Understanding Language: Learning and Teaching

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

Understanding Language: Learning and Teaching

  • Duration 4 weeks
  • Weekly study 3 hours
  • Certificate Available

Why join the course?

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 other languages?

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 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)

Download video: standard or HD

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

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?

Sara Pierson & Darren Paffey

Sara Pierson & Darren Paffey

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.

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.

$49.00