Summer is coming to an end, and new adventures are just ahead.
With every school year come new challenges and new heights. The move from primary to secondary school, from Form 3 to Form 4, and from kindergarten to primary each has its own hurdles. Even moving from one job to another or up one position to the next, presents new demands.
When students step up from primary to secondary school, they are expected to be able to analyse, debate and to state and support their own opinions both through essays and also in the form of presentation and debate. This can be particularly tough for shy students or for those who lack confidence in their use of English, often because in lower levels, the emphasis was on the technical aspect of English and not on the importance of the language as a communication tool.
It can be just as daunting for K3 students moving to P1. The children have had such a huge amount to learn and absorb in their very short lives that the rules and structures of Primary school can seem alien. Much of their time has been spent learning walk and talk, discovering different activities, and experimenting with behavioural patterns to assess what pleases or doesn’t please those around them. Now, at Primary school they are told life is not a scattered series of events, but is much more tram-lined with certain “required” behaviours and responses. Adaptation can take a while, and a good deal of patience and understanding is necessary to help children absorb the language, which makes these goals attainable. Teachers have to be inventive, innovative and motivating to make this transition happy and successful.
For those at the upper end of the scale, life becomes more intense. When leaving F3 for F4 students encounter myriad changes. There is pressure to decide what career path to follow, and what subject to study at university, and what university to attend. Having decided, the challenge is working towards achieving the academic goals to make those decisions can become a reality. And, it is not simply good academics grades that count. Nowadays, with competition very tight for top university places and popular courses, students have to present themselves in a wholistic light. They need to be able to demonstrate that they have a social conscience, enjoy art and sport, are aware of current affairs, have held a position of responsibility, perhaps have some work experience, and can recall a defining moment in their life. They must convey their passion for their chosen subject, and show commitment to a future profession, so the need to be conversant in English becomes ever more essential.
For adults, too, the challenges exist. Moving up the corporate ladder means an even greater need for good language skills because the language (register) we use when speaking to our peers is different from the language we use when speaking to junior staff or senior management. The accuracy of vocabulary, sentence structure and tone remains important, but another dimension is added as we progress upwards in our careers.
My strong belief is, that to prepare our clients for these various challenges, we must give them every opportunity to communicate effectively when speaking and writing; encourage them to read, analyse and express themselves; expose them to ideas, humour and social attitudes that may be at variance with their own perceptions. Our aim is to coach students till they feel comfortable in a wide range of situations, confident discussing and debating diverse subjects, thrilled by their English ability and ready for the next step in their learning – and in their lives.
At Venture, our broad array of approaches towards English learning paves the way for a life-long enjoyment of the language and opens the doors to success at every stage.