Resources for Language Learning: 27 Resources Language Teachers and Students
Writing a lesson plan no longer has to be a solitary activity. With so many digital resources, authentic materials and online communities available out there, the possibilities are endless.
The hardest part is sorting through them all to see what works for you.
But we’ve gone ahead and done some of that work for you!
Here are the best resources for language learning out there right now for teachers and students alike.
- Resources for Language Teachers
- 1. Lesson Planet
- 2. ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages)
- 3. CARLA (the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition)
- 4. Language Teaching Research
- 5. TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)
- 6. JALT (the Japan Association for Language Teaching)
- 7. Zachary-Jones.com (for Spanish teachers)
- 8. College Board
- 9. Moodle
- 10. Facebook
- 11. Twitter
- Resources for Language Students to Use Independently
- 12. IElanguages
- 13. The BBC
- 14. FluentU
- 15. Duolingo
- 16. Busuu
- 17. WordReference
- 18. Anki
- 19. Skritter (for Chinese and Japanese)
- 20. Memrise
- 21. Foreign films on Amazon Prime
- 22. YouTube
- 23. italki
- 24. Easy Language Exchange
- 25. Conversation Exchange
- 26. Quora
- 27. Government-related language organizations
Resources for Language Teachers
1. Lesson Planet
Cost: $7 per month
Lesson Planet offers subscriptions that give K-12 educators access to lesson plans, worksheets, apps, presentations and more. All materials are reviewed beforehand for quality assurance.
In terms of content, Lesson Planet should be most useful for French and Spanish teachers, though there’s more limited content for other languages.
You can find lessons that apply grammar and vocab in creative and real-world ways, and a subscription gives you access to your own online storage space where you can organize content.
2. ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages)
Cost: $45 per year
Check out the variety of journals and articles linked to the ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) website.
These can save you time by offering quick and easy pointers for aligning curriculum to state and national standards.
3. CARLA (the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition)
Cost: Price varies between resources (free resources included)
Another great resource is CARLA (the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition). Here you can purchase books and PDFs on hot topics in language education, including struggling learners in immersion-based classrooms or how to maximize study abroad opportunities.
You can even find PDFs of handouts from recent conferences.
4. Language Teaching Research
Cost: Free for open-access articles
Many prestigious language journals now publish many of their articles online.
For example, Language Teaching Research is a peer-reviewed journal that includes recent research on foreign-language teaching, with a focus on studies that have practical implications for classroom teachers.
This makes it a great resource to use when planning your lessons and working on your teaching style.
5. TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)
Cost: Subscriptions start at $59 per year
If you’re a member of a language teaching association, it’s worth checking to see if that organization publishes any online journals that relate specifically to that language.
For example, the TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) International Association also publishes online journals for member English teachers with the latest research, as well as a forum for discussion.
6. JALT (the Japan Association for Language Teaching)
Cost: Approximately $93 per year for regular membership
Members of JALT (the Japan Association for Language Teaching) can access its bimonthly publication The Language Teacher, which discusses current research on language teaching, particularly with regard to Asian languages.
7. Zachary-Jones.com (for Spanish teachers)
Cost: $83.99 per year
If you’re looking for a fun and unique way to teach Spanish using music, Zachary-Jones.com is for you. It presents a wealth of authentic materials, mostly songs in a variety of genres and from a variety of countries, along with brief lessons and activities to accompany them.
The materials are conveniently organized according to subject, grammar concept, activity type, country and musical genre.
8. College Board
Cost: See membership info here
If you teach AP (Advanced Placement), you’ll find ready-made teacher communities in which you can engage in lively discussion about the teaching of your target language.
Just use your College Board username and password to sign in and check out what’s on offer among AP teachers of French, German, Spanish or Latin.
Moodle is a learning platform that has been around for a number of years, even preceding Facebook in its popularity among educators. It’s still used as a preferred platform for online coursework among many teachers and school administrators.
The Moodle community for language teachers is a vibrant group where members share resources and engage in discussion.
With a little research, you can find some wonderfully helpful and supportive language teacher communities on Facebook.
Most of these will be “closed” groups, meaning that you have to ask to join and gain approval from a moderator before you can see posts or comment on them. Some of them are set up so that the administrator can post ideas and resources for language teachers and others can comment, as with this Fun for Spanish Teachers FB page.
If Twitter is more your speed, it’s easy to find language education influencers to follow. This allows you to learn from their ideas and engage in discussion with like-minded educators. A little discernment is necessary to find just the right Twitter users to follow.
You can visit the different accounts to see what kinds of resources for language learning they post, and then decide which accounts to follow.
Resources for Language Students to Use Independently
This useful website covers a variety of European languages, including ones like Swedish, Finnish and Dutch in addition to the commonly sought heavy hitters like English and Spanish.
IElanguages has tutorials for languages with hours of audio, and it also offers up realia, e-books and native speaker recordings. ESL teachers can even find lesson plans available for download.
13. The BBC
Although this site is no longer updated, you can still find an astonishing wealth of resources from the BBC for 40 different languages. Engaging TV shows, interactive courses and audio and video exercises are just a few of the activities that are on offer.
Check out these clips of a German stand-up comedian giving humorous lessons on some of the more difficult aspects of basic German.
Cost: Pricing information available here
With a dizzying array of authentic videos for language learners of all levels, FluentU is a go-to source to find engaging content for teaching all levels of major world languages.
Each video comes with interactive captions, quizzes and other learning tools to provide a rich and authentic learning experience. A Teacher account enables you to allow your students to log in from anywhere, assign them videos for homework and easily track progress for individual students in multiple classes.
