Overview of the IEC (Intensive English Course)
At Khon Kaen University Demonstration Elementary School (Suksasart) the option is given to study in the IEC. This intensive English course aims to provide the students with a greater knowledge of English and abilities to speak the language along with the confidence to do so. The IEC will leave the students with a firm foundation in the English language and a readiness to further study the language along with hopefully a love for the language.
The IEC is taught by both a native English speaker and a Thai co-teacher who is also an English teacher. The vast majority of the class is taught through English, with the occasional use of Thai to help explain difficult concepts. From the start of the class to the end, the students hear English spoken. Moreover, the IEC covers all four skills of language which are listening, speaking, writing, and reading. All the classes focus on being fun, inclusive, and productive. The teachers are friendly and warm-hearted towards encouraging students to speak during the class and around the school.
A class consists of around 39 students and 2 teachers. The students study everyday with a total of 8 periods a week. Textbooks are used in the teaching of the IEC, every student is given a student book and a workbook, along with a dictation book (D-F). Each textbook also has CD for listening activities. Although the course is using the textbook as a main focus, it needs to be tried to do different activities and taught extra materials rather than in the textbooks. Fun is a big aspect of the course, and is seen as a way to interest the students and retain a sense of love for the subject and language. Games and competitions are played, but all are linked to the current vocabulary and subject matter being studied at that time.
As mentioned, above the four basic elements are covered within the IEC, below is an outline of how each one is covered.
Listening skills are practiced all the time, from the moment the student walks into class. Students must listen to instructions, demonstrations, and pronunciations all through English. Every unit within the textbook contains listening exercises on CD, which the students must listen to and comprehend. Students are often asked to perform an activity in front of the class, with the class being asked to listen very carefully. Questions are then asked. As mentioned above, we have some recordings of books which students can listen to and read along to, while they also look at pictures. There are many speaking activities that obviously the students must also practice listening.
Speaking skills are practiced regularly with pair and group work activities. The teacher also makes use of the reading corner and holds small speaking workshops with smaller groups of students at a time. Speaking is encouraged as much as possible and any effort is met with positively, enabling the building of confidence. Students first learn all new vocabulary from repeating after the teacher and then practice it through various speaking activities.
Project work is also a big part of the IEC, this where students are given the opportunity to use the language they learnt in their own creative way and to illustrate concepts according to their own ideas using pictures etc. students tend to like this freedom and all work is collected in a portfolio or means to display it.
Reading takes place in class, using a variety of methods. Students are often asked to read aloud in class, both as a class and as a group, as well as individually. The students may read following the teacher or a CD. There are also reading exercises contained both in the student book and workbook. Students are also constantly reading from the whiteboard and overhead projector. All students are encouraged to read the books that are in the reading corner. Often if students finish work quickly they are allowed to go and read for themselves in the reading corner. We also have recordings on CD of some of the books with read along exercises which are given to each student.
Writing skills are also practiced everyday with exercise from the student book and workbook as well as additional activities. Creative work is another outlet where students get to practice writing. Dictation is done almost everyday where spelling and writing are assessed continually.
Students are grades and assessed regularly by both Foreign teacher and Thai Teachers. At the end of every unit in the textbook there are Unit test and at the end of every semester there are a number of exams which included writing, listening, reading, speaking, grammar and dictation (D-F), also creative work is graded and included in an overall grade for English, behavior is also factor in this. In addition to the regular classes the IEC students will take part of English Camps, A-C (once a year) and D-F (once a semester) where various activities take place through English.