This course meets the needs of English learners who have little or no English language training. In this course, you will receive a thorough introduction to the English alphabet and its sounds as well as its basic vocabulary and grammar. In the classroom you will focus on learning about the new culture you are in and how to survive in it.
The language skills you practice in class will help you carry out all the activities you need to do in the real world of the U.S. every day. You’ll be having conversations and doing role-plays with other students and solving simple problems on a team. By the end of the course, you’ll be able to read, understand, and fill out questionnaires and forms; you’ll be able to ask simple questions in shops and offices and understand the answers people give you. You’ll be able to answer the questions they ask you. You’ll also have your first experiences taking tests that look like university tests and doing homework!.
Level 1,2 & 3
During your courses at these levels you will work towards becoming fluent in everyday social English. You will develop your listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills as they are used in the real world. You’ll be able to participate in English conversations about your family and friends, educational background, work experience, daily routines, hobbies, and interests. You’ll be able to read and talk about short books of fiction and nonfiction. You’ll be able to understand and discuss short news and entertainment programs and write about all these topics in English.
In the classroom you’ll be involved in partner and group activities to practice real-life language. You’ll participate in conversations, role- plays, and longer, more complicated simulations of everyday situations. You’ll be part of team problem-solving activities which require the use of all four language skills as well as critical thinking skills and which force you to depend on the other members of your team. After your practice in the classroom, you’ll go out into the community and use your skills to observe and interview people and participate in their projects. Finally, you’ll bring back what you’ve learned and share it with other students at ALA.
Throughout these levels you will begin to learn about and practice the kinds of academic and professional work you will be doing when you finish your English language learning. Level 3 is the bridge which connects social language to academic and professional language. At this level you will continue to improve your everyday social English and begin to apply all your language skills to academic and work-like situations. You will start to learn how to listen to, understand, and take notes during situations like a university classroom lecture or a professional work meeting. You’ll start learning how to write an academic paper or a report for work. You’ll start reading more complicated short articles about academic subjects and workplace issues and you’ll learn how to organize and give oral presentations about these topics to a large group. By the end of Level 3, you’ll be ready to start our Academic English courses.
Level 4 & 5
These are the courses that get you ready to attend an American university or begin a professional work assignment in the U.S. They focus on giving you the language you need to participate in situations involving more abstract topics and concepts and which require you to understand and produce English at increasingly complex levels. They also give you opportunities to participate in activities based on the kinds of critical thinking and research skills that are crucial for success in American academic and professional life.
In your Level 4 classroom you’ll be listening to complex academic lectures from a range of academic and professional fields. You’ll be learning basic research skills, writing 2-3 page research reports, and delivering research-based oral presentations. You’ll discuss and debate controversial issues in class and read fiction and nonfiction texts which describe related kinds of issues.
At Level 5 you’ll move from learning and practicing Level 4 skills to actually using them in the real world. You’ll participate in experiential learning activities which will bring you into contact with members of governmental, judicial, and educational institutions and community organizations. You’ll be involved in studying a real problem and trying to find solutions for it. You’ll conduct and write up your own research, which you’ll report on in different ways to different audiences. By the end of this level, you’ll be able to interact comfortably with professors, fellow students, and professional colleagues and carry out academic and professional work in culturally correct ways. Now, you are ready to start your academic or professional life in the U.S.
Level 6 is an optional course for ALA graduates who would like to continue their studies while awaiting entry into their undergraduate or graduate program. In this course, academic English language skills are taught and practiced using authentic college-level content-based materials and task- and project-based activities. You will be held responsible for your English learning and asked to reflect on how the language and academic skills you are practicing are applicable to your chosen field of study. The course has two parts.
Academic Skills Course: All students take an English course on mastering the academic skills necessary for success in an American college or university. Course topics include: tips on navigating the college system; time management techniques; the most frequent types of college tests and exams; test-taking strategies and ways of overcoming test anxiety; how to read and learn from a college textbook; the most common types of writing assignments ; the major characteristics and values of the American university environment; appropriate and successful ways of holding an English conversation and interacting with professors, advisors, and fellow students. English classes in this course are conducted face to face by an ALA English teacher on campus and meet nine hours a week.
American Universities Pathway Program (AUPP) is the second part of the Level 6 course. Students take one or more online college courses. AUPP courses provide students with college credits which can then be transferred to many colleges and universities. Courses are offered through Tiffin University and Rio Salado Community College and are the equivalent of a semester’s course work. Both are regionally accredited postsecondary institutions. ALA requires students to attend nine hours of individual coaching on ALA’s campus and meet with a mentor who functions as their guide to academic success.
TOEFL, IELTS, or GRE Track
Students take a TOEFL, IELTS, or GRE prep course taught by an ALA English teacher in a face to face format nine hours a week. Additional online course material and practice tests are a component of the class. The courses review test content in an enjoyable, accessible way and give students feedback on what their strengths and weaknesses are. They also present and practice strategies for performing well on each section of the tests. Individual tutoring is available for students who are experiencing difficulties understanding the course content.