Learning about English

Government courses

A. Tailored course materials for individual government departments or agencies

Purpose

1. To determine the most useful vocabulary for staff in your organisation and field

2. To test your staff on vocabulary knowledge and usage for the words and phrases needed in your field 

3. To increase knowledge of vocabulary commonly used in your field and how it is used

4. To show how professional writers use this vocabulary with the focus words and collocations

5. To simplify the wording and sentence structure of your documents and messages to increase readability and avoid errors

6. To have the participants write regularly using the language and format common in their work to identify problem areas in word use, grammar, usage and sentence structure

Method

We will do the following:

1. Corpus. Take a 100,000-word sample from your website and do a text analysis of words, categorising them in frequency bands:  

    (a) by general frequency      

    (b) by frequency on your website to devise the most useful vocabulary beyond the most frequent 2000 words for your department to focus on. 

2. Vocabulary pre-tests. Design tests of this vocabulary (meaning and usage) using a variety of quiz types* to determine which words require work.    

3. Word lists and collocations. Categorise the words on the list by part of speech, and list common collocations and phrases related to these words.

4. Additional vocabulary. Add vocabulary our research shows is useful in your field.

5. Vocabulary course. Design a course focusing on these words and phrases, dealing with issues of syntax and style, to show how professional writers commonly use the common words and phrases in your field.

6. Grammar course. Draw up a grammar section that focuses on the main structures used in your documents, using your sentences as examples to make it as relevant and useful as possible for your staff. 

7. Learning system. Use our efficient table system, with definitions usage tips and examples, to explain the vocabulary 

8. Plain English. Include a plain English section recommending simple, more common words to replace bigger, less common words used on your website, where possible.

9. Quizzes. Design  at least 1,000 quiz questions using various quiz types* to test knowledge of the meaning and proper use of the words on the list and to reinforce learning.

10. Copyright. These will be your materials and cannot be used by anyone else without your permission.  

*Quiz types:  matching, multiple-choice (sentence and passage), multiple response, type in, matching, fill in the blank (sentences and passages), and word bank

 

B. Sample learning materials and quizzes

Minute writing

1. Reported speech 1 – QUIZ

 

Report analysis

2. Complaint investigations: verbs used in the complaint description – QUIZ

 

Proofreading samples

3. Adjectives – QUIZ
4. Mixed – QUIZ
5. Proofreading by category – QUIZ

 

Learning sample — Grammar section

6. Determiners – LAUNCH

 

Learning and quizzes sample — Grammar section

7. Complex prepositions – LAUNCH

 

C. Assignment marking (optional)

We offer two different types of marking:

1. Corrections and rewriting using MS Word track changes

We correct errors in grammar and word use, use more common wording and structures to make the text more natural, and rewrite sentences where needed.

2. Error tagging

We tag every error, putting each one into one of 29 categories. We can then make a concordance of each participant’s errors by category, weekly, monthly, and at the end of the course. This allows the participants to see which of the 29 categories cause them problems. It is usually only 4-5 of the 29 categories that cause 80% of  a person’s errors, so if you know which area to focus on, you can greatly reduce the number of errors in your writing. Click below for samples.

Sample essay with tags
Sample essay with corrections
Sample concordance

 

D. Options

1. Individual tracking. We can use a commercial learning management system to issue separate passwords for all participants and give you a separate password that allows a supervisor access to reports on their progress at any time — learning materials covered, quizzes taken and quiz scores. There is a monthly charge for each participant.

2. Website. Dedicated English-learning website with a simple, low cost design, like this one.

3. Assignment marking. See section C above.

4. Oral assignments. We can transcribe oral presentations, meetings, etc. and mark them as we mark the written assignments (section C above). 

5. Pre-tests and post-tests. We can design these for each section to determine needs and progress.

6. Paper format. We can put all the learning materials and quizzes in Word  .docx format for paper print-out.

7. Manual marking. If you prefer to do some of the quizzes on paper, we can mark them if you scan them and email them to us