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Informazioni su British Language Centre

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is it that the British Language Centre offers?

What is it that the British Language Centre offers?

Our institute is the only school in Valtellina and the Province of Sondrio that is formally recognized by the Italian Ministry of Education. Over 30 years of experience in the field of education guarantee the highest possible standards for all our students, from the youngest to the oldest!

The effective study of a language requires the support of professionals with a proven track record and qualifications to ensure the best possible results. Would you dream of stepping on a plane with an unqualified pilot simply for short term economic advantage?

Our motto is ’Yes, me rangi’ non basta! - Are you really happy just to muddle through with the one or two phrases in English that everyone knows these days?

How long do the courses last?

How long do the courses last?

Our courses pretty much follow the state school calendar starting in September and finishing in the middle of May. For general English courses in particular, this is probably the minimum possible time-frame to make any serious headway with a language – anything shorter or less rigorous is founded on unreal expectations and can only result in disappointment and demotivation.

Are children’s and adult courses different?

Are children’s and adult courses different?

Of course they are!

Courses for children from Elementary and Middle school last 90 minutes and are just once a week. Courses for high school youngsters (14+) are made up of a twice weekly 60 minute lesson.

Adult courses, on the other hand, take place in the evening and consist of two 60 minute lessons per week with a start time of 19:00 or 20:10.

Senior courses with U3A have lessons of 90 minutes duration once a week, typically in the morning.

What happens in the classroom?

What happens in the classroom?

All our lessons are highly stimulating requiring the active participation of all class members and move forward both steadily and logically. Considerable time is dedicated to those most fundamental of skills, listening and speaking. The emphasis is on practical, fun activities without getting bogged down in grammar, while at the same time not overlooking this key area of language study. Nor are the other skills of reading and writing neglected – the quantity will vary according to level and the specific parameters of the course. Clearly those whose course is aimed at higher level examination preparation have different needs to a complete beginner. As we say in English, it’s ‘Horses for Courses’!

Can I choose my course?

Can I choose my course?

Once you have done the level test – which is free and non-binding –  you will be informed of the timetables of the most suitable course(s). Within the realms of the possible you will be able to choose both days and time.

We offer courses at nine different levels from complete beginner to advanced, but clearly the priority for the course you join has to be level rather than timetable.

Are your teachers mother tongue?

Are your teachers mother tongue?

You can take it as read that all our teachers are native speakers of English – often a key factor for our students. But they are also highly qualified professionals in the  field of teaching English as a foreign language and all are in possession of a degree and a post-graduate qualification in the teaching of English - CELTA, DELTA or CERT.TEFL. Those who teach young children will also have qualifications and experience in this field. Furthermore, all staff have the opportunity to do further training both off-site and in-house, where regular observations are also carried out. All our teachers are able to prepare students for the Cambridge Examination that best suits their level. Our teachers are also Cambridge Speaking Examiners and thy are required both to examine regularly and to attend standardization training annually. One of the school’s objectives has always been to motivate and support all our teachers to attain ever greater professional competence.

Can I have individual lessons?

Can I have individual lessons?

Individual lessons, or 1:1’s, are available for relatively short periods where there is a specific short-term need (a one-off presentation or imminent English examination, for example). For logistical reasons, it can be difficult to satisfy all 1:1 requests we receive during the academic year, in fact, there is always a waiting list.

Do I have to do homework?

Do I have to do homework?

Sometimes, yes. There can be no doubt that the best results are achieved by those who are able to apply themselves most rigorously to their studies. Homework can prove particularly useful as a way of taking another look at what was covered during the lesson. This will help to consolidate but also to throw into relief something that you have perhaps not yet fully understood. Any homework that is assigned will be corrected by the teacher and turned around within one lesson.

What will I have achieved by the end of the year?

What will I have achieved by the end of the year?

Progress will of course be evident though it can be relatively subjective depending on where you started from and how much time you were able to dedicate to your course. Indeed, many students find that their first year is just a ‘taster’ and they then choose to continue for a number of years, taking ever higher level examinations as their efforts begin to bear fruit.

To give some sort of idea of what one can achieve in a year as a complete beginner – by the end of the course you would be able to survive in a range of clearly contextualized everyday situations such as travel, work and restaurants as well as being proficient in the exchange of biodata.

Do I have to do exams?

Do I have to do exams?

There are no examinations as such during the courses but you may have tests throughout the year to help you and your teacher keep an eye on your progress.

Since the school is a certified Cambridge Assessment English centre, be your motivation personal academic or professional, a course represents an outstanding opportunity to prepare for and sit the exam most suitable for you in optimum conditions.

Do I get some sort of certificate at the end of my course?

Do I get some sort of certificate at the end of my course?

Yes. Should you desire one, all our students are entitled to a certificate of attendance indicating the number of hours attended and the level of the course you completed. Should you require something more objective with international validity, then the best way forward would be to obtain Cambridge Examination certification.

How do you organize your courses for children?

How do you organize your courses for children?

Children’s lessons are very dynamic and creative and the communicative medium is strictly English. Our teachers are always working on new game ideas and activities to encourage learning that is both stimulating and fun.

How do I sign up for a course?

How do I sign up for a course?

You can either call us to fix a day and time for your free level test or if you prefer you can just pop in when passing, be it in Tirano, Sondrio or Morbegno. The test has two components – one written, (the test can be downloaded from this site by following the ‘Courses’ link), the other is a short speaking test or ‘chat’ with one of our teachers. Thereafter, we try and match a course with a timetable that suits your needs best. Then you come along and give it a try and if you like it - which we’re sure you will - you can formalize your participation with the signing of the contract and payment by various means.