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A.C.E (Academic Career Enhancement) Program

TOEFL iBT Courses

The iBT (Internet Based TOEFL) is the main component of our academic programs as a sufficient score on this test is required to gain admission to overseas universities and to English- instructed domestic universities . The test contains four areas: Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing. It is a challenging test to be sure; the average score in Japan is 65. SEA students’ average is over 80. We have been teaching TOEFL for many years and we are very knowledgeable of how to improve scores. However, we view iBT studies very differently than other preparation schools. We use this test to help students develop the academic skills they will need for their university studies abroad. We do not focus on the patterns or strategies of test-taking. Rather, we challenge students to develop the critical-thinking skills and disciplinary background knowledge that will both prepare them for the test and academic life abroad. Using the P.B.L method of instruction, we put students’ destinies in their own hands. And the results speak for themselves.

iBT Beginner Courses
  • open to high school, university students and adults with below 48 iBT scores
iBT Intermediate Courses
  • open to high school, university students and adults with below 61 iBT scores
iBT Advanced Courses
  • open to high school, university students and adults with above 61 iBT scores
All students in above courses receive
  • two classes per week/6 hours total iBt classes (1.5 hrs for each Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing class) *mandatory
  • two study support classes per week/ 6 hours total *optional
  • two optional courses/ 2 hours total (1 hr. for each Grammar and World Topics class)*optional

The following is a basic outline of how SEA classes are operated. The goal of every teacher is to have a dynamic and beneficial class for the students. There is always room for improvement and teachers strive to make their classes better and better. The following procedures are kept as a basic framework; within this, new ideas and methods are always explored.

iBT material is only as interesting as the student perceives it to be. Topics on zoology, sociology, astronomy etc. may or may not capture a student’s attention. In order to keep students motivated, SEA teachers utilize the common goal all students share: to acquire English fluency in the areas of reading, listening, speaking and writing. The material itself is secondary to this objective. Thus, emphasis is always placed on each student developing in each and every class and gaining the confidence they need to take the official iBT test.

Reading
  • Vocal Reading: Students are asked to read sentences individually. The instructors correct pronunciation and intonation but the main goal here is for the students to get used to the content of the material and reacquaint them to the information. Depending on the length of the passage, students may be required to read vocally 2 to 3 times.
  • Paragraph Summary: After a paragraph has been completed through vocal reading, the students are required to summarize the paragraph in one, complete sentence. The goal here is for students to identify the main point of the paragraph and to demonstrate an understanding of what the critical information is.
  • Reading Comprehension: In groups, students discuss the reading passage and answer each other’s questions on anything they may still not understand. Students may ask their teacher for further clarification.
  • Question and Answer Analysis: Students are asked to summarize or paraphrase the questions before even beginning to look at their answer choices. Once the teacher is satisfied everyone understands what the question is asking, students work in groups to discuss their answer choices. Students are instructed to focus on elimination strategies and question type skills.
  • Optional Exercise: Time allowing, teachers play games or do exercises such as supplemental questions and vocabulary quizzes based on the reading material.
Listening
  • Listening: Students listen to listening exercise to check comprehension. Teachers may have students listen 2-3 times depending on the level of the class and of the listening content.
  • Listening and Note taking: Students listen to the lecture again and this time, focus on writing down information. The teacher instructs on the various ways to take effective notes, ie. mind mapping, classification and division, process analysis.
  • Script Reading: Students read their scripts individually as the teacher corrects pronunciation and intonation. Students compare their own notes with the script and work on a total understanding of the listening content.
  • Final Listening: Students finally listen to the listening passage again without their scripts and notes. At this time, students are expected to have a complete understanding of the listening and be able to answer any questions on the content.
  • Question Analysis: Students review the questions in groups and identify where specific answers can be located and why specific choices can be eliminated. The teacher will also pose new questions to the students and have them explain their answers using specific reference to the listening.
Speaking
  • Recorded Responses: Teachers play students’ recorded responses. Students listen and take notes and are asked to critique one another. The teacher offers a score and advice to the student by re-playing certain parts that demonstrate certain weaknesses.
  • Speaking Practice: Teachers pose new questions to students. Students are put in groups and give responses to the question within certain time limits. Listening students are asked to provide detailed critiques and corrections. At other times, students are required to present answers to the entire class.

