The profile of the English language learner is changing, those that come to our school of English aged 17 and 18 will no longer be struggling pre-intermediate students looking to banish the ghosts of grammatically intensive classes and insecurities plaguing their communicative ability. As teachers we will no longer be able to merely put learners into pairs give them a topic and watch them enjoy the process of learning. Surely an over simplification of the role of the teacher in the English language classroom process I hear you say, and a statement that does not do justice to the sophistication of English Language Learning pedagogy, methodology and the years of research that has gone into answering the fundamental question: How do people learn English? And yes you are correct, however, it does serve the purpose of illustrating the point that what previously has been the norm, may not be sufficient to meet the need of the next generation of learners who are coming to our school of English to improve their level.
The reason for this is simple, dictated by Europe wide and national government policy around the world, learners are beginning to learn English in their home countries, en masse, from a younger age. They have a five year head start on the generation that preceded them, no longer are they beginning their second language acquisition as they reach the end of what we would call primary school, they are starting at the beginning of the school cycle, which means they are learning English from the age of 4 or 5 years, instead of 9 or 10 years. The impact of this will be, (and it is starting to filter through now), that our 17 and 18 year old English Language Learners will be competent, confident users of the language (B2 on the Common European Framework or upper intermediate) and, as a consequence of their increased level and their perceived goal to achieve a higher level of English (C1), their needs will be vastly different.
What are their needs? Well, as mentioned above, they need to reach the magic level of CEF C1 or (advanced), and they need to do it in an interesting way. In short, they need to learn English through content. They need maximum exposure to authentic input in subject specific areas that are relevant and interesting. They also need a certain level of skill development in regard to learning how to use the language at this level and within these contexts.
We at Griffith Institute of Language (Griffith College’s English School ) have recently developed several English Language courses to cater for this type of learner. We have General English (20 hours) + 5 hours of ‘Journalism for Learners of English’ or General English (15 hours) + 10 hours ‘Law for Learners of English’. Separate to these courses we have an English course that combines actual content modules in Business, Law, Journalism, Design and Computing with English Language Classes. We continue to refine and develop our English language courses to meet the need of the learner and expect other courses to come on stream soon. We believe that this is the way forward for English language learning, and the market will increasingly demand it. It is a new and exciting development for our English Language School and we anticipate great success and growth in this area in the future.

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