Section 2 – Life Chances

Units 5 – 8 Opportunity & Children

Consolidate your learning – Web resources for self-study

Put it all together and take a free course

The courses below are produced by the Open University in the UK, a world leader in open and distance learning. They are not language development courses, but instead focus on the topic or SDG you have learned about in Units 5 – 8. They give you an opportunity to put all of your language skills into practice and notice new vocabulary that you have learned in an authentic environment. You can begin at any time and work at your own pace. You do not need to create an account unless you would like a free statement of participation on completion.

Completion of one (or more) of these courses is entirely voluntary, and will depend on your own circumstances. The courses are free, and available at any time. You can gain a free statement of participation from the Open University on completion of the course.

Understanding economic inequality (6 hours)

This free course explores the causes of economic inequality in modern times and its consequences for success for the economy. The course will encourage you to reflect on your personal experiences of inequality before looking at how the issue is approached in economics. You will study some of the different dimensions of economic inequality, and learn about the main debates on its role in achieving economic success. You will also have the opportunity to put yourself in the shoes of a prime minister and explore what can be done to make economies less unequal.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand what economic inequality is
  • know what determines economic inequality
  • understand why inequality matters for society
  • know some of the proposed solutions to inequality
  • understand some of the measures of economic success.

Children and violence: An introductory, international and interdisciplinary approach (20 hours)

Children are subject to many forms of adversity, for example, poverty or ill health. However, a significant form of adversity experienced by children in many different regions of the world is violence. The form of violence against children varies widely and is hugely disparate. In this free course the focus is on three different environments where children experience violence.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • discuss the ways in which children are the victims of violence and the multiple effects that violence has on children, encompassing not only physical pain and injury but also psychological damage
  • examine the various roles that children play in relation to violence, as victims, perpetrators, witnesses, colluders and peacemakers
  • analyse the relationship between children as victims of violence and as perpetrators of violence
  • analyse the role of children in armed conflicts and discuss why children are not only victims in war
  • examine the ways in which children and their communities have attempted to end violence in their lives.

Lottery of birth (12 hours)

Birth is a lottery. Where, when and to whom you are born and the society into which you are born will influence your life chances. This free online course will look at both the big picture of the ‘lottery of birth’ and the smaller, human stories. You will examine the inequalities of birth, particularly being born rich or poor and being born female or male.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • critically analyse the complex challenges presented by the ‘lottery of birth’
  • demonstrate greater insight into the ‘lottery of birth’ using an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on demography, development studies, health studies, family studies, sociology, comparative social policy, history, political science and economics
  • engage in informed debate about how individuals, individual countries and global organisations have responded to demographic changes and to inequalities both between and within countries.

The Stories We Live By

A free online course in ecolinguistics, by the University of Gloucester, UK

‘Stories are the secret reservoir of values: change the stories that individuals or nations live by and you change the individuals and nations themselves’ (Ben Okri, 1996. Birds of Heaven, p. 21).

This course by Arran Stibbe, Professor of Ecological Linguistics at the University of Gloucestershire, UK, looks at the language used in advertisements, lifestyle magazines, economics textbooks, surfing guides, Native American sayings and Japanese animation. In each case, the question is whether the stories that underlie texts encourage us to care about people and the ecosystems that life depends on. There are nine parts to the course, each with a video, notes and exercises, and you can access some or all of them depending on your interest. If you would like a certificate of completion you need to register for the course, otherwise registration is not necessary.

Language tools

Vocabulary extension – Use the Oxford Learner’s Word Lists (Oxford 300 and Oxford 5000)

The Oxford Learner’s Word Lists are designed to help English language learners at any level focus on the most important words to learn. Based on an extensive corpora (i.e. collections of written and spoken texts) and aligned to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), the word lists have been researched and developed together with vocabulary experts, and cover the words that you will come across in class and in your study texts.

The Oxford 3000 is a list of the 3,000 core words that every learner of English needs to know and includes words from A1 to B2 level. The Oxford 5000 is an expanded core word list for more advanced learners of English. It contains an additional 2000 words at B2 to C1 level.

Tools to use with video

VoiceTube – The video platform VoiceTube is a free site with over one hundred thousand videos with full subtitles that are highlighted as you listen so that you can listen and read at the same time. This is a self-study tool that allows you to listen and study each individual sentence within a video:

  • The videos are organised by level – Choose B2 or C1 from the left-hand menu before you begin.
  • Click on any of the subtitles to jump to that part of the video.
  • Select any of the subtitles and click on the ‘repeat sentence’ pair of arrows on the bottom left of the screen to hear the sentence repeated.
  • Turn off the subtitles by clicking the button in the bottom left of the screen if you prefer
  • You can take and save notes about the vocabulary within the script.
  • You can listen and record yourself saying sentences from the script then compare to the original
  • Click on ‘channels’ in the left-hand menu to select videos by topic.

TubeNote is an app for note-making, to use while you are watching YouTube videos.

YouGlish is a tool for developing pronunciation. Just search for any word or phrase and YouGlish will find an example in a YouTube video and take you directly to the part of the video where the phrase appears. You can then listen to the phrase in context and see the sentence that it appears in.

TubeQuizard is a self-study tool that allows you to select level, the subject you want to study, the type of film and even the accent you want to learn. TubeQuizard will generate activities for you based around the subtitles. You can then listen, fill in gaps and check your answers. There is also a search engine so that you can type in a specific phrase and find a video that contains that text.

Publish your writing

Letters to the Earth is a website where people from all over the world of all ages are submitting and sharing their letters. You can find resources to help you write and letter on the website as well as details about how to submit.

Develop your teamwork & language skills

Participate in the Earth Day digital escape room, unlocking clues and solving puzzles to learn about Earth Day.

Use a grammar resource

Road to Grammar is a comprehensive online grammar resource.


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Develop Your English Copyright © 2024 by Susan Robbins is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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