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Exploring the World of English Language Teaching

Learn what teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) involves. Explore the opportunities to teach English abroad or at home.

114,952 enrolled on this course

The view out of an aeroplane window: teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) is a great way to see the world
  • Duration

    6 weeks
  • Weekly study

    2 hours

Get advice on teaching English as a foreign language from experts worldwide

Teaching English is a fantastic way to see the world. And it’s immensely satisfying – you get to see students achieve great things with their new skills.

That’s why thousands of people take up posts around the globe every year, teaching English as a foreign language.

If you want to join them, now’s your chance. This online TEFL course explores the the basics of English Language Teaching (ELT), covering what ELT involves and where you can teach it.

You’ll get advice from fellow teachers and experts from Cambridge Assessment English, helping you to teach English abroad or at home.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds I really love to bring the potential out of people. I love the variety that it brings. Allowing them to work together on their own, in pairs, in groups. I think that really helps. Get ready! Ready, set, go! English Language Teaching is an exciting and rewarding experience that allows you to explore and discover the world, interacting with people of all ages and cultures.

Skip to 0 minutes and 40 seconds If you’re thinking of teaching English, or already have some experience and want to find out more, Exploring the World of English Language Teaching will help you make decisions about the kind of teaching experience you want to have and introduce you to the skills you need to be an effective English language teacher. I made the decision to change career and just pursue EFL because that’s what I love doing. If you’re going to be a language teacher you need a solid foundation in language. Be very, very organised. Patience. Enthusiasm. By the end of the six weeks, you’ll have answers to the following questions; What does it mean to be an English language teacher? How can you motivate and manage learners?

Skip to 1 minute and 20 seconds What do you need to know about language? What resources are available for teachers to use? And what training can you do to help you become a confident and effective English language teacher in different cultures and contexts. An effective teacher should think about the learners and the learning. You can use books, magazines, songs, films, TED talks, board games. The world is your oyster really. During the course we’ll talk to English Language Teaching professionals and find out about their experiences; where they’ve worked, how they prepared, and what top tips they have to pass on. So I taught in Hong Kong, I was in Vietnam, a little bit in Spain.

Skip to 2 minutes and 3 seconds We’ll also talk to students and ask them what they think makes a good English language teacher. The teacher that has a lot of passion do this kind of work. Can teach you grammar but also vocabulary and the culture. Throughout you’ll have the opportunity to share ideas and learn from others and after the course the interactive forum will remain open so that you can continue to network and share experiences and teaching ideas. I like to do competitions and games with reading and writing, and speaking and listening as well so that kind of motivates them to listen more carefully. I’m Monica Poulter, Teacher Development Manager at Cambridge English Language Assessment and I’ll be one of your guides throughout the course.

Skip to 2 minutes and 48 seconds I hope you enjoy exploring the world of English Language Teaching and that this will be only the start of your English Language Teaching journey. And so I thought, OK I’ll try it and have a go, and turns out it is suiting my personality quite well, which is a relief to be fair!

What topics will you cover?

Teaching contexts

  • Places to teach
  • Types of classes
  • Motivations for learning English
  • Learners and the learning context
  • Different types of learners
  • Ways to motivate learners
  • Planning for learning
  • Classroom management and language

Language skills: reading, listening, speaking, writing

  • Basic concepts and terminology used for describing communication skills; reading, listening, speaking and writing
  • Potential barriers to acquiring communication skills and suggestions for helping learners overcome them

Language analysis and awareness

  • Basic concepts and terminology used in ELT for describing language; grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation
  • Potential barriers to learning language and suggestions for helping learners overcome them

Using resources

  • Published resources
  • Authentic materials
  • Realia
  • Digital tools
  • Issues relating to selecting materials

Becoming an English language teacher

  • Qualities of an English language teacher
  • Different training options
  • Preparing for a CELTA course


  • Terminology relating to ELT

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify ELT terminology
  • Engage with key topics in ELT
  • Evaluate a variety of ELT teaching and learning materials
  • Discuss different types of learners
  • Identify classroom management techniques
  • Explore language systems and language skills
  • Apply practical ideas about materials and activities for future use with learners
  • Evaluate training options

Who is the course for?

This TEFL course is designed for anyone with an interest in teaching English as a foreign language, either in your own country or abroad. You might be preparing to become an English language teacher or for a CELTA course. You don’t need any previous experience to take part in the course.

Who will you learn with?

English Language Teacher, Teacher Trainer, Assessor and Joint Chief Assessor for a range of teaching qualifications from Cambridge Assessment English.

Previously, Teacher Development Manager at Cambridge Assessment English for 25 years, now a volunteer teacher and co-ordinator providing refugee support.

Who developed the course?

Cambridge University Press & Assessment

We are a department of the University of Cambridge. Together with teachers and our partners, we’re here to engage and inspire millions of people throughout their entire learning journey. We help them confidently prove their skills to the world.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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