Online ExpertTrack in Language

Exploring English: Language and Culture

4.8 (860 reviews)

Improve your English language skills while discovering key aspects of British culture, from Shakespeare to live music, and more.

588 enrolments

Created by

British CouncilBritish Council

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Discover British culture while improving your English language skills

This ExpertTrack from the British Council will deepen your understanding of the culture and history of the UK and also help you improve your English and give you opportunities to practise at every step.

The three courses in the ExpertTrack look at some aspects of modern British culture as well as looking back to some of the roots of British culture in the work of William Shakespeare and in Magna Carta, the foundation of our modern democracy.

Over the three courses you will hear authentic English in interviews with people across the UK, you’ll do language activities based on the English you hear and you’ll share your own thoughts, experiences and opinions at every step.

Explore the role of music, literature, and the countryside in British culture

In the first course in this ExpertTrack, Language and Culture, you’ll investigate some central elements of British culture.

First, you’ll consider English as a global language. How did English become the language of business, education and popular culture in many parts of the world?

Next, you’ll look at the role of music in British culture. Who are your favourite British musicians and can listening to songs help you learn a language?

The British countryside is famously green but what do you know about the four countries that make up the United Kingdom? You’ll get you a flavour of all four.

Finally, who’s your favourite British author? You’ll look at some famous books and authors and share your own reading experience, from the UK and from your own culture.

Get an introduction to Shakespeare – and study some of his best-known plays.

William Shakespeare is Britain’s most famous and best-loved writer. In the second course, you will learn about Shakespeare’s life in Stratford-upon-Avon.

You’ll also look at five of his most famous plays, including Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet. You’ll hear from actors describing their thoughts and experiences of playing Shakespeare’s characters and you’ll learn more about Shakespeare’s lasting influence on the English language. You’ll even get the opportunity to perform a little bit of Shakespeare yourself!

Learn all about Magna Carta

This course will start by looking at the events that led to the signing of ‘the great charter’, Magna Carta in 1215. How did this document, almost forgotten about for hundreds of years, play such an important part in shaping history. You’ll look at its role in forming modern Britain.

You’ll also find out more about other struggles through the centuries – from American independence to the right to vote and from Gandhi to Nelson Mandela.

Key skills you will learn

  • Learn about the life and works of William Shakespeare.
  • Universal themes in Shakespeare's work
  • Shakespeare's influence on the English language
  • Find out about contemporary UK culture
  • Watch videos and listen to authentic English in use
  • English language practice activities
  • Find out how Magna Carta influenced the course of history

Learning outcomes

By the end of the ExpertTrack, you’ll be able to...

  • Investigate British life and culture, including English as a global language, the countryside, music, and literature
  • Explore the life and works of William Shakespeare and his enduring popularity
  • Investigate Magna Carta - the 800-year-old 'great charter' that shaped the world
  • Reflect on English in use and learn how to improve your English language skills

Experience required

This ExpertTrack is aimed at non-native English speakers who want to improve their English while learning about British culture. There are no formal requirements, though it would best suit those with intermediate English language skills; B1 on the CEFR or equivalent. The courses are delivered in English, including course materials, and interaction with tutors and other learners.

Getting started

This ExpertTrack would suit intermediate English learners who want to learn more about different aspects of British Culture. It would be particularly interesting to those curious to learn about British people, British music, and British literature – particularly Shakespeare. You’ll learn through watching videos of everyday English in use, to help you understand how British people speak the language. Alongside British culture, you will also learn practical English skills and practice speaking English with your coursemates and tutors.

ExpertTrack course overview

  • Course 1

    4.8 (460 reviews)

    Explore British culture - from music to the countryside - with the British Council to improve your English language skills.

    1 peer-graded assignment

    4 weeks

    3 hours per week

  • Course 2

    4.7 (394 reviews)

    Explore Shakespeare’s life, discover famous Shakespeare plays, and improve your English language skills with the British Council.

    1 peer-graded assignment

    6 weeks

    3 hours per week

  • Course 3

    5.0 (6 reviews)

    Improve your English language skills while exploring Magna Carta - the 800-year-old "great charter" that shaped the world.

    1 peer-graded assignment

    3 weeks

    3 hours per week

Prove you're job ready

Highlight the new, job-relevant skills you’ve gained and supplement existing qualifications with a hard-earned, industry-specific digital certificate – plus one for every course within your ExpertTrack.

  • Learn the latest in your chosen industry or subject.
  • Complete each course and pass assessments.
  • Receive certificates validated by the educating organisation.
  • Impress employers with learning outcomes you can add to your CV.
  • Make your career dreams a reality.

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How ExpertTracks work

Join an ExpertTrack to master new skills in your chosen specialist area. Work through a series of topic-focused courses at your own pace, and pass the final assessment to earn a digital certificate award which proves your expertise.

Join a free 7-day trial

Decide if the ExpertTrack is right for you with free access to the full suite of courses and assessments for a week.

Keep learning for $39/month

Pay a monthly subscription fee of $39 for as long as it takes you to complete the ExpertTrack. You can learn at your own pace and cancel at any time.

Earn digital certificates

Receive a certificate for every completed course and pass the final assessment to earn a digital certificate.

Become an expert

Use your specialist training to progress further in your career or build expertise in areas you’re passionate about.

World-class learning with 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.

Meet your instructors

I'm a teacher and online learning specialist for the British Council and I manage the development of all of our FutureLearn courses.

I live and work in Bratislava and have been teaching for more than twenty-five years. I’m the Social Community Manager in charge of the British Council’s global social media channels for learners.

I've taught English in Hungary, Romania, China and the UK. At the moment I teach in Shetland and I also write English language teaching materials.

I started teaching in Hong Kong for The British Council in 1998 then I lived in Italy with my family but I now live in the UK.

Hi - I'm from Britain but I live and work in Spain. I'm an English teacher, EFL materials writer and online courses coordinator.

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

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Start learning today - free 7-day trial

After your free trial you can:

  • Pay $39 per month to keep learning online
  • Have complete control over your subscription; you can cancel any time
  • Work at your own pace and set your own deadlines at every stage
  • Only pay while you’re learning; the subscription will cancel automatically when you finish
  • Complete online assessments to test your knowledge and prove your skills
  • Earn digital course certificates and a final award that you can share online, with potential employers, and your professional network
  • Keep access to the content of courses you complete even after your subscription ends


ExpertTracks are a series of online courses designed to help you master new skills in specialist areas. You pay a monthly subscription fee which includes access to all courses within the ExpertTrack, as well as assessments and the final digital certificate.

Each ExpertTrack comes with a 7-day free trial period. You may cancel your subscription at any time and your subscription will automatically cancel when you finish the courses and assessments in your chosen ExpertTrack.

Yes. All of our ExpertTracks come with a 7-day free trial. You may claim one free trial period per ExpertTrack.

You have seven days before you will be charged your first monthly subscription fee. When you join an ExpertTrack you automatically receive a 7-day free trial period. You can cancel at any time during the trial period and no payment will be taken from your account.

Please see our full refund policy here.

No, all of our ExpertTracks consist of fully online courses. This means you can take an ExpertTrack from anywhere in the world.

No. ExpertTracks are designed for you to master new skills in a specialist area. You will earn a digital certificate that proves your learning, but it does not carry accreditation.

If you’re looking for certified or accredited courses, many of our microcredentials offer university credit or professional certification.

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