Monday 01 September 2014


A record number of people from around the world will be starting a new English class today [Monday] as the British Council launches its new course ‘Exploring English: Language and Culture’.

The course will be delivered on the FutureLearn social learning platform, a UK-based provider of Massive Open Online Courses [MOOCs] in the global higher education sector. The British Council’s new MOOC for English language learners has attracted the highest number of registrations for a FutureLearn course to date, and helped the platform reach new global audiences.

Sara Pierson, British Council head of English for Education Systems, said “The British Council has taught English around the world for eighty years, but this is certainly the biggest new class we’ve ever welcomed. The course is certainly experimental, but it brings people together in new ways, and that is what the British Council has always done. With students from Burma to Brazil, this will be a very diverse class. It’s great to be able to use new innovation to help so many people not just gain vital life skills, but also a better understanding of the UK.”

The six week course is aimed at intermediate-level English speakers and will use a mixture of videos, short quizzes and discussions to introduce learners not just to the English language, but also British culture. All the videos have been shot in the UK and will be authentic examples of people speaking English in every-day settings. Learners from all over the world will get to interact with each other while developing their English vocabulary, reading and writing skills. Teachers and course moderators will have direct contact with students, creating one big global classroom.

A big part of the course will be to encourage students to look at features of natural speech and think about how the English language works, and could be used, in their own use of English. Learners will get to share their opinions and listen to interviews. Learners’ written work will be assessed by their peers using social media tools.

Simon Nelson, CEO of FutureLearn said, “We’re thrilled at the success of the British Council’s first course on FutureLearn. There’s a huge demand for quality English language teaching around the world, and the British Council’s reputation in this field is naturally a big draw for our learners. ‘Exploring English: Language and Culture’ promises to provide vital language skills for work and everyday life, in a fun and engaging way.”

Notes to Editor

For more information about the course, and how to sign up, please go to:

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.

We work in more than 100 countries and our 7000 staff – including 2000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the Arts and delivering education and society programmes.

We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A core publically-funded grant provides less than 25 per cent of our turnover which last year was £781m. The rest of our revenues are earned from services which customers around the world pay for, through education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and supports prosperity and security for the UK and globally.

For more information, please visit: You can also keep in touch with the British Council through and

About FutureLearn

FutureLearn is a social learning platform based in the UK and providing free, online courses from world-class universities. Our leading British and international university partners join three cultural organisations – the British Library, British Council and the British Museum – and the National Film and Television School, to offer quality, higher education courses to anyone with an internet connection anywhere in the world. FutureLearn is wholly owned by The Open University, which has over 40 years’ experience in distance and online learning. For more information, visit