English language programmes to prepare students for further study are offered at several New Zealand tertiary institutions, while partnerships with private colleges also provide English support and foundation pathways.
“Lincoln University’s English language programme, with study or professional skills elective components, is a popular and extremely effective preparation for further study or professional activities using English,” enthuses Dr Lorraine Petelo. Lincoln’s English for Academic Purposes programme prepares students for study at foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate level, and Petelo explains some of the fundamental study skills that are taught on the course. “Students may take components to prepare for academic study, including reading academic books and journals; writing formal reports and research essays; studying academic vocabulary; using library resources; and presenting academic seminars and talks and taking notes,” she says.
“Our academic staff are well qualified and are experienced in language teaching in New Zealand and/or overseas,” she continues. “We also test students on arrival to ensure they are placed in a class best suited to their level, and students move up a level as they progress.” Students on the programme can progress to further academic study at Lincoln without the need to sit external examinations. An alternative course of study is the Certificate in English for Academic Purposes, “a 16-week qualification offering academic and professional electives, and recognised and approved by all New Zealand universities”, she adds.
At Otago Polytechnic, which has campuses in Dunedin, Auckland and Central Otago, Emma Wood explains there are a range of English language programmes. “We offer a Certificate in Foundation Studies (levels one to four) for beginner to advanced learners, and English language examination preparation (Ielts). We also have a popular English plus programme, in which students can learn English and an area of academic interest, such as art, design, cookery, business, sport or adventure.” The certificate offers a pathway into courses at Otago, Wood relates. After level three, students can enter some certificate programmes, and after level four they can enter most undergraduate programmes at the polytechnic.
“Our English language students receive tuition that prepares them for further undergraduate education, so they are studying English with a purpose. There is a clear progression to further study, and we offer numerous and diverse established pathways from English language to academic undergraduate qualifications,” attests Wood. “Our lecturers are experts in their fields, and our focus on applied learning ensures our students develop practical skills along with theoretical knowledge.”
At both institutions, the English language support for international students continues into full academic courses. Petelo says, “Lincoln University’s Library, Teaching and Learning [department] offer a range of ‘English language skills’ resources for students, included in their course fees. This ranges from improved reading efficiency, to Esol listening and speaking strategies, to grammar, punctuation and spelling.” At Otago, meanwhile, Wood attests, “We offer considerable academic support to our international students to ensure they get the maximum benefit from their time at Otago Polytechnic. This may include extra tutorials, assistance with assignments and help preparing for exams.”
Taylors College, part of Study Group, offers the Taylors Auckland Foundation Year (TAFY) as a pathway to further study at one of its three New Zealand partner universities: AUT University, Massey University and the University of Auckland. Andrew Lee explains that as well as these partners, “all other universities in New Zealand and top universities in Australia and around the world recognise the TAFY qualifications, giving flexible study options”.
The TAFY programme is offered at three levels: Standard TAFY (35-to-40 weeks with English plus four electives); Intensive TAFY (30 weeks with English plus four electives); and Pre-TAFY (a longer, six-term programme including English, Commerce, Computer Science, Mathematics and Science). Lee relates that Taylors has an excellent success rate: 94 per cent of students in 2011 received a tertiary offer, and among these 92 per cent received offers from the three New Zealand partners.
“Many of our teachers have been heads of departments, senior teachers, and deputy principals at high schools before coming to Taylors,” he continues. “In addition to that, a personalised timetable, smaller tutorial sizes, online learning, and well-equipped facilities such as interactive whiteboards are provided.”
Taylors College also prepares students for further study options by introducing students to the partner universities, helping them decide which would be the best option. Lee explains, “During their first year studying TAFY, students will become very familiar with our partner universities by touring each campus and also attending mock lectures. Staff from each university will visit Taylors to talk to students about the courses they offer and answer any questions students have.”
Public and private partnerships
A new partnership in language support at New Zealand tertiary level was announced recently, with the appointment of private language school CCEL to provide English language programmes for the University of Canterbury (UC) in Christchurch. Rob McKay, Managing Director at CCEL, relates, “CCEL is based on the campus of the University of Canterbury and gives students access to university life. It has the advantage of being an owner-operated private school inside an excellent university campus. It’s the best of both worlds.”
The new English for Academic Purposes: Pathway to UC course is a collaborative project based on the teaching and moderation expertise of the two institutions. “Our EAP programmes, offered in conjunction with UC, lead directly into the university’s programmes by internal assessment,” says McKay, adding that continued language support is included in UC’s full programmes.
An interesting aspect to the partnership, McKay adds, is that the institutions work closely together, but recruit separately. “Our agent networks provide most of our students and we attend fairs and workshops in support of their work. If an agent has an arrangement with CCEL, then we introduce them to UC for inclusion into the university’s agent network.”