General English Course

Your General English Course at ELC Bristol

The General English course at ELC Bristol includes 21 full hours of classroom time per week plus daily homework.

General English Coursebook

Your teacher will give you a coursebook that forms the basis of the General English syllabus at ELC Bristol. They also often use a wide range of materials to provide a balanced curriculum and reflect students’ needs and requests.

General English classes at ELC Bristol generally work through one unit of the coursebook each week. They also do activities connected to the week’s themes, grammar and vocabulary.

General English Course Lesson Format

ELC Bristol teachers often ask students to work in pairs or small groups to increase their classroom talking time. They sometimes use short communication games to add variety and fun.

Teachers balance the objectives of each weekly programme to develop students’ knowledge and use of grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and the four skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing.

The General English course at ELC Bristol is flexible and varied. Our teachers often change the course programme after discussion with their students. Teachers display a weekly plan to keep students informed.

Course facts

  • General English Courses at ELC Bristol include 21 full hours of classroom time per week plus daily homework.
  • There are usually 6 or 7 levels from A2 Elementary to C2 Advanced+ and sometimes more than one class at some levels.
  • On main start dates and in July and August, we test you when you arrive so that we can place you in a class at the right level. At other times we will test and interview you remotely during the week before you arrive or even earlier.
  • Average class size: 11. Maximum: 14.
  • Normal minimum enrolment: 2 weeks.
  • You will normally receive an average of around 30 to 45 minutes of homework every day.
  • Your ‘main’ teacher will organise your overall programme with a clear focus on student learning and progress. You will have up to three teachers each day.

Your level

We run General English classes at all levels at ELC Bristol, from Elementary A2 to Advanced+ C2.

Each General English course at ELC Bristol is unique because we design it to meet the particular needs and requests of the students. However, there are set structures and vocabulary that you will study and specific skills you will develop at each level.

Example: Elementary Level General English Course at ELC Bristol

Grammatical structures

A full Elementary English course at ELC Bristol will typically include basic use of the present simple, present continuous, past simple and present perfect tenses and the ‘going to’ future. It will also cover imperatives, pronouns, prepositions, articles, countable and uncountable nouns and comparatives and superlatives.


Vocabulary ranges from the days of the week, numbers and colours, to food, family and the weather.


We introduce students to the phonetic alphabet and learn about word and sentence stress.

Writing skills

Skills that you may learn at Elementary level include: writing emails, filling in forms and describing places, people and buildings.

Speaking skills

Speaking skills include introducing yourself, talking about your family, your abilities and comparing places.

Example: Advanced Level General English Course at ELC Bristol

Grammatical structures

A complete Advanced level English course at ELC Bristol usually covers conditional sentences, the past perfect tenses, verb patterns, negative inversion, all the future forms and relative clauses.


Vocabulary usually includes phrasal verbs, idioms, collocation, metaphors and homophones and homographs.


Pronunciation work normally includes development of knowledge of the phonetic script, intonation, rhythm and weak forms.

Writing skills 

Typical writing skills at Advanced level include writing reports, formal emails and letters, articles and discursive essays.

Speaking skills 

Skills may include giving presentations, discussing issues, expressing opinions, summarizing information and speculating.

Your General English course tests and assessments

Every one to three weeks on Friday morning, your teacher gives you a test. This is to to make sure you have understood everything you have been studying.

One-to-one interviews with your main teacher

Your main teacher will interview you during your first week and then every three weeks throughout your course. This allows them to check on your progress and other aspects of your stay. They will ask you about your English course, your accommodation in Bristol and your general welfare. If you have any concerns about your level, you can speak to your main teacher or to the Academic Director or Director of Studies.

Teachers are constantly assessing students during classwork when they check their homework and also following the regular tests. ELC Bristol teachers also give feedback to their students during Friday interviews.

If a teacher thinks you should move up or down a level, he/she will discuss it with you and the other class teacher before making a decision.

We give you a written progress report before you leave if you are staying for more than two weeks. At the end of each term, you will take a progress test. If you are staying on for the next term, your main English teacher at ELC Bristol will also interview you. The aim of the discussion is to agree which level you should study at during the following term.

At the end of the course, you will receive an online exit test to show the progress you have made.

Your General English course self-study

Your main teacher will give you a self-study programme. This will help you with your own particular language difficulties. After school finishes in the afternoon, you can go to the multimedia / self-study centre to do extra study. Here you can develop your English using Studyzone and Guided E-learning on the school website. You can also use the many other books and materials we have on offer there.

If you would like help, a teacher will be in the self-study centre to assist and guide you from 3.45 to 4.45 pm. The Study Centre at ELC Bristol remains open until 5.15 pm each day, 4.45 pm on Fridays.

Conversation Club (optional)

This is an optional, free-of-charge weekly club. It usually takes place from 4 - 5 pm on Wednesdays at a local bar just 5 minutes' walk from ELC Bristol. A teacher is there to help you to practise your English conversation skills with other students in a relaxed atmosphere.

Job Club (optional - subject to demand)

Job Club runs after school in three-week cycles with a gap of a week in between. It aims to help students who are allowed to work in the UK to find a job. We also offer some 1:1 support to help students with CVs and cover letters.

Sample Timetable - 28 lessons (21 hours) a week

09:15 - 10:0010:00 - 10:4510:45 - 11:1511:15 - 12:0012:00 - 12:4512:45 - 14:0014:00 - 14:4514:45 - 15:3015:45 - 16:45
Grammar using a suitable, modern course bookListening / Pronunciation practice - can include work in the multimedia centreBreakReading skills & vocabulary buildingSpeaking skills & vocabulary buildingLunch breakMonday & Wednesday
Writing/exam practiceListening & study skills

Tuesday & Thursday

Speaking & pronunciationListening & vocabulary

At level B2 and above, subjects such as Business English, Music, Film and British Life and Culture may be covered on Tuesdays and Thursdays
Optional supervised self-study

Need help to decide which course is best for you? Get in touch.

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