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English For University afternoon classes

This month I’ve been teaching the English For University course in the afternoons. My class is at an intermediate level and so learning academic skills in English has been challenging for some of them, but as they have worked so hard they have improved a lot. We have been working hard on various different things.

Firstly, as part of the course research project, the students are required to deliver an academic presentation. One of the main topics on this month’s course is advertising and my class are going to give a presentation on this topic. We have looked at some presentation language and we have studied what is needed to make a presentation effective. We have discussed how to guide the listener through a presentation by using signpost language and how to maintain the audience’s interest. In the beginning, the class were nervous about giving a presentation in their second language, but as we have worked on it they have begun to gain confidence and have become engaged in their preparation. Now the students are really excited about watching each other’s talks and their feelings of nervousness have been overtaken buy their feelings of anticipation.

In addition, we have been working on the class reader, which each class gets as part of the English For University Course. This course we have been reading and discussing The Hound Of The Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. For those of you who don’t know, the title this is one of the most famous Sherlock Holmes stories. Some of the class thought that they would not be able to read a whole novel in English and many of them have never read a whole book in English. The class have been reading sections of the book each week and we have been discussing the plot and the characters in class. Having read some of the book, the class found that they were able to read a book in English and actually enjoy it. They now look forward to the class reader lessons and some of them have even started reading ahead to find out what happens next. The book has built the class’s confidence in reading in English and this is important because at an UK university students are required to read extensively.

Finally, we have been working on the academic word list. Each week of the English for University course has an academic word list which introduces academic vocabulary to students. We look at the meaning of the words in different contexts, as well as useful collocations and how the words can be used in academic writing and discussion. We review the words regularly and this helps the class to learn and use them. Some of the words can be quite difficult but with a bit of time and lots of practice they have helped my class to communicate in a more appropriate academic style. Academic vocabulary can be quite challenging but the class have really enjoyed developing their academic vocabulary and they now have 40 academic words which they can use and understand confidently.

Overall, it has been an enjoyable course and my students have worked very hard and made a lot of progress. I’m really looking forward to teaching this course again.

By Ben


challenging – (adj.) difficult but in a good way

to deliver an academic presentation – (col.) to make or give a presentation

effective – (adj.) producing a result that is wanted or intended

signpost language – (col.) language used in presentations to help the listener to follow

engaged – (adj.) busy and interested

anticipation – (n.) a feeling of excitement about something that is going to happen

novel – (n.) a story book

plot – (n.)The series of events in a story, book, play or film

extensively – (adv.) covering a large area, or great amount

context – (n.) the situation in which something happens to help you to understand it

appropriate – (adj.) suitable, acceptable or correct in the circumstances

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