Sunday, November 12, 2006


I used to visit the website to get free materials for my lessons, except recently it has become subscription only at a cost of 24GBP (about 34€). OK, so people like me were downloading the free worksheets without ever for one moment considering actually buying anything from Macmillan publications, but surely that's what the net is for isn't it? If I have to spend that kind of money on materials, I would rather go and buy a nice book from my local English bookshop. Publishing houses like Macmillan have probably lost a lot of money in missed sales by giving away half the content of their books -too bad for them - nobody refuses freebies like that.

If you are a teacher or a learner of English I strongly advise you NOT to pay for anything on the net. The net is all about sharing information - freely. Some of the worksheets on onestop were quite good, but some of them absolutely appalling. Why on Earth would I want to pay for a worksheet that asks students to write in the spaces the past simple of half a dozen irregular verbs. Is that teaching? Why not tell your students to invest in a half-decent dictionary or grammar book, so that you can concentrate on helping them to learn something. I did actually spend money on a site called and was hugely disappointed with the shabby worksheets produced by lovers of Microsoft clip art.

The best feature on onestop English was probably the Guardian Weekly reading lessons. Here again, the net is chock-full of articles that you can use in class. It doesn't take a genius to prepare a reading article like the ones found on You simply choose a few words from your chosen text that you think your students might not be familiar with, write a definition for each one and instruct your learners to match them up. Then ask a few comprehension questions and finish off with a discussion about the rights and wrongs of this particular subjet.

The communication technology available nowadays means that virtually all artificial language teaching resources are obsolete. We now have the marvelous opportunity to use materials that come from the real world and might actually be of interest to our students, unlike the total crap found in bestsellers like "Headway".


Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you! Today's world is for sharing knowledge all around at the click of a key.
I was also very surprised- to say the least- when I found out that I HAD to subscribe or register and pay in order to use the materials that used to be totally free, for anyone who was interested in using them.
Teachers aren´t precisely the best paid workers in the world, especially in South America where I am from, and placing a cost, a high one for most of us here, simply shuts down any possibility of taking advantage of the www!! What a pity! And you´re right: you don´t have to be a super genius to design worksheets!

Anonymous said...

I am all for sharing knowledge, however, I also respect the fact that if someone goes to the bother of preparing worksheets and charges for them online... good for them. So stop pissing and moaning.

Jonathan Lewis said...

It's not 'someone' - it's a giant corporation. And they entice you to their website by offering freebies. I do the same on my site and there's nothing wrong with that, but a major ELT publishing house suddenly realises, 'oh shit, we've just given away most of our products' and then tries to recover some of the lost revenue by charging the people that came looking for free resources, well, it's just a tiny bit laughable, wouldn't you agree.

Even worse, there are obviously some gung-ho English teachers who contribute lessons for free - why would they want to that? for their 15 minutes of fame?

By the way, sucker, I only wrote this post so that anyone typing 'onestopenglish' into a search engine would find my site! It works eh?


Years later... your trick's still working Jon - ha, ha.

I was looking for something all together different and landed here - no.3 option on google!

You've got a great blog -enjoyed the browse around, yet while I think a lot of the exercises on OneStop aren't that great -some of them really are.

You said there isn't 'someone' and that's just not true.

Behind every "big ELT corporation" are language teachers who aren't paid very well despite all the hours that go in to make those materials that teachers simply download and then criticize...

Hitting the corporation because they charge a very minimal fee is not going to stop the CEO from buying a new yacht but will hit the teacher, taking away his pot noodles.

I personally don't give away most of my stuff, (some though) - because I don't have a big corporation behind me and also I reckon there is way, way, too much for free and bottom line:

pay peanuts, get monkeys...

If something's got value, it's got a price tag.

living in a semi-material world while loving making a living teaching ;-)

Jonathan Lewis said...

Nice comment, thanks a lot for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

I was trying to get help from the net and then I realize it is not longer free. What a shame! That's not fare for teachers and even students how used to visit this resource. I hope they are getting what they wanted. Nothing is for free, I know teachers behind this
big company are working hard but this was not the best decision to take. Good luck for them, anyways.

Berni Wall said...

Wow, this post is still coming up high when you type in Onestopenglish!
I think the internet has changed a lot over the past couple of years and I don't expect that everything will be free for much longer.
This is not necessarily a bad thing as competition makes people think more about the quality of what they are offering. You may feel that free is good but how many sites carry so many adverts that it is too annoying or difficult to concentrate. It may be free but the cost of this free service may be compromising its effectiveness.
Some free stuff is good but at the end of the day you get what you pay for!

Jonathan Lewis said...

Nice comment, and good point made. I try to make a little money from my site for French speakers, (this one doesn't make anything me a cent)and recently I had to make the ads much more 'in your face' to maintain the same levels. Sometimes I feel bad for my visitors, but then, most of them can't or won't pay for my services so it's the only way to keep it going.

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