The Four Strands: Planning for Balanced Language Learning

focus 1
For teachers

This is for teachers who want to have a comprehensive understanding of the 4 Strands and receive feedback for both planning and practice. Reflection and identifying key points for future development are stressed through all course work. This is a very practical course that will help you in your current teaching context and build on any current teaching skills you have. 

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, teaching practice, 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 planning an activity, doing the activity in the classroom, then reflecting on the activity. 

Written assignments go through a cycle where the candidate works on the assignment twice and the tutor gives feedback twice. Written Assignments are marked as complete or incomplete. All written assignments must be completed

Teaching Practice:

There are three times in the course where the teacher will need to record a video of an activity done in class. Teachers will plan an activity like a written assignment (plan, teach, and reflect) and an activity of approximately 20 minutes for the tutor to give feedback on. Each teaching practice has a different focus. Teaching practices are marked as complete or incomplete. All written assignments must 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. 
  • -Be a language teacher with a class of at least 4 learners.
  • -Learners must be 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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Sound Practice