ESL at Bard
The main areas we focus on are English classes and personalized tutoring. We offer two classes (Intensive English 107 and Grammar for Writers 110) as well as tutors who are assigned to work individually with students who request them, and tutors are available to work with them, according to their schedules and needs, for the whole semester or school year. Our tutors are Bard students who have been trained in the areas of writing, grammar, and other areas of the English language such as pronunciation and reading skills, which may be helpful to students. As well, workshops and tutorials taught by faculty, can be arranged for small groups on specific areas of focus upon request.
ESL Learning Resources
English Media Portal
Language Lab and Tutors
- Assistance for all levels of English proficiency (beginner to advanced/fluent)
- Assistance with writing, grammar, reading, pronunciation and fluency, listening note-taking, test-taking, and more
- Personalized/individual support
- Support available during L&T and Citizen Science (August and January, respectively)
- Classes, tutors, workshops, and tutorials available
The Learning Commons offers classes which are are open to any student wishing to develop his or her skill at writing academic papers.
- Essay and Revision is an introductory essay writing class focused on the writing process needed to generate a successful college essay.
- Essays and Evidence is an advanced essay writing class focused on developing strong arguments and on using textual evidence.
- Composition Theory and Pedagogy is an advanced course which focuses on composition, rhetoric, and grammar.
Easiest-to-use online dictionary with lots of free tools (thesaurus, example sentences, and word list generator if you register using Google or Facebook).
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is widely regarded as the accepted authority on the English language. It is an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of 600,000 words—past and present—from across the English-speaking world.
Another extensive multilingual dictionary that offers not only a choice of translation between a variety of languages but also provides verb conjugators for Spanish, Italian, and French words.
World's Largest Dictionary of English Pronunciation
Provides reliable access to millions of English definitions, spellings, audio pronunciations, example sentences, and word origins.
LINGRO (Webreader + Dictionary)
Read English Websites with this awesome dictionary that allows you to click on words and get their translation. On the main page, choose the respective languages (i.e.English –Chinese) , insert the website you want to read.
Thesaurus and Other Tools
Provides users with over 1,000 modern synonyms and a suite of helpful features and (quizzes and crosswords) found only at Thesaurus.com to help people find the perfect word.
Placement Tests and Practice Exams
The following resources will help you determine your language level, practice for exams, or understand the certificates you need to attend German Colleges and Universities. Practice Exams are aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)—the international standard for describing language ability. Find out what level you are or need to have. The links to the C1–C2 Certification Exams are ideal to investigate if you would like to study,teach, or conduct research in Germany, or are in need of an official and internationally recognized certificate.
Language Proficiency – Quick Test
WebCAPE Placement Test
Bard's Language Center, upon faculty request, provides German students with access to the WebCAPE language placement exam which is designed to accurately and efficiently place students in the first two years of college language courses.
British Council – Free online English Test
This site will give you 25 multiple choice problems to measure your English level, and then choose your favorite content that matches your level based on your score.
Cambridge Assessment – Find the right test for you
This is a quick, free online test. It will tell you which Cambridge English exam may be best for you. Choose one from four different categories.
Language Level – Free Tests
This test contains grammar and vocabulary questions and your test result will help you choose a level to practice at. At the end of the test your level of English will be assessed with reference to the Common European Framework of reference for languages (CEF).
Exam English – Free English Level Test
This superb site checks your English level with grammar & vocabularies test and listening test. At the end of each test your level will be assessed at a CEF level (A2 to C2). You can choose to have the results sent to your email address.
This “world-wide provider of free online practice” offers free TOEFL, GED, SAT, GRE, MCAT—practice exams. Each exam has about 100 sample questions; the user can “save the exam” or “check answers”. The site also provides “Fun Quizzes” such as IQ, TV, movies quizzes, and additional, great tools to practice grammar, vocabulary and more with tutorials that can be chosen by topic (i.e., vocabulary, diction, building phrases, etc.) or by test (SAT, TOEFL) .
