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Foundations of Language Coaching

This is the first in a series of online courses for language coaches. It is the pre-requisite for all other language coach courses.

Are you a new language coach (someone who supervises others' language and culture learning) who needs to know how to get started helping your learners make better progress in language learning? Do you need practical ideas to keep them motivated, find learning procedures that work for them, and make better use of their time and effort?

This course helps new coaches get off to a good start and equips more experienced coaches with a deeper understanding of the language learning process and ways to assist learners in each stage of their learning journey. 

The course requires approximately six hours per week for five weeks (10 sessions, 2 per week), 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 Language Coach Course Descriptions for the three online courses for language coaches.)

Course dates for 2020

  • Feb. 10 – Mar. 14
  • May 4 – June 5
  • July 20 – Aug. 21
  • Oct. 12 – Nov. 13


  • $200 


This course consists of 10 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.

Partial List of Topics

  • Getting started in becoming a more effective coach: What do you need to know and do?
  • Being there for your learners: Coaching with heart and mind
  • The big picture: Essential principles and practices for effective learning
  • Understanding language proficiency and how to guide learners toward proficiency
  • Dealing with learner variables: personality, aptitude, motivation, anxiety, risk taking
  • Why adults are not “big kids” but have unique learning needs
  • Understanding language learning methods to find what works best for your learners
  • Combining language and culture learning
  • Managing the learning process
  • Learning resources for coaches and learners


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”). We will offer "Learning Ministry Language" in Fall 2020.

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

A: Many 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. We also offer a course on intercultural communication for field personnel of all stages in their careers called "Cross-Cultural Living and Ministry". 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.