Customized instruction to meet each student's needs and proficiency


The aim of the education in the ELA is to acquire academic English skills and critical thinking skills, which is necessary for the liberal arts education at ICU. The courses are conducted in small-size classes of approximately 20 students, and instructors provide intense guidance depending on the English proficiency and needs of each student.

In the core courses of the curriculum (ARW and RCA), classes are conducted 2-3 times a week, and in addition, there are tutorials. The same instructor meets the students several times a week, so they are well aware of the students' strengths and weaknesses. The core courses are taught by full-time instructors and students can make an appointment to see the instructor when needed.

This intensive, customized instruction is a unique feature of the ELA, which is described in details below.


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Students are placed in Streams 1, 2, 3, or 4 based on Placement Test results, as well as their overseas experience and academic writing experience. In order to place students in the most appropriate stream, some students are interviewed to more accurately evaluate their communication skills, vocabulary, grammar, and logical thinking skills. Stream 1 has the highest English proficiency and approximately 20 students are placed in this stream. Stream 2 consists of approximately 80 students. Stream 3 is the largest stream with approximately 340-360 students, and the English proficiency of this stream is the average level for April students. Stream 4 students, who require more support in vocabulary, grammar, and listening skills, consists of approximately 120 students. Students in each stream are divided into "sections" of about 20 students for most of their classes.

Streaming Procedure

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Students take 4-11 class periods per week depending on their stream. For example, Stream 3 has 9 class periods per week. In addition to the classes outlined in the diagram above, students will also attend tutorials and will be given homework assignments to prepare for each class. Apart from the ELA, students usually take General Education course, Physical Education course, and Foundation course in their first year, however, a significant portion of first year study is allotted to the ELA.

All the assignments in ELA are in English and some of them are extremely time-consuming. Although students may require some time to become acclimated to the rhythm and intensity of the classes, they eventually feel their English improving. Upon completion of the ELA, students will be reading, writing, listening and speaking English with confidence.

Stream 3 Model Schedule

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Please see here for the details of each course.


Students learn and get used to expressing themselves well by taking classes which emphasize group discussion and interaction with other students and instructors. When working on such topic as "Intercultural Communication" and "Bioethics", students first read articles on the topic, and then they are asked for their opinions. At first, students accept what is written without question, but eventually they learn to express their own thoughts and ideas.

At the same time, through group discussion and presentation, students become aware of the fact that what they believe as common knowledge or common sense is not true for everyone, and that their way of thinking might have been based on their own stereotypes. By learning this, they also begin to acquire the skill of listening to others, and learning how to reach a consensus. In addition, students are given numerous assignments in which they have to work together with their classmates using a problem-solving approach, which enhances their ability to work with others.

ARW (Academic Reading & Writing) and RCA (Reading & Content Analysis) are the core courses of the ELA and in both of these courses tutorials are an integral part of the curriculum. In principle, ARW has tutorials twice a week, and RCA once a week. However, students can make an appointment for additional tutorials whenever they need.

Tutorials are an effective way to develop the students' ability to think. Rather than giving students direct answers to their questions, the instructor will try to elicit answers from the students. Through the dialogue that ensues, students are encouraged to think more deeply. The main aim of tutorials is to make students autonomous learners, which in turn will help them to become lifelong learners.

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All the ELA classes are conducted in English. Students read academic articles, conduct discussions, make presentations, and write academic essays, all in English. Reading college-level English academic articles and discussing the content in English is very demanding for students learning English as a second language. However, engaging in this process repeatedly with the support of the instructors helps the students to realize that their English proficiency is improving.