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Journals Galore

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This is just a brief note to call your attention–in case you’re not on Twitter or you missed it–to the new permanent page I’ve added here. The List of Free Journals collects a range of open-access scholarly journals on topics related to ELT/TESOL/TEFL/TESL/applied linguistics. I’ve actually added one two since I posted it to Twitter, so the list now stands at 27 28. (I’ll keep updating the page, though not this post.) Most are peer-reviewed; some are more practical (ITESLJ, in particular) but even the very academic ones may have useful ideas. Please check out the page, and comment here or contact me somehow if you have corrections or additions to the list. Thanks!

I plan to make a similar page for magazine-like sites, eventually, so if you have favorites, I’d be happy to know about them.

Twelve Days of Christmas: The Internet TESL Journal

On the fourth day of Christmas, I’ll be introducing to you something I’ve mentioned a couple of times, but have never fully introduced. I hope that you won’t mind if I count this as a full entry, because if you don’t already know about it, or if you’ve forgotten about it, it’s worth discovering. If your binders full of lesson plans are letting you down–or if you haven’t yet built up binders full of lesson plans–and you’re interested in free activities and lesson plans, keep reading!

nicubunu_Box_with_folders from

The Internet TESL Journal (ITESLJ) is a free online journal that is different from other online journals because of its focus on short, practical, useful articles. I mentioned its existence very briefly when I posted a roundup of free online journals last year, and also when I noticed that you can download computer-generated mp3s of their articles. I never said why it was great, though, and the reason is that ITESLJ offers lesson ideas, games, and activities, as well as teaching techniques and reports on teachers’ own research projects, in an easy-to-access format that’s free to everyone.

As you know if you’ve tried to use a search engine to find lesson plans, the internet is cluttered with ESL and EFL sites that are only partially free, sites for which you need to register–only to find out they have almost no resources, sites for which you have to register–only to find out they’ve copied all of their materials from another site, and sites with low-quality materials that are unsuitable for your students.

ITESLJ has a good range of materials and ideas, and no registration is required. Many of the suggestions are aimed at EFL learning situations, although they can be adapted to various classrooms. If you don’t see something you like right away, just keep searching back: they’ve been around since 1995. There are specific lesson plans for every possible language skill, lessons focused on specific films, unusual lesson plans involving the use of cell phones, craft-based lesson plans, games with songs and physical movement, and lessons focusing on specific L1s. Here are some examples:

There are lots more, including ideas for working with children.

By the way, if the above is old hat to you, then may I encourage you to write something short and submit it to them? It looks like they need more submissions. Even a single activity that you’ve had work well would be an excellent thing to submit so your fellow teachers can benefit, and although I don’t think they qualify as a “peer-reviewed journal,” it’ll still look great on your CV.

Next? Well, I have no idea! Anybody out there? Let me know, especially if you like something!

Temporary Free Journal Access

I received this message on the AAAL mailing list, and as it says “free free to forward to colleagues,” I believe it should be okay to post it here. (If not, I’ll be happy to take it down.)

Here’s the message:

“Get acquainted with SAGE’s journals in Languages and Linguistics now during our free online access period. We are currently offering free full-text access to the following 14 journals until 30th September 2009.
Child Language Teaching and Therapy
Discourse & Communication
Discourse & Society
Discourse Studies
First Language
International Journal of Bilingualism
Language and Literature
Language and Speech
Language Testing
Language Teaching Research
Journal of Commonwealth Literature
Journal of English Linguistics
RELC Journal
Second Language Research

Register here.”

This is a rare opportunity to gain access to these peer-reviewed journals, so I suggest that you check it out. Institutions and libraries who don’t currently subscribe should also go take a good look, too–in this economy it’s important to make sure that your limited subscription money is going to the most useful places possible.

Not Just Another Peer-Reviewed Journal

In terms of free, high-quality online language acquisition research, we have an embarrassment of riches (now there’s an idiom for you!). There’s a wonderful new addition to the hoard: L2 Journal, and it comes with an excellent pedigree. L2 is a “fully-refereed, interdisciplinary journal” that’s being offered online at no cost via the University of California’s eScholarship Digital Information Repository, supported by the UC Consortium for Language Learning and Teaching and the Berkeley Language Center Website. The editorial board and executive committee contains familiar names like Claire Kramsch and Rick Kern. The journal will be addressing a broad range of second-language acquisition topics, including “pedagogy, bilingualism and multilingualism, language and technology, curriculum development and teacher training, testing and evaluation,” etc.

