ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)

Subject guide

This NSI Libraries online subject guide provides links to information available on the web. Some resources require a DEC username and password. Don’t know your DEC username and password? Contact your Campus Student Administration or your teacher.

[More subject guides]

Subject web links


English language tests

IELTS - International English Language Testing System
Official IELTS website - provides testing centre directory

Occupational English Test (OET)

Language test for health practitioners

PEAT - Professional English Assessment for Teachers

TOEFL - Test of English as a Foreign Language
Official TOEFL website - provides testing centre directory


Government information

About Australia

This site in maintained by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Hot topics (online version)

Plain language series about recent changes and current debates in the law.


Courses and resources for migrants to learn English and job seeking.

Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP)

Provides free English language courses to eligible migrants and humanitarian entrants. For locations of AMEP Offices within the Northern Sydney Institute click here.

Beginning a Life in Australia

This booklet provides useful national, state/territory and local settlement information for migrants, humanitarian entrants, their sponsors and service providers.

Life in Australia book

Gives information about Australian history, culture, society and the values.

Parliamentary Education Office

Learn about the Commonwealth Parliament of Australia

NSW Refugee Health Service

Legal Aid

Helps people with their legal problems and provides useful factsheets and resources.


Related subject guides

English and literature

Job skills


Links & directories

Aussie educator
Provides links to ESOL teaching resources.

Australian education system

ESL (English as a second language) links & resources    

Famous Australians

Famous Australians, including Indigenous Australians and people linked with Australia provided by Aussie educator.

Guide to government and law in Australia

This book by Dr John Hirst includes a concise description of the operations of the Australian system of government and law.

NSW State library - electronic resources

Gateway to Australian Internet links and database

TAFE Studylinks


English language learning activities and other resources

Activities for ESL students
Vocabulary and grammar quizzes, crossword and other exercises for English as a second language (ESL) students

Adele’s ESL corner - grammar, listening and vocabulary exercises

Aussie English for beginners

BBC - Learning English - contains exercises, audio, videos and quizzes

English for everybody - free English language courses

Interesting things for ESL students

Word games, puzzles, quizzes, exercises, slang, proverbs and much more.

Learning English online - English grammar, vocabulary, exercises, exams

Owl - Online Writing Lab

English as a second language (ESL) Resources, handouts and exercises

Resources for English as a second language

Sydney sidetracks: history where it happened

You can download it to your mobile and explore the Sydney’s history. Includes audio and videos.

   eJournals, eBooks and other eResources


eJournals & online news services

Freely available news services


EBSCOhost - Gale - ProQuest

Click the link of one of the selected journals or databases. Log in using your DEC username and password.

Academic Search Complete





Videos (video courses)

Login to the Student Portal using your DEC username and password. Then go to the My Learning tab and click the More option. You can search for a course by keyword or access them by subject or software.

  • Job search and career development
  • Microsoft Office 2010
  • Microsoft Office 2013
  • Time management fundamentals


Login to vLearn or the listed videos using your DEC username and password.


Broadcast TV

Log in using your DEC username and password.



eBooks on Ebscohost

Log into eBooks on Ebscohost using your DEC username and password. Over 40 eBooks are available English for speakers of other languages.


Free eBooks


Open-Access Text Archive (free eBooks)

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg of Australia

Provides resources such as a Chronology of Australian exploration, Australian literature: a bibliography, full-text eBooks relating to Australian history and Australia's greatest books that are in the public domain.

Free eBooks from the National Library of Australia



Login to ANZRC or selected examples using your DEC username and password.

Australian encyclopedia (2007)

Oxford Reference Online

Log in to Oxford Reference Online using your DEC username and password.

Free eReference

TAFE learning resources

These training resources contain tutorials, quizzes and resources for your course. Log in using your DEC username and password. You can view or download these resources. A CD-ROM of the packages may be available at your TAFE library.


   Databases covering ESOL subjects

Here is a selection of subject specific databases provided. For the full list of general databases and regarding instructions go to the eResources Portal.

Name Description Access


Provides an A to Z listing, and the ability to search, for eJournal titles that are available from our eJournal database providers EBSCOhost, Gale and ProQuest.

To view the entire list of databases included, see the Databases A-Z tab within the eJournal A-Z product. eJournal titles can be accessed by clicking the link of the available database provider listed under the title.

No authentication is required to access the index. You will need your DEC username and password when accessing journal titles.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) website. Includes statistics and some analysis of information from the National Census and other sources. Allows for the creation of local area profiles.

Freely available

Academic Search Complete is a comprehensive scholarly, multi-disciplinary full-text database, with more than 8,500 full-text periodicals, including more than 7,300 peer-reviewed journals.The database is updated daily.

DEC username and password required.

Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre - EBSCO's searchable database provides full text, and index access to many local and international magazines, newspapers and reference books. Most general subjects are covered.

DEC username and password required.

