The Four Strands: Planning for Balanced Language Learning

focus 2
For teachers

This is course is suitable for teacher trainers, academic directors, or teachers who do not have access to a class of learners (to complete Focus 1).  Candidates will explore how the Four Strands can be applied to courses not necessarily limited to their current teaching context. Critical analysis and of evaluation of activities and course plans are stressed through all coursework. 

Course Work

Candidates learn through a balance of input through videos and readings and work collaboratively online with other teachers who are participating in Focus 1 and Focus 2. 


Assessment is through the digital portfolio which includes the written assignments, projects, and a final exam. The digital portfolio can be downloaded and/or hosted on a private page on this website which can be used as part of a CV or resume for future employment. 

Written Assignments

There are 8 in total. Most written assignments involve first experimenting with a learning activity yourself and then evaluating and planning for how it would be used in a classroom.

The tutor reads and gives feedback like in Focus 1 and the assignments are marked as complete or incomplete


There are three times on the course where teachers need to complete a project. Projects focus on how the Four Strands can be planned for in schools or courses. 

Projects are completed in 3 steps (with feedback): creating a program to implement one aspect of the 4 Strands, suggesting a plan for maintaining the program, and a final creative piece that could be used in the real world to promote your idea (a brochure/video/PowerPoint to show parents, other teachers, or the director of a a school). All projects need to be completed. 

Final Exam:

There is a final exam that must be passed which covers core concepts covered on the course with regards to the Four Strands. A 90% pass is required. Unlimited retakes of the exam are allowed. 


  • -Have at least a high B1 level of English (approaching B2 at approximately IELTS Band 6) in order to participate in the coursework. 
  • -Have prior teaching experience of learners who are at least 8 years of age or older. 
  • -Purchase the following books for background reading:
    • Required reading:
    •      – “Teaching ESL/EFL Listening and Speaking” by Paul Nation and Jonathan Newton
    •      -“Teaching ESL/EFL Reading and Writing” by Paul Nation and Jonathan Newton
    • Optional reading:
    •      -“What Should Every EFL Teacher Know?” by Paul Nation

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