June 2023 - Understanding learners

Find out what's happening across our TeachingEnglish channels in June 2023. We'll be focusing on the theme of 'Understanding learners', 'Inclusion' and 'Motivation'.


A young Mexican man in a dark blue shirt sitting in a classroom looking at the camera

What's happening in June 2023?

Whether you are a teacher or a teacher educator, this page gives you an overview of all the activity happening across our TeachingEnglish channels in June 2023.

For teachers this month, we'll be focusing on the theme of 'Understanding learners', focusing on the themes of 'Inclusion' and 'Motivation'. For teacher educators, the focus is 'Understanding teacher learning' and 'Supporting early career teachers' 

Find out about:

  • Current and upcoming free online training courses
  • Upcoming online events and webinars for teachers and teacher educators
  • Facebook and Instagram Live  

We have hundreds of lesson plans and classroom resources. Below are just a few to help you explore different days celebrated by the United Nations, examine some of the key themes with your learners and help them to develop their language and 21st century skills.

If you like listening to podcasts or reading current research and insights, we also recommend a range of podcast episodes, as well as publications related to this month's themes.


AwardOnline training


Teaching English to refugees and displaced learners

Make your classroom a trauma-sensitive learning environment. Help your learners to shine by working creatively with limited resources and by managing challenging behaviour positively.

In this free 4-week online course, you will learn about the following:

  • An introduction to trauma and its effects on the classroom
  • Teaching with minimal resources
  • Dealing with very challenging behaviour

Find out more and enrol on this free course

How to teach speaking

Develop your understanding of speaking skills and explore teaching techniques and activities which promote oral communication in the classroom for a range of ages and levels.

In this free online course, you will learn about the following:

  • Key terms and issues about teaching speaking
  • How to select and adapt speaking activities
  • The benefits of pair and group work for speaking
  • A range of language practice activities for speaking
  • How to adapt speaking activities for different ages and levels.

Find out more and enrol on this free course

How to motivate learners

Get learners actively involved in your lessons with effective, engaging learning activities they want to do.

In this free online course, you will learn about the following:

  • How to get your learners actively involved in lessons
  • The difference between types of motivation, and how you can work with them
  • What makes a motivating teacher
  • How to improve learners’ levels of motivation

Find out more and enrol on this free course

Dialogue iconOnline events and webinars


Motivating our learners - mini-event (8 June 2023)

This one day webinar event for teachers will feature three webinars with ELT experts from around the world. Attend up to three webinars on 8 June from 10:00am to 13:30pm (UK time). All three webinars focus on how teachers can motivate their learners. The webinars are for teachers of primary, secondary and young adult English language learners. 

Schedule and speakers

  • 10.00am UK - 11.00am UK: Should homework be humdrum? (Huma Hazna Riaz Ahmed)
  • 11.15am UK - 12.15pm UK: Motivating learners: the ideal L2-self and secondary learners (Jessica Cheman & Sam Zurbrugg)
  • 12.30pm UK - 13.30pm UK: Maximising teacher language (Katy Kelly)

Find out more and register for the event

Inclusion in the classroom - mini-event (20 June 2023)

This one-day webinar event for teachers will feature four webinars with ELT experts from around the world. Register once to attend up to four webinars on 20 June from 11:00 to 15:45 (UK time). All four webinars focus on how teachers can be inclusive in the ELT classroom. The webinars are for teachers of primary, secondary and young adult English language learners. 

Schedule and speakers

  • 11.00am UK - 12.00pm UK: Being updated to face any challenge (Sajani Somatunge)
  • 12.15pm UK - 13.15pm UK: Empowering asylum seekers and refugees through English language teaching (Beatrix Smith & Reena Lal)
  • 13.30pm UK - 14.30pm UK: LGBTQIA+ in ELT - resisting invisibility (Peter Fullagar)
  • 14.45pm UK - 15.45pm UK: Diversifying pronunciation tasks- quick and easy inclusive extensions (Helen Slee)

Find out more and register for the event

How can we help teachers alternate between languages in the classroom effectively? (27 June 2023)

In this webinar for teacher educators, Tony Capstick, Associate Professor of Language and Migration at the University of Reading in the UK, draws on his and others’ research to discuss instances of translanguaging in the classroom and suggests practical ways for teacher educators to help teachers make good pedagogical choices and generate learning benefit from the linguistic competences and diversity present in many (language learning) classrooms throughout the world.