Environment Complete offers deep coverage in applicable areas of agriculture, ecosystem ecology, energy, renewable energy sources, natural resources, marine & freshwater science, geography, pollution & waste management, environmental technology, environmental law, public policy, social impacts, urban planning, and more. The database contains full text for more than 680 journals and 120 monographs.

DEC username and password required.

This multi-disciplinary database provides more than 1,750 general reference publications with full text information. Covering virtually every subject area of general interest.


DEC username and password required.


Student Portal


Staff Portal

Contains over 1,500 high quality online courses teaching creative and business skills on about 1,600 subject areas such as MS Office, Adobe programs, digital media, social media, web development, programming, design, smart phones, tablets and computers. These comprehensive courses are available in all levels from beginners to advanced.

Only for NSI students & staff.

Students: log in to the Student Portal with their DEC username and password. Then go to the My Learning tab and click the More option.

Staff: log in to the Staff Portal with their DEC username and password and click the My training tab.

The Facts on File is a set of online reference databases designed to suit the reference requirements of secondary schools, TAFE campuses and undergraduate research libraries.  Each database offers hyperlinked full-text records, images, maps, time lines, citation information and more. Titles include: 

From home:

Students use your DEC username and password with @edu at the end of your username (e.g. john.smith@edu).

Staff use your DEC username and password with @det at the end of your username (john.smith@det).

Gale databases provide access to periodical and news information on a diverse set of topics. The sub-collection General OneFile includes over 6,300 full-text titles and 400 newspaper services (a total of more than 11,000 titles). Also included in the subscription are the Culinary Arts Collection, Environmental Studies and Policy Collection, Fine Arts and Music Collection, Gardening, Landscape and Horticulture Collection, General Reference Center Gold, Home Improvement Collection, Popular magazines & Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure Collection.

DEC username and password required.

Oxford Art Online

This innovative new gateway into art research and access point for Oxford art reference subscriptions and publications includes:

  • Grove Art Online
  • Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms
  • Encyclopedia of Aesthetics
  • Oxford Companion to Western Art

From home:

Students: use your DEC username and password with @edu at the end of your username (e.g. john.smith@edu).

Staff: use your DEC username and password with @det at the end of your username (john.smith@det).

A collection of key Oxford reference publications bringing together over 2 million entries, many of which are illustrated, into a single cross-searchable resource. Includes bilingual dictionaries, encyclopaedias, subject reference, quotations, maps & illustrations and 20th century timelines.

DEC username and password required.

ProQuest Central provides access to a set of databases containing more than 125 billion digital pages covering arts, literature, social science, general reference, business, science, technology, and medicine. ProQuest includes the world's largest digital newspaper archive including ANZ Newsstand and periodical databases comprising the output of more than 9,000 titles.

DEC username and password required.

The Sustainability Reference Center is a comprehensive full-text database covering all aspects of sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Offering content from more than 800 publications including journals, monographs, magazines, and trade publications.

DEC username and password required.

vLearn via Equella

175 vLearn videos are now available via Equella.
Subject areas covered are business, career development, hospitality & food services, anatomy, beauty services, child studies, customer service, English language, health & safety, history, HRM, nursing, nutrition, sport & recreation, tourism and more.

Only for NSI students & staff.

DEC username and password required.

Writer's Reference Center

The Writer’s Reference Center available via Facts on File provides the essential one-stop online reference for writers, with all the tools necessary to write and research effectively.

  • Includes almost 100,000 definitions
  • More than 150 essays covering grammar, style, research, and more
  • Top grammar errors, often confused words, and most common punctuation mistakes feature

Only for NSI students & staff.

Students: use your DEC username and password with @edu at the end of username (e.g. john.smith@edu).

Staff: use your DEC username and password with @det at the end of the username (e.g. john.smith@det).



The NSW TAFE Library catalogue lists all the resources held in NSW TAFE libraries. You can search by keyword, author, title and subject and also limit searches to specific types of materials and specific campus libraries. The catalogue has links to, and the addresses and contact details of, all individual NSW TAFE Libraries.

Subject headings

Catalogue links to some ESOL subjects and availability through NSI Libraries are listed below. Please note: the search results are limited to items available in NSI Libraries. Do a new search if you want to find items held by your local library or to get results for all TAFE NSW Libraries.


English language -- Australia -- Usage

Immigrants -- Australia


English language -- Business English



English language -- Composition and exercises



English language –- Dictionaries



English language -- Examinations -- Study guides

Reading comprehension


English language –- Grammar

Refugees -- Services for


English language –- Spoken English

Study skills


English language -- Study and teaching -- Australia -- Foreign speakers

Vocabulary -- Problems, exercises, etc.

Macquarie University Library

Macquarie University Library has an extensive collection of resources in the ESOL area. NSI has a reciprocal borrower's agreement with Macquarie University ($55 per calendar year). Please ask your NSI library staff for details on how to access this service.     


Revised by DD: 19.06.2014

Last updated:   19.06.2014