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Foundations of Language Coaching

This is the first in a series of online courses for language coaches.

This is the first in a series of online courses for language coaches, who are usually on-field personnel responsible for new and veteran language and culture learners. Participants gain basic principles and insights to draw upon as they guide their learners through the language learning process. The course requires approximately six hours per week for five weeks, and it does not require being online on specific days or at specific hours. It is a prerequisite for taking additional ICCT online courses for coaches.

Printable pdf version of Foundations Description.

Printable pdf version of Language Coach Courses Descriptions and Registration Form for the three online courses for language coaches.)


This course is for two audiences: (1) those who are new to language coaching and need to learn the basics in order to get off to a good start and (2) those who have experience in language coaching but need a deeper understanding of the language learning process and the ways they can assist their learners in each stage of their language learning journey. While there is some overlap with some sessions in our previous one-week Language Coach Workshops, much of the content in this online course is new.

2019 Schedule

  •  January 14 - February 15

  • May 20 - June 21

  • July 29 - August 30

  • November 4 - December 6


  • $250 ($100 discount for those who have attended a one-week ICCT Language Coach Workshop)


This course consists of 15 sessions of approximately 2 hours each, to be completed over 5 weeks. In each session there will be one or more videos (usually narrated PowerPoint presentations), short readings, forums and/or applications questions to be submitted for feedback, and resources for further exploration. Participants interact frequently with the instructors and with each other.


  • Becoming a more effective coach
  • Appropriate goals for learners
  • Language proficiency and proficiency-oriented learning
  • Coaching with heart and mind
  • Better learning requires better learners (learner strategies)
  • Learner variables: learning style, personality, motivation, anxiety, risk-taking, etc.
  • Coaching learners with special needs
  • How beliefs and assumptions shape learning
  • Essentials for effective language learning
  • Differences between first and second language acquisition
  • Different approaches or methods for language learning
  • Organizing learning
  • Learning a new culture
  • Conversation: what it is and how to learn it
  • Managing the learning process: resources
  • Planning and implementing learning
  • Evaluating learning


Foundations Registration Form (docx)

All Coaching Courses Registration Form (docx)

Q & A

Q: Will I have to be online at a specific time each day?

A: The work can be done anytime that is convenient for you.

Q: Will I have to work on the course every day or can I devote one day per week to my course work?

A: The course content is divided into segments, three per week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday). However, you may work on the course less frequently if you need to do so. We strongly suggest that you give time to the course on at least one day each week.

Q: Will I need to be online the whole time I'm doing my work for this class?

A: You will not need to be online for everything you do, but the exact amount of time will vary from day to day. If Internet access is a problem, we can probably give you the videos by another means, such as via Dropbox.

Q: Will I need extremely fast and reliable Internet access?

A: Although it’s very helpful to have good Internet access, we realize this is not always possible. If you think this may be a problem, please email us so that we can discuss your situation.

Q: How many participants will you accept for each class?

A: We can accept no more than 20 participants in each class, which allows us to give lots of individual attention to each person.

Q: You say that there is a lot of interaction with the instructors and other participants. How does that work?

A: In each of the 15 sessions there is a forum, which is an opportunity to discuss the topic for that day. This is done by writing your thoughts, which are shared with everyone in the class. You can ask questions and you can respond to questions or comments from others in very much the same way you would hold a discussion with a small group of people. One our of instructors also jumps into each daily forum — usually multiple times — to write comments on issues you bring up. In addition, at the end of each week you will respond to an applications question in which you apply what you are learning to some aspect of your individual coaching situation, and an instructor will give personal feedback on your response.

Q: What have previous course participants said about this course?

A: One of the participants in the fall 2013 course wrote the following:

This is the first time I have taken an online course, and I have loved it! I think there are some real strengths to the online format. I have been to 3 Language Coach Workshops over the years and always enjoyed the sessions and the personal interaction with the other participants. Honestly, the first time I heard about the SLA and the Language Coach Workshops going online, I thought they would not be as good as the face-to-face classes and workshops. I was actually sad about it! However, after going through the course, I think I see things very differently. One thing that is so helpful about the online format — especially the discussion questions and the forums — is that each lesson requires you to be a more active participant in what you are learning. Having to reflect on what you have read and then apply it to your own situation is simply a great teaching and learning method. . . . It solidifies the information in your memory.

The personal feedback on specific questions or issues was very helpful. We have all been given a lot of personal attention on issues and problems relevant to us. These comments have been so helpful. Also I think spreading the course out allows us to take in the information at a more appropriate pace, or at a pace that is easier to handle and more conducive to getting things into long term memory. Having a “bite-size” topic to work on each day is really helpful.

I feel so much better prepared to help learners after going through this class. It gave us a real “tool-box” of readily available information and ideas we can use in a variety of situations. We were also given lots of resources on each topic.

Q: I have attended several of your week-long Language Coach Workshops. Should I also take this course?

A: There is some overlap in content, depending on the specific workshops you attended. But there is also a great deal of new material in this online course. We encourage you to take this course in order to fill in gaps in your learning and to provide a strong foundation for taking additional ICCT courses for language coaches.

Q: How frequently do you plan to offer this course?

A: We plan to offer this course at least twice each year, or as needed.  

Q: What are the other courses you offer for language coaches?

A: We also offer "Listen Up and Speak Out: Helping Learners Develop Oral Skills" (prerequisite: Foundations of Language Coaching), and “Learner Assessment” (prerequisite: “Foundations of Language Coaching”).

Q: In addition to courses for language coaches, what other online courses do you offer?

A: Six times each year we offer Second Language Acquisition courses which equip language learners with the essential knowledge and skills they need to become more efficient and effective learners. Visit  www.wheaton.edu/icct for more information about dates, costs, and course content. Be sure to take a look at our FAQs document that will tell you more about the courses.

Please email us with your questions.