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Pre-Course Tasks

Some trainees may be somewhat nervous about coming on the course either because they have not been engaged in full-time study for a while or because they believe they have little or no experience in teaching. Other trainees might be worried about their limited knowledge of English grammar.

Rest assured that if you are experiencing these feelings, you are not alone!

The staff at Via Lingua centres base their teaching approach on a number of clear principles:

  • An appreciation of group dynamics
  • An appreciation of pre-course experience
  • Interactive learning
  • Academic rigor
  • Pragmatism
  • Modelling
  • Opportunities for practice

Trainers are aware of how groups work and the stages that they need to go through in order to work effectively. This is a very important factor in determining how successful individual trainees will eventually be on the course. Effective groups do not happen by chance; the style and process which are utilized by the trainer directly influences success.

Training sessions are managed in such a way that the trainee is required to take an active part in his / her own education. Sessions are characterised by a high percentage of interactive activities where trainees are required to consider situations / concepts / questions through performing a set of tasks. The cycle of “doing”, “reflecting”, “hypothesizing” and “testing” is employed in all aspects of the course. Throughout this process, trainees are encouraged to make reference to the pre-course experiences of themselves and others in the group.

The trainers recognise that the ideas and concepts which are explored with trainees should be firmly grounded in an awareness of established pedagogical research and practice. Reference will be made during the sessions and in recommended reading tasks to the theoretical base underpinning the content of input sessions.

Trainers are fully aware of the limitations of a short intensive course and are, therefore, conscious of the need to provide trainees with practical guidelines, tips, strategies, materials and models which they can utilize in the classroom.

Whenever practical, trainers model teaching approaches and activities which trainees will be able to replicate in the TEFL classroom. This may be in the form of instruction giving, the use of pairs and small groups, the management of feed-back sessions or strategies for introducing and exploring areas of grammar.

Many of the input sessions will provide trainees with the opportunity to test out new ideas and insights through peer teaching activities.

THE PRE-COURSE TASKS

In order to help you prepare for the course, you may wish to undertake one or more of the pre-course tasks.

These tasks are not compulsory and do not count towards your final grade on the course. Your work is not collected in by the trainers.

However, the issues addressed in the tasks will form the basis of some of the early training sessions and, consequently, you may find it helpful to complete them.

The grammar task introduces some of the basic knowledge that we will be covering during the first four sessions where we study English grammar. Completing the task will provide you with a basic awareness of terminology which will be helpful when studying other aspects of English grammar. Don’t panic if you find it difficult! You will have plenty of time to deepen your knowledge during the course.

TASK A

Think of one situation where you learned or acquired a new skill (e.g. driving a car, learning to cook, learning to read).

What were the factors which influenced the successful acquisition of this skill?
(e.g. necessity, motivation, obligation, peer pressure, curiosity, trial and error, early success, observation of others, participation, repetition, reading, following instructions, self teaching, being formally instructed, encouragement etc. )

Write a 500 word article describing your experience.

TASK B

Use one of the grammar reference books (or your own background knowledge) to complete the following activities.

1. Word Classes

Give three additional examples of words which fit in the following categories:

Word Class Examples
Determiner
(a general category which includes articles, quantifiers, possessive adjectives)
the
Verb to run
Noun dog
Pronoun he
Adjective big
Adverb quickly
Preposition on
Conjunction and

2. Nouns:

2.1. Give three examples of each of the following noun types:

Noun Type Example
Proper noun  
Common noun  
Collective noun  
Compound noun  
Countable noun  
Uncountable noun  

2.2. What are the three main features of an uncountable noun?

 
 
 
 
 

2.3. Give the plural forms of these nouns:

Regular (s or es) Vowel and consonant changes No change Irregular endings
dog   man   sheep   child  
boy   foot   salmon   ox  
book   mouse   aircraft   criterion  
watch   loaf   deer   medium  
bus   thief   headquarters   crisis  

3. Adjectives

Identify the comparative and superlative forms of these adjectives:

Category Base form Comparative form Superlative form
Short (one syllable) old    
Short but ending in vowel + consonant big    
Two syllable ending in “y” happy    
Most other two syllable afraid    
Some other two syllable common    
Long (three syllables) expensive    
Different word good    

4. Verbs

Give examples of these three types of verb:

Verb Type Examples
Main / Lexical verbs  
Primary Auxiliary verbs  
Modal Auxiliary verbs  

5. Sentence Analysis

5.1. Identify the nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, prepositions,
determiners and conjunctions in these sentences.

Marie is a doctor and she works in a big hospital.

The young man ran quickly along the crowded street.

5.2. Identify subjects, verbs, indirect objects, direct objects, adjuncts / adverbials and complements in the following sentences.

Tom gave me the book yesterday.

The old woman has been living in New York for a long time.

Mr Grimaldi is rich.

  • For further information, please contact info@vialingua.org, call toll-free in the US (888) 835-6207 or in the UK (44) 203-004-0943.
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