Monday, 1 September 2014

Thinking of starting a course? Here's what we do...

Happy 1st of Septemeber everyone!

It's at this time of year that people start to think about enrolling on their courses and considering their learning options.  So with this in mind, here is a quick rundown on the types of courses we offer.

Courses for Adults and Young Adults (Over 12s):

We offer courses which prepare people to take Cambridge English exams.   English language qualifications from Cambridge University are one of the most prestigious language certificates in the world and are accepted globally by educational institutes, such as universities, major international businesses and government bodies.

Students who enroll at our school are initially given a diagnostic test to assess their current level of English, this involves an appointment during which the student will have a face-to-face conversation with one of our teachers to assess speaking and listening skills, this is then followed by a written test which assesses reading and writing skills, as well as knowledge of the English grammar structure.  Once we have a clear understanding of the level you are starting with, we are able to suggest which of the Cambridge courses you should attend.

Cambridge English courses start at Level A2 on the European Framework of Reference, this means this student must already have a basic knowledge of English.  Usually, if you have studied at a scholastic level, you would likely be at the level to start an A2 course.  In some cases though, students are below the level to start the Cambridge A2 course, with these students, we suggest to attend an A1 course, which is designed by our teachers and focuses on individual learner needs.  At the end of an A1 course, students receive a Certificate of Attendance from our school and will then be in a position to start an Cambridge A2 course.

Level A2 - Cambridge Key:                  This qualification is the first level in Cambridge English.  It teaches the student English at an elementary level so that they have a basic knowledge of the language and allows them to communicate in English at a basic level.  The four key skills; reading, writing, speaking and listening are taught with integrated grammar and vocabulary.

Level B1 - Cambridge Preliminary (PET):            The second level of Cambridge English qualifications also teaches the key skills; reading, writing, speaking and listening and integrates an intermediate level of grammar and vocabulary.  This courses allows students to use English on a day-to-day basis for work, study and travel.

Level B2 - Cambridge First (FCE):          This is an upper-intermediate qualification, again it incorporates grammar and vocabulary with the four key skills, this time with the inclusion of teaching use of English, this gives a higher level of understanding of the structures within the English language and allows the student to use English more expressively and creatively.  The qualification proves that the student has a good understanding of written and spoken English and this can be used for work, study and travel.

Level C1 - Cambridge Advanced (CAE):            This is an advanced level qualification and is highly regarded internationally, it teaches more complexly reading, writing, speaking and listening, while giving the student a high level of grammar and the ability to use subject specific, diverse vocabulary.  Passing this qualification shows the student is a high achiever who can use English to an excellent standard, if the student plans to work and/or study in an English-speaking environment this certificate could prove to be vital.

Level c2 - Cambridge Proficiency:           This is the highest level of Cambridge certificate and likens the knowledge and use of the student's English to that of a native speaker.  Students will be taught more complex structures and given direction on how to use both written and spoken English with complete accuracy and with great complexity.  If you achieve this level, you have proved that you have mastered the language to the highest possible level and this will be positively received by businesses, educational bodies and governments worldwide.

In addition to these qualifications, we also off Cambridge specialist programmes in both Legal and Business English.


Courses for Children:

Cambridge English also cater to young learners from ages 7 to 12 and we offer courses which prepare children for Cambridge exams, which are fun, motivational and interesting.

For children under 7, we offer a programme designed by one of our teacher's who has had seven years experience working with younger children, both here in Sicily and previously in the United Kingdom.  This 'Kids English' programme is based on the idea of learning through play and uses games, songs and interactive methods to engage children in learning English.  This programme is a fun way to introduce young children to a foreign language and we have had great success with the children who have attended.

Cambridge Young Learners courses, similarly to adult courses, are on three levels.  We try to group children with others who are at their level of understanding of English rather than their age, this is a proven method and is much more productive in motivating children and encouraging learning at their natural level, as all children develop at different paces.

Cambridge Starters:           This is the introductory level of English for children, it allows them access to basic language structures and develops their initial vocabulary.  The key skills; reading, writing, listening and speaking are taught throughout the programme and learners are encourage to experiment with language.

Cambridge Movers:           For children who have already had an introduction to the English language, most commonly, those who have already completed the Starters course.  Children are given the opportunity to develop their understanding of the language and are taught reading, writing, listening, speaking and some basic grammar throughout.

Cambridge Flyers:            This programme is aimed at children who already have a general understanding of the English language, often the learners will have already completed the Movers course.   The level of the course is pitched at A1/A2 and therefore, gives learners an elementary understanding of English and are prepared to use English at a basic level.  Reading, writing, speaking and listening are taught throughout the programme.


So, what are you waiting for?  Call us today to talk about your language needs and we will organise an appointment to assess your level.

Take the first step of improving your language today!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

September is Coming!

While everyone is still enjoying the summer, the sun is still be soaked up, the beach parties are still in full swing and fashions are continuing to reflect the heat of summer, the calendar keeps on creeping nearer and nearer towards September and the start of our back-to-schoolnew school year.

Group lessons will be starting soon, so now is a good time to contact us to arrange your free diagnostic test.  The test involves a short chat with one of our teachers and then a written test, this is to assess your level in order to place you on the most suitable course to fit your needs.

If you are thinking of starting a course with us in the school year, now is the right time to get in touch and organise to come to speak with us and for those of you returning to the school, we will be in touch to let you know when your groups will start again.  For individual students who have taken a summer break, we advise to contact us as soon as possible to arrange your return lesson to the school.

