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School:University of Oregon - American English Institute (AEI)

AEI Intensive English Program

OVERVIEW OF INTENSIVE ENGLISH PROGRAM CURRICULUM

Students and professionals come from around the world to study at the American English Institute (AEI), University of Oregon. The AEI offers an Intensive English Program for adults who want to improve their proficiency in English. The program prepares students for academic work at the University of Oregon or similar academic institutions or for professional activities in business and other fields.

The curriculum consists of six levels, from basic through advanced. Each level is divided into two combined skill areas: oral communication, which emphasizes speaking and listening, and written communication, which emphasizes reading and writing. All full-time students take basic curriculum courses at the appropriate level. These courses provide a minimum of eighteen class hours per week to which elective hours are added.

LEVEL ONE

Reading/Writing/Grammar (13 hours per week)
The goal in this class is to learn and practice basic communication skills. The course includes all language skills and is based on interesting readings with basic grammar, content vocabulary, and dictionary use introduced as needed. Practice includes the use of video, audio tapes, newspapers, computers, and the internet along with course textbooks. This is usually a small class with much individual attention and enjoyable classroom interaction.

Oral Skills (5 hours per week)
Students develop basic listening and speaking skills on topics related to the content of a video series. Students learn basic vocabulary necessary to function in their new environment. Listening skills are also developed through video exercises and conversational tasks. Some out-of-class projects take students out of the classroom and into the real world of communication.

LEVEL TWO

Reading/Writing/Grammar (13 hours per week)
Students improve their reading and writing abilities by developing their vocabulary, grammar, and meaning-based knowledge. They learn to write basic to complex sentences, summarize texts, write paragraphs, book reports, journals, and a short essay. A main goal is focus on English and to develop fluency in writing and reading. Grammar study includes sentence patterns and types, verb tense, form and usage, parts of speech, and punctuation. Students also learn to edit their own writing. Instruction and materials are based on a theme-based program of videos and readers and a short novel.

Oral Skills (5 hours per week)
Students develop speaking/listening skills at a simple level, using vocabulary related to daily life. They learn strategies to use when they don't know how to say what they mean. Students work on improving pronunciation. In addition to small-group work and whole-class work, students will give four oral presentations to their classmates during the course. Class content is focused on the same theme-based program of video series that is continued in their Reading/Writing/Grammar class.

LEVEL THREE

Reading/Writing (8 hours per week)
This course emphasizes the integration of information gathered from:

Reading and understanding a complete, un-simplified nonfiction book and related articles.

Looking at and understanding web sites and videos.

Participating in discussions and conversations about the themes and topics related to the materials.

Students increase reading fluency and comprehension through the reading of a complete, unsimplified nonfiction book. They also read shorter articles that are written for native speakers of English. Students build important reading skills such as predicting, skimming and scanning, guessing vocabulary from context and distinguishing main ideas from supporting details. By engaging in these exercises, students learn to read more quickly and more accurately without relying on translation.

Frequent writing practice ranges from single paragraphs to longer personal or informative essays. Students practice various prewriting skills (such as brainstorming, creating information webs, summarizing, listing and organizing) which forces them to synthesize the information they have been studying, Students build writing skills as they practice organizing and supporting their ideas in longer paragraphs and essays. Students use materials from a variety of sources (the books, articles, web sites, discussions, videos, magazines, etc.) to increase their knowledge base on particular themes.

Grammar (5 hours per week)
Level 3 Grammar uses the same unsimplified, nonfiction book used in the Reading/Writing class and a grammar reference textbook. The students gain deeper understanding of the book by looking closely at the grammar and meaning in the book. Students speak and write about the themes and topics that they read about and about other topics that will require certain grammar structures. This allows for practice of the grammar studied. Students edit their own grammar errors in their own writing. Students present work to the teacher and to other students in small group discussions and conversations. This allows students to practice saying the forms that are studied. In the class, the students will learn to analyze sentences and to recognize the form, use and meaning of grammar structures that we study in Level 3. Grammar topics covered in Level 3 include:

Clause and sentence structure.

Conjunctions (coordinating and subordinating conjunctions) and transitions.

Nouns and adjectives and articles.

Overview of verb tenses (form, use and meaning in simple, compound and complex clauses; and question forms).

Modals of permission, possibility and advice.

Oral Skills (5 hours per week)
Expanding their base of useful survival English, students learn to converse on topics of interest. They develop fluency and pronunciation so that they can build confidence in speaking. They work in small groups and also improve their ability to speak before the whole class. Course activities focus on real communication, and students perform frequent out-of-class speaking assignments that bring them into contact with native speakers of English. The course includes regular work on pronunciation and intonation.

LEVEL FOUR

Reading/Writing/Grammar (13 hours)
At this level, reading, writing, and grammar are integrated into one course. All assignments and activities are connected with the readings that are done for the class. The readings include a full-length, authentic popular novel, articles from newspapers or current periodicals, and essays. Typical writing activities include summarizing, essay writing, expressive writing, and essay exam writing. The study of grammar is closely linked and integrated with the reading/writing activities. Computer activities for writing, formatting, and reading continue at this level.

