Teaching in the Conversational English Program
Teachers in the Conversational English Program are assigned to teach either Freshman or Sophomore Oral English. A standard teaching load for Oral English faculty members is 18 hours per week. This usually means that they are teaching nine different classes that meet once a week, and the standard class period is composed of two 45 minute periods with a 10 minute break in between. The average class size for Oral English classes at Sias is between 25 and 30 students. Aside from teaching, Oral English faculty members are also required to hold office hours for two hours each week; these may be held formally or informally, as long as faculty members make themselves available to their students for a minimum of two hours per week.
In order to provide faculty members with additional support and guidance in fulfilling their role as teachers, the Oral English Program faculty is divided into two teaching teams—the Freshman Oral English Team and the Sophomore Oral English Team —according to their teaching assignments.
Each team has a Team Leader who regularly supports the team with specific information to help guide lesson planning and teaching via email and a weekly team meeting. The Team Leaders also help to relay information from the School of Foreign Languages regarding any relevant administrative issues.
The Oral English Program Curriculum
The majority of students at Sias must fulfill a 2-year Oral English requirement as part of their degree plan. Students fulfilling this requirement must take both Freshman and Sophomore Oral English.
The Oral English Program Curriculum is composed of a set of global goals and a series of 8 units, each composed of specific goals and objectives intended to guide classroom instruction. Units 1-4 are covered in the freshman year, while units 5-8 are covered in the sophomore year. The focus of the 8 units is on helping the students to develop communicative competence in spoken English in order to be able to effectively and appropriately socialize on campus, interact in small group opinion-based conversations, relay information and share experiences through story-telling, and to successfully perform in job interviews.
Lesson Planning and Resources
Teachers are provided with a unit description for each of the units they teach, specifying what should be focused on in each week’s lessons. Teachers also receive a copy of the student textbook for the course as well as a pronunciation book to use as resources for lesson planning. Finally, all Oral English faculty members are invited to join a private wiki that was developed specifically to facilitate collaboration among the faculty and to assist teachers in sharing lesson planning ideas and resources.
Training, Professional Development, and Support
Another asset to the Oral English Program at Sias is the Oral English Program Faculty Trainer, who works closely with the Team Leaders to provide more in-depth training and individualized support to the Oral English Program faculty. The Faculty Trainer provides intensive training during the fall orientation period to prepare teachers to enter the classroom, and then continues to provide additional opportunities for professional development throughout the year through various workshops. The Faculty Trainer is available throughout the academic year to answer questions regarding teaching and the Oral English Program curriculum and will also meet individually with all new teachers at least once to provide specific feedback after conducting a classroom observation.