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ELT Concourse: frequently asked questions

Q: If the site is free and carries no promotional or advertising material, what's in it for the contributors and editors?
A: Nothing.
It has been noted that there are those for whom the idea of someone doing anything useful except for financial reward is quite unthinkable and who, therefore, doubt this assertion.  It is, however, a fact.
The ethos of the site is that knowledge, education and information should be free.

Q: For whom is the site intended?
A: There are ten target audiences:

  1. Learners of English
    for whom there are short lessons and exercises linked from the menu on the left.  Teachers, too, may find some of the material useful for integrating into their lessons.
  2. Teachers of English
    For whom there are some lesson materials and other guides also linked from the menu on the left
  3. People intending to take or taking a pre-service training course or who have taken one but have limited experience
    There is a link from the Teacher training index to that section of the site.  Follow links to Initial plus training.
  4. Experienced teachers who need guides to specific areas of language and methodology
    You should follow the link from the Teacher training index to the In-service training section.
  5. Experienced teachers going on to take a further qualification such as the Cambridge Assessment English Delta or the Trinity College diploma.
    There is a link from the Teacher training index to the Delta section.
  6. Teachers who are intending to develop their skills and knowledge independently of any training course.
    You should follow the link on the left to Teacher development (and any others you fancy).
  7. Academic managers, especially those newly appointed
    You should follow the link to Academic management.
  8. Teacher trainers
    Whether you are working with pre- or in-service teachers, you should follow the link from the Teacher training index to the Trainers' section.
  9. Trainers in training
    There is a link from the Teacher training index to a course designed to help people move on from English language teaching to English language teacher training.  Follow the link to Training to train.
  10. People interested in knowing more about English and language in general or looking for answers to specific language questions
    You should browse the A-Z index, linked from the menu on the left or Search the site.

Q: How can I use the material?
A: Pretty much any way you like if it's not commercial.  There's brief explanation on the home page and a longer one on the page concerning copyright (linked at the bottom of this and many other pages).
All materials on this site are covered by a Creative Commons licence which means that you are free to share, copy and amend any of the materials but under certain conditions.
You may not use the material for commercial purposes.  The material may be used with fee-paying learners of English but may not be used on fee-paying courses for teachers.  Small excerpts from materials, conventionally attributed, may be used on such courses but wholesale lifting of materials is explicitly forbidden.  There is, of course, no objection at all to providing fee-paying course participants with annotated links to materials anywhere on this site.  Indeed, that is welcomed.
For more, refer to the link on the home page to the Creative Commons licence statement.

Q: Can I use the materials on a teacher-training course?
A: Only if your course is free to participants.
Any other use of the materials is commercial and not allowed.  If you wish merely to direct course participants to some of the guides on the site, that is, of course, welcomed.
See the answer to the last question.

Q: I am on a teacher-training course and see that my tutors are using your materials.  What should I do?
A: Firstly, you may like to consider why your tutors are relying on other people's work rather than developing their own materials.
Secondly, please bring the copyright notice on this site to the attention of your tutors and the course manager.
Of course, if you are simply being given a link to the materials with, perhaps, a task to do, that is entirely legitimate and quite welcome.

Q: Can I change the material to suit my situation?
A: Yes, you can amend, build on and develop the material as you like but you can't then use what you have done for commercial or promotional purposes.  You must, however, state what you have changed and how, giving due credit to this site.  If you publish that material in any way, you must do so under the same Creative Commons licence or a similar licence.

Q: Can I put ELT Concourse materials on my site?
A: No, that's theft.  You may put a link to materials on your site but not in a way that implies or states that ELT Concourse approves of you, your site or the materials thereon.

Q: Can I put ELT Concourse materials on other websites and social media sites?
A: No, that's theft.  You may put a link to specific materials on such sites but not in a way that implies or states that ELT Concourse approves of you, the site or the materials thereon.
If you wish to do this, you may invent an accurate description of the materials to which you are linking and you must clearly state that the materials are not yours.

