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Types of ESL Programs

General English / Intensive English Programs

In these courses you will learn all aspects of English, including the practical skills of speaking, listening, reading, writing and cultural understanding that can be applied to everyday life.

Schools usually offer different levels of each class, from the complete beginner to the highly advanced. Typically, courses are from Monday to Friday with 3 - 5 classes each day, averaging a total of 20 to 30 hours per week. Classes are between 40 - 60 minutes long with 5 -10 minute breaks in between.

Most schools have a placement test to find the students' individual ability levels on the first day. This test sometimes includes an interview to determine speaking ability. Class instruction begins after finding the appropriate level of instruction for each student.
In the higher levels of class, college skills (Writing Reports, Lecture Note Taking, Library Usage, etc.), TOEFL Prep, and other electives are offered to prepare students for further education at a university or college.

Pre-Academic or Pre-University Programs

Pre-academic or pre-university programs prepare students to meet the language requirements to study at a university in an English speaking country. Students in such programs often need to improve their English before they can study with native English speakers. Many others attend these programs to learn what projects and behaviors are expected of them while attending school abroad. Pre-academic programs are often intensive, which means they are short (a few weeks or months) but demanding. Classes usually meet for 20-25 hours per week. These programs teach general academic and study skills, as well as vocabulary, grammar, reading and writing, and listening and speaking.

Intensive programs prepare participants for coursework at the university level. The curriculum primarily consists of developing those skills that students will need in order to excel. In the reading/writing class, students learn how to read textbooks, newspaper and magazine articles; choose and develop a topic for a paper; organize their writing; and write different kinds of papers, including a research paper. In listening/speaking class, they will learn how to listen to and take notes on a university lecture, deliver a speech, improve their pronunciation, and lead a class discussion.

Exam Preparation Programs

Exam Preparation Programs teach useful skills and strategies for taking the English language tests required by universities or colleges. For example, students can prepare for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the Cambridge Exam, and the IELTS Exam (International English Language Testing System) in these programs. Nonnative applicants must achieve a minimum score on a required exam before being considered for admittance to most colleges and universities.

Exam preparation classes teach the English grammar, vocabulary, listening, speaking, and writing skills required for university admission. Students also learn the format of the exams and test-taking strategies to improve their scores. Students take practice tests, which include a pre-test at the beginning of the semester. A post-test at the end of the semester helps students test their abilities to use the skills and strategies that they have learned.

English for Specific Purposes (ESP) Programs

English for Specific Purposes (ESP) Programs are designed for students who want to improve their English in a certain professional field of study normally taught at university. Different from pre-academic and university ESL programs, which teach basic academic skills for all fields of study, ESP Programs teach the English needed in specific academic subjects, such as in Economics or Psychology. For example, a student who hopes to study Economics in the future would take an ESP class entitled "English for Economics"; and a future psychology student would choose the ESP class "English for Psychology." One very popular ESP program is "Business English."

Ex) Business English Programs
teach the formal business vocabulary and communication skills for doing business in English. Business English programs are often intensive, with classes lasting from a few weeks to a few months. Business English programs help students develop their critical thinking skills, cultural awareness, reading and discussion skills, and knowledge of international business practices.

Students in Business English classes are often executives that need English, the international language of commerce, to help their business communications. Many other Business English students are university students that hope to increase their chances of getting the international business jobs they want by improving their English skills. In Business English Programs, students learn strategies for reading newspapers, magazines, and business reports. They also learn how to write formal business letters such as sales reports and memos.

Students improve their listening and speaking skills by listening to radio and television news reports and participating in small-group discussions. As in all ESL programs, grammatical correctness in both spoken and written English is both taught and practiced.

English Plus Activity Programs

This type of course combines English study in the morning with activities that the student enjoys in the afternoon. There are many types of activities to choose from, including skiing, snow boarding, and other winter sports, as well as horseback riding, tennis, golf, aqua sports, museum visits, attending musicals, flower arrangement, and cooking.

Students enjoy speaking about their interests and these activities while further improving their language abilities. Even those students who do not have confidence in their English abilities can excel in this type of course. The biggest benefit of this course is being able to have fun doing the activity that you enjoy while learning English.

Vacation Course

This course is the best option for those people who are only able to take vacation during the summer or at select times during the year. Course length varies from 1-10 weeks, with super short courses also available. There are courses specifically for middle aged students as well as those for senior citizens. There are many opportunities to take a break and interact with other students of the same generation who come from many different countries.

Courses are also available during the Easter and Christmas seasons. The course content is similar to the he English Plus Activity Course. The course...the "English Plus Activity" course, where language study takes place in the morning, then students participate in activities during the afternoon. This course is recommended for those people who want to have fun while studying English and those who wish to experience a type of overseas travel different from the norm.

Private / Teachers Homestay

This is a special course where students do not commute to school, but receive individual English lessons while staying at the teacher's home. The teachers have both the necessary qualifications to teach ESL as well as teaching experience. Although the formal lessons are usually 3 to 4 hours per day, students will have many additional opportunities to learn practical English informally through daily life experience with a native family.

The curriculum is usually made according to your preferences and through discussion with your teacher. For example, if the student wishes to emphasize listening or speaking, then a suitable curriculum can be made. When the days lessons are over, you will have free time to do what you like and spend time with your host family. This is the ideal course for intensively learning practical English in a short period of time.