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The Role of English in Furthering Your Studies

Published by Afterschool.my on Oct 27, 2017, 02:55 am

For students entering tertiary education locally or abroad, a good command of English is essential. Presentations, assignments, reports, group work and research all require students to be able to express themselves verbally and in writing, and be able to process and comprehend tricky academic material. Needless to say, these are skills that will also carry over to their working life later, where English is the primary language of business.

Worryingly, a Euromonitor report from November 2015 suggested that between 30% and 40% of Malaysian graduates are either unemployed or underemployed. Two of the main factors preventing some young graduates securing employment are:

1. Their low level of English, with some people lacking the confidence to use the language in a professional environment.

2. Their lack of soft skills competences, such as the ability to think critically, network and make presentations.

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As British Council Senior Teacher for Adults, Philip Brown, commented, “My Malaysian students are very fluent, but not very accurate. They want to sound better in English and be more confident that what they are saying is correct. I give them lots of feedback so they can improve, especially in handling real-life situations.”

One way for school leavers and tertiary students to improve their accuracy and develop their confidence in order to proactively enhance their success at university and their employability upon graduation, is to develop their English ability beyond the classes offered at school or college. One course designed to do this is SMART English, offered at the British Council.

What is SMART English?

This course was specifically designed to help students make real progress in English, whether they’re preparing for academic or working life. With the inclusion of soft skills and several course options, the five day a week, 20 hours of face-to-face study will help students to enhance their English in various ways.

What Can I Learn?

Each four-hour SMART session consists of three specific elements:

  • Core English. This focuses on the essential elements of English, namely grammar, vocabulary, communication skills and pronunciation. These areas are dealt with through a variety of different topics, activities and tasks that help learners internalise the language and become both more accurate and fluent. Effectively, this forms the foundations on which other skills in English can be developed.
  • Soft Skills. This can include critical thinking skills, making presentations, effective networking and working effectively in a team.
  • General Skills or Academic Skills. Students opt for a specialised focus, depending on their needs. Students looking to use English in everyday situations, whether at work, socialising or travelling, can opt for General Skills. These lessons help develop speaking, listening, reading and writing skills for real life scenarios. In Academic Skills, lessons are designed to prepare students for university with academic writing, reading complex academic texts, honing speaking skills and expressing opinions in tutorials or discussions.

With various options available, British Council’s SMART English programme offers students the chance to get a head start in their studies and chosen careers by making rapid progress in their English to become more confident and competent users of the language.

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