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Why free EFL exercises aren’t always better


Welcome to the English Toolbox web site.  English Toolbox is a site offering over 1,000 ESL/EFL exercises, worksheets, audio files and lesson plans for teachers of English as a second/foreign language.  Most of our materials cost approx. 79 USD.  So why should you pay for English training materials when there are so many on the internet for free?  If you’ll give us just a couple of minutes to read the rest of this page, we think you’ll see the advantages our site offers.


Let’s start by looking at some of the differences between English Toolbox and the others on the internet today.  Certainly, there are many good no-cost exercises on the web.  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 a suitable exercise to give them?  Free 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: English Toolbox has a search engine that narrows the search down to very specific parameters.  Run this experiment yourself and time it, and see how long it takes you to find even one appropriate exercise (if you can even find one!).


If you do find one, check how many questions are contained within the exercise (English Toolbox always has 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)?  Is it Business English or General English (our exercises are specifically designed for each category)?  Is there an answer key for the teacher?  Finally, how would you judge its overall quality in terms of student level, difficulty and content validity?  In other words, have you just spent a lot of your own time searching for an exercise that you then decide you can’t use in your classroom?  This is very often the final result of such a search of free web sites, whereas we have never received a single complaint about the quality of our materials from any of our customers.


In the area of Business English materials, English Toolbox 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 English for finance, English for 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 English Toolbox.


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 English teaching 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.  That wasted time is usually the teacher’s time, not his or her employer’s time, so the employer ends up getting a lot of free time from the teacher for lesson planning.  Would you teach English for $2.37 an hour?  We hope not!  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?


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.


To visit our search engine, click here.


To see some samples, click here.


To go to our home page, click here.


All the best,


English Toolbox Co.



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