Online English Resources for Students
A comment I often hear when discussing English instruction with lecturers is that it is not part of their job – for lack of will, time or resources – to teach their students English. To be sure, academic courses are challenging enough as it is, and teaching linguistic skills on top of that can feel like the final straw in an already large heap of considerations. But the good news is that an English instructor's job is not to teach English; it is to teach in English. Indeed, the underlying assumption
of English-medium instruction is that language is better acquired by doing, through authentic, engaging and meaningful interactions of the kind that take place in topical academic courses. Even better news – such interaction can be found outside of the classroom, too.
Bellow, then, are several resources which your students may use in addition to their and your coursework, and which you should consider directing them towards to lighten the burden of in-class linguistic instruction: (click on the picture from the left)
Apart from funny cat videos, YouTube is an infinite resource for lectures, interviews, e-books and other engaging material on equally endless number of topics. Better yet, YouTube content allows one to pause videos, toggle their playing speed and add subtitles to them, offering the kind of personalized learning experience that busy classrooms often cannot.
Like YouTube, TED offers engaging content and similar controls. While constituting an online treasury of talks, the content there is also more academic and more rigorously curated, meaning that students can engage with serious ideas and research in a language that better approximates the one they encounter in academic classrooms. The lectures are also short, 3-18 minutes long, so time-pressure should not be an issue (or an excuse!). There's also an app to watch and/or listen on-the-go.
Few people are unfamiliar with Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia and a watershed of curated information and reading material. Simple Wikipedia is very much like its affluent parent, but the content there is written in more manageable English, appropriate for intermediate speakers. It is a good way to improve one's English comprehension and knowledge without being overwhelmed by the language.
Another resource to improve one's reading, ScienceDaily is a website offering short scientific articles in manageable English, without losing track of rigor, precision and relevant terminology.
For those with an array of excuses about why they are just too busy to do anything extra, this website by the BBC offers podcasts which are, as the name of the site suggests, quite short. The podcasts can be listened to on-the-go in numerous streaming platforms, but for those willing to go the extra mile, the website also offers transcripts and a vocabulary list. .
There are, of course, many other online resources and a whole array of more ways to improve one's English outside of the classroom, but these are solid choices to offer your students, nudging them at the right direction to take charge of their linguistic needs.