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Webinar: Integrating academic study skills from A1

Students in lecture theatreSarah Philpot, Headway Academic Skills co-author, discusses the issue of addressing academic needs as early as possible in language learning. You can join Sarah for her upcoming webinar “Integrating academic study skills from A1” on 18th February.

During my 30-year teaching career I have, like many of you, no doubt, taught, a range of different class types: General English, English for Exams, IELTS, Business English, English for Medics, English for Academic Purposes, etc.

Obviously, during those years, a lot of things have changed. Typically in the past, adult students would do General English until they reached a certain level of competence, around B1, at which point many of them would chose a ‘special’ course to help them in their work or studies. This would entail learning different and new lexis, functions and skills.

However, with English being more and more a core requisite for Higher Education and for work in multinational and trans-national companies, young adult students in particular realise that they need not only a level of linguistic competence, but also the appropriate academic or professional competencies too, and as early as possible.

To a large extent, people wishing to enter the corporate world are already catered for – just look at the number of Business English course books, beginner to advanced, that are available. So, it struck me as rather strange that those with academic needs were not similarly provided for, and that those students would have to return to the old pattern.

This is where the Headway Academic Skills series came in. It seemed logical, not to say fair, that students planning to go into higher education should also be in a position to learn the appropriate lexis, functions, etc. at the same time as they are learning the difference between the present simple and present continuous!

In my webinar, I hope to show why this integrated approach is being adopted, and how we can do it. I will be drawing on material from Headway Academic Skills Introductory Level (A0/A1), and will be looking specifically at the importance of:

  • context
  • task type
  • lexis
  • register

in making a course more relevant to students who wish to continue their studies in an English-medium college or university.

Sign up for Sarah’s webinar on 18th February now.

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Starting study skills early – an integrated approach

Asian student in libraryAhead of her talk at IATEFL 2011 in Brighton, Sarah Philpot, co-author of the New Headway Academic Skills series, introduces the concept of an integrated approach to teaching linguistic competence and academic skills.

Study skills (aka academic skills) is not a subject that generally sets the heart aflutter. However, it is something that is dear to the hearts of many of our students. As more and more young people take their university degrees in English, so their need for good study skills increases. I’m sure that all of us who have taught students for IELTS or on pre-sessional courses are aware of the discrepancy between many students’ linguistic competence and their ability to successfully complete the academic task set for them – to write a coherent essay or read certain texts in a given time, for example.

As teachers, I think we need to address this discrepancy and the way I’m suggesting this could be done is by integrating or incorporating study skills into students’ English language course from the very beginning – yes, that really means A1.

The Headway Academic Skills series attempts to do just this by providing a short course that provides study skills which are explicit, have a clear development and are relevant and transferable.

Sarah will be talking on this topic in her session entitled ‘Starting study skills early – an integrated appproach’ at the 2011 IATEFL Conference in Brighton.

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