Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey


This 8-week fully online course will prepare you to take a greater role in the development and delivery of lessons for the English language classroom. By participating in the activities and assignments in this course, you will become familiar with the principles and practices of planning lessons and developing materials that are adapted to your particular teaching context. You will be given practice in designing lesson plans and classroom activities that effectively develop your students’ reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. You will also consider how best to adapt textbooks and how to incorporate authentic materials that take into consideration your students’ levels, interests and goals. Finally, this course is designed to give you the confidence to take more ownership of your teaching and to be a reflective practitioner in the field of language education.

Each of the weekly units includes a required reading component, one or more video presentations, structured practical learning activities, and a discussion forum designed to facilitate critical reflection on the central concepts and issues.

Course Goals

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify the basic elements of a lesson plan and build one of your own,
  • Articulate best practices for developing students’ reading, writing, listening and speaking skills,
  • Create activities that develop students’ reading, writing, listening and speaking skills,
  • Adapt textbook lessons and authentic materials to your teaching context and student audience,
  • Build confidence in your role as a language teacher and reflective practitioner, and
  • Enhance your own English language skills (for non-native speakers of English).


Meet the Instructor

Thor Sawin, PhD

Thor SawinDr. Thor Sawin is an assistant professor in the Graduate School of Translation, Interpretation and Language Education at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. He has previously held teaching positions in Lithuania, China, and South Carolina, and he received his PhD in Linguistics from the University of Southern Carolina in 2013.  He also holds a Master’s degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). He is a passionate linguist who strives to connect linguistic concepts and structures to language pedagogy. Additionally, he was awarded the Michael Montgomery Award for Excellence in Teaching from the University of Southern Carolina in April of 2013.




 “My classroom has become completely learner centered, where my role is to design the task that will develop their language skills. The learners have given a tremendous response to this way of developing language skills. Now I feel that I am teaching language rather than teaching about language.”

- Course Participant from India