Find out more and register for this webinar for teacher educators

Facebook and Instagram Live events in June 2023

Join our online community of more than 4 million teachers worldwide. We will be hosting weekly events throughout June via our Facebook and Instagram channels.

These 30-minute 'live' sessions are a great opportunity for you to join teachers from around the world. 

Engage with English language teaching experts and community members on a range of topics and themes to help you develop your teaching skills, and share ideas and questions with a vibrant global online community.

See what's happening in our community on Facebook 

See what's happening in our community on Instagram


Teaching iconFor the classroom

Lessons plans and activities on TeachingEnglish

See a list of resources below that you can use to focus on understanding learnersinclusion and motivation in your language teaching classrooms.

Picturebook series for primary and secondary classrooms

Developed by Gail Ellis and Tatia Gruenbaum, this series of four lesson plans uses picturebooks that act as a springboard for discussion around a number of social issues, including experiencing homelessness, relying on foodbanks and turning to crime and bullying to survive or save face. 

The general learning objectives for each lesson are to empower pupils to:

  • engage with social issues as presented through picturebooks to broaden their outlook of marginalised groups in society
  • develop English language skills 
  • develop critical thinking
  • raise awareness and understanding of the UNCRC and of their rights and responsibilities
  • understand the importance of individuals and the community showing kindness 
  • make responsible decisions when taking action in order to make a difference

Picturebook lesson plans for primary

It's a No-Money Day 

A picturebook to use with primary learners that explores the theme of poverty and the use of food banks. 

A gentle, poignant and powerful exploration of foodbanks and life below the poverty line. Mum works really hard, but today there is no money left and no food in the cupboards. Forced to visit the local foodbank, Mum feels ashamed that they have to rely on the kindness of others. Maybe one day things will be different but for now together they brighten up even the darkest of days.

Still a Family 

A picturebook to use with primary learners that explores the theme of homelessness. 

A little girl and her parents have lost their home and must live in a homeless shelter. Even worse, due to a common shelter policy, her dad must live in a men’s shelter, separated from her and her mom. Despite these circumstances, the family still finds time to be together. They meet at the park to play hide-and-seek, slide on slides, and pet puppies. While the young girl wishes for better days when her family is together again under a roof of their very own, she continues to remind herself that they’re still a family even in times of separation.

Picturebook lesson plans for secondary

Lunch Every Day 

A picturebook to use with secondary learners that explores the theme of bullying.

Every day Jimmy takes ‘Skinny Kid’s’ lunch at school. No way will he be seen in that FREE LUNCH line. When he’s sent to the office, Jimmy shrugs, “Whatever.” Until a surprising act of kindness stops him in his tracks. For a split second a door cracks open into Jimmy’s heart. Maybe he'll just kick that door wide open.

The Promise

A picturebook to use with secondary learners that explores themes related to crime and climate.

On a mean street in a mean, broken city, a young girl tries to snatch an old woman’s bag. But the frail old woman says the thief can’t have it without giving something in return: the promise. It is the beginning of a journey that will change the girl’s life — and a chance to change the world, for good.


World Day Against Child Labour (12 June)

Title of lesson plan: Children's rights

Age group: Primary learners

Level: Pre-intermediate and above

In this integrated skills lesson, pupils will learn about some of the rights listed in the United Nations 'Convention on the Rights of the Child' (CRC)*. First, pupils are introduced to the concept of 'rights' through a teacher-led discussion. Then they study a list of items (in the form of picture cards) and decide which ones are 'rights'. Next, they read some of the fundamental rights, share missing information and complete the gaps in their text. Finally, learners work in groups, using the ideas from the lesson to make a booklet about children's rights.