You’ve probably already used this app as a supplementary activity for students to work individually in the classroom or for homework. But did you know that you can also use Duolingo to set assignments for your class, track their progress and engage with other language teachers?
If you already have a Duolingo account, you can easily access Duolingo for Schools to utilize all these great features.
Cost: Premium plan from $83.40 per year
Busuu can be a great way for students to gain some practice, especially by interacting with and getting feedback from native speakers.
There’s also the option of signing up for a Busuu Pro account, which allows you to track student progress and easily gauge their level and their areas of strength and weakness.
You may already be using the popular online language dictionary WordReference as a resource for students. But it’s also an excellent springboard for lessons and discussions on language differences and how to use dictionaries effectively for communication.
Are you struggling to convey the different uses of prepositions? Check out the explanations of the many different Spanish words that all mean “to” in order to exemplify the complexity of translating it.
Have students read forum discussions about some of the slang words and idioms so that they can get a real idea of the richness and depth of the language.
The powerhouse memorization app Anki can generate flashcards on virtually any topic, and adjusts itself to the learner’s level of competence. You can choose from ready-made flashcard packs in the target language or create your own.
You can also have students complete fill-in-the-blank “cloze” activities in the app to help them remember and practice the meanings of words.
19. Skritter (for Chinese and Japanese)
Cost: From $14.99 per month
Skritter is unique in that it gives immediate feedback on formation of Chinese and Japanese characters. It measures student progress and even allows access to a variety of Chinese and Japanese textbooks.
Users find it fun and engaging, even to the point of it being addictive! Once your students begin using it, they may never want to stop.
Cost: Free (premium plan also available)
This rich memorization app is a powerful tool for learning vocabulary. Students can access multimedia flashcards which include clever and engaging “memes” to make the words more memorable.
Memrise channels their drive for competition by tracking them on leaderboards, and also adapts to their strengths and weaknesses as they go.
21. Foreign films on Amazon Prime
Cost: $14.99 per month
If you already have an Amazon Prime membership, you can easily find foreign films in almost any language by typing the language in the search bar. The Russian science fiction classic “Solaris” could serve as a springboard for relevant discussions about the limitations of virtual reality, for example.
Students of Spanish will enjoy the inspiring Venezuelan mountain scenery and the profound reflection on life and death in “La Distancia Màs Larga.”
There are tons of relevant language learning resources available on YouTube, but you have to know where to look. Click on “Browse Channels” and search channels in your students’ target language to find podcasts and instructional videos of all kinds.
You may find just the right video to convey a challenging or a boring grammar concept in a fun, engaging way. You can also search for popular songs and TV shows in the target language; check out these French TV clips.
Cost: Price varies per teacher
The exchange site italki gives you almost total control of the kind of language exchange experience that you want. There are plenty of choices there. You can have your pick of seasoned teachers, gifted tutors or engaging native speakers.
Scroll down to the “Lessons” section and choose between “Professional Teachers” and “Community Tutors.” Or, if you want a “Language Exchange,” look for it under the “Community” section.
You can then filter your options by choosing your language educator or partner’s experience, availability, rates, whether they have trial lessons or whether they have audio or video introductions.
24. Easy Language Exchange
Cost: Free for community features
With Easy Language Exchange, you get support from start to finish—that is, from initially looking for your ideal language exchange partner, to the actual process of interacting with him or her.
ELE has a “Working Together” section where you can post your questions to the community—whether it’s a translation or some point of grammar, you can make it known there. ELE also has an inspirational blog that keeps you informed as well as keeps your spirits up—for those nights when learning a whole new language feels next to impossible.
ELE helps you every step of the way. Afraid that you’re going to run out of things to say to your partner? Read this post from ELE so you can keep the interaction going.
25. Conversation Exchange
The interface is very basic, which also makes it easy to navigate.
On the Conversation Exchange home page, you’ll have to choose if you want a “penpal” or a “chat partner.” Hit any of these buttons and you’ll be taken to a search page where you can browse through the profiles of members containing basic information like gender, age and location, even their hobbies and interests. There’s also a short intro and picture to give you a better feel for your potential language partner.
As always, reach out to several people so that you can have your choice of language partners that suit your personality and language requirements.
This site is geared toward a more mature audience and more in-depth queries. Quora has attracted many knowledgeable experts in different fields and if used properly, the site can also function as a review hub for insights on the many different language products marketed online.
Type anything in the search box and, before you’ve even finished your question, Quora will suggest past questions that are similar to the one you’re constructing. Because, who knows, your question might have already been asked and answered! If it hasn’t been, you can submit your question (which you can do anonymously by ticking a box on the upper-right side of the page)
27. Government-related language organizations
Cost: Websites are free to browse
National governments not only protect their citizens, but they also have the noble function of promoting their language and culture around the world. They often have an educational arm that provides a significant leg up to those who express a willingness to learn their language, including scholarships and opportunities to study abroad. Check them out to see what they have to offer in terms of content and opportunities for study.
The British Council works in over 100 countries to promote international and intercultural cooperation through the English language.
Named after Miguel de Cervantes, the author of “Don Quixote,” Instituto Cervantes’ mission is to promote Spanish as a second language, opening up opportunities for the study and use of the language in countries the world over.
The Goethe Institut includes forums and tutorials, as well as language learning resources organized by categories such as “German at work.”
The Alliance Francaise has more than 100 years of experience spreading the French language around the world, and is passionate about educating the teachers who will in turn become ambassadors of the language.
So, no need to panic next time you’re stressed, tired or pushed for time!
Just hang on to this list of resources.
We’ve got you covered.