General English (GE)
(CRICOS Course Code 066402C)
Levels: Elementary to Upper-Intermediate
Duration: Full time – 20 hours per week
General English (GE) is sometimes called ‘English for General Purposes’. Most overseas students who commence their English studies for the first time will take the GE course. It is really a ‘stepping stone’ to more specialised or academic courses that students may study when their English skills have improved.
General English prepares students for the kind of English they will need in everyday real-life situations. The General English program at Australian Centre of English is designed to develop your communication skills and fluency in reading, writing, speaking and listening. These are called the ‘macro skills’. Of course, the GE course also concentrates on improving your knowledge of grammar so that the accuracy of your communication gradually improves as you move through the levels of the GE program. Increasing your range of vocabulary is also extremely important part of the GE course.
You may have heard the term ‘Communicative approach to language teaching’. Communicative Language Teaching means that the most important thing about teaching you how to speak English is that everything you learn in class is to help you communicate with others. You may learn how to use a new tense, but if you do not practice it with your classmates, or better still, outside the classroom, then your learning will not be strengthened. Group-work, pair-work and student presentations are therefore a key part of the GE course.
Course Entry Requirements
There are no prerequisites for entry other than the requirement to be over 18 years of age.
Students will be allocated to class on the basis of their performance in placement tests described in detail below and will progress through levels according to their performance.
The main aim of this course is to provide students with the necessary English to be able to communicate their needs and intentions to others whether they are native English speakers or speakers of other languages using English as a second or foreign language.
As has been already stated, the course is designed to appeal to students wishing to use their English for a very wide variety of purposes.
The major aims of this course can therefore be summarised as follows:
- to improve the general proficiency level of all students in all of the macro skills: Speaking, Writing, Reading and Listening
- to specifically improve those macro skills that may be less well developed as a result of their previous learning experience (i.e. Listening and Speaking)
- to increase learner autonomy allowing graduates to function within the English-speaking community
- to demonstrate to students that language learning can and should take place outside the language classroom
- to provide students with strategies to enhance learning opportunities outside the classroom
- to allow students the opportunity to explore their own skills
- to provide students with a functional level of English sufficient to allow them to move into IELTS or VET courses in accordance with their own goals and objectives
- to provide students, through a variety of experiences, with a sample of learning expectations of study in Australia
- to introduce students to a variety of study modes and methodologies for learning English
The entry levels for the different General English levels are provided in the following table. Your ‘entry’ English levels will be assessed when you complete your placement test on your first day at Australian Centre of English.
How many tests will I get?
Both you and your teachers will want to know how your English is improving. Your teacher will give you a formal test every week, usually on a Thursday. You will be tested on the four macro skills:
You may also be tested on grammar and vocabulary.
These test results provide useful information both to you and your teacher(s) about how well you are doing. They also give useful information on areas that may need more work. If your teacher finds that many students need more work, for example, on writing using the Past Simple tense, then he/ she can do more class work to help all class members. If you and your teacher identify that you have a weakness with your listening skills, then you can make a study plan by using your independent learning time to practise listening skills.
When will I get my results?
Every student will get the results of their week’s assessments on the day they do their tests, usually Thursday. Now and then teachers may wait until Monday to give students their results. Each student has an academic folder. Teachers store students’ weekly test papers in each student’s academic folder. Each teacher also maintains a ‘Student Academic Record’ that contains all the student’s results while they study at Australian Centre of English.
When you finish your course, you will also receive:
- STATEMENT OF ATTAINMENT which will state your English level using the CEFR scales, and/or
- CERTIFICATE OF ATTENDANCE which will state your enrolment and level attended in the college.