Online TEFL Forums

A variety of online forums or message boards for both EFL teachers – at Dave’s ESL Café and ESL Base to name a few – and students. If you have a specific question, you can ask, and there may well be someone with a unique insight to share. Often you can contact people directly as well.

Forums are also often a good way to do a limited amount of research for job hunting. I’m not going to imply you should trust everything that’s there – in fact you may well find information that’s blatantly wrong, misleading, or skewed by a negative personal experience – but as a starting point, if you are basing your opinion on a variety of people’s comments, it’s not bad, especially when your other main alternative is to take the word of one person – a potential employer. Don’t base important decisions only on something you read on a forum (or for that matter any blog or logue); use your own judgment and consult multiple sources. But I think if you remove the online element from EFL, what’s left is rather small and I don’t know how much of a match it would as far as timeliness, bias (or the lack of it) or specificity.

I’ll be honest – in my opinion, some forums can get a bit scary, and some have a definite negative vibe. Some people use the cloak afforded by online anonymity to pull out all the stops and say/write things they probably wouldn’t in person. However, I think there are plenty of professionally-oriented (or just nice, fun and civil) forums of which being a part is a pleasure and you can be active or not at your own discretion.