Take a step forward in improving your language skills , there is no time like the present, so telephone, call into the school or email today.

Wishing you all a happy and fun end to your holidays.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Tips for improving your Speaking & Listening Skills this summer

What you can do to improve your speaking skills:

It might seem simple but the best thing you can do is speak!
Don't be afraid to make mistakes, everyone does and we learn more from what we get wrong than what we get right.
Don't be afraid to join in conversations, you may not be able to make huge contributions in the beginning but little by little you will progress.
Find other English language students and spend time speaking to them in English - practice, practice, practice!
There are a lot of tourists in the area at the moment, so why not try to make conversation with them? Ask where they are from, how long they are here for and what they like about Sicily.
If you can't find anyone to talk to, talk to yourself!! Just saying sentences out loud will boost your confidence and make your speaking more well ordered when you do find someone to speak to.

Happy chatting!


What you can do to improve your listening skills:

The only way to get better at listening is to listen, listen, listen!

Watch English/American films and TV shows in their original language (with Italian subtitles if you are below an upper intermediate level).
Go to English language news sites and watch the news in English (for example

Listen to English language music while studying the lyrics, you could even try to learn the words to some of your favourite songs.
Spend time in the company of English speakers, try to join in with their conversations if possible, listen to the tone and rhythm of their voices... there are lots of tourists around during the summer, so now is the best time to find some native speakers to do this.

Remember, even though you are on holiday, language is something that needs to be practiced and kept up - like playing a musical instrument or maintaining fitness.

Happy Listening!

Friday, 25 July 2014

Exams are OVER!

HappinessOur final exams for the academic year 2013/14 have just finished!

Well done to everyone who has attended Cambridge courses and taken exams this year.

This year we have had a record number of students at our Modica school, plus the opening of our second school in Ragusa has meant that even more candidates have been sitting exams this year.  It has been a lot of hard work for the teachers and everyone involved in the school but ultimately, we are all very pleased with the progress students have made this year.

It is wonderful to see so many of our students return year after year to continue their progress in learning English, we have built strong relationships with you over the time you have attended the school and, although there is always relief at the end of exams and the end of the school year, it can also be quite sad to say goodbye.  We have, of course, welcomed many new students to the school this year too, our teachers all say what a pleasure it is to get to know you all.

Special mentions to our teaching staff of this year; Sally, Lucy, Ariane, Chris, Luke, Mike, Alistair, Nadine and Caroline have all worked really hard and have high hopes for the students they have taught over the past year.  Also, to our secretaries Isabel and Eliana who keep everything organised.  And of course, to our school's director, Catherine who has been working harder than ever to improve the school and to continue to offer excellence in English language instruction in the province of Ragusa.

The school remains open throughout August for individual students who wish to continue learning.  New group classes will begin in September and we hope to see many of you again then.

Happy celebrating the end of your exams, here's hoping the results will reflect all your hard work.

Thank you to all our wonderful students!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Times for Key, Preliminary & First Certificate Exams - Summer 2014

Please note exam times for Key, Preliminary & First Certificate candidates taking their exams this month:

Cambridge Key (A2)

Speaking Exam:                         Monday 21st July      17:15-17:45

Reading, Writing & Listening Exams:           Thursday 24th July   From 12:00


Cambridge Preliminary (B1)

Speaking Exam:                         Monday 21st July     16:15-17:00

Reading, Writing & Listening Exams:             Thursday 24th July     From 09:00


Cambridge First (B2)

Speaking Exam:                         Monday 21st July     14:30-16:00

Reading, Writing, Listening & Use of English Exams:         Friday 25th July     08:30-14:00


Candidates are reminded that they must bring their identity cards on the day of the exam, failure to do so will mean you are not permitted to sit the exam.  You should also bring a pencil, a pencil sharpener and a rubber.  

If you have any questions regarding the exam schedule, please contact the school or speak with your teacher.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Happy 4th July - American Independence Day!

4th July

Today is Independence Day in the United States of America, which marks the anniversary of the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress — July 4, 1776. That means that this year — 2014 — marks America's 238th birthday.

The Declaration of Independence was the official announcement that America would no longer be ruled by the monarch of Great Britain.

On July 4, 1777, the night sky of Philadelphia lit up with the blaze of bonfires. Candles illuminated the windows of houses and public buildings.  Church bells rang out load, and cannons were shot from ships breaking the silence.  The city was celebrating the first anniversary of the founding of the United States.

The Fourth of July quickly became an annual date for celebrating and is the main patriotic holiday for the whole nation.  The famous Star Spangled Banner, America's national flag, can be seen flying proudly through cities all over the USA, people march in parades and there are huge fireworks displays, as well as traditional family dinners and neighbourhood parties.

The United States, due to its vast continental stretch, hosts the most native English language speakers in the world, as well as being home to many immigrants who have learnt English as a second language.

Today at school, we are spending a little time learning about this important holiday for our American cousins.



Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Good Luck to the Movers and Flyers


Wishing all our wonderful Movers and Flyers the very best of luck for their exams on Monday.

Today was many of the young learners last lesson before their Cambridge exam.  Pictured are Sally and Luke with just a few of the children from both levels.

All the young learners have worked so hard towards their certificates and we are sure they will do well in their forthcoming exams.  We are always sad on the last day of the children's lessons but it is such a pleasure that the majority return to us every year to continue to improve their English language skills.  All the Movers will be moving up to Flyers level from September and the Flyers have now completed their last lessons as young learners, the next time they join us, they will be studying towards Cambridge Key.

Once again, good luck everyone and thank you so much for working so hard!