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Key Principles and Practices of TESOL

Develop your teaching skills as you discover the best practices for teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL).

2,281 enrolled on this course

A teacher sat on the teacher's table looking at a young girl pupil who raised her hand from her desk in a classroom 5 other classmates.
  • Duration

    6 weeks
  • Weekly study

    2 hours

Learn the elements of English language teaching with Anglia Ruskin University

On this six-week course, you’ll gain a solid understanding of English language teaching and the key elements practised around the world.

You’ll explore the principles that underpin the teaching of languages before learning the practical skills to use in the classroom.

Guided by the experts from Anglia Ruskin University, you’ll explore evidence-informed teaching and the latest research to inform and guide your teaching practices.

Develop your understanding of second language acquisition and communicative language teaching

You’ll unpack the main theories of second language acquisition to understand the best methods for your learners.

Delving into communicative language teaching, you’ll discover how this approach can develop your students into confident communicators in real-life contexts.

Discover the importance of classroom management

Next, you’ll explore classroom management and how it is vital in ensuring your lessons run smoothly and without disruption.

You’ll learn how to maximise your classroom layout before unpacking the concept of teacher talk to build rapport and motivation.

With this knowledge, you’ll understand how to create a positive learning atmosphere.

Learn to develop speaking, writing, listening, and reading skills

To ensure you can teach your students a variety of skills, you’ll delve into grammar and vocabulary teaching approaches as well as the best practices for developing reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills.

Finally, you’ll learn how to teach in different contexts such as English-speaking environments versus non-English speaking environments and large classes versus teaching one-to-one.

By the end of the course, you’ll have the skills and confidence to teach English to speakers of other languages.


  • Week 1

    Second Language Acquisition and Communicative Language Teaching

    • Introduction

      In this course, we will aim to answer the question: What are the key principles and practices that support effective teaching of English to speakers of other language

    • Second Language Acquisition

      Before we explore second language acquisition (SLA) in depth, let’s look at how it might differ from the first language that people acquire.

    • Communitive Language Teaching

      We now move on to look at the most widely used approaches to language teaching, communicative language teaching (CLT).

    • Application of CLT

      Here are some of the main concepts of 2nd language acquisition we looked at earlier. + Learners need to be motivated + Learners need lots of exposure to language + Learners need to notice language + Learners need to use language

    • Wrap up

      We’ve looked at some of the broad principles of SLA and CLT. Whilst CLT is widely used and recognised as an effective approach to language teaching, it is not without its critics. There are a number of areas of concern with CLT.

  • Week 2

    Classroom Management

    • Introduction

      Over the next few weeks we will look more specifically at how these principles are put into practice, for example when teaching grammar or vocabulary or developing speaking and listening skills.

    • Teacher Talk

      It is quite possible that your memories of teachers will be largely about their personality rather than what they taught you. These memories are likely to be of those teachers who had particularly clear traits.

    • Classroom Activity Cycle

      One of the key aspects of communitive language teaching is that the students remain active in the classroom doing activities that involve working with language.

    • Using the board

      The classroom resource that will be familiar to almost everyone is the board. In some classrooms this might be a simple whiteboard, or even blackboard, and in others a sophisticated interactive whiteboard (IWB).

    • Wrap up

      We have looked at some of the practices in relation to classroom management and shown how they link to some of the principles of SLA and CLT. For example, we looked at the underlying reason for using English only in the classroom.

  • Week 3

    Grammar and vocabulary

    • Introduction

      For most people the idea that you should teach the grammar of a language is obvious. Grammar forms the basic building blocks of a language and so knowledge of it is essential.

    • Teaching grammar

      Say the word ‘grammar’ and many students, and quite a few teachers, groan. However, as we have seen there is value in covering it in lessons and there is a strong expectation from learners that they will be taught it.

    • Teaching Grammar via a text

      Let’s start by looking at what is probably the commonest way of teaching grammar within CLT, using a text. This approach is often found in TESOL course books or materials are made by teachers using this approach to teaching.

