• University of Southampton
  • British Council

Understanding Language: Learning and Teaching

An introduction to some key concepts in the effective teaching and learning of languages.

255,331 enrolled on this course

Understanding Language: Learning and Teaching
  • Duration4 weeks
  • Weekly study3 hours
  • CertificatesAvailable

What is language? How do we learn meaning in a new language? What is easy and hard about learning another language? And what is the best way to teach English as a foreign language?

This free online course suggests some answers to these questions. It has been developed by the University of Southampton and the British Council, and draws on their exciting new joint online course, MA in English Language Teaching.

If you are a fully participating learner in “Understanding Language: Learning and Teaching,” you will be eligible to apply for a scholarship to cover part of the MA fees. You will find out more when you join the course.

The course takes place over four weeks. It will introduce you to some of the latest ideas in research and practice in language learning and teaching. We will:

  • Explore second language learning and what it means to learn language
  • Consider language classrooms and how teaching affects our language learning
  • Look at the use of technology in teaching, and its benefits and challenges for language learning.

Finally, we will investigate the case of English – the most widely learnt and taught language in the world. How has English achieved this position? What are the implications of the spread of English for policy, teaching and other languages?

The course includes quizzes, activities, discussions and videos filmed around the world. The videos feature experts such as British Council teachers, and staff and students at the University of Southampton.

During the course, you will hear different voices sharing their ideas and opinions – and we want to hear yours too. How do you use language in YOUR life? What is YOUR experience of language learning and teaching? Join us – to discuss effective language learning and teaching.

(Course Image ©ivosar/Shutterstock)

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Skip to 0 minutes and 10 seconds We live in a multilingual world where we have to deal with different languages every day of our lives. Language is a huge part of life here at the University of Southampton, where we have a thriving Modern Languages department and a large number of students who come from all over the world. Here at the British Council, a large part of our work is to do with learning English. What is language? How do we go about using language? How do we use language in our lives? How is meaning both made and understood? And what is hard and easy about second language learning?

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 seconds This four week course from the British Council and the University of Southampton will explore these and other questions, and with your help, suggest some answers. Language is not just language. It’s culture. An extremely liberating experience. Such an essential part of our life. We’ll also consider two specific case studies and think about how the classroom experience of language learning differs from how we learn language when we’re growing up. And we want to hear your voice, too. How do you use language in your life? What is your experience of language learning and teaching? We want to inspire you to not just learn more about language, but also to contribute to the many debates that are going on.

Skip to 1 minute and 30 seconds Join us to have a conversation about language and language learning.

What topics will you cover?

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

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Who is the course for?

This course is aimed at graduates with an interest in the development of languages and language teaching. It will give you a taste of postgraduate study in the field of English language teaching. However, no prior knowledge is required to take part in the course and we welcome anyone who is curious to know more about language learning and teaching.

Who will you learn with?

Lead Educators for the course 'Understanding Language.' I'm a senior lecturer at the University of Southampton (Darren) and I'm Head of English for Education Systems at the British Council (Sara).

Who developed the course?

University of Southampton

Southampton is a place for ambitious people keen to stretch their intellectual abilities and help change the world.

British Council

The British Council is on the ground in six continents and over 100 countries connecting the best of UK culture with a global audience and providing high-quality English language courses.

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Buy a personalised, digital and printed certificate

You can buy a Statement of Participation for this course — a personalised certificate in both digital and printed formats, to celebrate taking part.

$54.00