Most people in Egypt have fairly good foundation knowledge of English. Still remembered from ones schooldays or picked up from TV or in casual conversations with visiting foreigners, such foundation knowledge is usually sufficient to build basic conversations, but the speaker often lacks practice and self-confidence.
In the English Conversation Club, CORE instructors facilitate group discussions between students in English and step in only when a language error causes the conversation to go off the rails. In the ECC, we do not aim for perfect English; our aim is to facilitate sensible conversations where both parties understand the other. As they speak in class, participants make mistakes, which is good as that is how one learns. We correct words used the wrong way, grammar errors that unwillingly change what the speaker intended to say and other important matters. In the end, what matters is that participants understand each other as they discuss issues in English.
ECC start with the Placement Test, a friendly non-exam check to discover at which level of proficiency each learner feels comfortable. With the Placement Test, we aim to populate our classes with student of about the same level. With little or no difference between students in their proficiency levels, embarrassment (shyness) to speak cases being a problem and students learn more from each other than in any other configuration of skills. Our Placement Test has been designed, taking in to account the concept embodied in The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages; details for which can be found at the end of this page
Based on the test results, the assessor places the candidate student in one of our 6 levels of proficiency;
Different language schools deploy different placement test methodologies and often use numbers to indicate levels. To avoid confusion, we prefer to use the 6 level names listed above
ECC classes are offered once a week for each level and last 3 hours. It is our aim to be able to graduate each student to a higher proficiency level inside a standard module of 10 classes. For practical purposes, a succession of classes can envelop 3 levels of 10 weeks but not longer
At ECC, instructors working the intermediate levels and higher are typically native English speakers who provide good examples of desirable accents and add local knowledge and culture in the English topic that is discussed in their class.
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)
- The CEFR is an internationally recognized framework that describes 6 levels of language ability from A1 for beginners up to C2 for those who have mastered a language. The CEFR is used by organizations all over the world as a reliable benchmark of language ability.
- Can understand basic instructions or take part in a basic factual conversation on a predictable topic.
- Can express simple opinions or requirements in a familiar context.
- Can express opinions on abstract/cultural matters in a limited way or offer advice within a known area, and understand instructions or public announcements.
- Can follow or give a talk on a familiar topic or keep up a conversation on a fairly wide range of topics.
- Can contribute effectively to meetings and seminars within own area of work or keep up a casual conversation with a good degree of fluency, coping with abstract expressions.
- Can advise on or talk about complex or sensitive issues, understanding colloquial references and dealing confidently with hostile questions.
- Can understand basic notices, instructions or information.
- Can understand straightforward information within a known area, such as on products and signs and simple textbooks or reports on familiar matters.
- Can understand routine information and articles, and the general meaning of non-routine information within a familiar area.
- Can scan texts for relevant information, and understand detailed instructions or advice.
- Can read quickly enough to cope with an academic course, to read the media for information or to understand non-standard correspondence.
- Can understand documents, correspondence and reports, including the finer points of complex texts.
- Can complete basic forms, and write notes including times, dates and places.
- Can complete forms and write short simple letters or postcards related to personal information.
- Can write letters or make notes on familiar or predictable matters.
- Can make notes while someone is talking or write a letter including non-standard requests.
- Can prepare/draft professional correspondence, take reasonably accurate notes in meetings or write an essay which shows an ability to communicate.
- Can write letters on any subject and full notes of meetings or seminars with good expression and accuracy.
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