(reviewed Winter 2011)
Reviewer: Helen Ly
Recommendation: Recommended with Reservations
This Web site provides lesson plans of individual activities for teachers in an EFL context, particularly in China. The main focus of most activities is conversational English and the activities are divided into theme-based categories that range from 15 – 45 minutes. The site also provides links to a suggested list of textbooks other relevant Web sites such as the Internet TESL journal. There is also a link for Reader Submissions, for other teachers to share their lesson plans, and to comment on the Web site’s lesson plans as well.
I would recommend this Web site with reservation because it provides many good starting points for developing lesson plans, but it was created and maintained by an author no longer working in the TESOL field; nor does he have any current credentials. The activities are not backed by research but run on communicative principles. Most of the activities involve pair/group work for conversational purposes. It provides many ideas that can be modified for the teacher’s own teaching situation. Many of the activities lack schemata activation and merely give instructions. The activities also never involve sociolinguistic competence or address politeness or any further intricacies of English usage. Overall, the Web site seems merely to share what the administrator, Todd Owen, did in his year and a half time as an English teacher in Dalian, China in 2004. While the activities may be good suggestions for the EFL teacher in China, the Web site lacks general pedagogical and theoretical support.
Subject Headings: ESL Teachers, conversational activities