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Get your professional development certified with iTDi

Participants working toward a Certificate of Completion will be expected to spend about 20 hours on class work. This includes attending all four classes (live or through recordings), participating in class forum discussions and completing assigned tasks.

In addition to the above requirements, participants working toward a Certificate of Accomplishment will be expected to create a lesson plan including own language activities or write a short paper applying one topic of the course to their specific teaching context. They should expect to spend about 25 hours on coursework.

Philip Kerr course
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iTDi Advanced Course

Rethinking the other language(s)
in the English language classroom with Philip Kerr

The learner's own language (or L1) is an unavoidable feature in English language learning, but it is rarely mentioned in teacher training or teacher development programmes. With Philip Kerr, you'll explore the issues, prejudices and practical realities of own-language use in English classrooms. At the end of the four weeks, you will have a clear idea of the relevance of own-language use in your own teaching context, and you will have a good repertoire of teaching techniques and activities in which the learners' own language is exploited.

Live sessions:

  • Sunday November 8th – course participants only (60 minutes)
  • Sunday November 15th – course participants only (60 minutes)
  • Sunday November 22nd – course participants only (60 minutes)
  • Sunday November 29th – course participants only (60 minutes)

Time: 13:00 - 14:00 GMT

Enroll in the entire course for only US $59

Course + Evaluation + Certificate of Accomplishment US $89

Questions? Contact support@itdi.pro

If you are unable to join the class without scholarship support from iTDi, please apply using the form here



The learners' own language has been called the greatest asset that they bring to learning a new language. They use it in class, most teachers use it in class, and yet hardly anyone talked about it, until very recently. Share your own experiences and attitudes, compare them with others in the group, discover what research has to tell us and what practical ideas are available, and discover how you can make more principled uses of the other language(s) as a tool for learning English in your own teaching context.

Week 1: Where does the idea that we shouldn't use the learners' own language come from?

This introduction looks at how an English-only approach has come to be part of English language teaching orthodoxy. We'll look at the reasons that are usually given for banning the learners' own language and the research that challenges these beliefs. We'll explore the role that translation has played (and plays) in language learning and teaching, and the different kinds of activities that involve the learners' own language(s).

Week 2: Focusing on the teacher

Most teachers use the language that they share with their students some of the time, but they often do this as a 'fall-back' option and sometimes with a sense of guilt. How can we take a more principled approach? This week, we'll be looking at a toolkit of teaching techniques which use the learners' own language in various ways. A principled use of own-language techniques can result in the learners using more English, not less!

Week 3: Focusing on the learner

Discussions about own-language use tend to focus on what the teacher does and says. This week, we'll focus on the learners. What preferences do they have? How, in fact, do they usually use their own language in class and for self-study? Which bilingual tools do they use and which tools should they use? What options are available to the teacher when the students in a class come from different language backgrounds?

Week 4: Language focus and language skills

Building on the practical ideas of the previous week, we'll be exploring and sharing further practical ideas and resources for use in teaching grammar and vocabulary and for developing the four language skills.




Philip Kerr

Philip Kerr is a teacher trainer, lecturer and materials writer who lives in Vienna, Austria. His publications include the award-winning 'Translation and Own-Language Activities' (Cambridge University Press, 2014) and a chapter entitled 'Questioning 'English-only' classrooms: own-language use in ELT' in the 'Routledge Handbook of English Language Teaching' (forthcoming). Coursebooks he has written or co-written include 'Straightforward' and Inside Out' (both Macmillan). He is also the author of 'How to Write Vocabulary Presentations and Practice' (ELT Teacher 2 Writer). Philip is a consultant for Cambridge English Teacher and he blogs about technology and English language teaching.