At the intermediate levels, students continue to expand their knowledge and ability to use a wide variety of vocabulary and grammar so that they can express themselves with more precision and elaboration than at lower levels. Instruction no longer focuses on the here-and-now and on students’ immediate surroundings and needs, but on their past, present, and future experience of the world. Students can now speak at length about past experiences and events, make plans for the future, discuss obstacles to these plans, and develop possible solutions. Classroom activities continue to include paired interactions, role-plays and more involved simulations. Problem-solving activities at this level involve the use of all four language skills, critical thinking, and a jigsaw organization which forces students to rely on each other, like people do in the workplace or in the community. Out of class learning experiences begin to involve students in situations where they need to demonstrate their knowledge of cultural values and norms of appropriate interactions.
Students learn to compare and contrast information presented in charts, graphs, diagrams and short readings in order to make choices. They participate in extended conversations about their daily lives as equal participants and begin to use their language to engage in common communicative functions, such as thanking, apologizing, inviting, agreeing and disagreeing, making suggestions, and giving advice. Students also learn the skills necessary for participating in more formal types of oral interactions, such as a job or college interview and practice these skills during simulations.
Students learn and practice strategies for guessing word meaning from context while reading and listening to authentic real-world texts. Students practice reading texts such as workplace manuals, instructions for completing various kinds of real-world or work-related tasks, and newsletters and bulletins from organizations in the community. Students practice filling out increasingly complex applications, such as applications for loans, writing formal business letters, such as cover letters or letters of complaint, and providing the necessary supporting documents. In addition, students also learn how to produce connected oral discourse by giving short oral presentations as part of a team. Finally, in the area of functional life skills, student become familiar with basic elements of American life, such as making goals for the future, managing one’s time and personal finances, applying for credit cards and loans in order to pay for major purchases such as a car, a house, or tuition, and volunteering in one’s community to make it a better place to live.
At the sixth level of their English study, students receive an in-depth introduction to the work place and to work-life connections. They will first be introduced to the process of getting hired, and will learn strategies for how to read job postings, identify the skills and characteristics needed for certain job categories and the job responsibilities, conduct a job search, fill-out a job application, write a resume, an e-mail cover letter and follow-up e-mails, and prepare for a job interview. The course focuses next on workplace behavior, including appropriate actions, appropriate communication with supervisors and fellow employees, making ethical decisions, and asking for a promotion or a salary increase. Students learn about health issues that may arise because of work conditions or work-related stress, where and how to seek help, and how to apply for health and dental insurance coverage. The course also presents information about civic rights and responsibilities, such as following the law, accessing local services, interpreting the electoral process, and communicating with local officials.