How do you find a buried treasure? First you find a map with an X that marks the spot. Then you follow the map, and if you’re lucky, the treasure is there for the finding.
The Essentials of Language Teaching is a website that was developed in the early 2000’s by the National Capital Language Resource Center (NCLRC). The site was created as a professional development tool for new foreign language teachers and teaching assistants in the United States—people with strong language skills but limited teaching experience. As it turned out, teachers of English to speakers of other languages also found the site content useful because of its emphasis on communicative competence and learner-centered instruction.
With time came the end of the NCLRC and its websites, and the content of the Essentials vanished as the site was no longer maintained and active links to it disappeared. A few remnants persisted, though, in copies of individual pages that people had posted in other locations; and one such copy led to a conversation with a colleague who wished that the Essentials could come back online because “the information was so valuable and still is.”
So I dusted off an old map that I had, and followed the marked path that led to the X. And I was lucky—the treasure was there for the finding. Here it is.