How to use this book

A quick guide to this Open Educational Resource

Elen Le Foll

This Open Educational Resource (OER) aims to empower English teachers from across the globe to design their own, authentic, corpus-based lessons by showcasing a range of ideas for creating corpus-informed teaching materials using online resources.


Pre-service trainee teachers from Osnabrück University (Germany) contributed the chapters as part of three English Education Masters of Education seminars taught by Elen Le Foll. The introductory chapter “About the project” outlines the rationale and development of the project and discusses how various challenges were overcome.

The remaining Lesson Ideas chapters were contributed by students as part of their seminar coursework. These are organised according to the school type for which they were developed.


Book structure

The Lesson Ideas are grouped in four parts:

  • Part I is dedicated to corpus-informed lesson ideas for primary and lower secondary schools.
  • Part II showcases corpus-informed lesson ideas for upper secondary schools.
  • Part III explores the use of corpora in Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) and bilingual secondary education.
  • Part IV presents corpus-informed lesson ideas for English for Specific Purposes (ESP) and vocational education.

A curated list of links to additional resources may be found in the Appendix.

For teachers and teacher trainees entirely new to corpora, we recommend selecting one or two chapters of interest and following the step-by-step instructions in order to recreate the corpus-informed materials proposed by the chapter authors. As you work your way through these, you will find that the various ideas and methods outlined in all the chapters can easily be transferred to an infinite range of different language foci, topics, and educational contexts.


What is a corpus?

A corpus (plural: corpora) is a principled, digital collection of texts. Texts can refer to written language (e.g., newspaper articles, blog posts, novels), spoken language (e.g., transcripts of conversations, debates, live TV shows) and pseudo-spoken language (e.g., film and TV series transcripts). It is important to note that the texts of a corpus were originally spoken or written for a genuine, real-world communicative purpose. In other words, unlike most texts found in textbooks, they were not created specifically for language teaching or learning purposes and can hence be considered to represent authentic sources of language.

In addition, most of the chapters include worksheets that can be downloaded as individual PDFs in just one click. Thus, this book also provides a low-threshold introduction to working with corpus-informed materials for teachers with no previous knowledge of corpora. It is hoped that the experience of using these “oven-ready” corpus-informed materials, which require little to no preparation time, will encourage teachers to subsequently invest time in working through a selection of the book’s chapters in order to, in due course, be able to pick their own ingredients and create entirely new and delicious corpus-informed dishes!

If you already have some experience using corpora for either research or teaching, you may immediately start using this book as a bank of ideas and resources to inspire your own recipes – tailoring your DIY materials to the specific needs and interests of your students.

Each chapter, or recipe, has a different focus which may be lexical, grammatical, or phraseological, and focuses on a different set of language and/or interdisciplinary skills. The chapters are all similarly structured. The chapter contributors begin by describing their lesson’s learning objectives and outlining the rationale for their choice of topic, corpus, and corpus tool. They then guide the reader through all the necessary steps to create their proposed corpus-informed materials with clear, tutorial-like and illustrated step-by-step instructions. In many instances, the authors also provide instructions for their lesson tasks, as well as (possible) solutions. At the end of each chapter, you will also find additional options and ideas to expand or adapt the proposed lesson to the taste buds of your students.

By publishing this e-book as a free, Open Educational Resource (OER), we hope to make the use of corpus linguistics in foreign language education accessible to as many teachers as possible across the world. All the chapters make use of corpora and corpus tools that are either freely available to all, or accessible with a free trial account or access to the European ELEXIS programme. Details of how to connect to and/or register to the various online corpus platforms are laid out in the respective chapters.

All the chapters are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, which means that they can be freely adapted, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes as long as the original source and authors are cited. The full OER may be cited as follows:


Le Foll, Elen (Ed.). (2021). Creating Corpus-Informed Materials for the English as a Foreign Language Classroom. A step-by-step guide for (trainee) teachers using online resources (Third Edition). Open Educational Resource. CC-BY-NC 4.0. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.4992504.

Editable XML and HTML versions of this e-book can be downloaded from this project’s Zenodo repository. A PDF version with hyperlinks is also available from the same repository for readers with unreliable internet connections – though we recommend using the web-book version available on


Get in touch!

We would be delighted to hear about how you have used this book and whether it has inspired you to use corpora in your own English language teaching practice, so please get in touch via e-mail ( or on Twitter (@ElenLeFoll)! We also very much welcome your suggestions to improve this evolving and dynamic resource.
Elen Le Foll & student teachers from Osnabrück University


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How to use this book Copyright © 2021 by Elen Le Foll is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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