    • Teaching grammar using other approaches

      The second approach to teaching grammar that we will look at what is commonly called test-teach-test, although, as we will discover, this is something of a misnomer.

    • Teaching vocabulary

      Let’s now move on to thinking about teaching vocabulary. Unlike teaching grammar, most learners have less anxiety with vocabulary and so the teaching of it might be considered to be easier.

    • Wrap up

      This week we have been looking at some of the basics of teaching grammar and vocabulary but this has been, of necessity, only a brief introduction to the most significant points.

  • Week 4

    Developing reading and listening skills

    • Introduction

      So far on this course we have looked at ways of teaching grammar and vocabulary but of course these, on their own, are of little value without them being applied.

    • Teaching Reading

      When we are teaching language learners to read, it is important that they have clear reasons for reading a text that they know before they start reading

    • Reading lessons

      Having seen what makes reading difficult for learners, let’s now look at some of the ways that teachers can help.

    • Teaching listening

      Let’s now move on to thinking about teaching listening. Of all the language skills, research suggests that this is the one that people use most and it is one that language learners commonly say they have difficulty with

    • Listening lessons

      The teacher helps the learners with their listening by first generating interest in the topic of the recording and, in the process, activating their prior knowledge

    • Wrap up

      We have focused on some of the standard ways of teaching reading and listening to second language learners. These approaches and lesson types are commonly found in English language course books and teaching methodology books

  • Week 5

    Developing speaking and writing skills

    • Introduction

      We are now going to look at the productive skills of speaking and writing. Again we will look at these separately, but as mentioned before, the skills are frequently linked with receptive skills and often used in conjunction

    • Teaching Speaking

      When speaking we have very little time to formulate what we want to say and then say something.

    • Speaking Lessons

      As we have seen when looking at developing reading and listening skills, as well as in grammar and lexis teaching, typical lessons have a number of stages that involve the learners speaking.

    • Teaching writing

      Whilst speaking is the skill that most students say they want to improve, writing is often the skill that they put last in their list of priorities.

    • Writing lessons

      Having looked at some of the aspects to consider when teaching writing, let’s look at some typical writing lessons. We are going to look at the two commonest approaches to teaching writing

    • Correcting writing

      As we have seen, both approaches to teaching writing end with stages where the students produce a text and the teacher offers correction on their writing

    • Wrap up

      We have focused on some of the standard ways of teaching speaking and writing to second language learners.

  • Week 6

    Teaching in different contexts

    • Introduction

      So far on this course we have looked at a wide range of aspects related to English language teaching and learning. In doing so we have had in mind a particular context for the classes.

    • Context of learning

      Let’s start by looking at the context in which the learning is taking place.

    • Context of classes

      In this section we are going to move on to consider the context of the classes themselves and how these affect teaching and learning.

    • Context of English use

      In this section we will be looking at how the context of when the learners intend to use language influences what is taught and perhaps how it is taught.

    • Young Learners

      So far on this course we have primarily been discussing teaching English to adults, but, of course, one of the biggest groups of English language learners are young learners (YLs).

    • Wrap up

      This week we have looked at different ways of considering context and how this affects learning and teaching.

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...

  • Understand the main theories of second language acquisition
  • Appreciate the principles of communicative language teaching
  • Explore how to teach grammar and lexis
  • Develop reading, listening, speaking and writing in a second language
  • Explore how to teach effectively in different contexts

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in teaching English to speakers of other languages. It will be most useful for those who have taken an initial teaching qualification such as the Cambridge CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL and who want to revise their understanding.

It would also help those who are considering taking these courses and would like an initial foundation, or for teachers with experience and some training but who would like to further their understanding.

Who will you learn with?

I am a Senior Lecturer in English Language Teaching at Anglia Ruskin University and course leader on the MA Applied Linguistics and TESOL. I have taught English and trained teachers in many countries

Who developed the course?

Anglia Ruskin University

ARU is a global university with campuses across the East of England. They are passionate about transforming lives through innovative, inclusive and entrepreneurial education and research.

  • Established

  • Location

    Cambridge, UK
  • World ranking

    Top 350Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018

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