Exploring English: Language and Culture

  • Course level: All Levels


Discover British culture while improving your English language skills

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

Explore the role of music, literature, and the countryside in British culture

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

First, you’ll 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, you’ll 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? You’ll get you a flavour of all four.

Finally, who’s your favourite British author? You’ll look at some famous books and authors and share your own reading experience, from the UK and from your own culture.

Get an introduction to Shakespeare – and study some of his best-known plays.

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

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

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. You’ll look at its role in forming modern Britain.

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

What Will I Learn?

  • 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