Q: If I want to use or quote from material on this site, how do I credit it?
A: It is the site policy not to show the names of any authors of materials (but there are rare exceptions) and materials are not usually dated so, when referencing, place n.d. (meaning no date) by the reference.
This is the simplest way:
Name of material (i.e. the title of the page), n.d., + https://www.eltconcourse.com + address of the page + [date accessed]

Q: I want to use some materials from the site in a way not covered by the Creative Commons licence.  How do I do that?
A: Ask for permission stating what you are intending.  Use the contact page to do that.

Q: Who are the authors of the materials on the site?
A: It is not the policy of the site to ascribe authorship to any of the materials unless the author specifically requests it.

Q: Is the material on the site peer reviewed?
A: Not formally because asking authorities to peer review materials costs money and ELT Concourse doesn't have any.  However, the approximately 1.5 million yearly visitors are reviewing the material constantly in an informal way.  Occasionally people have noticed errors or poorly expressed concepts and corrections have been made.
Q (supplementary): Does this mean that some authorities will differ from the opinions expressed and analyses presented on the site?
A: Oh, yes.

Q: I have noticed an error or something I believe is inaccurate, incomplete or plain wrong.  What do I do?
A: Please contact ELT Concourse saying what the issue is and on what page(s) exactly it occurs.  Say what's wrong and what you believe it should be.  Someone will investigate and, if you are right, the correction will made.  Thanks in advance for this.  All errors on the site are either intentional or otherwise.

Q: Are there any conventions I need to understand?
A: A few:

  1. Malformed or unacceptable structures or formulations are prefaced with a '*'.
  2. Questionable formulations are prefaced with a '?'.
  3. Very questionable formulations are prefaced with '?*'.
  4. Examples are in italics.
  5. Bold type is used for emphasis or to identify key terms.
  6. Phonemic transcriptions are enclosed within slants /ænd/ are in British English unless otherwise stated.  Rarely, square brackets are used to enclose phonetic transcriptions such as [ɣ].
  7. Stress marking is placed before the stressed syllable.
  8. Optional items are enclosed (in brackets).

Q: Does the site support or defend any theoretical standpoints?
A: No, although there is one important foundation:

Hypotheses and theories with no or very little empirical supporting evidence or only anecdotal evidence are assertions and need to be treated sceptically.

Other than that, the guides on the site attempt to view theoretical ideas, approaches and hypotheses as dispassionately as possible.
Some effort has been made to distinguish between what may be confidently asserted, based on evidence and authority, and that which is merely speculative because:

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge
Charles Darwin

Articles on the site are an exception because they often do take sides in a debate.  If you hold an opposing view, you are welcome to submit an article arguing your points for consideration for publication.

Q: Can I contribute to the site?
A: Yes.  If you have something to suggest, please use the Contact page and say what you would like to contribute.  Please remember, however, that this is not a blog site so it is not the appropriate place for simple statements of unsupported opinion.  If you have a tub to thump or an axe to grind, work up your thoughts into a proper article and it will probably get published.

Q: Can I post a message on the site?
A: No.  This is not a blog site.  There are plenty of English Language Teaching sites where you can post comments.  However, you can send a question or a longer comment at any time by using the Contact page.  If it's interesting and suitable, it'll be published.  See the next section.

Q: I have seen materials from ELT Concourse on other sites.  Does that mean ELT Concourse put them there?
A: No.  They have been illegally used in breach of the Creative Commons copyright licence, i.e., stolen.  If you use the materials on this site nobody will sell on your email address or target advertising at you.  Other sites are less scrupulous.  Your choice.

Q: Is ELT Concourse affiliated to any other site, ELT provider, publisher, examination board or ELT service?
A: No, the site is not affiliated to anyone.

Q: Can I advertise on ELT Concourse?
A: No.  ELT Concourse does not accept advertising.

Q: Can I link to this site?
A: Yes, but not in a way that suggests ELT Concourse is affiliated to any other site or approves of it.

Q: How can I tell colleagues about the site?
A: You can download a small ELT Concourse poster to print from this link.

Q: Will you put in a link to my site?
A: Maybe.  You need to say what it is and what it's for.  If your site is purely commercial, the answer is invariably no.

Q: Can I ask another question?
A: Yes, of course.  Please use the Contact page.