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Exploring English: Language And Culture

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Get An Introduction To Shakespeare And Study Some Of His Best

Exploring English: language and culture

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

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

What Is The Course About

Exploring English: Language and CultureBritish Council

This English language course looks at British culture and examines English in use to help improve your English language skills.

Course description

  • On this online English course, you will learn about British life and culture, and improve your English language skills and knowledge.
  • Through short videos, you will learn about different popular culture topics as well as ways of life in the UK, including English as a global language, the countryside, music, and literature. Filmed in Great Britain, these videos will help you to develop your listening skills as you watch authentic examples of people speaking English. You will also examine some of the language used in the videos and analyse its use and learn how to use it again in practice.
  • This English language course draws on the British Councils expertise in online learning. It is one of two courses from its Exploring English course collection.
  • You can find out more about this course in Chris Caveys post for the FutureLearn blog: 3 tips for getting the most out of Exploring English.
  • This course is for non-native English speakers who have studied English to around intermediate level .
  • 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.

Intercultural Teaching In L2 Classrooms: Exploring English Language Teachers’ Beliefs

2018, International Journal of Humanities


Academics and university lecturers are cordially invited to present their research in English, Arabic or Persian: The Third International Conference on Current Issues of Languages, Dialects and Linguistics Ahwaz, Iran, 31 January-1February, 2019 For more information, please visit the conference website: WWW.LLLD.IR Optional Services for Non-Iranian Nationality Presenters A) Free Accommodation: accommodation will be in the university hostel or guest house, Accommodation will be for four days . Three or four participants will stay in each room). B) Free Transportation: All transportation from Ahwaz airport to the accommodation place, to the conference venue and vice versa will be free. C) Free Food: During 31st January & 1st February 2019 lunch and dinner will be free. D) Free Tour: One Day Shoustar Historical City Tour – 2nd February, 2019 will be free. E) Other Notable Free Services. Please feel free to write if there is any query. The Conference Secretariat, Pazhoheshgaran Andishmand Institute, Ahwaz 61335-4619 Iran Email: info@pahi.ir Tel: 61-32931199 Fax: 61-32931198 Mobile: 916-508-8772 WhatsApp Number: 916-776-5914

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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. Youll look at its role in forming modern Britain.

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

Theres A Genuine Love Of British Culture

Studying English Language And Culture, Travel To England Stock Vector ...

The video content at the core of the course was originally made as part of the GREAT campaign rather than specifically for the MOOC. We realised we had a source of rich, largely unscripted video content in areas likely to generate discussion. And, of course, it meant we were able to deliver quickly and more economically than if we had been starting from scratch.

Each of the six course weeks followed the same basic structure:

  • watch a video and look at some language

A sample discussion task might look like this:

Wed like you now to share your ideas about the British countryside. These ideas might be from your own experience if you have visited Britain, or they might be your ideas and impressions of the countryside and the climate from things you have read or seen. Share your thoughts with other learners.

The response in these discussions completely outstripped our expectations. In the introductory week, learners explained why they had joined the course. A far from atypical answer was:

Hi, Im _____ and Im from Brazil. Im a English student and I love British culture and accent. the dream of my life is to visit the UK one day and this course will help me to increase my knowledge about the English language and culture.

A search for the string British culture, especially brings up:

I want to find out more about British culture, especially about music, art and food

I love British culture, especially British music

I am fascinated by British culture, especially humor

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Explore The Role Of Music Literature And The Countryside In British Culture

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

First, youll 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, youll 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? Youll get you a flavour of all four.

Finally, whos your favourite British author? Youll look at some famous books and authors and share your own reading experience, from the UK and from your own culture.

What Will You Achieve

  • Reflect on different popular culture topics as well as ways of life in the UK
  • Explore English as a global language
  • Develop your listening skills as you watch authentic examples of people speaking English
  • Reflect on language in use
  • Develop language skills and practise using new language
  • Discuss the countryside, music, and literature

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The Mooc Is A Social Space

Commenters on the previous MOOC posts speculated that MOOCs would be most successful where they take on social learning elements. So how far did this happen on Exploring English: Language and Culture?

There was certainly much evidence of social interaction between learners particularly in the weeks covering music and literature. Its hard to give a flavour of these conversations without including long extracts, but here are a few summaries from the music week:

  • A long conversation about the Italian partisan song Bella Ciao threw up nine different versions of the song in several languages and a comparison of the lyrics and how they were translated.
  • A Brazilian musician exchanging tips and recommendations with learners from Japan, India and Albania and exploring stereotypes of Brazil and Japan.
  • A Russian listening to southern Italian reggae bands on the recommendation of a fellow learner: My son has the same opinion as my wife has. He is ten years old. That was great. I never would have heard about these bands if you had not told me. Thank you very much.

The statistics showing time spent on each step of the course suggest that learners did spend more time on the discussion steps than other activities and my feeling is that learner comments became part of the content something for others users to measure themselves against as well as comment on.

Key Skills You Will Learn

Exploring English: Language and Culture
  • 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

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What Did The British Council Learn From The Exploring English: Language And Culture Mooc

In todays post, Chris Cavey shares his experience of working on the British Councils flagship MOOC.

