We are a dynamic teaching unit offering high quality language learning to more than 1200 students from all departments across the University.
A small proportion of students follow a degree course with a compulsory language element. The majority, however, choose a language as an optional module and can either begin a new language or improve existing language skills.
Our teaching philosophy
All teachers bring their own personal expertise and personality into the classroom. This richness and variety is something which all learners appreciate. We are fortunate in the Language Centre that we draw staff from many countries and different professional backgrounds - a factor which enhances greatly the opportunities for learners.
These skills and professional convictions lend energy to discussions among staff members about teaching methods. The Language Centre seeks to be a place where ideas are exchanged and where teaching programmes and materials are drawn from the strengths of individual staff members, supported by technology and a dedicated and imaginative technical team.
It is fair to say that there is general consensus amongst staff on a basic teaching philosophy. This can be briefly summarized under the following headngs:
A commitment to 'communicative' teaching
The aim of our courses should be to enable learners to use the target language to gain and process information, to express their views orally and in writing and to 'survive' in a positive way in the target language culture. This means that classes are, as far as possible, conducted in the target language, that pronunciation is monitored in a positive way and that forms of address and grammatical structures are systematically taught to enable students to expand their language ability effectively.
A balance between listening, reading, speaking and writing
There is a planned development of all four skills, which requires a balance in courses between listening, reading, speaking and writing. Topics are introduced in a lively way which involves all members of the group. It is recognized that group and pair-work are effective means of allowing students to re-inforce structures learned in class. The high level of student motivation and natural ability requires a brisk teaching tempo and sufficient open-ended activities to give the learners' imagination and flair every chance to develop in the target language.
Resources at our disposal should be used to the full
We utilise all text books, videos, listening materials, multimedia materials in the digital lab, self access resources (including CALL) and explanations of grammar rules - with the result that lessons are varied and appropriately paced.