Jim Buckingham
Volume 10, No. 4


Phil's EFL Support Site - http://www.philseflsupport.com/

Phil points out that the audience he seeks to target is ELTs studying to complete a Masters or Diploma in EFL. The opening page is matter of fact and immediately utilitarian - no zippy sound files or zappy flash files here.

The homepage presents a brief outline on the site's purpose and offers access to 4 basic areas for review:
o Language
o Teaching and Learning
o Planning and Testing
o Study - reading and research

General Review
An ambitious undertaking and one which Phil has likely discovered is fraught with obstacles, open to criticism and often not well rewarded in the end (I hope I'm proven wrong on the last point).
Dealing with problems such as
o including links that run the risk of either being moved or removed (the dreaded link rot)
o categorizing resources in the absence of any standards or agreed upon formats by such a user group
o producing a user friendly interface that is easy to understand and invites exploration.

These items alone can discourage many a person from even setting out to realize such an undertaking. In lieu of this one has to admire Phil's determination to still realize the task that he has set out for himself.

Web site strengths
Very comprehensive listing and cataloguing of links according to various topic areas initially under the broad topic headings of Language, Teaching and Learning, Study Reading and Research. These categories are further subdivided according to what I felt were relatively common EFL / ESL subcategories.

Efforts have also been made to provide an online user database with the intent of linking an EFL /ESL instructor with others who have similar specific academic interests.

The site provides an online newsletter that actively invites user input on future articles and web links. It also provides a comprehensive listing of EFL and ESL conferences being offered globally.

The use of online discussion boards hasn't been overlooked, though perhaps some may find them difficult to locate on the site. These provide a useful vehicle for the promotion of a virtual online "EFL and ESL instructors" community, and aim to reach out to all such instructors irrespective of their backgrounds.

The sequential and detailed presentation of course material along with some interactive support components for the RSA DELTA and the Aston MSc in TESP/TESOL may be of special interest to those currently completing either of these courses.

Further Suggestions
More Graphics

If the intent is to create a virtual online support community for EFL and ESL teachers, then perhaps the use of more graphics could be entertained. This would provide a small respite from the currently very text rich site offerings, and become more inviting to those seeking a virtual environment; one that they will want to come back to over and over again.

More Discussion topics
The current listings have room to grow. In keeping with the site's purpose, a listing of specific and current EFL/ESL topics should be noted. This list could be drawn from topics posted at recent EFL / ESL conferences and from user suggestions. By doing so such online discussions can provide greater and broader user access and thus be more inclusive. They can also serve as an archived resource readily accessible to future site visitors thus giving such "discussions" a much longer "shelf life".

Site Access
The website could use either a site map or even a site search engine for quicker and easier targeted access, especially if promoting the development of a site user community is desired.

All EFL/ESL teachers and not just those completing the RSA or Aston TEFL should welcome the quick online access to this comprehensive and well organized collection of online EFL/ ESL resources. A more compelling reason to visit is to take up Phil Quirke's welcome by becoming an active contributor to what has the promise to become a very dynamic and vibrant online resource.