Course Descriptions

 Grammar and Writing

In this mixed skills class, students reinforce their understanding of the grammar points taught by applying it in their writing.  Students also learn to self-edit for mistakes in grammar and writing conventions.  In lower level classes, students focus on writing paragraphs and will progress to essays in higher intermediate levels.  Students learn multiple genres of essay writing in preparation for the advanced levels where the focus moves to writing research papers of mixed genres similar to what would be expected of them in a university class.  

Writing Lab

This one hour lab that meets two times a week is designed to help upper level students improve both academic writing and digital literacy skills in a supported environment.  Students may use this time to get help and work on writing essays for class or college applications, doing research for writing, formatting citations and quotations, writing emails to professors or professional organizations, or improving their typing skills.

 Reading and Vocabulary

These lower level classes are structured to help students progress quickly in reading.  There is a strong focus on vocabulary building strategies and increasing passive vocabulary.   We recognize that a strong vocabulary base is essential for the developing reader.  The reading section of the course emphasizes reading for comprehension and increasing reading speed.  Students learn scanning and skimming strategies, recognition of rhetorical modes, and inference through intensive and extensive reading.  

Reading and Discussion

This is a more advanced reading class for upper levels.  In addition to continued work on reading and vocabulary strategies and speed, students also focus on critical reading skills such as identifying audience, bias, tone, mood, and purpose.  Students learn to express their opinions and support them through analysis of a text.  Classes read and discuss selections from authentic sources as well as selections from graded readers.  Novels are used in class for extensive reading.  Topics range from simple stories to academic readings across a variety of disciplines.

Listening and Speaking 

In these lower level classes, students become proficient and comfortable speaking English through practice in the following areas: English conversation patterns, formal and informal speeches, role-playing, debates, vocabulary development, group discussions and pronunciation practice.  Students are introduced to note taking strategies and continue to develop their listening comprehension strategies.  Context clues, inferences, and a focus on learning to decipher emotion and figurative speech are also addressed.

Academic Listening and Speaking

This upper level class has a strong focus on comprehension and speaking skills needed for success in lecture classes, seminars, and labs at an American university. This class focuses on refining note taking strategies and learning to use these notes to outline, summarize, discuss and develop critical opinions about lectures. Students are exposed to real-time university lectures as well as podcasts and other authentic listening opportunities to recognize lecture format and cues that signal important information, bias, and point of view. Students refine their oral ability through doing impromptu speeches as well as several formal, structured presentations in different genres. Pronunciation and fluency skills are also addressed.

Special Topics

These are classes that help students practice the skills they are learning in their core classes.  Instead of learning about English, students use their English to study topics, communicate with classmates, and access information.  Students are free to choose from several classes offered each session.

Examples of Special Topic classes:

  • Discussing Culture: A deeper examination of American and global cultures
  • Critical examination of an American novel
  • Pronunciation and Spelling
  • English Through Visual Arts and Photography
  • Writing Mechanics
  • Debate
  • Developing Fluency through Verbs
  • Test Preparation
  • Idioms and Slang
  • Advanced Vocabulary
  • English through Film