Number one for English language teachers

Resources for new teachers

Now, where to start with material that is suitable for those new to ELT – especially on a website that has more than 9,000 resources? Well, here’s Adrian Tennant’s article, helping those of you who have just started out in the classroom find things that will make your life easier. Happy reading and teaching!

The article looks at materials from the following sections:

News Lessons  Lesson Share  Skills  Grammar Audio and Podcasts  Support

I remember when I started my English teaching career. There I was in my early 20s having completed a training course and armed with a couple of books my trainers had suggested (including Streamline Departures, for those of you who remember it – now that dates me …). Nowadays there’s just so much material out there – where do you start to look? And how do you know it’s any good?

Well, with onestopenglish, quality is always guaranteed as leading ELT writers contribute to it and all the material is edited before it goes onto the site. As for where to start to look, here are some suggestions. One thing you can be sure of is that there’s a lot more material available for a teacher new to ELT than there was when I started out!

News Lessons

Planning always takes time for new teachers so one big advantage of onestopenglish is that there are hundreds of lessons ready to use. For example, you could try one of the news lessons, which are available at elementary, pre-intermediate/intermediate, upper intermediate and advanced level so there’ll be a lesson that’s suitable for your students. Of course, the most exciting aspect of these lessons is that they are topical and up-to-date, with new lessons being added every week and a free one each month. Just have a look in the News Lessons area.

Lesson Share

Another section that contains ready-to-go lessons is the Lesson Share section. I remember during my first year as a teacher, one area of grammar I hated teaching was reported speech, and especially trying to get students to use it. If you know what I’m talking about, you should try this fun mingling activity revising reported speech.

It can be tricky to get lower level students to use a range of adjectives, but two of your colleagues have come up with useful lessons to help you with that, the first focusing on writing and the second on speaking, in particular using comparatives and superlatives.

And, of course, there are plenty of other lessons looking at different areas of language and skills. You’ll even find lessons with really unusual topics that will fascinate you! For example, here’s a reading lesson about rice.


It’s quite likely that you’re using a coursebook, which makes up the core of your teaching, but what happens if the coursebook doesn’t contain enough material on a particular skill, writing, for example, or you simply want to do some more? In that case, the Skills section on onestopenglish is the place to look. This section is subdivided making it really easy to find materials on the particular skill you want. Let’s just take a look in two areas that often need supplementing, and where new teachers often feel a bit nervous – writing and pronunciation.

This lesson on formal and informal writing will give you all the confidence you need, and a fun lesson is guaranteed when you get your students to experiment with mini sagas. For more extensive writing practice, you will find this writing project in the Skills section, in which students design 12 different pages of a magazine.

To teach pronunciation, why not try one of the lessons that focus on distinguishing between sounds? These can be combined with the interactive phonemic chart, which is a brilliant tool for teaching pronunciation.


For many teachers, grammar is the least favourite part of a lesson, but it doesn’t have to be! Start by making sure you understand what you’re teaching by using the grammar reference, which offers articles, tips and advice on complex grammatical issues. Then, instead of making grammar seem dry and boring, get your students interested by choosing a lesson that will bring fun to your classroom, for example the grammar games.

It’s also worth remembering that words have grammar! Why not find out more by reading this article on grammar teaching and then looking at specific examples for words such as since, quite, only and many more in the Magazine section. Have a look around while you’re there: this section has a lot to offer and will soon make you feel part of a vibrant teaching community!

Audio and Podcasts

Make your lessons really fun by using the podcasts, for example from the Live from … series. These are themed podcasts containing short interviews with worksheets and teacher's notes so you don’t have to do anything other than press play, sit back and follow the plan.

If you or your students are soap opera fans, then why not try The Road Less Travelled, onestopenglish’s very own soap opera.

Using the audio readers, such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, is a great way of getting your students interested in literature.


When you were training, you probably had lots of input on methodology and lots of support from your tutors. Now you’re in the classroom, there’s likely to be a lot less support, but that’s something else that onestopenglish can help you with. In the Methodology section, you can get advice on everything from managing your classroom and tips on specific classroom management problems to different teaching approaches.

The Teacher Support section is also packed full with useful things such as Ask the experts, TKT tips and Jim Scrivener’s Teacher’s Tips, including one on planning lessons.

Finally, another place where you can look for teaching tips, or ask for advice, is the Forum, which offers room for discussions about grammar, vocabulary, using technology and many other areas.


This is only the tip of the iceberg, as there is a wealth of material here that will make your teaching life a lot less stressful. Most lessons are designed in a way that means they are ready to go. They usually include teacher’s notes and a worksheet for the students. Do have a look at the teacher’s notes before you enter the classroom as they will tell you whether you will need to bring any materials. Also, most of the lessons offer different variations and give you the freedom to adapt the lesson plans to the needs of your students.
Now, one of the problems teachers face is how to keep track of everything that they have used or want to use. Well, onestopenglish has come up with a solution for you with the Learning Calendar, an easy way to keep a personalized record of your chosen materials. So, as you can see they’ve provided all the essentials for you – the only thing left for you to do is to go into your class and enjoy teaching. 

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Readers' comments (8)

  • Hi there,

    Thank you for your query requesting reading material for your two students.
    We would suggest taking a look at two Macmillan Readers that we publish on onestopenglish. Owl Hall and The Secret Garden are both based at an Intermediate level.
    If these are not suitable, we have a range of graded Macmillan Readers available to purchase. Please find a link below to the Macmillan Graded Readers, Intermediate level;
    We do hope this information is useful and that you find some suitable reading material for your students.

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  • Can you advise please?
    I have two private, male students, both 20 years old.
    I have assessed them at placed them at the intermediate level.

    As part of their speaking and listening lesson plan I want to work through a story.

    Can anyone recommend an English (UK English) book for us to read and work through, one that is relatively modern but avoiding common slang and idioms? We tried The Thirty Nine Steps by John Bucan, an excellent story, but the level of English, sentence construction were to advanced, also many words were outdated. We then tried Treasure Island by R.L.S., and that too had outdated, archaic words.

    Help, what can someone recommend ?


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  • Hi Esther,
    Nik Peachey's article on teaching using video communication includes some activity suggestions that you might find useful.
    I hope that helps!

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  • Does anyone have advice on how to teach via Skype? How students able to complete exercises?

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  • I need to create my own wordsearch but I can´t remember where I have to go. Have you got any idea? Thanks.

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  • I want to introduce some modern British novels to my 3rd year university students in China. Can anyone advise me on how I can select appropriate texts for their level (upper intermediate) and secondly, has anyone used a specific text successfully that I might also use in my first attempt, or know of any useful web resources I could look at.

    Any suggestions would be most welcome!

    Many thanks,

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  • I thought there would be more exercises linked with specific grammar points ie present simple etc, etc,

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  • I need diagnosis test for all levels and i dont know where to find them... Could anybody help me?
    kind regards,


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A superb textbook for initial training courses and a no-nonsense handbook for practising ELT teachers.

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