(Reviewed Winter 2010)
Reviewer: Ying Liu
This web site is run by Ted Power, who has been an English teacher for many years until an accident forced him to leave his beloved career. He is now doing research in the history of Brighton and co-editing the web site for his local residents' association, The Round Hill Society in Round Hill, Brighton. This site is about English language, and he also runs another web site related to history, culture and events in Brighton. This site is designed mainly to aid teachers since it includes different class teaching methodology, handouts, worksheets and activities. Though students can also refer to these materials for independent study, it will work better if they are using them under teachers’ guidance. Power has included materials almost for every level, from the very beginning level to advanced.
The site pays a special attention on handwriting, which is almost ignored in today’s high-tech society. It draws teachers’ attention back to this basic but important ability training. Good handwriting is a precious part of English learning process. Power provides worksheet for beginners who are unfamiliar with the Roman alphabet. I think those can also be used for intermediate or advanced level to improve their handwriting. There is also a web site that can help teacher make their own handwriting sheets for students in different formats. Also, this site includes a lot about pronunciation. Both handwriting and pronunciatuion are special parts that may be easily overlooked but of great importance. Power successfully catches this information in detail.
The main part of this web site is the English language learning and teaching part. It has lesson materials, discussion topics, phrasal verbs, advanced particles, reading materials for beginners and advanced reader, adult literacy and class hanouts. At the top of every section of the materials, it has a clear description for which level the section can be used. For beginning and pre-intermediate level, it focuses more on handwriting skills and pronunciation; from intermediate to advanced level, it pays more attention to reading ability and vocabulary. However, I think the organization and the sequence of these sections are a little bit jumbled: some of the categories overlap with each other and the order is not clear enough.
The language games section introduces a fun game that I did not know before: dicewords. It is interesting to play and can be used with almost all levels of students. But the problem is compared to other games that can be adapted to class, this one requires a specific tool that cannot be replaced. If you want to play it, you definitely will have to buy it. Therefore, though it is fanscinating, it has limitations. And from my point of view, this part looks more like an advertisement, trying to sell this fun game to us. Power should introduce more easily asaptable fun games that can be used in the classroom.
Finally, the site offers some books that Power recommended and also includes where you can buy them as well as related detailed information. The teaching index tells us more about Ted Power and his teaching career. By reading this information, I get a better understanding of why he established a web site like this.
In short, if you are a teacher looking for different kinds of materials suitable for different levels, this site can give you some ideas and good suggestions.
Subject Headings: ESL teachers, handwriting, pronounciation