Must-Have TEFL Resource:A Good Dictionary

dictionary1.jpgThere are few books that are true must-have’s for EFL teachers: excellent resource books exist but there are many and they differ according to skills practiced and level. One thing you can count on though is that a good dictionary will come in handy.

Many EFL teachers are hesitant to lug heavy books around with them – the good news is, you don’t have to! My advice is to wait and see what resources your school has – I think even a relatively sparsely supplied school should have several learner’s dictionaries for use in advanced classes. Plus, you may not really know what you need or what you prefer to work with until you start teaching and using it. In most places it will not be hard to find a relatively decent English language dictionary (or order one online).

I’m personally a fan of the Longman Advanced Learner’s dictionary but the Oxford ones are good too. After more than three years of teaching, I don’t think there is a huge difference between dictionaries of a similar scope – much comes down to personal preference.

Here are a few online dictionaries you can search with before you buy a hard copy:

Some online dictionaries, like Macmillan, are available to people who have bought a hard copy dictionay and can log in. At first glace that seems rather useless: if you’ve bought the dictionary you don’t need to look online! But there are pleny of situations where it could come in handy – like if you don’t want to lug the book around. For ideas on how to use dictionaries in class, see the appropriately named Using Dictionaries In Class.