Photo of dictionary open to 'education,' notebook, pencil by cohdra at

No excuse for not keeping up with the research!

With that kind of backing, this is likely to become one of the most reputable free online journals. Although you need to sign up for a free membership to access the articles (and they’re all PDF), it should be worth it to get access. This is the kind of thing for which you usually need access to JSTOR, etc., and is usually difficult or impossible to get to as an individual, a public school teacher, an overseas volunteer teacher, or (often) an EFL teacher at all. As far as I can tell, there are no restrictions on who can make an account–I left “institutional affiliation” blank, since I work for myself, and was able to register with no problems.

Because it’s coming from the UC system (and is headed by Dr. Kramsch), I expect it’ll have a number of heavily theoretical papers that may turn off some teachers. I encourage you to give those papers a try–sometimes they pay off!–but also to look at the other papers. There are three articles available so far (all PDF), and I think all of them have practical elements. The one I’m currently reading, “Corrective Feedback and Teacher Development” (Rod Ellis), is very practical as far as I’m concerned–an article need not have a lesson plan to be applicable to what I do in my lessons. So while the journal may not be light reading, I think its high standards will pay off for teachers who take the time to sit down and read it.

Interestingly, the journal is being conceived as a one-issue-per-year model, but with articles published as they are ready–so it sounds like it’s really a year-round publication. You can read about the submission guidelines and also, because they are a little more technologically advanced than most journals, receive alerts when L2 publishes a paper on a topic in which you’re interested. That’s an excellent service to offer.

I’m very excited about L2! What an excellent resource for us to have. (I’ll be adding it to the Free Online Journals post, of course.) As always, if you have another one to suggest, let me know.

Audio Journal? Well, After a Fashion…

ITESLJ, the longstanding free online TESOL journal, is trying out a nifty new feature: free audio versions of its articles. Go to the main ITESLJ page to get the free password and check it out. The catch is that the articles use the Mac’s text-to-speech program, something like what the Kindle 2 e-book reader does. If you haven’t heard text-to-speech in a while, you may be pleasantly surprised: it sounds pretty good. But it still has issues and certainly isn’t as good as listening to a real person read aloud. All things considered, though, this is a really nice free service to offer. If you find that you just don’t have time to read journal articles, it’s a decent solution. Just download the articles to your mp3 player and listen to them on your commute or your jog or while you shop.

The current list of 8 mp3s includes articles on team-teaching with ALTs/native English speakers and local teachers, a task-based approach to entrance exam prep, teaching deaf ELLs, using origami and magic, and more. Give it a try, and leave them some feedback in the comments box (especially if you like it and want them to keep experimenting with it!).

Another Free Journal

I’m going to go back and add this journal to the previous post about free online journals, but I thought this one merited its own update: The International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching is another free online peer-reviewed journal. I think this journal is especially interesting, because it’s open to articles about the teaching of all foreign languages, not just English. In addition, Stephen Krashen is on the editorial board. Issues are available only in PDF format, and you need to give them your e-mail address to get access.

P. S. Happy New Year! I hope 2009 is a good year for everyone.

Free Online Journals

Ah, free journals. I love them so very much. Even if you join a professional organization, you sometimes still have to pay extra to get their peer-reviewed publications. Never fear: there are various online publications that are free, and yes, some of them are even refereed/peer-reviewed. Best of all, you don’t have to pay premium postage to get these delivered to your desk in Mongolia or wherever you happen to be teaching at the moment.

Here are a few I’ve bookmarked. Please let me know your favorites that I’ve missed. (Don’t forget–these are great places to try to get published, too!)

In addition, the American Educational Research Association’s Communication of Research Special Interest Group has created a page called “Open Access Journals in the Field of Education”, featuring a huge, multi-national list of scholarly, peer-reviewed, free journals.