The Five Best TEFL Bloggers Online
A rundown of our favourite TEFL bloggers in the industry right now
The TEFL world is increasingly moving online. Type ‘ESL’ or ‘ELT’ or any other English teaching-related term into Twitter, and you’ll be inundated by trends, discussions, forums and links – beyond the use of technology in the classroom (and we don’t just mean the hidden iPhone under a desk), teachers are now able to share, collaborate and be inspired online like never before.
With the increase of teaching resource websites come a whole lot of brilliant TEFL bloggers, each with something unique to offer to the ELT world.
Barefoot TEFL Teacher
From teaching advice, to professional development, and a pertinent look at the ELT industry, Barefoot TEFL Teacher is chock-full of interesting information for TEFL teachers. David Weller began teaching in China in 2003 and never left – with over a decade of experience he’s got some pretty insightful things to say about the field he works in.
Our favourite post: Should You Choose TEFL as a Career?
A raw, honest look into the drawcards (and pitfalls!) of choosing TEFL as a long-term career. Weller assesses the industry’s “train-wreck of a reputation”, and the prominence of dodgy academies and course providers, while providing a balanced, two-sides-of-the-coin type outline of the pros and cons. In the end, however, he says he’s got no regrets: “TEFL is like everything in life – the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it.”
Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day
Ferlazzo is what’s known in the TEFL industry as a bit of an ELT saviour – he avidly updates his blog with brilliant teaching resources, ideas and online tools. There’s a reason why his Twitter has amassed almost 50,000 followers: he’s written seven books, has won several awards, and he’s been featured in the Washington Post and New York Times. The guy’s a TEFL machine!
Our favourite post: What Can ESL Teachers Learn from Community Organising?
Ferlazzo looks at how his past experience in community management with disadvantaged people has helped him in the TEFL classroom, with the primary idea being that by understanding a student’s back story and aspirations, you can better teach to their needs. It’s a good example of how new TEFL teachers, who may not have a great deal of teaching experience, can draw from previous work to better perform in the classroom.
Chia Suan Chong
Chia is an avid blogger, Tweeter, conference speaker and TEFL teacher, who uses her blog as a platform to share new techniques, ideas and industry insights. Highly qualified with a Bachelor’s degree, a CELTA, Delta and Masters in Applied Linguistics, the British teacher’s blog is both a source of inspiration and learning for current and potential TEFL enthusiasts.
Our favourite post: Influencing Second Language Learning – Personality Factors
In this blog post, Chia presents the reader with a hypothetical: who will be the better learner, the shy, but English-culture enthusiast from Argentina, or the outgoing, yet culturally uninterested German? There are a number of personality factors, she argues, that determine a person’s ability to acquire English as a second language – from self-esteem to risk taking, anxiety, empathy and inhibition. So, which will make the better learner? You’ll just have to read it to find out…
ELT Jam is the brainchild of Nick Robinson, Laurie Harrison and Tim Gifford, a resource to, as they put it “champion the free exchange of expertise, skills and innovative ideas between ELT professionals”. With about 600 subscribers and just over 1,000 Twitter followers, the blog is in its early days, but is showing incredible promise. The writing team are all quite young, meaning they both capture and promote the modern day face of ELT teaching; the blog has a specific focus on classroom technology and adapting to its changing classroom roles.
Our favourite post: Why online teaching liberates ESL teachers
When most people think ‘teaching ESL’ and ‘liberation’, they think travelling the world, from classroom to classroom; city to city, with no limit to the supply of people wanting to learn English. In continuation with ELT Jam’s modern theme, guest blogger Jaime Miller talks about how online teaching has made her ‘location independent’ – read: she doesn’t have to show up to a classroom every day. “Since December, 2014, I’ve been on the road, visiting family and friends I haven’t seen in years while working and teaching from eight cities,” she says.
Burcu is the director of a language school in Istanbul, Turkey, with over 14 years of TEFL experience. She’s an advocate for the use of technology in the classroom, a theme that spreads across most of his blog; she hopes to encourage other teachers to do the same, too. Her blog is written in both English and her native Turkish, with lots of tips on how to incorporate technology into ESL learning.
Our favourite post: 10 Tips to Look Professional Online
Burcu says that she wrote this post after becoming increasingly frustrated with fellow teachers’ online unprofessionalism. “It was a shame because those teachers also had their students (and maybe students’ parents) and some administrators as Facebook friends”, she says. The TEFL industry is increasingly moving online, with countless forums and Twitter discussions solely dedicated to networking and professional development, and Burcu’s tips are absolutely essential for the modern teacher.