In the weeks since the British Councils first MOOC ended, Ive been asking myself what exactly weve learned from it. Did it work, as Nicola asked? My feeling is that it did not only in terms of the numbers of learners it attracted but in what it achieved within the parameters we set for it. If it wasnt the true ELT MOOC Nicola described, thats because we didnt plan for it to be that.

As a first step for the British Council into the MOOCosphere, Exploring English: Language and Culture was in many ways an experiment into MOOCs and their capabilities. But what it confirmed for us is that there is a tremendous interest in UK culture, especially when it is related to local culture and experience. On the language-learning side, we also confirmed that there is a massive appetite for English practice, but that MOOCs may be better suited to encouraging semi-structured language practice through writing in a social media space than heavy-duty language learning activities. At the moment the platform is quite limited in the types of activities that can be used to practise language, so we feel that our decision to focus on the discussion and comments areas was a success.

Not Everyone Enjoys Speaking English

In the first week of the course, we asked learners to share their thoughts on these questions:

  • How do you feel when you speak English?
  • How about when you write in English?
  • Does English feel different from speaking your mother tongue?

This was the most popular discussion on the course, with over 30,000 responses. A search for When I speak English, I feel gives an intriguing list of adjectives: afraid, amazing, anxious, awesome, awkward, better, blocked, comfortable, completely free, confused, connected, different, elegant, embarrassed the list goes on and on.

Remember that these are not beginners but people with at least B1 English. Its interesting the number of people who speak of their discomfort or ambivalence about speaking English. The most liked comment on the course was When I speak English I feel myself as a dog: Understand everything, but say nothing.

As someone who feels more comfortable expressing myself in writing, and has regularly felt the hot flush of panic at the most minor transactions in other languages, the following comment struck a chord with me:

I feel uncomfortable, I have a lot of grammar and lexical doubts. For this reason I dont like speaking, even thought I love this language and I try to improve it. Its very difficult to express an opinion in English compared to my mother tongue, because the expression, the words have different degree or nuance.

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Exploring English: Language And Culture By Numbers

For those of you who are interested in data, here is a selection of the key statistics from the course:

  • Exploring English: Language and Culture attracted 122,583 joiners more than 45,000 of those joined after the 1 September start date. This made it by some distance the biggest MOOC to date on the FutureLearn platform.
  • Of that 122,583, almost 74,000 actually started the course. This compares to an average take-up for FutureLearn MOOCs of around 56%.
  • Of that 74,000, 51% were social learners that is, they posted at least one comment in discussions.
  • 54,958 learners were active that is, they marked at least one step of the course as complete.*
  • 14,126 learners were fully participating that is, they marked more than 50% of the course as complete.
  • More than 350,000 comments were posted in the six weeks of the course.
  • The pre-course survey shows that learners came from 189 countries. The top ten, as you may expect, featured Spain, Brazil and Russia, and, as you may not expect, Myanmar and Ukraine.
  • 67% of respondents were female.
  • Around 30% listed teaching and education as their current area of employment.

* This figure is lower than average, which might have been caused by the interface: to complete a step, learners have to click on a button towards the bottom of the page labelled Mark as complete, which then changes from pink to blue. Perhaps a change of wording to make it more easily understood would affect this figure.

Discover British Culture While Improving Your English Language Skills

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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, youll do language activities based on the English you hear and youll share your own thoughts, experiences and opinions at every step.

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Free Online Course: Exploring English Language And Culture

Monday 18 May 2020 to Monday 15 June 2020

This course is for people who are learning English and who are interested in finding out more about British culture and improving their English language skills.

The course will use short videos to present a different topic each week, including English as a global language, the countryside, British music and literature. Filmed in Great Britain, these videos will help you to develop your listening skills as you watch authentic examples of people speaking English. Our experienced tutor will examine some of the language used in the videos and will draw your attention to useful points that will help you improve your spoken and written English.

The course does not follow a language syllabus but takes authentic English in context as its starting point. Short quizzes and discussions will help you measure your understanding and practise your English throughout the course. At the end of each week you will be asked to describe your own feelings and experiences about that weeks topic in a short piece of writing.

The course draws on the British Councils expertise in online learning. It is one of two courses from the Exploring English course collection.

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What You’ll Learn

  • To upgrade your skill online without visiting any special institution and staying at home.
  • To improve your language skills by delving into the British culture getting acquainted with the way of thinking of the British people and targeting both spoken and written language.
  • To practice your English discussing the mentioned topics, picking up new expressions, enriching your vocabulary and improving your grammar and pronunciation skills.
  • To speak more confidently getting in touch with different nations and have a real discussion with real people.

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How It Helps

Understanding and being able to speak in any language holds immense value, even more so when it is the global language. With the Exploring English: Language and Culture certification programme, candidates will be offered study material that has been developed under the expertise of the British council.

The Exploring English: Language and Culture course is structured to demonstrate listening and speaking skills, along with various British culture-related topics such as literature, music, and the countryside.

Besides, the use of videos as a mode of study material not only allows the candidates to develop these skills but also facilitates and helps them analyse their use and practice.

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