Searching for online ESL teaching materials that are not copyrighted was far from easy. I tried a variety of search words, until I just typed “Creative Commons License EFL Materials” in the search box. As an English language instructor, the issue of free resources and copyright is often problematic: you need the materials for your students who cannot afford buying the original textbooks. Your institution cannot cover the expenses of authentic materials and you, as a teacher, do not want to breach copyright laws. So, I think the idea of OER or open educational resources can be really useful for ESL teachers. Anyway, I found some interesting resources that fall under the category of Creative Commons License; however, the level and quality of some of the materials they offer do not live up to my expectations. The following website: https://esl-resources.wikispaces.com/ has plenty of pictures and songs that can be used in designing vocabulary and grammar activities for beginners.
It also has a complete section on interactive games and stories that provide the ESL learner with the opportunity to have fun while practising language skills:
The only disadvantage I found about this website is that it targets a very specific level of ESL learners (elementary/ beginners) which makes it difficult to recycle the materials for higher level ones. Another free resource website I found is http://eslresources.wordpress.com/ which groups the activities and materials by type. There are, for example, sections on parts of speech, vocabulary, handouts which can be adapted for multiple level learners. For example, this activity can be recycled for intermediate/ upper intermediate users of English by replacing the present vocabulary items with more complex ones:board-game-follow. One problem I found with this website, however, is that it includes links to materials that are copyright which, again, may not be fully accessible to us as teachers. Finally, the website http://betsylavolette.com/?page_id=5 includes some interesting activities which, again, may be tailored to the needs of students of different proficiency levels. For example, this vocabulary activity on geographical locations: hawaiian-tourism can be re-used as an integrated activity that targets reading and writing skills. These materials are, in my point of view, the most beneficial to use in an ESL classroom which have the label of Creative Commons License. I searched for videos, but didn’t come across anything interesting. I’m afraid, comparing these resources to those that are protected by copyright, you’ll find a real gap in both the variety and quality of teaching materials offered. I’ve in mind websites like onestopenglish.com or azargrammar.com which have free resources to be used by teachers, but they do not have the logo of creative Commons License. I’m not sure whether using any of them in our classrooms violates copyright law. This is a question which we as teachers need to find an answer for.
This post is accessible on padlet.com; I choose this website to share my ideas because I found it the easiest to use. Honestly, I tried Scoop.it, but it didn’t work for some reason . Padlet gives you the chance to add as many postings as you want to your wall and to organize them the way you like.