Languages Out There

Online materials for teacher-led or self-study classes showing real-life language in use
Reviewed for Teflnet by Clare Welch

There is a growing market for online language teaching and learning. Do a Google search for online materials and you’ll find a motley collection of grammar overviews, games and ideas. What online teachers, myself included, are looking for are easy to access, easy to use, informative and well structured worksheets.

Languages Out There has provided this. There are level specific, topic based lessons downloadable at the click of a button or two, using real life language and themes that would appeal to both teenagers and adults looking to improve their general English.

The interesting thing about this website is that it can appeal to teachers and students alike. Worksheets are available for either teacher led or self -study activities, and the use of Skype or other live VoIP chat is encouraged to enhance language learning opportunities amongst students.

For the price of membership to the site (£48.49) you have access to 10 worksheets at each level, Beginner, Elementary, Pre Intermediate, Intermediate and Advanced. Students can also learn and self study either with lesson plan instructions in English for all the levels or in one of a few selected languages, such as Spanish, Russian or Chinese at the Beginner and Elementary levels. The topics cover areas such as making recommendations, predictions, describing people and places, and discussing issues. There is a good range of grammar and lexis considered at each level, and each worksheet is based on a language point- presenting it in context and providing further exercises to consolidate learning.

The teacher-led lesson plans are clearly presented, starting with the lesson aims and recommended timings. There are reading passages and tasks in many of the worksheets and plenty of questions to generate discussion. The self study lessons are even more simply laid out, and would be useful for one to one classes. I actually prefer these as there are also audio files to download and some of the lessons include more visual materials.

I personally really liked the informal language presented and the use of idioms. However, because of this these worksheets aren’t ones I would necessarily use with my Business students. The site is easy enough to navigate (note the log in button is at the very bottom of the homepage) and clearly presented with links to the various courses and levels. There is a topic or grammar search facility so you don’t need to scroll through all the materials to see what’s there, which is especially helpful.

The website is quite new, and still developing. There are links to forums and member profiles as well as information on setting up your own business, so watch these pages as hopefully they’ll expand and offer teachers more ways of communicating and sharing ideas.

If you’re a busy teacher looking for a balanced site which provides a general overview of the main language to cover at each level presented through everyday 21st century vocabulary and situations, then Languages Out There could well be what you’re after!

Reviewed for Teflnet by Clare Welch
June 2009 | Filed under Websites

3 Comments on “Languages Out There”

  1. Jason West Says:

    Thanks for the review Clare, I’m really glad you liked the site and materials and especially pleased with this comment “What online teachers, myself included, are looking for are easy to access, easy to use, informative and well structured worksheets”.

    The idea all along with our materials was to provide teachers with a complete class product (not just bits and bobs) of easy to use and interesting materials that allowed them to teach and kept students motivated through the use of real practice of the target language.

    It has taken us eight years of teaching and development to get to this point and these lessons and materials have been used hundreds of times with paying students so we know they work and make life easy for those who teach them.

    I also appreciate you picking up on the informal language and use of idioms in them, we wanted to make the language used as current as possible and it seems that we achieved that. There’s nothing like having a fresh pair of eyes go over what you have created.

    The use of VoIP/Skype/social networks is something I am really interested in and our lessons fit that medium perfectly for the practice element because they are all constructed around the intended use of the language in conversation with a fluent or native speaker. We really hope that more teachers like you find our site, give the materials a go and tell other teachers, as it is our aim to help teachers and students get the most out of the technology we all now have access to online.

    We are starting to experiment with http://www.meetup.com (for face to face teaching in free public places) and have become a partner of http://www.italki.com and feel sure that our materials, all 20 lesson plans and worksheets at each of the six levels, are capable of enabling any teacher, anywhere, to create their own on and offline Out There school and we intend to continue to keep trying to help and support teachers to do just that.

    An English school in Jaipur, India, has been a member of the site for a couple of months and now want to help us translate the plans into Hindi and sell them into the rest of India, so we are getting good feedback and hopefully more teachers and students will find our site and tell others about it.

    Thanks again for your great review.

    Cheers

    Jason

  2. Alex Case Says:

    Please note Jason’s correction of the number of levels and worksheets per level that are available. The site’s address is http://www.languagesoutthere.com, should you wish to visit

  3. Eric Roth Says:

    This detailed review captures both the great interest in online teaching and tutoring – and the effective way that languagesoutthere.com materials help meet that acute need.

    Thank you for sharing this information – and I will have to consider purchasing the materials for my Vietnamese high school students.

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