[Language Fuel, 2021. https://www.elttraininglibrary.com. $24.50/month, $125/6 months, $245.00/year.]
Reviewed by Chelanna White, Kyoto Prefectural Board of Education
ELT Training Library is an online collection of short courses designed for novice English Language Teaching (ELT) educators. As of June 2021, there were 68 courses taught by 24 different instructors, with new courses added monthly. The courses take about 20 minutes to complete, and include animated videos, response and reflection activities, and downloadable resources such as lesson planning templates. The ELT Training Library works on a subscription model. Courses can also be purchased individually, or in bundles of related courses.
The ELT Training Library could be very useful for novice educators without much formal training, or those wanting to brush up on specific skills, such as those found in the Contexts or Technology sections. In Japan, assistant language teachers (ALTs), and eikaiwa instructors may find this library service particularly useful to fill in some gaps left by rudimentary training (Borg, 2018).
The courses are currently divided into 18 categories, listed alphabetically in the Catalogue section: Career Pathways, Classroom Management, Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), Contexts, Course Bundles, Cultural Awareness, Language Awareness, Language Proficiency, Lesson Planning, Listening, Literacy, Proficiency, Pronunciation, Reading, Speaking, Technology, Vocabulary, and Writing. Some categories have more courses than others, but with additional courses being added each month, the ELT Training Library is a resource that will continue to grow.
The courses are all presented in a similar way with graphics and activities that bring a sense of cohesion to this library service despite the wide range of topics. A typical course begins with a short author biography and course introduction, followed by an animated video that demonstrates a common problem faced by novice educators in the classroom. Users can usually respond to the instructor through a sorting activity or a short answer writing activity. Most courses also have a downloadable summary or reflection sheet and additional resources. After completing a course, users can download a certificate of completion.
There are also two free courses, which are a great place to start to get a sense for how it works and the content it offers. In addition, Getting Started with the ELT Training Library is an overview of how to use this library service, though it is fairly intuitive to use without completing the course. Basic Classroom Management is another free course that is representative of the content commonly found in this library. The course author Jill Hadfield introduces four principles of classroom management: student interaction patterns, classroom environment, teacher language, and monitoring and feedback. This course overlaps with many of the themes that can be found in her co-authored book Introduction to Teaching English (Hadfield & Hadfield, 2012), but the course is designed to be much more accessible and engaging.
After completing the free courses, I would recommend starting with the CELTA Preparation Course Bundle. The title is a bit misleading, as it is neither affiliated with Cambridge Assessment English, nor the Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA). Rather, it is a collection of 17 introductory courses curated from various categories in the ELT Training Library that cover a wide range of basic ELT concepts such as lesson planning, concept checking questions, and error correction techniques. The objectives of this bundle are to prepare users for pre-service training programs, and introduce concepts that users might learn in those programs. Although the courses are not written with ALTs or eikaiwa instructors in mind, the materials provide a good basis in ELT that can be built upon and adapted to fit individual circumstances.
The Contexts section contains courses on teaching one on one, teaching younger learners, and teaching teenagers, which might better suit the teaching situations of ALTs and eikaiwa instructors. Many of the courses focus on English as an additional language (EAL), English as a foreign language (EFL) is a more common designation. Azkarai and Oliver’s (2018) discussed the difficulties of teaching young learners in an EFL context, such as the fact that teachers may be solely responsible for providing meaningful English input, and therefore might be useful to teachers of young learners in Japan. They also provide several collaborative tasks that can be used to make the most of the limited time allotted for English instruction.
While ELT Training Library is generally easy to use, there are a few features that seem out of place, giving the whole site an unfinished feeling. However, the publishers were very responsive to issues that I brought to their attention. Overall, ELT Training Library is an attractive, engaging, and growing resource for novice teachers.
Azkarai, A., & Oliver, R. (2018). Teaching EFL to young learners. In R. Oliver & B. Nguyen (Eds.), Teaching young second language learners: Practices in different classroom contexts (pp. 89-108). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315149813-5
Borg, P. (2018). What is the JET programme really for? A discussion of official discourse and policy. Journal of Gifu Kyoritsu University, 52(2), 89–109. http://hdl.handle.net/11207/274
Hadfield, J., & Hadfield, C. (2012). Introduction to teaching English. Oxford University Press.
In the January Issue 46.1, we misspelled the name of Lesley Ito who is one of the authors of the 10 Ways To series of books. We apologize for this error and thank Lesley for helping us correct this.