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Guided Case Study of an English Language Learner

Build your knowledge of language learners and learn key language teaching strategies through a guided case study of a student.

Teacher and happy students gesturing 'thumbs up'

Better understand how to teach English as an additional language

On this six-week course from Wintec, you’ll be guided through an in-depth case study of a particular learner, giving you insights and helping you to understand your own learners and how best to teach them English as an additional language.

Discover a range of learning strategies to enhance students’ learning

You’ll start this course by exploring the concept and outline of a case study to lay the foundations for the format of the course. By structuring your learning as a case study, you’ll be able to see each strategy, its implementation, and its results through a real-time example.

As you progress through the course, you’ll look at how to determine and adapt to different language proficiency levels as well as how to step back and observe a classroom. You’ll then explore the numerous learning strategies, what types of students each is appropriate for, and which strategies are best for language learning.

Explore the different types of motivation and how to utilise them in teaching

Motivation has been defined in a number of ways. Some believe it is a combination of a learner’s attitudes, desires, and willingness to expend effort to learn.

During the final week of this course, you’ll look at the different types of motivation, from instrumental and integrative motivation to intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

Develop your language teaching skills with the experts at Wintec

The teaching team on the Wintec/Te Pukenga Graduate Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Level 7) has broad and lengthy experience in both teaching English language learners and as language teacher educators.

With their expertise, the educators on this course are uniquely positioned to help you build your skills and become a better language teacher.


  • Week 1

    Using case studies to determine learner characteristics.

    • Introduction to this course: Guided Case Study of an English Language Learner

      Welcome to this course. We hope that this course will be of interest to people already teaching English language learners as well as those who would like to work with these learners.

    • Preparing to carry out a case study

      In the next activity you will get an overview of the essential elements of a case study.

    • Example of a case study proposal

      Read the case study proposal below and complete the quiz.

    • Introduction to the learner

      Read this short introduction to the case study learner, who comes from Ukraine.

    • Review of Week 1

      What have you learned this week? Let's spend some time reflecting on and reviewing what we have learned this week.

  • Week 2

    Obtaining information about the learner's background and language proficiency.

    • Introduction to Week 2

      View the powerpoint below to review Week 1 and get an overview of Week 2 content and activities.

    • Language Proficiency Levels

      Language Proficiency Levels

    • Language for Social Interaction and Language for Academic Purposes

      Language for Social Interaction and Language for Academic Purposes

    • Introduction to the Learner

      Read the description of the Case Study Learner (CSL). below. Then move on to the Interview with Oksana.

    • A Guide to Interview Guides

      This article summarizes key considerations relating to conducting interviews for research purposes.

    • Interview with Oksana

      This is the full interview with Oksana, which you will need to refer back to for other activities in the course.

    • Oksana talks about social and academic English

      Oksana talks about social and academic English

    • Review of Week 2

      Complete the quiz to review and check your understanding of some of the main ideas from Week 2.

  • Week 3

    Observing the language learner in the classroom

    • Introduction to Week 3

      This week we will focus on culture and cultural differences and their impact on learning English as an additional language. We will also watch and comment on an interview with the case study learner on this topic.

    • Classroom Observation

      Read the classroom observation schedules to prepare for watching the classroom observation video. Then watch the classroom video in the next step, and complete the two observation schedules.

    • Classroom Observation - Video

      Classroom Observation - Video

    • Review of Week 3

      Complete the quiz to check your understanding of some of the concepts introduced this week about the learner's language level.

  • Week 4

    Exploring the process of adjusting to a new culture and the interaction of culture and language learning.

    • Introduction to Week 4

      This is an introduction to the topics for this week.

    • The acculturation process

      The acculturation process

    • Hall's Classification of Cultures (1976)

      Listen to the lecture and take notes on the ideas of anthropologist Edward T. Hall into classifying cultures as either HIGH CONTEXT or LOW CONTEXT.

    • Acculturation and 'Distance' theory

      A model of acculturation developed by Schumann (1976) proposes that two factors could make language learning easer or more difficult - social distance and psychological distance. Watch the video and comment on these.

    • Oksana talks about acculturation

      Oksana talks about acculturation

    • Review of Week 4

      Review of Week 4

  • Week 5

    Investigating individual differences and evaluating their impact on language learning

    • Introduction to Week 5

      Introduction to Week 5

    • Introduction to personality factors in language learning

      Introduction to personality factors in language learning

    • Take the 16 Personalities Test

      Focus on personality

    • Introduction to learning strategies for language learning

      Focus on learning strategies

    • Oksana talks about her personality and her learning strategies

      In this step, we will watch the interview with the learner again, and focus on Oksana's perception of her personality in relation to language learning, and also her use of learning strategies.

    • Interview with Oksana's teacher

      Please read the transcript of the interview with Oksana's teacher, then contribute to the discussion.

    • Review of Week 5

      Review of Week 5

  • Week 6

    Looking to the future: Learner motivation and recommendations for Oksana

    • Introduction to Week 6

      Introduction to Week 6

    • Different types of motivation

      Different types of motivation

    • Oksana talks about motivation

      Oksana talks about motivation

    • Looking to the future: Recommendations for Oksana

      Looking to the future: Recommendations for Oksana

    • Review of this course

      Review of this course

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

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...

  • Explore the benefits of using case studies to determine learner characteristics
  • Identify information about a learner's background and language proficiency
  • Reflect on a language learner's performance in the classroom
  • Explore the process of adjusting to a new culture and the interaction of culture and language learning
  • Investigate individual differences and evaluate their impact on language learning
  • Identify learner motivation and present recommendations for a case study learner

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone currently working with English language learners (either in formal or informal settings), or those who are considering this type of work in the future.

It will be especially useful to teachers or prospective teachers at all levels of education, from pre-primary through to tertiary.

Who will you learn with?

I have previously worked as an English language teacher in Papua New Guinea and in New Zealand, and I am currently the Programme Coordinator of the Graduate Diploma in TESOL at Wintec in Hamilton.

I have worked in English language teaching since 1988 in the UK, Japan, Spain & Te Pūkenga in NZ.I have a CELTA, DELTA & MEd in TESOL from Manchester, UK & have worked as a CELTA & EMI trainer.

Who developed the course?


The Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec) is a leading tertiary education provider and one of New Zealand’s largest Institutes of Technology. Established in 1924, Wintec delivers technical, vocational, and professional education across a broad range of qualifications, domestically and internationally.

What's included?

This is a premium course. These courses are designed for professionals from specific industries looking to learn with a smaller group of like-minded individuals.

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Tests to validate your learning
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime

Still want to know more? Check out our FAQs

Learning on FutureLearn

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  • 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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