With so many different ways to develop your English skills, choosing the best one can often be difficult or frustrating for English learners. In this article, we look at a range of options so that you can be in a better position to decide what course is right for you.
What are the options?
Let's start by getting an overview of English language learning.
Here's a breakdown of each area:
This area of study includes the courses many learners take to improve their all-round English skills. Learners usually take a language test before starting a course at a suitable level 1:
- A1 - Beginner
- A2 - Elementary
- B1 - Intermediate
- B2 - Upper Intermediate
- C1 - Advanced
- C2 - Proficiency (this level is so high that not many language schools actually offer it)
General English courses usually involve practising speaking, listening, reading, and writing, while also developing vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. Learners often take these courses before going on to more specific courses such as ESP courses.
English for Specific Purposes (ESP)
This area of study includes courses that are usually designed for B1 (intermediate) to A1 (advanced) level adult learners and are suitable for you if you know how you'll be using English or what environment you'll be using English in.
ESP can be divided into two areas: English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and English for Occupational Purposes (EOP).
Let's look at the differences:
- English for Academic Purposes (EAP) - University students often take these courses before or during their university courses. EAP courses can relate to:
- university courses (for example, business, computer science, engineering, biology or medicine)
- general academic skills useful for university study (for example, essay writing, taking notes or asking the lecturer questions)
- English exams that students are required to pass before they can begin a university course (including IELTS and TOEFL)
- English for Occupational Purposes (EOP) - Workers often take EOP courses to help them learn English for their work. They can relate to:
- specific jobs, such as tour guides, waiters or managers
- specific work tasks, such as giving presentations, writing emails, going to interviews or attending meetings.
EOP courses help learners by providing training focused on developing appropriate vocabulary and the necessary communication skills for specific jobs or work tasks. For example, a course on attending meetings is likely to include essential vocabulary related to meetings, as well as language for the things you'll need to do in a meeting, such as giving opinions, responding to others, asking questions or interrupting.
What's the most suitable course?
Alright, so imagine you're a course consultant working for a language school. You deal with customers every day who walk in and ask you for advice on which courses to take.
Quick! A few customers have just walked in...
Our next article, 'What to Look For in an EOP Course', explores the things you should definitely look for if you're considering taking an EOP course to help develop your work English.
Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_European_Framework_of_Reference_for_Languages