Integrated

  • Reading and Listening Procedures: As discussed in reading and listening procedures, teachers will have students review the reading and listening content through vocal readings, paragraph summaries, note taking exercises etc.
  • Recorded Responses: As in the speaking independent procedures, teachers play students’ responses. Both students and teachers offer corrections and advice on responses.
  • Optional Exercises: Time allowing, teachers will provide new reading and listening passages and have students give responses in front of the class or in groups. The teacher will again provide feedback on how to improve.
Writing

Independent

  • Student Essay Seminar: Students’ essays are reproduced on screen for all to see. The student will read his essay to the class and the students will have a chance to correct mistakes, ask questions and to work together to improve the essay. Depending on the number of students in the class, each student will at some point be in charge of his own seminar and present his paper to the class.
  • Teacher-Driven Seminar: The teacher will offer advice and a score on the student’s essay and give the class sample writings in order to demonstrate specific points. At this time, the teacher will answer any questions the students have about their papers and on writing in general.
  • Essay Skills: Students are instructed each week on different writing skills, with emphasis on organization, logic and emotion, grammar and technical aspects.
  • Reading and Listening Procedures: As discussed in reading and listening procedures, teachers will have students review the reading and listening content through vocal readings, paragraph summaries, note taking exercises etc.
  • Student Summary Seminar: Same as the independent essay, summaries are reproduced on screen and same procedures are followed.

Teacher Driven Seminar: Same as independent essay, the teacher will offer advice and give feedback on summaries.

Summary Skills: Students are instructed on how to properly summarize and paraphrase, how to integrate reading and listening information and how to organize an integrated writing response.

Academic Skills

The Academic Skills program is for students who have accomplished their iBT objectives and have obtained at least 61 on the official test. Students in the course typically have already been accepted or are in application to their selected universities abroad.

Students in this program learn all the fundamental skills necessary for academic success abroad. The courses offered are 1. Reading Skills 2. Writing Skills 3. Seminar and Presentation Skills 4. Debate Skills. There is a theme each week which each class is based on. Past themes have included censorship, same-sex marriages, euthanasia, animal testing, slavery reparations and other university-level topics. Academic Skills students are expected to not only improve their English but to raise their consciousness on issues that are important in Western society.

The ultimate goal of the program is to represent the university classroom abroad. All classes are taught only in the English language and all students are required to speak only English to one another and their instructors. Using authentic university material, students are faced with the reality of the challenging nature of university academics. The amount of homework students are assigned is significant as students must learn how to properly budget their time in each subject and prepare for their classes.

We have received many comment s from students after their first year of university that this course was greatly helpful in their university career.

Reading Skills
  • Students present summaries on 2-3 texts (each approximately 3-6 pages) that were assigned for reading prior to class.
  • Students discuss in groups the content of the texts and explain to one another the main arguments and supporting details.
  • The instructor then goes over the texts with the students and asks questions about the content.
  • Students work on Comprehension Questions in group that were assigned for homework.
  • The instructor then goes over these questions and has students elaborate on their written responses.
Writing Skills
  • Students will be assigned one 750-1200 word essay a week which they will send to the instructor prior to class. A selected essay will then be presented to the class by the student.
  • Students will analyze essay and in groups, work on editing and improving the essay according to the assigned editing criteria.
  • The instructor goes over the student essay and provides feedback and advice on improvement of the essay.
  • The students are given a sample essay and review.
Seminar and Presentation Skills
  • Each student will run a seminar on an assigned topic using multi-media resources, ie. Powerpoint.
  • Students prepare questions and pose them to the presenter. Discussion time is provided and critical responses are encouraged.
  • The instructor provides feedback and advice on improvement of seminar.
Debate Skills
  • Students are posed with an argument and assigned positions for or against a proposition.
  • Students are broken up into groups and discuss arguments to be made.
  • The instructor then lead students in debate and ensures all students are given equal opportunities to raise their points and answer questions.
  • The instructor offers feedback and advice to each student on their debate performance.