The official preparation materials from the test maker are available for both purchase and free download. Their free test preparation sets include: TOEFL iBT® Interactive Sampler, TOEFL iBT® Test Questions, and TOEFL iBT® Quick Prep which provides yet another way to prepare with a free practice tool that provides TOEFL iBT® questions from past which provide free unlimited access to past TOEFL iBT® questions from all four sections of the test.
TOEFL – Practice and Preparation
Science is an extremely important topic in TOEFL reading sections. This web provides six recommended very helpful websites about science.
This is the best place for practicing English listening ability with authentic problem sets.
Real Style Test Questions
This web provides free interactive examples of real style TOEFL test questions, and to explain the purpose and layout of the test.
This is a great site to simulate the real TOEFL examination, it provides two authentic online practice exams.
Eight Grammar Rules You Need to Know
This site points out eight grammar rules that TOEFL emphasis on.
Creating an account is required to get full access to the website.
This site lists TOEFL score requirement for most US institutes. For example, the minimum score for Harvard is 100 and the average is 109.
University Entry Level Exams – Samples
Guide to ESL Requirement and ESL Placement Exam for Undergrad and Graduate School.
An online English test consisting of 40 multiple-choice questions.
Resources for All Language Learners
These resources are related to cultural literacy, especially within entertainment and the media. Some podcasts may be of particular interest to certain corresponding majors or just interesting subjects—find one that “speaks” to you! They also include vocabulary, speaking and writing practices. Some of these resources come in the form of smartphone apps (for both iPhone and Android), allowing for fun language learning on the go.
Grammar and Vocabulary
Test Your English by Martin K
If you’re looking for one app that covered many topics, this could be the one for you. This is a three-in-one test-your-English app, giving you the choice of ESL/EFL grammar exercise, ESL business many topics to choose inside each section. Each topic consists of 10 multiple choices questions. The correct answers are given immediately when you make mistakes. The questions also come in the listening format that you can adjust the speech rate or pitch. There many topics, this could be the one for you.
Levels: All levels
Vocabulary games based on GRE, TOEFL, SAT, and other standardized tests. Test your knowledge on important and common test words through various vocab lists, flashcards, and fun games!
Words, words, words!
An amazing free app that gives you random words with meanings. You can just keep on tapping the buttons and it will keep on showing different random words with its meanings so you can build up your vocabulary. If you get tired of the monotonous words popping around, you can give a quiz which has a ticking time clock and interactive interface. You will be asked to match words with their meanings. If wrong, you will be informed by the app about the correct meaning. You can control the difficulty level of the quiz by using a slider. 2000+ words.
Word Root of the Day – Membean Podcast
Membean gives you simple and engaging ways to learn hard words for the SAT/ GRE. Quickly see how words are constructed. Every word in Membean is broken down into its constituent roots. A simple description tells you how the roots contribute to word meaning. With practice you'll be able to make sense of unfamiliar words.
Length: 2 mins
Fantastic free tool to create flashcards, tests and study games for any subject. It provides natural voice audio files for all flashcards with adjustable reading speed for dictation exercises. Accessible on the go from anywhere.
Dave's ESL Cafe
Good practice for slang, idiom, verbs phrases, and pronunciations.
Levels: All levels
A thorough and up-to-date ESL website.
Reading and Writing
Information to be placed.
Speaking and Comprehension
Phonetics Site – University of Iowa
A marvelous resource! This site contains animated libraries of the phonetic sounds in German. Available for each consonant and vowel is an animated articulatory diagram, a step-by-step description, and audio-video of the sound spoken in context.
Levels: All levels
ESL Speaking Resources
ESLGold provides thousands of free resources for speaking, listening, writing and grammar. All materials are organized by skill and level for quick and easy access.
Bard Learning Commons
For on-campus tutoring and conversation practice.
