The Development and Maintenance of The Internet TESL JournalCharles I. Kelly and Lawrence E. Kelly
Originally published in
Kiyo - Bulletin of Aichi Institute of Technology
The Internet TESL Journal is the international monthly web-based journal for teachers of English as a Second Language and teachers of English as a Foreign Language and is hosted at Aichi Institute of Technology. This paper gives an overview of the journal from its inception to the present.
IntroductionThe Internet TESL Journal <http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj>, hosted at Aichi Institute of Technology, has become the monthly web journal for teachers of English as a Second Language (ESL) and for teachers of English as a Foreign Language (EFL). This journal publishes articles, research papers, lessons plans, classroom handouts and other materials for ESL teachers. Contributions to this journal come from teachers worldwide. All materials published in the journal remain on-line and can be accessed easily through the Internet. In addition to its publications, this journal maintains a massive set of well-sorted categorized web links for ESL teachers and has various ongoing projects for the benefit of the Internet ESL community. In this paper we will use the term ESL to refer to both ESL and EFL. TESL refers to Teaching English as a Second Language.
A Brief HistoryThe Internet TESL Journal was started in 1995 with Charles Kelly and Lawrence Kelly as the editors. Its original focus was to provide a web-based journal for English as a Second Language teachers. At first, it only provided articles, research papers, lessons, lesson plans and classroom handouts. Within a few months the page of links that was previously maintained by Charles Kelly on another server was taken over as a project of the journal. In mid-1996, the first project for ESL students was begun. This was the "Self-study Quizzes for ESL Students" project. This has grown from the original six quizzes to over 500 quizzes. Other projects for students include the "Crossword Puzzles for ESL Students" begun in mid-1997 and the "Treasure Hunts for ESL Students" begun in early 1998. The projects for teachers include "Jokes for the ESL Classroom" and "Conversation Questions for the ESL Classroom". Both of these began in 1997.
Design GuidelinesOne reason for the continued success of The Internet TESL Journal is its web design. Before determining the web site design, a considerable amount of time was spent visiting a wide variety of sites. Most of the ESL sites at that time as well as many non-ESL sites were visited and studied.
After evaluating these web sites, The Internet TESL Journal established the following guidelines.
- Keep it simple.
- Anyone with basic computer skills, whether a native or a non-native English speaker, should be able to locate, read and use materials.
- Keep it fast.
- Since Internet access can be slow from certain parts of the world, pages should be kept to a minimum filesize to promote fast downloading times. Things to avoid include images, HTML table code and frames. The HTML code that is used should be limited to that which will work with any web browser.
- Keep it focused.
- The journal is aimed at ESL teachers. Material that is not of interest to a large majority of ESL teachers should not be included.
- Increase the amount of useful material on the Internet for ESL teachers.
- Publish materials that are useful and practical, keep previously published material available on the Internet and develop projects that encourage teachers from around the world to develop and share materials.
The Sections of the Journal
Articles & Research PapersArticles of interest to the TESL professional are presented. (Many contain clickable email addresses making it possible to contact the author.)
Teaching TechniquesArticles explaining ESL teaching techniques are published. This allows new and proven techniques to be shared by professionals.
Lessons & Lesson PlansLessons and lesson plans used successfully by ESL teachers are offered. These include such things as lesson plans for intensive courses and lessons on particular topics.
Handouts & Other Classroom MaterialsHandouts that have been used successfully by teachers and other classroom materials such as seating charts and class evaluation forms can be found.
Book Reviews and Site ReviewsReviews of books and sites of special interest to the ESL teacher using the web are here.
Useful Web Links for This MonthThis section is designed to help a busy teacher find timely class material easily. This list of links often grows during the month as visitors submit new links. (Some examples are Valentine Day Links in February, St. Patrick's Day Links in March and Christmas Links in December.)
Highlights of Previous IssuesAll previously published articles, research papers, lessons, lesson plans and handouts are available and linked off the main page for easy access.
