Program Design

Levels

The ELI offers the following six levels of intensive English study:

  • Level 1: low beginning
  • Level 2: high beginning
  • Level 3: low intermediate
  • Level 4: high intermediate
  • Level 5: low advanced
  • Level 6: high advanced

Students are placed into classes at the appropriate levels of study based on their results on the ELI Placement Exam, which is administered on the first day of each session.

Core Classes

Core classes, which meet for a total of 20 hours per week, are the foundation of the ELI program of study. “Required core classes” are offered each session at each level and consist of the following:

Reading/Writing Levels 1-6 9 hours/week
Speaking/Listening Levels 1-6 6 hours/week
Structure (grammar) Levels 1-6 5 hours/week

A student may be placed into a different level for each required core class, depending on his or her ability in that area. For example, a student may have Reading/Writing 3, Speaking/Listening 4, and Structure 2. Students advance from level to level as a result of the grades they earn in each of their required core classes; students who excel may be eligible to skip a level.

The ELI also offers a variety of advanced elective classes which are available to students in Levels 4, 5, and 6. For example, Oral Communication is designed for students who wish to concentrate on improving their speaking and listening in English, and TOEFL Preparation is available to students who wish to focus on improving their TOEFL scores.

Elective Classes

Students who meet the designated criteria to take elective classes may choose to substitute them for core classes (without paying extra tuition) or to take them in addition to core classes (by paying extra tuition). Elective classes, however, do not serve as substitutes for required core classes in terms of earning an ELI Certificate of Proficiency or Completion. Most elective classes assign final grades that count toward each student’s ELI GPA. Students may not substitute more than one elective class for a core class per session.

Examples of class offerings include the following: American Cultural Backgrounds, Business + English, Engineering + English, Taboos and Stereotypes, and World News & Topics.

Culturally Speaking

Culturally Speaking is an optional conversation class in which ELI students meet with US students for informal conversation, primarily about cultural topics. The class meets for 2 hours per week. Culturally Speaking is held during ELI Fall and Spring sessions only; it is not offered during ELI Summer sessions.

Friday Seminars  

ELI Friday Seminars are offered on most Friday afternoons during each IEP session. These seminars, which meet for 1.5-2 hours, are optional and free of charge to students enrolled in the IEP. A schedule of the seminars available each session is available at the beginning of the session, and students who wish to attend a particular seminar must sign up in the ELI office by 3:00 pm on the Thursday before the seminar. Seminars must have a minimum of 10 participants in order to make, and students will be notified by email each Thursday afternoon as to which seminars have made and which have been cancelled for that particular Friday.

Examples of seminar topics include the following: Advertising, American/Alabama Football, American Idioms, Spelling in English, Civil Rights in Alabama, Celebrating Halloween, Celebrating Thanksgiving, and Geocaching.

Student Activities

Each session, the ELI plans a variety of activities that allow students to visit areas in Alabama and in the southeastern United States, practice their English skills, and become better acquainted with their teachers and each other. Typical student activities include movies, concerts, shopping, recreational sports, and weekend trips to nearby locations–the beach, the mountains, and cities such as Atlanta, New Orleans, and Memphis.

Study Center

When not in class, ELI students may use the ELI Study Center, where they can check out books, listen to audio materials, and watch videos, including popular movies. In addition, students can receive individual instruction and assistance from qualified tutors in the ELI Study Center.

Class Schedules

For core classes, students typically have RW (Reading/Writing) and SL (Speaking/Listening) classes in the morning and STR (Structure, or Grammar) classes in the early afternoon. Some core classes have alternate meeting times.

Elective courses are scheduled in several different time slots, and Cultural Speaking courses are scheduled in the afternoons.

Sample Schedule: Fall/Spring

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
8:00 SL or STR or elective SL or STR or elective SL or STR or elective SL or STR or elective SL or STR or elective
8:30
9:00 RW RW RW
9:30 RW RW
10:00
10:30
11:00 SL or elective SL or elective SL or elective SL or elective SL or elective
11:30
12:00
12:30 STR or elective STR or elective
1:00 STR or elective STR or elective
1:30 Friday Afternoon Seminars (optional)
2:00 RW RW RW RW
2:30
3:00 OPTIONAL: Homework, Study Center, Computer Lab, Recreation Center, cultural activities
3:30
4:00 Culturally Speaking (optional) Culturally Speaking (optional)
4:30 OPTIONAL: homework, Study Center, Recreation Center OPTIONAL: homework, Study Center, Recreation Center
5:00 OPTIONAL: homework, Study Center OPTIONAL: homework, Study Center
5:30

Sample Schedule: Summer

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9:00 SL or elective (9:00-10:20) SL or elective SL or elective SL or elective SL or elective
9:30
10:00
10:30 RW (10:35-12:45) RW RW RW RW
11:00
11:30
12:00
12:30
1:00 Lunch (12:45-1:45)
1:30
2:00 STR or elective (1:45-3:15) STR or elective STR or elective STR or elective Friday Afternoon Seminar (optional)
2:30
3:00
3:30 OPTIONAL: Homework, Study Center, Computer Lab, Recreation Center, cultural activities OPTIONAL: Homework, Study Center, Computer Lab, Recreation Center, cultural activities OPTIONAL: Homework, Study Center, Computer Lab, Recreation Center, cultural activities OPTIONAL: Homework, Study Center, Computer Lab, Recreation Center, cultural activities OPTIONAL: Homework, Study Center, Computer Lab, Recreation Center, cultural activities
4:00
4:30
5:00
5:30

Notes

1) Students register from available class times each session and typically take all three core classes.
2) Core classes in all levels (Levels 1 – 6) are offered each session.
3) Electives are typically limited to particular levels of study and are not offered in each time slot every session.