Number one for English language teachers

American English resources on onestopenglish

We have a wealth of fantastic resources on onestopenglish for teachers who teach American English, but there isn’t a specific site section dedicated to American English. So, especially for our teachers of American English, we’ve brought these resources together in one place for your easy reference.

The first thing to say is that there is a very easy way of searching for American English material on onestopenglish: use the Category search in the top right corner of every page. Simply make sure you select ‘American English’ in the ‘Variety of English’ drop-down menu when using the search.

Now we’ll take a look at a selection of materials from the following sections on onestopenglish:

Grammar and vocab
| Culture lessons | News Lessons | Skills | Audio and Podcasts | Young learners | Conclusion

Grammar and vocab

Let’s start in the most obvious place to look – the Grammar and Vocab section. The reason this is the obvious place to begin is that the grammar and vocabulary are aspects of the language which people know differ. As George Bernard Shaw said, “England and America are two countries divided by a common language.” So to begin with, why not check out this article looking at the grammatical differences between British and American English, and then these tips and suggested activities? You might also be interested in the three articles about Standard English that can be found in the Methodology section.

Looking in the Vocabulary subsection, you’ll find an entire section of theme-based lessons on American English vocabulary. One of the nice things about this is that you can often find a lesson on the same theme in the British English section and then use this to do a comparison. So, for example, if you look at the American lesson on money, you’ll find words such as bill, dime and cents, whereas the British English lesson on the same topic includes words such as a bill, notes and dosh. There’s also an interesting lesson on money in the British English section that starts with an activity comparing the vocabulary used to describe British and American money.

You’ll also find lessons on things like baseball, a truly American sport that most British people find almost impossible to understand! This links in nicely with culture, which we’ll talk about next.

Culture lessons

In the Magazine section you’ll find a selection of lessons focusing on various aspects of culture. A number of lessons that I’ve used and found really rewarding are this one about traffic in New York and this one on the influence and spread of American culture.

There are also a number of webquests, including one for the Big Apple and another one on Boston, which includes a section on American and British vocabulary.

Carrying on with the cultural angle, you can find a lesson on Thanksgiving and a lesson and a webquest on American Independence Day. Some of these are marked as being for Young Learners but you might find them to be suitable for some of your older students too.

Tying together culture and vocabulary, you might be interested in looking at these lively articles on words such as knock and wicked.

News Lessons

Although the onestopenglish News Lessons are based on articles from the Guardian (a British newspaper), you’ll find that a number of them are written in American English, or include American vocabulary. This is especially true when the topic is something related to the US elections or US politics, Hollywood or business and science, so it’s definitely worth checking them out.

Each news lesson is available on onestopenglish for a year in order to keep the topics current and relevant to your students. New news lessons are published every week, so there will be plenty of new lessons throughout the year that are useful and relevant to you as a teacher of American English.

Skills

Reading
As well as the news lessons, there’s plenty of reading material for teachers using American English. One place to look is in the Archive materials in the Reading skills section. Here you’ll find quite a few lessons all clearly marked as being in American English.

Listening
In the Listening skills section, there are a number of lessons where the speaker is American and, therefore, both the grammar and vocabulary they use is also American. You could try some of these out to start with:

Speaking
How about starting off with a lesson which focuses on one of the most successful American exports? No, not McDonalds, KFC, Mickey Mouse or Hollywood, but a word. Wanna find out? Well take a look at this great lesson!

You can also find a lot of speaking lessons in American English in the Speaking skills archive area. These are clearly marked as being American English and, like some of the vocabulary lessons mentioned earlier on this page, they often have a mirror lesson in British English.

Finally, another lesson that focuses on the differences between the way British and American people say things is this lesson, Who said what?

Pronunciation
One area that often causes problems is pronunciation. You could start off by reading this informative article that ends with some practical suggestions: Pronunciation: Prescriptive or descriptive?

Audio and Podcasts

It’s well worth taking a look in the excellent Audio and Podcasts section on onestopenglish.

Here you will find a number of serialized Macmillan Readers. Both The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Space Invaders are in American English, so really no excuses not to use them.

Another of the hidden gems you’ll find in this vibrant and up-to-date section is the series of Live from …podcasts. Even though these authentic interviews are recorded in places like London and Edinburgh, you’ll still find that some of the people speaking are Americans or use American vocabulary.

Young learners

Finally, if you teach young learners there’s plenty of American English material on onestopenglish for you. Why not try one (or more) of the Selections lessons? Stories and poems are a great way to motivate children to learn English, and some of these are so good you’ll want to listen to them (and read them as well) yourself!

There’s also the fantastic M Tunes animated music videos – a huge bank of videos on a variety of topics, all with accompanying interactive games, to really liven up your classes. 

In the Young Learners section there’s plenty of material you could check out, including these culture lessons on American Independence Day, Thanksgiving and Halloween.

Conclusion

As you can see, there really are so many resources on onestopenglish for teaching American English, and a lot of the other material could be used with slight changes to vocabulary. It’s just a matter of knowing where to look, or having the time to do some exploring!

It would also be great to hear from you. Why not share a lesson you have that works for you and help build up the resources for other teachers around the world? Email your lesson to webeditor@macmillan.com.

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