Projects Designed for Teachers
Jokes for the ESL Classroomhttp://www.aitech.ac.jp/~ckelly/sub/jokes.html
Jokes that have worked well in the classroom have been submitted by teachers and students. This currently has over 120 jokes. Teachers who use jokes in the ESL classroom to teach culture, grammar and vocabulary will find these jokes funny and useful. Jokes submitted by visitors to the page are automatically added to the page.
Games and Activities for the English as a Second Language Classroomhttp://www.aitech.ac.jp/~ckelly/sub/games.html
This is a list of games that teachers have found useful in the ESL classroom. Since submissions are automatically added to the page, this page is continually growing.
Conversation Questions for ESL Studentshttp://iteslj.org/questions/
This is a collection of over 500 questions on 24 topics that can be used for conversation practice. A few of the topics are animals and pets, Christmas, family, health, sports and social problems. Individuals may add their own questions so the database of usable questions continues to grow. A page for teachers explaining how to use these questions is provided.
This is a large collection of web links related to English learning and English teaching. It can be browsed by category or searched by using the search engine. In addition to the complete list of links, there is also a page of recommended links for ESL teachers who are new to the Internet. This is the central location where the Internet ESL community registers web pages. Links that are submitted on-line automatically appear on the "What's New" page. This allows ESL teachers to register new web pages and for others to easily find the newest pages on the web. After these new links are visited by The Internet TESL Journal staff, they are added to the main searchable database.
Projects Designed for Students
Self-Study Quizzes for ESL Studentshttp://iteslj.org/quizzes/
Self study quizzes provide students with over 500 quizzes produced by ESL teachers. The subdivisions include new quizzes, holidays, reading, trivia, culture, sports, writing, grammar, idioms, phrasal verbs & slang, scrambled words and vocabulary. An answer button under the question allows students to instantly see the correct answer. Interested individuals can contribute to this collection of quizzes. Links to other quiz pages are also provided. New quizzes are regularly added.
Crossword Puzzles for ESL Studentshttp://iteslj.org/cw/
- The score is calculated after each answer is given.
- The order of the questions is randomly chosen each time the quiz is taken.
- On the multiple-choice quizzes, the order that the choices appear is also randomly chosen.
- "Missed questions" are recycled and appear again at the end of the quiz.
- The quiz writer can optionally put in a "feedback" statement which appears when a student makes a mistake.
ESL Student Guides to the Internethttp://iteslj.org/guides/
This page not only introduces ESL students to selected pages designed for native-speakers, but it also assists them in understanding and using those pages. Vocabulary lists and activities are included. Teachers are encouraged to help write more of these pages.
Internet Treasure Hunts for ESL Studentshttp://iteslj.org/th/
These scavenger hunts require students to visit various web sites to find information. Treasure hunts include touring Australia, American universities, the movie industry, George Washington, music and about the Internet and on-line newspapers. Individuals are encouraged to submit their own scavenger hunts.
Selected Links for ESL/EFL Studentshttp://iteslj.org/ESL.html
Some of the more interesting sites for students of English as a Second Language are listed here. It is a good starter page for students and directs students to content-based sites on the web. Self-study quizzes, games, puzzles, grammar, and writing are just a few of the topics covered. It is set up so an ESL student can easily navigate through the page.
ConclusionIn conclusion, The Internet TESL Journal would like to thank the worldwide ESL community for their support. This support comes in the following ways.
- Teachers contributing articles, research papers, lessons, lesson plans and classroom handouts.
- Volunteers spending time reviewing submitted material.
- People contributing to the various projects.
- Students and teachers using the pages, giving feedback and reporting ESL needs.
- Visitors contributing ideas, submitting links, providing feedback and reporting dead links.
And finally, a special thanks to Aichi Institute of Technology for hosting the web site and to the staff in the Aichi Institute of Technology's Computer Center for all their help.
The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. IV, No. 7, July 1998