• British Council

Teaching and Assessing Core Skills

Develop your ability to teach core skills and learn how to measure your students' core skills development.

7,900 enrolled on this course

A teacher sitting with three children in a classroom
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours
  • Digital upgrade


Help your students succeed by building their core skills

Employers are demanding higher-order cognitive skills from their workforces, so it’s crucial that young people have access to education that supports the development of core skills to help them succeed.

This course will guide you through how to capture student achievement and plan progression in core skills. You’ll work through examples of how this can be carried out in the classroom with opportunities to practice these new techniques in your own context.

Understand how to break down teaching core skills

On this course, you’ll learn the Skills Builder approach which breaks down core skills into manageable steps. This approach will allow you to target and understand students’ progress over time.

You’ll also learn the six principles of building skills to give you a simple conceptual framework for building students’ key skills that you can put into practice in your school environment.

Develop an action plan for embedding progression in core skills

Once you’ve mastered the principles, you’ll build an effective project to support the progression of core skills in your own school. You’ll then share, review, and refine this project with other learners on the course and with support from the course educators.

Reflecting on common challenges and solutions is vital, so you’ll share what has worked well before creating an action plan for how you’ll continue to build the core skills of your students.

Learn from the experts at the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. They have created this course to give you the tools to help students build their core skills. Being able to develop cognitive skills such as leadership, critical thinking, and collaboration, will help them succeed in the future.


  • Week 1

    Introducing core skills

    • Introduction to the course

      Learn about the course and how to make the most of it.

    • What are the core skills and why do they matter?

      Learn more about the core skills, consider why it's important to teach skills and discuss the relevance of core skills in your context.

    • The Skills Builder framework

      Learn about the Skills Builder framework and how it can help you to teach and assess core skills.

    • Breaking down the core skills into steps

      Learn more about how to break the core skills down into steps.

    • Week 1 reflections

      Reflect on what you've learned this week.

  • Week 2

    Exploring the Skills Builder framework

    • Introduction

      Learn about this week's learning objectives and reflect on key points from the previous week.

    • The Skills Builder framework

      Find out how the Skills Builder framework was developed and how it works

    • Teaching the steps of a skill

      Learn how to start using the framework to teach the steps of a skill.

    • Putting Skills Builder into action

      Consider ways of implementing a skill step.

    • Introducing the principles of teaching and assessing core skills

      Reflect on the principles that underpin effective skills teaching.

    • Week 2 reflections

      Reflect on what you've learned this week.

  • Week 3

    The principles of teaching and assessing core skills

    • Introduction

      Learn about this week's learning objectives and reflect on key points from the previous week.

    • Measuring it: assessing your students' progression in the core skills

      Learn how to assess your students' progress using the Skills Builder framework.

    • Focusing tightly

      Use insights about your students' core skills to teach what they need to know.

    • Focusing tightly: an example

      Analyse an example of a teacher teaching leadership step 3 before thinking about how you might teach speaking step 3 in your own context

    • Keep practising

      Learn about the fifth principle of applying the skills in context.

    • Week 3 reflections

      Reflect on what you've learned this week.

  • Week 4

    Developing an action plan to build your students' core skills

    • Introduction

      Learn about this week's learning objectives and reflect on key points from the previous week.

    • Action planning: getting started

      Learn how to use the Skills Builder Hub

    • Action planning: concepts

      Make a start on your action plan for teaching and assessing core skills

    • Building on foundations

      Consider how you can build on your action plan and what you've learned so far.

    • Week 4 reflections

      Reflect on what you've learned this week

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

Add to Wishlist to be emailed when new dates are announced

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...

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the core skills and why they matter
  • Develop a theoretical understanding of how core skills can be broken down to support progression
  • Explore the principles that underpin effective core skills teaching and how they can be applied in your school environment
  • Assess your students’ existing skills and plan next steps
  • Reflect on your students and school context to put together an action plan to support progression in core skills

Who is the course for?

This course is aimed at teachers and school leaders looking to build their students’ core skills. The course does not require any previous knowledge of core skills.

What software or tools do you need?

This course references resources from the Skill Builder Hub.

To participate fully in the course, Learners will need to register for a Hub account

Registration is free and all of the resources referenced in the course are free to access.

Who will you learn with?

I've worked in EFL/ESL for 25 years, living in Germany, Poland and Hungary, as well as training teachers worldwide on CELTA courses. I have a PGDip in IT (humanities) and an MLitt in Creative Writing.

I've specialised in Teacher Training and Early Years in North Africa, South Asia and Eastern Europe. Passionate about supporting teachers and providing remote access to education.

Who developed the course?

British Council

The British Council builds connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language.

We work on the ground in more than 100 countries. In 2019-20 we connected with 80 million people directly and with 791 million people overall, including online and through our broadcasts and publications.

What's included?

British Council are offering everyone who joins this course a free digital upgrade, so that you can experience the full benefits of studying online for free. This means that you get:

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • A PDF Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you’re eligible
  • 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

    Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

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