Course components – Term 1

Qualifications

In term 1 you will work towards a nationally recognised speaking and listening certificate from NOCN (National Open College Network) if you are at Entry Level, or City & Guilds if you are in Level 1. We will continue to work on reading and writing but with a bias towards speaking and listening.

In term 2 you will work towards an NOCN or City & Guilds reading qualification. You will continue to develop your speaking, listening, and writing skills while preparing for this qualification. Your term 3 qualification is in writing, but the other skills are still developed.

Induction

You will learn about how to make the best use of Forest Gate Learning Zone and what it means to be a member of Newham College of further education. You will be aware of your rights and responsibilities in terms of  health, safety, equality, effective study, etc.

Diagnostic tests

Your initial assessment simply helped to place you at the right level.  The diagnostic tests, on the other hand, measure your your speaking, listening, reading, and writing abilities and highlights specific areas that you, as an individual, should prioritise (e.g. spelling). In some cases, diagnostic tests will indicate that you need to move to a higher or lower level despite your initial assessment.

Headway materials

Headway is a set of published ESOL materials by Oxford University Press. Headway is probably the mostly widely used published resource in the ESOL sector. There are paper-based reading and writing materials, online activities, as well as practical speaking activities (e.g. role plays). We aim to complete several units of Headway each term. This promotes holistic language development that integrates speaking listening, reading, writing, and grammar. Also, much of the language and skills needed in your NOCN/City & Guilds assessments are taught effectively in the Headway syllabus.

Public speaking (mainly term 1)

Every lesson will feature at least one student speaking in front of the class. This will include memorised poetry recitation, story telling, and presentations on topics chosen by learners. Class members will ask questions afterwards. Use of ICT (e.g. PowerPoint) is encouraged.

Shared reading (mainly in term 2)

We are currently purchasing class sets of ESOL readers. This means that everyday everyone in your class is reading the same pages of the same book and during lessons you will discuss your feelings about the story, predict what happens next, and study the grammar used in the book. You will also consolidate and increase your vocabulary.

Small group discussion

This is a vital component in becoming a more confident and fluent speaking in everday situations. You will be given topics to discuss and activities to complete that require you to speak with your classmates in pairs or small groups. You must come prepared to TALK! Do your best to use the language you already know as well as learning new things. If you want to just copy information from the board and do grammar worksheets, this course is not for you!

Role play

Be willing to act out situations you may encounter in everyday life in order to apply your knowledge and gain confidence.

Exam practice

In each term we will regularly do activities taken from past exam papers.

Homework/Application/Practice

If you went to a piano teacher and said, “I want to learn music but I don’t have a piano, so I won’t be practicing outside of lessons,” the teacher would say, “Sorry, I can’t help you.”  The same goes for learning a language. Attendance at lessons is only one part of what you must do improve. Therefore you must complete homework on time. You are expected to make time everyday for reading at home. You must also keep a list of new words to learn everyday – use a pocket sized notebook for this. The previous remarks about learning the piano is true here as well. If you spend all of your time at work or home speaking your mother tongue and only watch TV in your own language, you won’t progress. You must find opportunities to use and practice ENGLISH! Ask your tutor to suggest strategies and activities that you can use outside lessons. Make friends with your classmates and meet up with them to practice speaking. Importantly, students whose families are actively involved in their learning are always more successful than students whose families are not.

Collaborative learning and participation

Solving problems together with your classmates will cause you to practice using English and help you to remember what you have learned. Just listening to the teacher or completing worksheets will be much less effective. This means you will be receiving help from classmates and giving help to classmates. If you don’t like teamwork, you will not get the most out of this course. Each learner must have five ‘buddies’. These are classmates you feel comfortable exchanging contact details with. You will need to phone or email your buddy at various time during the term. You will also need to collect handouts for your buddies if they are absent.

Tutorials and ILPs

During the term you should have several one to one sessions with your tutor. In these sessions (tutorials) you and the tutor will identify and prioritise your individual learning needs. A record of your leaning history, overall strengths and weakness, targets, and achievements will be kept. This record is an ILP (individual learning plan). You should check your ILP regularly to remember your targets. You should inform your teacher when you think you have met a target.

Attendance

You must aim for 100% attendance. If you fall below the minimum attendance threshold you may be asked to leave, or you may not be welcome back next term. You must inform your teacher as soon as possible if you know you are going to miss a class. There will be negative consequences if you miss a lesson without informing (or sending a message to) your tutor beforehand. You are ot permitted holdiday/travel absence during term time.

Exams

You will have to complete several speaking and listening tasks during the last few weeks of the term. You must  attend and pass all of them in order to get a certificate. Your 100% attendance is vital during the exam period as exam sessions are not usually usually repeated. Dates and times will be made available closer to the time. If you doubt your ability to attend all the lessons during the last few weeks of the course you MUST tell your teacher now.

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