English for Academic Purposes
Overview of the course
In most Dipont A level centres, students prepare for an IGCSE exam in English as a Second Language in their first year. The focus of the course is on skill development in the four key skill areas—reading, writing, listening and speaking--and is intended to provide students with a strong foundation in the English language.
In Grade 11, students follow the NorthStar Upper Intermediate Reading and Writing textbook which includes the development of critical thinking and study skills. Additional emphasis is placed on developing note-taking skills with the 'Learn to Listen - Listen to Learn' series. The development of speaking and listening skills is also an integral component for students at this level. Students are expected to actively participate in listening and speaking exercises to develop the communicative skills in English that are required for a successful university experience. The drafting of a personal statement for university applications is included as part of the writing instruction. A literature and independent research component has been incorporated into the programme for more able learners.
In Grade 12, students take a university preparation programme which focuses on the skills they need in preparation for studying in an academic learning environment abroad. These academic preparation skills include research and writing skills, oral presentation, and discussion skills. During this academic year, students complete personal statements for university applications and focus on writing standard college essays. Extended level students will have an opportunity to gain exposure to different types of literature commonly found in university level English classes such as poetry, novels, short stories, and drama.
The university preparation programme contains the same basic elements found in university foundation courses. This is an integrated programme which focuses on western societies and cultures, with students also carrying out their own research in these areas.
In a small number of our centres, Cambridge exams designed for native English speakers are offered to students with high English language ability. These include AS Language and Literature and AS Literature.
The essential objective behind all three programmes is to assist students to develop strong proficiency skills in English and to prepare students to become global learners. Students will need to achieve acceptable scores in international tests in English, and to do so requires good communicative ability, a solid grasp of academic study skills and a capacity for critical thinking. All of these elements are integrated into the English programmes. Additionally, the university preparation programme at A2 level is designed to prepare Chinese students for their studies in a western environment. International students are often unfamiliar with the academic demands at university if they have not had adequate preparation prior to attending. They can therefore find it extremely difficult to cope, with a sizable proportion failing to complete undergraduate courses. The university preparation programme addresses these issues to ensure a smoother transition into western academic life.
Students enter the programme with various degrees of English proficiency, therefore the instructional pedagogy includes an awareness of these differences and English remediation is initiated when necessary.
As English instruction is such a crucial area for our centres and students, management and staff are in frequent dialogue to develop our programme further. This creates a lively and innovative approach to the development of English learning and ensures that we continue to strive to meet the needs of our students.