In general students requiring English Language support are aiming for University places. RIC offers tuition in the Academic IELTS (International English Language Testing System) which is universally recognised and accepted by all UK Universities. The examination is organised around the four skills:Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.
All students need guided practice in these language skills but what is perhaps more important is experience and practice in free and confident self-expression which is a core skill for all sections of the examination as well as for the future demands of university and life in the UK in general. Therefore, this course contains both controlled and free practice not only of examination skills and targeted language, such as that contained in the course book, but also of authentic language in use, such as in newspapers.
Also, it is important that students learn to become self-critical and aware of their own and others’ common mistakes. Everyone makes occasional careless slips, even native speakers and tactics for dealing with these are vital.
The course uses official IELTS coursebooks as the curriculum guide and other activities are designed around the content in the text books. This content is skills based and provides guided progression in all aspects of academic language. Authentic language, most often that found in newspapers or online, is brought in as much as possible within the time constraints of teaching students on one year courses. Pronunciation is at the core of lessons wherever possible. Before coming to the College, most students have received intensive training in the structure of the language and, while form is an important part of the course it is not the main focus. The main aim is communication and improving students’ ability to notice the language around them and bring it into their own use.
While ‘higher level’ grammar, such as formation of complex sentences, does form part of the course, much of the grammar content is remedial and occurs in response to need rather than forming a central part of the course design.
Students less advanced in grammatical knowledge receive additional, often individual, support. Full mock IELTS examinations in the skills of Listening, Reading and Writing are taken regularly to ensure students are well-prepared for the three hour final examination.
Speaking forms a major part of all lessons and is progress is assessed throughout the course.
Vocabulary acquisition is an essential part of IELTS and students are encouraged to take part in a wide variety of trips throughout the year in order to access a wider range of ideas, concepts and words. In addition, of course, these trips assist students with very useful, and hopefully enjoyable, background knowledge of UK culture, landscape and society.