Title of lesson plan: Young market traders (lower level)

Age group: Secondary learners

Level: Intermediate and above

Young market traders is a complete set of teaching resources designed around interesting and unusual photographs with activities to activate your students' higher level critical thinking skills. This pack deals with the topics of travel, lifestyle, childhood and child labour and practises both listening and speaking skills.

World Refugee Day (20 June)

Title of lesson plan: The Windrush Generation

Age group: Secondary learners aged 12 and above

Level: Intermediate and above

The first wave of immigrants started with the arrival of a troop ship from Jamaica called the ‘Empire Windrush’. The people who came to Britain from the West Indies came to be known as the ‘Windrush’ generation. This lesson uses a very simple poem to convey the feelings of the Caribbean immigrants who arrived in Britain in the 1940s and 50s. Students will create their own poem, as well as discussing problems faced by immigrants and writing a letter, imagining themselves as new immigrants.

Title of lesson plan: Refugee Poster Project

Age group: Secondary learners aged 12 and above

Level: Intermediate and above

In this lesson, pupils learn what a refugee is by reading a definition, some statistics and some information about how refugees might feel. Learners are encouraged to put themselves in the place of a refugee and consider how they might feel at leaving behind their homes and belongings. They can also watch a short video produced by UNICEF, in which two brothers talk about their journey from Syria to Germany.


Podcast iconPodcast episodes


Teaching English podcast: How can I support my own and my students' wellbeing?

Confronted with challenging issues, students are looking to teachers for mental health support more than ever before. In this episode, we’ll look at British Council set of activities created as part of its Connecting Classrooms programme. These materials help teachers promote wellbeing activities for both you and your students. We speak to the teacher trainer, author and researcher Sarah Mercer and discuss how teachers can make their classrooms places where mental wellbeing is maintained, and even improved.

Listen to the episode and download the show notes

Teaching English podcast: How can I teach refugees, migrants and IDP's effectively?

There are in excess of 85 million displaced people in the world, with children under the age of 18 constituting around half this total. Whether a refugee, migrant or internally-displaced person, developing language skills can play a huge role for these individuals – and the host communities in which they live – to withstand challenges, recover from crisis and overcome barriers.

Listen to the episode and download the show notes

Teaching English podcast: How can I ensure my teaching is inclusive?

All children have the right to learn, but often they are not given the opportunity to do so. Even when they are present in the classroom, they are not fully included in the learning. In this episode, teachers involved in the British Council’s innovative Teaching for All programme in South Africa will share approaches which can promote inclusivity, particularly in diverse classrooms communities. Then leading inclusivity expert Anne Margaret Smith will then share her ideas about how these strategies can be adapted and adopted in your teaching context.

Listen to the episode and download the show notes


Read iconPublications, research and insight

Beyond resilience: Facilitating learning and well-being in the refugee language classroom

This multi-disciplinary study explored language teachers’ contributions to the Psychological Well-Being (PWB) and educational outcomes of refugee-background students (RBSs) in a University of Sanctuary setting.

Download the study

Language for Resilience: Cross-disciplinary perspectives

This report talks about the role of language in enhancing the resilience of refugees and host communities. This Language for Resilience Research Hub publication extends the original research findings from 2016 by bringing together responses from a group of specialists working in each of five areas: home language and literacy, qualifications and training, social cohesion, trauma, and institutional strengthening. This publication is free to download in pdf format.

Download the report

Innovations in English language teaching for migrants and refugees

The focus of this volume is on English language teaching for migrants and refugees. Edited by David Mallows, this collection brings a wealth of ideas and practices in English language teaching, and aims to stimulate new thinking and experimentation, by providing accounts of innovative experiences from a range of national and international contexts. It is written from the perspective of those who work with and teach this diverse group of adults and children.

Download the publication

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Research and insight

Browse fascinating case studies, research papers, publications and books by researchers and ELT experts from around the world.

See our publications, research and insight