General English and Exam preparation classes
Our syllabus is primarily coursebook driven, but supplemented with a wide range of other materials to provide a balanced curriculum which takes into account the needs and requests of students. Generally speaking, classes work through one unit of the coursebook a week, which is complemented by other activities and exercises in keeping with the themes, grammar and vocabulary of the week.
The teachers have a clear idea of the syllabus they will be following as they normally choose the coursebook that they will be using on each course themselves after having spent a couple of days teaching the new class and getting to know them. The coursebook should be one that none of the students have used before and which is suitable for all the students in terms of level and subject matter. It should also lend itself to the structure of our timetable in terms of the division of skills, grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. Exam classes always follow a coursebook designed specifically to prepare students for the relevant exam.
The syllabus appears on paper in the form of the Syllabus Planner, which has an overview for the benefit of students staying for the whole or most of the course, and weekly proposed lesson plans, which are structured to offer a balanced and varied programme covering grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, study skills, exam preparation (if applicable) and work on the 4 skills each week while also taking into account the continuous enrolment element of the courses and enabling the teachers to cater for individual student needs and requests.
The plans are therefore designed to be flexible, include an area to highlight learner outcomes and are underpinned by discussion with students in the Friday interviews and close liaison between the teachers themselves. Copies are given to the DOSs (Directors of Studies) and teachers sharing the same class each Friday afternoon for the following week.
Teachers are reminded not to start new work before the new students arrive in class each week.
Teachers are also made aware of the fact that they need to make sure materials and activities are suitable for both under and over 18s when they have students of those ages in their class.
Generally, the structure of the day is:
Lesson 1: Grammar, Listening and Pronunciation
Lesson 2: Vocabulary and Reading
Lesson 3: Mondays and Wednesdays: Writing
- Tuesdays and Thursdays: A2 – B1 classes = Speaking and Listening
- Tuesdays and Thursdays: B2- C2 classes = Topic-based lessons (see below for details)
All of the lessons include speaking practice and students sometimes do writing in the morning. Vocabulary work can also appear in most lessons and students normally study and discuss a DVD once a week, usually in lesson 2.
Exam classes use special coursebooks in which most of the exercises help to prepare students for their exams but more explicit exam practice is often done on Mondays and Wednesdays in lesson 3 and the focus on the exam increases in the other lessons as the course progresses.
Teachers pin up a weekly plan of work on the classroom wall to keep their students informed of what they will be studying each week and to provide an overview of what the class has already studied for any new students arriving. This may well be referred to by the teacher in subsequent lessons.
Special topic lessons (Tuesdays and Thursdays lesson 3 for B2 – C2 students only)
We have materials in place for all of these special topic classes, but teachers are free to tailor or supplement them to meet the needs/requests of each class. The materials have been designed and developed to cover a wide range of topics, enabling students to develop their English skills and extend their vocabulary in a balanced and flexible way.
Students can request the teacher to prepare classes on the following subjects
- Conversation and Pronunciation
- Academic English
- British Life and Culture
- English through Music and Song
- Film Studies
- English Literature