Film and Video
TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading idea in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less) that covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.
Levels: All levels
BBC Learning English - The English We Speak
An assortment of podcasts that use short and funny skits to explain useful English (including American) idioms.A new episode is uploaded each week. Length: 3-5 minutes Level: A1-B2 ECONOMICS
NPR Planet Money
A podcast that discusses current issues, trends and topics in American Economy.Two new episodes are released weekly. Length: 15-30 min Level: C1-C2
PRI’s The World: GeoQuiz
Guess what location they podcast is talking about! This podcast presents a clues from all over the world. Guess the place from where the report comes form. After the location is revealed, a short interview with pertinent players of the report are interviewed to further elaborate on the topic.
Length: 5–10 mins
Hardcore History – Dan Carlin
A collection of highly engaging podcasts with Dan Carlin exploring specific historical events in a "theater of the mind" style. New episodes (1–4 hrs. each) are released approximately every two to three months. Some episodes require purchase of the episode.
Length: 1–4 hours
A podcast all about books—choose from more than 70 episodes on old books, new books, internet books and book-related games; appealing to writers and readers; hosted by Tod Goldberg, Julia Pistell, and Rider Strong.
Length: 60 mins
Naxos Blog Podcast
Naxos, the world’s leading classical music label is known for recording exciting new repertoire with exceptional talent.The Naxos podcasts introduce new musicians by letting the audience hear a sample of their work while narrators discuss the composers style, the history of the piece, as well as commenting on the piece.
Length: 20 mins
Lyrik Line – Listen to the Poet!
This website allows you to listen to poems from a huge selection of languages and countries read by their authors. It also provides written translations in several languages depending on the poem. An excellent resource for all language learners to improve listening and reading skills.
Length: 2–20 mins
Radiolab is a show about curiosity; It contains interviews with a diverse collection of voices, scientists as well as artists and authors. A new episode is updated each week.
Length: 30 mins – 1 hour
NPR’s This American Life
This American Life is a weekly public radio show broadcast on more than 500 stations to about 2.2 million listeners. There's a theme to each episode of This American Life, and a variety of stories on that theme. It's mostly true stories of everyday people, though not always.
Length: 50 mins
Conversational interviews with influential people from all over the world on everything from science, philosophy, music, religion, love, writing, etc. Speaking to one person about their life and work. Exploring big Bard questions such as: "What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live?" About two to four podcasts come out a month.
Length: 50–60 mins
StoryCorps is a show about everyday peoples stories; It contains interviews with a diverse collection of voices, and is dedicated to the intense focus on the collecting, sharing, and preserving of people’s stories. Life stories, personal anecdote, confessions, etc.
Length: 2–20 mins
Resources for Advanced Language Learners
These resources can aid when writing a paper that calls for the use of a standardized style in written English.
Bibliographies and Citations
Modern Language Association (MLA) Style
Formatting and style guide. Mostly used for FYSEM papers.
American Psychological Association (APA) Style
Formatting and style guide. Mostly used for Psychology papers.
Chicago Manual of Style
Formatting and style guide. Mostly used for History papers.
Citation Organizers and Generators
A site dedicated to helping navigate the process of note-taking, outlining, citation, document archiving/annotation, and collaborative research and writing. This utility also generates notes and bibliographies in MLA, APA, and Chicago style formats. It is incredibly useful when working with large research papers. Bard College possesses a subscription to this website that gives students a larger selection of features to use than the free account.
Generate citations in MLA (APA and Chicago if you upgrade) formats for your bibliography. Save time by making a Works Cited page automatically.
Generate citations in MLA, APA, Chicago, and Turabian formats. Save time by making using their search feature and generating a Works Cited or Bibliography page automatically.
Literature and Art
These resources aid in the study of the humanities in English. They include research databases for locating scholarly publications as well as selected online journals in fields from poetry and music to history and journalism.
JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources only available on Bard Campus (via Bard Wireless).
New York Review of Books
A premier literary-intellectual magazine in the English language, a semimonthly magazine with articles on literature, culture, economics, science, and current affairs.
Cambridge Histories Online
This unique historical reference compendium allows instant access to the renowned texts of the Cambridge Histories series. With access to the most up to date and authoritative scholarly content, Cambridge Histories Online is an invaluable resource, for undergraduates, graduates, lecturers and researchers alike.
ProQuest Historical Newspapers
This historical newspaper provides genealogists, researchers and scholars with online, easily searchable firsthand accounts and unparalleled coverage of the politics, society and events of the time.
This database contains periodicals published between 1740 and 1940, including special interest and general magazines, literary and professional journals, children's and women's magazines and many other historically significant periodicals.
Oxford Art Online
Users can access—and simultaneously cross-search—an expanding range of Oxford’s acclaimed art reference works: Grove Art Online, the Benezit Dictionary of Artists, the Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, the Oxford Companion to Western Art, and the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms, as well as many specially commissioned articles and bibliographies available exclusively online.
A complete searchable archive of American Vogue, from the first issue in 1892 to the current month, reproduced in high-resolution color images. Enables you to find images by garment type, designer, and brand names.
Oxford Music Online
Oxford Music Online is the gateway offering users the ability to access and cross-search the Grove Music Online cornerstone, which includes: Oxford Music Online, the Oxford Companion to Music (revised 2011), which offers more than 8,000 articles on composers, performers, conductors, instruments and notation, forms and genres, and individual works; and the Oxford Dictionary of Music, 2nd edition (revised 2006), which supplements Grove's more extensive articles with content geared toward undergraduates and general users.
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience.
Resources for Faculty and Tutors
These resources are mainly meant to help teachers and tutors to prepare for daily classes—from creating and/or printing ready-made worksheets to integrating the newest online tools into language and literature classes. Bard's Language Tutors are invited to upload their favorite activities to this website. Students are welcome to use these resources to study, help a classmate, or teach other language learners.
General Teaching Resources
English Language Teaching in Action (TESOL)
Applied here is a series of introductory level videos covering the core topics in applied linguistics, primarily designed for those entering postgraduate studies and language professionals returning to academic study. The videos take an innovative “practice to theory” approach, with a “back-to-front” structure. This leads the reader from real-world problems and issues, through a discussion of intervention and how to engage with these concerns, before finally relating these practical issues to theoretical foundations.
5 Invaluable Online ESL Resources
Take a look at five fantastic online resources that you can’t and shouldn’t live without, from online lesson plans to “printables.”
A plethora of classroom and teacher resources, lesson plans, lesson activities, and theory and research
Key features of how to teach in a world that is rapidly changing, connected, adapting and evolving
Online ESL listening lab.
Bard Learning Commons
For online resources offered by the Learning Commons, as well as contacts for tutoring sessions on campus.
BLC 107 – full academic year-long course / 4 credits per semester
This year-long class is designed to give international non-native speakers (lower intermediate/intermediate level) both an intensive English language experience, with deep practice in the full range of skill areas (reading, writing, listening, speaking and vocabulary ) as well as an integrated overview of the Liberal Arts experience through the exploration of various fields of study Bard has to offer. Through this investigation, students will develop the academic and study skills needed to survive this challenging English language academic environment. Permission of the instructor is required. Class size: 14
Grammar for Writers
BLC 110 – semester-long course / 4 credits
This writing-intensive class is designed for upper-intermediate/advanced non-native speakers of English. The issues which will be examined include grammar, usage, and style, with an emphasis on their application to academic writing. Special attention will be given to problems created by language transfer issues and to the particularities of English. Smaller class size, interactive exercises, and individual conferences will help students develop a clearer and more sophisticated expression in their writing. Students may sign up for this class online but must meet with the professor before finalizing registration. Class size: 14