Presentation on theme: "Introduction for Instructors: The 4-Week Conversation & Culture Program UCI Extension International Programs."— Presentation transcript:
Introduction for Instructors: The 4-Week Conversation & Culture Program UCI Extension International Programs
Welcome to Conversation & Culture! The 4-Week Conversation & Culture program is a short-term intensive English program giving students a chance to practice their English skills in student- centered classes in a warm, supportive classroom environment. As the name suggests, students learn about highlights of North American culture while practicing oral communication and other English skills. Programs are offered five times a year, in January, February, July, August, and September.
Our program The 4-Week CC program has a distinct “personality” compared to our 10-week Intensive ESL program. The emphasis is somewhat less academic, and more time is devoted to conversation and oral work. Still, it is important to realize that this is a serious program in which students expect and are expected to study hard, improve their language skills, and learn a lot about the English language and American culture. We do not want to think of this program as “a vacation with a few classes thrown in.” Both students and teachers are expected to work hard and take their classes seriously.
Goals of the program Our students are with us for a short time—just four weeks. We try to pack as much learning and practice into those four weeks as we can. We can’t expect our students to achieve perfect fluency or to make enormous gains in this short time. But we can help them work toward the goal of increasing their English-speaking competence and gaining more confidence in their ability to communicate in English.
Our students Our students are non-native speakers of English from around the world. The great majority are in the U.S. on student visas and plan to return to their own countries at some point, either immediately after our program or after continued study in another program in the U.S. Most of our students are between about 18 and 25 years old, though some are more mature adults. Many of our students may be away from home and living on their own for the first time. This does not always lead to mature choices regarding sleep and study habits.
Our students Our students have high hopes and expectations for our program. They view their experience here not just as a course of study, but as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel abroad, meet new people, learn about American culture, and return to their homes as more capable and mature people. We try not to disappoint them.
Our teaching philosophy In order to help our students reach their English-learning goals, we have adopted the following teaching approach. Our classes are: Student-centered Communicative and interactive Objective-focused All our classes are student-centered; the teacher is a guide and faciliator, not a lecturer. Interactive pair and group work and task-based teaching are emphasized in all classes. Teacher talk time is kept to a minimum, and students are given plenty of time to practice and produce language through focused activities aimed toward the objectives of each class. See “Teaching Effectively in the CC Program” for a more in-depth discussion.
For more about our teaching approach… For more guidance about how to teach well in our program, check these resources: The tutorial “Teaching Effectively in the Conversation & Culture Program.” Available here: The 4-Week CC Teachers’ Handbook. Download here: The booklet The Student-Centered Classroom by Leo Jones. Download here: Methodology-Booklets/?site_locale=en_US Methodology-Booklets/?site_locale=en_US Your fellow teachers and the CC coordinator. We’re all here to help! See “Teaching Effectively in the CC Program” for a more in-depth discussion.
Record-keeping Teachers are asked to keep careful records on these topics: Attendance Assessment Grades
Attendance Keep a careful daily record of attendance, following the instructions and example in the Teacher’s Handbook. Turn in a copy of your attendance to the CC coordinator after class on Friday of each week. If you notice a particular attendance problem—a student who hasn’t been in class for a few days, or a student who is attending class but is not on the list— please let the CC coordinator know immediately so that we can try to solve the problem.
Assessment Plan assessments once a week or so, such as vocabulary quizzes, writing assignments, or oral presentations. This gives students (and teachers) a way to gauge what they’re learning and encourages them to put their best effort into their studies. Grade these honestly. Do not give everyone an “A.” (If everyone gets 100%, perhaps the assessment is too easy?) Every class has a required final assessment such as a project or presentation. See the Teacher’s Handbook for more details about these. See “Teaching Effectively in the CC Program” for a more in-depth discussion.
Grading Students in morning classes (IV, RW, SL) receive letter grades (A, B, C, etc.) Students in afternoon electives receive Pass/No Pass grades. For details on what each of these grades represents, check the Teacher’s Handbook. Keep careful records of student progress and keep students well-informed about course objectives, grading, and methods of evaluation. Give students feedback throughout the program regarding their achievement of course objectives.
Grading Letter grades should be based on forms of evaluation such as tests, in-class presentations, writing assignments, and homework. If a student asks why he/she received a particular grade, the teacher should be able to back it up with specific evaluations of class performance. Academic grades are assigned based on the quality of work done and the amount of learning achieved by the student. Grades should reflect whether a student’s work has been truly superior, strongly above average, merely satisfactory, or unsatisfactory. Students should not be given an A or B simply because they tried hard.
Turning in grades At the end of the program, teachers will… Submit final grades online at Give a paper copy of the grade list to the CC coordinator Use Google Docs to submit comments for any student receiving a grade below C (below 73%) and for any student whose agency, sponsor, or embassy requests one. Suggestion: It will be easier to write comments if you take notes on students’ strengths, weaknesses, and accomplishments as you go along.) More details about grades are available in the Teacher’s Handbook.
Textbooks Students are expected to buy assigned textbooks for all morning classes (IV, RW, SL), and teachers are expected to use them. We want students to feel that the money they’ve spent for textbooks was a good investment. Sound recordings, videos, and extra photocopiable activities are available in the 4- Week Office for all RW and SL textbooks. Feel free to supplement with extra materials, especially reading material in upper levels. If you’d like suggestions for sources, talk to the CC coordinator or your fellow teachers.
Textbooks Students at all levels will buy an IV textbook plus one textbook to be used for both SL and RW classes. These are integrated textbooks which include materials for speaking, listening, reading, and writing. We realize that using one book for two classes requires extra cooperation and coordination between teachers sharing the same students. However, we think the benefits to our students are worth the effort. Consult the Teacher’s Handbook for more information about which chapters to use in each month and how to share the textbooks. Thank you for working together, helping each other, communicating regularly, and making this work for our students!
In preparation for accreditation The Conversation & Culture program is going through the process of applying for CEA accreditation. (The 10-Week Intensive ESL program is already CEA- accredited.) In preparation for this, we’re going to be asking for some additional paperwork and documentation over the next few programs. We’ll give you more information at the beginning of each month’s program about what needs to be kept/copied/submitted. We know that this will mean some extra time and effort, but we really appreciate your help in working toward this goal!
A final word We strongly encourage all our teachers to talk to each other often to compare notes, share ideas, and keep everyone on the same page. Our teachers are the most important factor in making the program a success. We really appreciate your effort and expertise. Thank you so much for teaching with us!
For more detailed information Consult these resources: The CC Teachers’ website: The 4-Week CC Teacher’s Handbook (available in hard copy from the 4-Week Office or downloadable at CC Teachers’ Website. Our website for CC students: