PhD students who frequently use written and spoken English for carrying out day-to-day tasks related to their research programme.
NOTE: The course content focuses on the practical/organisational aspects of being a PhD student, rather than the research-related aspects (which are dealt with on other courses, e.g. Writing Research Papers and Giving Presentations). Check the course content, below, for more details.
The aim of the course is to refresh and enhance participants’ knowledge of English and to train them to use English efficiently and correctly in a number of contexts they are likely to encounter during their academic careers.
The course is based around five key areas of communication that are particularly relevant for PhD students, where English is often used:
- writing a convincing research grant proposal
- meetings: getting your view across; chairing
- writing professional emails
- making polite and efficient telephone calls
- small talk and politeness for socialising/networking
Participants will improve their writing and speaking skills in the contexts above by learning and practising useful vocabulary and phrases. The teacher will provide corrections and personal feedback on written and spoken assignments.
The course also dedicates some time to practising relevant grammar and structures in order to refresh and enhance participants’ general command of English.
Because of the small group sizes, this course can easily be adapted according to participants’ needs. The teacher can deal with each participant’s own areas of difficulty and offer individual guidance and advice on how to improve.
The teaching method emphasises communicative competence rather than just theoretical understanding. In terms of lesson activities, this typically means that participants will first be provided with a kind of phrase bank of useful language for a certain situation (e.g. chairing a meeting), and will then practise using these phrases in realistic task activities. This way, participants will feel confident that they can understand and produce the language they need correctly.
More individual tasks, such as writing assignments or grammar exercises, will normally be set as ‘homework’ between lessons.