29 May, 2007

Teach English for $2.37 an hour!

Does that sound like an attractive offer to you? We didn’t think so. Yet that’s the price you are putting on your time when you spend 20 minutes searching for or writing a new exercise for your classes, compared to buying one for 79 cents from English Toolbox! With our detailed search engine, you can find exercises on any grammar or business skills topic in about ten seconds. Then select and download, and it’s yours to use and keep forever! You’re a hardworking teaching professional: isn’t it time you started working smart instead of working hard?

27 May, 2007

This Week’s Contest: Icebreakers

Every week, English Toolbox will have a contest open to all readers of this blog. This week, the topic is “icebreakers.” What do you do on the first day of a new class or workshop with new students? How do you get to know the participants and make them comfortable with you and their fellow students? Send in your favorite opening day icebreakers to info@englishtoolbox.com by 1 June, and we’ll pick the best one and publish it in this space next week. The winner will receive five free English Toolbox exercises, even if s/he isn’t a subscriber! We look forward to reading and sharing your great ideas, both now and in the months to come.

25 May, 2007

The Proof is in the Renewals!

It’s always gratifying when an English Toolbox customer renews his/her subscription for another month. In fact, our renewal customers outnumber those who allow their subscriptions to lapse by 2:1! Thanks for the continued votes of confidence.

22 May, 2007

Why Free Isn't Always Better

Some people have asked us why they should pay money for English Toolbox Co. exercises when there are so many free exercises on the internet. We agree that there are many good free exercises on the web: we used many of them ourselves when we started teaching many years ago. The problem is trying to find something specific among the dozens of sites out there. For example, if you had an advanced level class of businessmen and wanted to review conjunctions, how would you find it? These sites rarely have a search engine, and what you do find may not be really at an advanced level, or may not use business language, or both: our site has a search engine that narrows the search down to very specific parameters. How many questions will be contained within the exercise (ours always have at least 12)? What is the format (all of our exercises are available in both Word and interactive HTML format so the student can practice after class on his/her own PC).

In the area of Business English, our site offers more exercises on skills like meetings, negotiations and presentations—for both intermediate and advanced levels—than any other sites we’ve seen over the years. In addition, we have specific exercises devoted to finance, logistics, medical English, etc. Again, someone could search for and perhaps even find free exercises on these topics if they had an abundance of free time, but it takes only seconds to locate them on our site.

Finally, when a teacher gets an exercise from a free site, it’s usually a PDF with logos from the publisher splashed all over it… it’s clearly something they downloaded from the internet. Our exercises are clean: the teacher can modify, re-brand with a name or logo, or do whatever he/she wants with it (except re-sell it). We believe this has a value that sets it apart from something photocopied from a book or grabbed off the internet.

What we’re selling is meant to be used in conjunction with, not as a replacement for, what’s already available on other sites. What we offer is convenience, specificity and speed in searching for materials. We think that it’s worth the 79 cents we charge for an exercise to save 20, 30 or whatever number of minutes searching for something that may end up being inadequate for the teacher’s needs. Those who disagree can, of course, continue to avail themselves of the free resources; however, our customers have told us they appreciate the quality, quantity and variety of the exercises they’ve found on English Toolbox, and that they save a great deal of time by using it (not just “work time,” but evening and weekend time as well). Some people think that’s worth paying for.

Welcome to the English Toolbox Tips Blog!

Welcome to the English Toolbox Co. blog! This is a place to announce new exercises in our database of English-language training materials for teachers, and to provide tips on better ways to teach and motivate your students. Check back often to see what’s new!

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