• University of Southampton
  • British Council

Understanding Language: Learning and Teaching

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

263,576 enrolled on this course

Understanding Language: Learning and Teaching
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

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)

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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

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

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 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.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • 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

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

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