The Big Things for the Little Ones-Teaching Young Learners (ELT)


Starting school is a huge first step in anyone’s life, not only for the child but the parents too.

Teachers of young learners (YLs) are well aware of the privilege and responsibility that comes with being a child’s teacher. The privilege is that of witnessing the child’s curiosity, vitality, and love of learning. The responsibility for the English language teacher comes with ensuring that the challenges of the language classroom harness and maintain that curiosity and vitality, allowing the child to acquire another language. Thus, keeping alive that interest as they step into the teenage years.

The Teaching Young Learner’s course is therefore designed to help educators with these challenges. It offers an insightful reminder of what children can and cannot do, along with a collection of practical, child-friendly ideas and techniques. It aims to help teachers build an engaging and meaningful learning environment, enabling their YLs to take more autonomous steps.

Rather than a set of tips, the course is based on an exploration of how children learn, to help understand why some techniques work with YLs, and others do not. Thus, empowering the YL teacher to become adept at analysing and evaluating activities before selecting them for classroom use.

The course is mindful of the changing needs and abilities of YLs as they get older, exploring what the teacher needs to do differently to meet their changing capabilities. The role of the English teacher is defined not only as a language instructor, but also as a guide. While children learn grammar, vocabulary, speaking and reading, they can also learn about themselves, the world, and how to interact with each other through stories, games, and other classroom activities.

Whether you are new to teaching English language to YLs, or an experienced practitioner in this field, the course offers food for thought, practical resources, and opportunities for reflection, discussion, and professional development. So together we can help make the YLs first steps into another language enjoyable, purposeful and meaningful – giving them the motivation to continue their journey.

This course is part of the Oxford Teachers' Academy (OTA), a collaborative programme offering continuing professional development for English language teachers. The courses have been developed by the Department and Oxford University Press.

This OTA course has been specially designed for teachers whose students do not speak English as their first language, and is intended for primary school teachers.

Programme details

Course structure:

The summer course comprises an introductory session and five content modules delivered over a four-week period.

There will be live tutor-led interactive workshops each week, as well as a number of engaging asynchronous tasks that you complete in your own time.

The asynchronous part of your course will allow you and your fellow participants to extend the learning from the live sessions. Typically, this will include follow up quizzes, extra readings and materials. You will also benefit from opportunities to discuss aspects of each session with your peers in pairs and in small groups, allowing you to reflect on how you might tailor the content of each session to your own teaching context. 

We expect you to devote at least 5 hours each week to your course. Outside the scheduled live sessions, you can study at times that are most convenient for you.

We have capped class sizes at 25 students to maximise opportunities for interaction. 


During your weekly live workshops, you will be expected to participate actively in discussions and exchanges with your tutor and fellow participants. You will be encouraged to continue your discussions through additional online interaction throughout your course.

The first day of your course will begin with an introductory session to introduce you to the structure, expectations, and goals of an Oxford Teachers' Academy course. You then follow a series of five modules over four weeks. Each live session will last around 90 minutes. All times are UK time (UTC+1).

A world clock, and time zone converter can be found here:

Introductory Session - Monday 28 June 3pm-4.30pm

Module 1: How children learn - Monday 05 July 3pm-4.30pm

  • Compare different theories of stages of development and learning
  • Consider ways in which to create ideal conditions for effective learning
  • Adapt support to stages of development and encourage autonomy.

Module 2: Speaking - Thursday 08 July 3pm-4.30pm

  • Differentiate between controlled practice and speaking
  • Identify practical stages that help make speaking activities enjoyable
  • Analyse the effects of teacher feedback on YLs’ ability to speak

Module 3: Reading - Monday 12 July 3pm-4.30pm

  • Connect how speaking skills can influence that of reading
  • Illustrate the importance of developing necessary conditions for children to be motivated to read
  • Explore different levels of reading that the child must develop for reading skills to develop

Module 4: Grammar - Thursday 15 July 3pm-4.30pm

  • Consider ways of teaching grammar without abstract notions of grammar
  • Explore qualities of an effective grammar activity
  • Emphasise ways of exposing YLs to grammar before focusing on conscious learning.

Module 5: Vocabulary - Monday 19 July 3pm-4.30pm

  • Focus on assisting receptive skills to enable productive skills
  • Illustrate methods that avoid reliance on translation and memorisation
  • Develop criteria for effective vocabulary activities.


Oxford Teachers’ Academy courses are certified by the Department for Continuing Education. In order to receive a Certificate of Completion, course participants must submit an Evidence of Learning Journal  which will be evaluated against established criteria. If all criteria are met, participants will receive an electronic Certificate of Completion within six weeks of submitting their journals.

You will also receive a University of Oxford Certificate of Attendance on successful completion of each OTA online summer course.


Description Costs
The Big Things for the Little Ones-Teaching Young Learners £300.00


The Department is, unfortunately, unable to offer any scholarships or reduction in fees for the Oxford Teachers’ Academy online courses at present.


Zarina Subhan


Zarina Subhan is a highly experienced teacher trainer who has been working in the field of ELT for almost 30 years. She has taught students of all levels in both private and government institutions in the UK and in a number of different countries. She specialises in critical thinking skills, student autonomy and CLIL, using these in her methodology to teach or train. She has worked with schools, colleges and universities, NGOs, policy makers, community leaders, and local government in a variety of training contexts.


Please click on 'Book Now' to reserve a place.

Subject to the availability of places, the closing date is Tuesday 22 June 2021.

Further course information notes will be emailed to participants shortly before the start of the summer school.

Any queries?

Please contact the Programme Administrator by email at

Alternatively, you can read through some frequently asked questions here.

Level and demands

It is expected that participants will have experience of teaching English language.

This course is intended for primary school teachers.

All participants must speak English to a minimum of a high B2 CEFR level of proficiency.

IT requirements

This programme is delivered online. To participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.