English Language Program - UNAM

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TOEFL Preparation. • English for Specific Purposes. • Specialized Workshops. • SEP Teacher Training for EFL teachers from Mexico. The beliefs about language  ...

The National Autonomous University of Mexico’s English Language Program (ELP) Chicago, Illinois

UNAM Chicago proudly offers a comprehensive English Program featuring a broad range of courses and levels to accommodate our future English learners. The English Program is comprised of: 

Survival & Basic English

Professional English

TOEFL Preparation

English for Specific Purposes

Specialized Workshops

SEP Teacher Training for EFL teachers from Mexico

The beliefs about language learning of an institution must be analyzed to provide a foundation for curriculum design. The viewpoint of how language is learned is the basis for not only language teaching, but also defining course content. Language learning is the acquisition of language skills and the development of metacognitive and critical thinking skills as well. In the classroom, learners should not only be the recipients of information, but be active in molding it. It is our belief that students will learn more and retain information better when they are responsible for their own learning process and have the ability to discover aspects of the language themselves. This approach to language teaching can be considered to fall under the broad category that is Communicative Language Teaching (CLT). In order to uphold these beliefs, UNAM

Chicago follows standards of foreign language teaching provided by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (http://www.actfl.org)



ACTFL developed a set of oral proficiency standards and testing procedures that can be applied to learners of any language, including ESL learners. These standards are widely recognized and used by institutions such as universities, employers, and government agencies, to verify that a language learner is proficient in the language they report to have learned. An individual whose oral proficiency is tested by an ACTFL certified tester can receive official results which can be used to meet employment or academic requirements. For example, an ESL student who has reached a certain level of proficiency can use the ACTFL test results as documentation that they have achieved this level of proficiency.

At UNAM Chicago, our methods and materials reflect current practices in second language teaching. Our adult students bring different educational and work experiences to our program, and we want to develop their skills quickly and effectively. For this reason, we teach both language skills and language learning skills. In particular, we emphasize: 

Student-Centered environment

Meaningful communication

Integration of skills

Interaction among students

Student responsibility for learning

Our students come from all over the world, and we encourage them to learn from each other. As they work closely together, our students improve all of their language skills, and they develop valuable cultural awareness.


Program Overview

The English Language Program (ELP) is an academic intensive English program that aims primarily at assisting international students in developing their English language proficiency to the level needed to pursue higher education and to achieve a higher fluency level. The academic year for ELP students consists of three semesters: Fall, Spring and Summer. The classes offered are reading, writing, listening/speaking and grammar. Students are given placement tests and enrolled in one of nine levels. Additionally, we offer various workshops and English for Specific Purpose courses.

A. Basic English The Basic English track consists of three levels: Survival, Level 1, and Level 2. Each level spans the duration of 80 hours and aims to provide students with a foundation of English in order to carry out tasks in an English-speaking environment. Each course is an integrated skills course focusing on reading, writing, speaking, listening, and grammar while exploring topics such as the family, the community, and school. These courses deal with day to day interactions that a student in an English speaking environment will need to perform successfully. After completing these three levels, students have the ability to communicate successfully on common topics and in these common encounters. B. Professional English Course Following the Basic English track is the Professional English course. This track is comprised of six levels ranging from Beginning to Advanced. These courses differ from the Basic English courses in two fundamental ways. First, the focus of the material is academic. While the Basic English courses are task-based, these courses explore the level of English that is used in a professional environment. This gives the students the opportunity to explore the difference between formal and informal uses of the language. Second, each 96 hour level is divided into four 24 hour modules. Each module focuses on a linguistic skill: Reading, Writing, Listening/Speaking, and Grammar. This approach allows students to examine each skill precisely. Moreover, it gives the students the possibility to

choose their focus. For instance, a student who may only be interested in conversational skills can register for the Listening/Speaking module. C. TOEFL Preparation The TOEFL Preparation course spans the duration of 95 hours and prepares students for the newest version of the TOEFL exam: TOEFL iBT. Students in this course examine the construction of the internet based exam section by section in order to become exceptionally familiar with test items and format. Students take multiple practice tests and analyze what elements are needed to form a high-scoring response. By the end of this course, students improve their TOEFL score and are experienced with the layout of the exam. D. English for Specific Purposes (ESP) We provide English for Specific Purpose courses for a range of industry and purposes. It meets the needs of adult learners who need to learn English for use in their specific fields, such as medicine, nursing, lawyers, architects, and so forth. These courses aid the students in improving their conversational & writing skills for their particular field. The students examine the type of language that is used their field, and use role-playing to create authentic situations in which the nurses will use English in future endeavors. The ESP courses make use of underlying methodology and activities of the discipline it serves. It is also centered on the language appropriate to these activities in terms of grammar, lexicon, register, study skills, discourse and genre. E. Specialized Workshops Specialized conversation and pronunciation workshops are offered to provide students with focused practice outside of the regular skills courses. The workshops consist of interactive lessons with the goal of communicating in the English uninhibited. The workshops are offered in two levels: Basic and Professional to target students of all language levels. The workshops are an alternative to classes in that they are less structured than skills courses and offer students an opportunity to practice using the language in a current, meaningful way.

F. Teacher Training This program focuses on advancing the English level of the SEP teachers across all skills and provides them with important cultural information applicable to the classroom, as well as concentrates on improving their knowledge of English Language Teaching Methodology and feature innovative classroom practices. In this program, the students will have 90 hours of classroom instruction in the following modules: 

Reading and American Culture

Listening, Speaking and Pronunciation

Slang, Idioms and Vocabulary Building

Grammar and Writing

Fifty percent of each module will be devoted to language instruction, while the latter half will focus on teaching methods and materials development. Discussion will be incorporated into each lesson to give the material a communicative focus while also giving the students the opportunity to share teaching experiences and knowledge.



All of our teachers are experienced professionals with advanced degrees in teaching English as a Second Language, Applied Linguistics or a related field. All of our teachers are full-time English teachers working in top Chicago Universities.