Becoming A More Autotelic – Self-Directed – English Language Learner

Why do you want to learn English? What are your interests and priorities? Why not create your own, independent English language program this summer – for free?

Learning English, on your own and according to your own wishes and needs, has never been easier. Everyone with internet access can become autotelic, or self-directed, in creating their own educational program. Naturally, ambitious English students, innovative ESL educators and EFL schools have embraced these possibilities. Why not you?

The endless web continually offers pleasant surprises. This weekend I spent time on four more exceptional free websites for English teachers, tutors, and students: ESL video; USA Learns; BBC Learning English; and YapPR. You might find them valuable too.

ESL Video – This relatively new site allows you to watch short video clips, take an online quiz, read the transcript, and improve your listening comprehension. This smart, effective approach makes the site valuable for you, English teachers, and tutors.

BBC Learning English – The BBC takes its once imperial obligations to spread English seriously. This outstanding website includes the latest news in audio, transcripts, and sometimes video in clear English.

USA Learns – The popular U.S. Department of Education website for adult immigrants and future American citizens also offers video lessons for lower level English students. The new citizenship, for worse or for better, only requires a second grade English level. As an American educator, consider me disappointed that the expectations and standards for our new American citizens is so very low. By the way, one way the administration can build support for immigration reform is demand higher standards for citizenship and expand adult education ESL and open more EL/Civics classes. As Obama used to say, “yes, we can!”

YapPR – This innovative public relations site highlights short music videos, amusing commercials, and AP news stories with English transcriptions for English language learners. Designed for English students from around the world, it also includes materials in several languages. Does the public relations element bother me? Not really. The transcription feature provides valuable information for students which outweighs the apparent “pay to play” selection bias.

This is the best time – so far – to learn and teach English. We have never had so many resources available – often for free -to explore and experiment with new technologies. So be the captain of your own lifeboat, pick your English goals, and become an autotelic English student today.

And tomorrow will be even better!

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