English Immersion Course

Our immersion course addresses idioms as well as lingering problems with tense and syntax that often prevent the student from becoming completely facile, and readily understood in the second language. Clearly, this course is open only to those students’ on the verge of fluency.

Total proficiency in the target language is achieved through the application of universally accepted teaching tools, standardized testing and our proven approach. We incorporate materials such as those utilized by TOFEL and other recognized academic authorities. Emphasis is placed upon practical conversation, vocabulary expansion and, most importantly, upon techniques designed to significantly diminish the tendency to translate directly from one language to another during sentence construction.

It is generally accepted that immersion is a necessary, final step the advanced student must take. By eliminating the time and opportunity to mentally translate, the student is forced to think on his or her feet. This is accomplished through learning in live situations where the student must act spontaneously vis a vis the comfort of the classroom setting. This is not to say, however, that the student is deliberately subjected to anxiety producing situations. The objective is neither to intimidate nor overwhelm the student. The immersion course is designed to be as painless as possible for the adult learner of a second language. The hope is to make the learning process enjoyable, feasible as well as to foster an appreciation of the target language and culture.

Overall, this is a communication rather than grammar based approach. Once the student has passed the basic and intermediate levels, drills and repetition no longer serve any purpose, and may be, in fact, counter productive. Stagnation is what bores the student of any new language. Communicative language teaching is an approach. It is not a strict methodology. Developed from the tested theories of renowned British linguists and American educators, the emphasis of notional-functional concepts and communicative competence, rather than mere grammatical structures, is central to language teaching and rapid learning. Through a wide variety of activities, students of the communicative approach learn almost as naturally as children do. The following three principles provide
the cornerstones of our flexible approach to teaching language:

1. The communication principle: Activities that involve communication promote language learning.
2. The task principle: Activities that involve the completion of real-world tasks promote learning.
3. The meaningfulness principle: Learners must be engaged in meaningful and authentic language use for learning to take place.

The student’s day begins with a trip to a near-by university library. First and foremost on the agenda is a writing lab. Simulated office memoranda, business letters and several timed essays are drafted. The student is encouraged to revise each draft until tense, sentence structures and vocabulary selections are both correct and accurate. Even in one’s native language, clear writing comes only from rewriting. This process of self-editing applies while learning how to use a second language equally. Constant reading in the target language is emphatically recommended. It is also suggested that the student create a home environment that utilizes the target language frequently.

After a short break, in the schedule, role-play that replicates business phone calls or related conversations may commence. The technological vocabulary or terms of art utilized in the student’s particular field are interjected. Pronunciation, spelling and correct usage are reviewed. This session is followed by lunch at a restaurant related to the target culture. The student is required to order from the menu. The student must do all the talking necessary in order to communicate with the waiter, cashier, etc. It is at this point, that explanations are provided regarding generic vocabulary and common idioms with the goal of expanding the student’s working word-bank in mind. The concomitant objective is also to give the student a feel for the target language and culture.

That elusive “feel” for the intangible is within the dedicated student’s grasp. It is invariably achieved for the disciplined student within the equivalent of a single semester college course. The class will meet one day per week from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. The student will have a mid-term and a final exam comprised of a purely grammatical section as well as a timed essay question. A 3 – 5 page term paper and/or business report is also required. The student must also give an oral presentation of the paper defending his or her written proposition extemporaneously as challenging questions will be posed on the spot.

Extra-curricular activities which may include visiting museums, malls and markets as well as seeing pertinent target language films will fill the second half of the student’s day. Written home – work will be assigned weekly. Through repetition, mimicry and amusement as well as hard work, we guarantee that your student will master the target language flawlessly.