An accelerated 20-day English course in the school of future-predavanje održano u Exeteru, Velika Britanija na godišnjoj konferenciji međunarodne asocijacije IATEFL

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An accelerated 20-day English course
             in the school of future

Prof.Danijela Bojanic: Britanicca School of English, Belgrade, Serbia


Urges to accelerate English courses in the new millennium

Accelerated style of modern life urges intensive, accelerated methods. The course dynamics must answer desperate needs of students today to catch up with monstrous demands of globalisation – speak English or you finish!
   Have you ever watched two queues of people taking an escalator and plain stairs at the same time? This was the picture of comparison between a standard and an intensive course created in my mind. That scene decided my will to test the unknown approaches in my TESOL practice. Soon I established a chain of private schools working more than successfully five years now, with more than three thousand students, exclusively in short, intensive programmes!

What do we gain in twenty days?

Everything that can be applied in six months can be done in twenty days! Short courses do not cut on the content of a standard course book levelled up with the CEF scale. Starting from Elementary course taking twenty days, hour and a half every day from Monday to Friday, up to Advanced level in thirty days, a miracle can happen in your classrooms!
   We fully rely on our brain`s capacities to score better in everyday classes, than in traditional six-month courses, where the time distance between classes makes the effect of Swiss cheese in students` minds! A human mind retains only 50% of the input after three days. Also, the starting enthusiasm and motivation are far better in shorter courses.  So, my students described accelerated courses as short, thrilling slides in aqua-parks and preferred this to `safe, but long and exhausting walk in the mountains`.

Who can take an accelerated course?

In my practice, almost everyone with elementary knowledge of mother tongue can take a short course, but mainly teenagers, young adult and adult students. Only young learners have natural obstacles: comprehending abstract terms in language and too limited awareness of mother tongue grammar.

Accelerated, short, intensive courses – is there any difference in meaning?

In the birth certificate of first accelerated courses the parent`s names were Georgi Lozanov and Colin Rose. In time many practitioners made their own remixes of the original concept. Should we make a good cake, all three are to be well mixed in inseparable fusion.

Secret ingredients of the twenty - day cookery

Imagine a huge pot cooking `magic potion`  out of Michael Swan, Jeremy Harmer, Jim Scrivener, Mario Rinvolucri, Adrian Underhill, Adrian Tennant, Scott Thornbury, Martin Hewings, Keith Morrow, Jennifer Jenkins, Dave Allen and many other `yummy` IATEFL colleagues? Indeed, they are the brain food of a future English teacher, in intensive and normal courses. There should not be much difference in teacher`s qualities, both in short and normal courses. If the course is set up well, and the teacher is presenting clearly, logically, dedicated to student`s success - the results could be even better than in standard courses.  These are some great ingredients:
• Systematically use the mother tongue  (L1) to contrast English grammar (L2) leading from familiar to unfamiliar structures
• Make strong visualisation -  use tables, charts, spider grams, cartoons on your whiteboard
• Consider humour and personalising as tools against  student`s frustrations
• Raise motivation- create one in your classroom by listening to your students
• Plan word games to ease up the vocabulary chore- make it a favourite game of your students
• Keep grammar simple and clear,  as if  you are teaching children
• Nourish the four language skills through creative tasks – make your students proud of their every small achievement
• Weigh the  home works you give- they should teach principles, not mechanical repetition in large portions
• Maintain discipline in class, that is half the job we do- by letting your students think they lead, engaging them fully - consult contemporary Andragogy at all times
• Choose a good course book, make a good use of it – but keep in mind it is not the Bible
• Remember that teachers are not surgeons, but rather nurses delivering lots of babies!
• Insist on the grammar skeleton only in order to achieve the course objectives- everything else can be adjusted to your students
• In case of despair use hypnosis (This rule is a joke!)

In conclusion
There are still many unbelievers, asking to stick a finger into it, but think of our children going to school every day, learning dozen of subjects eight hours a day, ten months every year- and they make it!