Oral Skills (5 hours per week)
Oral Skills Four focuses on improving speaking and listening, especially fluency, pronunciation, and pragmatic awareness. Students also develop academic discussion skills for small- and large-group settings. Activities include watching and listening to videos, note-taking, discussing theme-related topics, participating in small- and large-group discussions and debates, giving short speeches, doing pronunciation and intonation exercises and drama production.

LEVEL FIVE

Reading/Writing (8 hours per week)
Students read, write, and do research for college/university level tasks. The course emphasizes the development of summarizing and paraphrasing skills. The course is divided into two content units: one is a computer simulation in which students practice reading, summarizing, paraphrasing, and discussion in order to solve a problem. Examples of topics covered in this unit are: the environment, violence in the media, families and communities, and prejudice; in the second unit, students choose a topic, learn to locate information about it from the university library and the Internet, and write a brief research paper about it.

Grammar (5 hours per week)
Grammar study for this advanced course is connected with a full-length fiction or nonfiction bestseller that students read. Students keep weekly journals in which they write about what they are reading, become familiar with their own common grammar errors, and learn how to find and correct them. Points of grammar include sentence analysis, verb tenses, articles, passive/active verbs, participles used as adjectives, reduced clauses, modals, conditionals/hypotheticals, and parallelism.

Oral Skills (5 hours per week)
Instruction emphasizes student participation in a wide variety of speaking activities. Group discussion develops cooperative skills in problem solving, negotiation, and decision making. Informal speeches develop self-confidence and the ability to speak fluently without preparation. Brief video and academic lectures are used to develop listening skills and to accustom students to fast natural speech and formal, academic lectures. These also provide practice in note-taking. Preparatory activities provide and develop appropriate vocabulary and involve students in academic discussion. Selections from contemporary films and music are used to teach and reinforce current idioms and natural current speech.

LEVEL SIX

Reading/Writing (8 hours per week)
Students develop the vital skills needed for college and university work, ranging from junior college level to graduate level. This means developing truly independent, active study habits and skills. Analytical and critical thinking are fostered in both reading and writing tasks. Individual attention is given to develop the student’s reading speed and his/her ability to summarize clearly. Individual readings chosen by the students are required and supervised by the instructor. In pairs, students develop materials to demonstrate their ability to communicate at a complex level in English. Individual conferences deal with each student’s personal writing difficulties.

Grammar (5 hours per week)
Students work on advanced structures in this class. In addition, students learn how context, text type and audience affect what kind of grammatical structures are used. This enables students to adapt their own language use to make it appropriate for a variety of situations. Students also receive a great deal of individual feedback on their own grammar production, and a large part of the course is dedicated to work on whatever specific needs the students have.

Oral Skills (5 hours per week)
Each week students are exposed to videos or lectures on various topics in such fields as history, business, astronomy, folklore, psychology, and art. Class and small group discussions are held on these topics. Vocabulary and listening quizzes are given frequently to enable learners to analyze their individual problems. Pronunciation exercises help improve stress and intonation. Each participant gives short talks, including one using Power Point, for discussion and evaluation.

ELECTIVE OFFERINGS

The elective curriculum consists of a variety of optional content-based courses designed to support students with their language learning, help students attain their goals, and offer additional language practice in a more relaxed manner. These courses focus on areas of special interest to students and meet for two to three hours a week. Although primarily designed to focus on content of special interest to students, these courses also provide additional authentic contexts for the development and reinforcement of all language skills.

TOEFL preparation is offered every term as an elective course. Other elective offerings vary from term to term. Below please find a description of some recent elective offerings.

TOEFL: TOEFL preparation is an integral part of our elective curriculum. In addition, the AEI offers three levels of TOEFL preparation for students in literate levels 3-6. Materials used at each level are designed to meet the needs of the students and help them acquire the necessary strategies to be successful on both the paper and computer based TOEFL Exam.

Business English: This course will help you develop language skills and acquire cultural knowledge so that you can be confident in social situations in the business world. You will learn the language and behaviors that will help you establish good relationships with business colleagues and clients. We will learn appropriate ways to socialize in international business settings; for example, how to host a business meeting, how to make small talk, and how to accept and decline invitations.

Movies and Discussion: Students will view U.S. movies. Vocabulary will be presented and students will be expected to participate in discussions of the themes, values and attitudes reflected.

Music Today: Share your favorite music with your classmates. You will learn how to make informal presentations and lead discussions. Bring your favorite tapes and CDs to the first class!

Pronunciation: In this class, students will work on pronunciation of individual sounds, intonation, word and sentence stress, blending, reductions, and fluency. Work will include pronunciation drills, mini-speeches, role plays and dialogues.






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