They’re a really helpful way to practice English outside of the classroom.

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