Wit, Whimsy, Sarcasm, and Food for Thought: Websites that are actually useful for teachers

(Apologies for the long title!)

There are a million things to read, but so little time. Facebook friends, tweets, news, entertainment, science, health, lifestyle, and probably at the bottom of your lists: ELT. And even if ELT isn’t at the bottom, how do you actually sort through the floatsam and jetsam to find what is actually useful? There are standard lesson plan and activity blogs (am I one of these?), EFL teacher-travel blogs, numerous Asia-centric ELT blogs (and their country-specific trash-talkathon brethren), edtech blogs, grammar blogs, and the list goes on. One might read these blogs for various reasons: teacher development, boredom, information-seeking, a place to whine and complain, or a place to read other people whining and complaining.

I have found that the most useful ELT websites out there happen to also be the most interesting. They could loosely be lumped under “teacher development” blogs, but that sounds too dry a representation for the greatness they hold. They are mostly great because they make you think. They force you to reflect. Through well-written prose, tongue-in-cheekiness, and poignant questioning, they give you an ELT gut check of sorts – making you rethink your own teaching practices. You can read all the lesson plans and wild activities you want but without this meta-reflection, improvement will always be over the horizon. However, once you start becoming self-critical, you can’t help but make changes, minute or mammoth, to your own practices.

Here are the blogs I like to read:

An A-Z of ELT – Scott Thornbury shakes the very foundations of ELT
ELT Rants, Reviews, and Reflections – Mike Griffin talks confidently of thinks he’s “not so sure about”
Tom TESOL – Tom Randolph has both unorthodox ideas and an unorthodox-looking blog

I’ll be adding these and more to a Sites I Like section (on the left).