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CULP: General Language Courses

Overview

Courses are taught during Michaelmas and Lent terms (standard), Easter (semi-intensive) and the Long Vacation (intensive). Each course offers 30 hours of classroom tuition in groups (up to 20 students for Basic/Intermediate 1 levels and up to 16 at Intermediate 2/Advanced levels) and requires the students to study independently for an additional 30 hours.

The courses are delivered in a blended-learning mode, face-to-face and online.

At Basic and Intermediate levels, the syllabi are functional-notional and the aim is to develop spoken, oral/aural communicative competence in every-day situations.

At higher Intermediate and Advanced levels, the syllabi move towards a more topical approach and the aim is broadened to include:

      1. The use of all four skills
      2. To teach explicit grammatical knowledge
      3. To give an insight into the culture, history and current affairs of the countries where the language is spoken

These courses run three times/year at different levels of intensity. The greatest choice of languages and levels is available in the cycle during the first two terms. Each course consists of 15 x 2-hour classes (30 lessons - 50 minutes each).

Course When Format (NB: 1 session = 2 x 50 minute lessons)
Standard Michaelmas & Lent 1 session + 2 hours/week self-study, over 15 weeks
Semi-intensive Easter 2 sessions + 4 hours/week self-study, over 8 weeks
Intensive Long Vacation 5 sessions + 10 hours/week self-study, over 3 weeks

Hence, the workload for completing a language course is of:

    • 4 hrs per week (Standard)
    • 8 hrs per week (Semi-intensive)
    • 20 hrs per week (Intensive)

Online enrolment will normally open several weeks before teaching begins. Course availability for Easter and Long Vacation courses will be publicised in March and May.


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Levels

Courses are mapped to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). Self-assessment is strongly advised in advance of registering for a particular language or level.

Please read the course specifications carefully to find out what levels are available in the language(s) you wish to study. Reading these, the syllabi and the CEFR Self Assessment Grid will help you to enrol on the right level of course for you. For some courses you can also try old exam papers that are available online in multimedia format.

French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish

  Entry level (CEFR) On completion (CEFR)
Basic 1 Ab initio A1
Basic 2 A1 A2
Intermediate 1 A2 B1
Intermediate 2 B1 B2
Advanced B2 C1

Modern Greek and Russian*

  Entry level (CEFR) On completion (CEFR)
Basic 1 Ab initio A1
Basic 2 A1 A2
Intermediate 1 A2 B1
Intermediate 2 B1 B2
Advanced B2 A1

* Please note that the CEFR was designed primarily for European languages. For other languages these levels are applicable to the listening, speaking and reading skills, but the acquisition rate for the writing skill will be somewhat slower.

Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Japanese, Persian and Swahili*

  Entry level (CEFR) On completion (CEFR)
Basic 1 Ab initio A1
Basic 2 A1 A2
Elementary 1 A2 Towards B1
Elementary 2 B1 B1
Intermediate 1 B1 Towards B2
* Please note that the CEFR was designed primarily for European languages. For other languages these levels are applicable to the listening, speaking and reading skills, but the acquisition rate for the writing skill will be somewhat slower.

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Certification

Certification
ALL courses (except Advanced courses) Certificate of Proficiency
Advanced courses only CULP Award

Student support

Students are provided with multimedia online materials designed and produced by the LC as well as other materials hosted in the John Trim Centre (JTC), self-access centre. Only a small number of courses will require the student to purchase a textbook.

The JTC houses electronic and paper-based language learning and reference materials in more than 170 languages and provides access to satellite TV and an ever increasing collection of feature films on DVDs.

The JTC also has a dedicated team of Language Learning Advisers whose primary role is to support learners.

Managing Teaching Quality and Standards

All new and revised courses are reviewed by expert colleagues in the Faculties of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES) and Modern and Medieval Languages (MML) to ensure high standards of course and syllabus design, and these are subsequently approved by their respective Faculty Boards. (Where a language is offered through CULP which is not also taught in one of these Faculties, an alternative internal or external expert reviewer is identified). Courses are approved for delivery by the Language Centre Committee of Management, which then seeks approval from the University for its powers to award Certificates of Proficiency, and these are recorded in the University's Statutes and Ordinances (p. 60).

CULP Advanced level courses in French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish lead to the CULP Award, awarded by the University (p. 152), and the conduct of these are scrutinised by external examiners, with recommendations of conferment of award made at the annual CULP Exam Board. The recommendations of external examiners are fed into continuous improvement of assessment design, and these in turn inform the processes for all other CULP courses.

Ongoing curriculum review is informed by student feedback on teaching and learning methods and course content, all of which drive a process of continuous improvement. Course feedback is administered by questionnaire handed out in class for every course. All teachers observe classes taught by colleagues and are, in turn, observed to provide a supportive environment in which teaching methods are reviewed and ideas are shared. CULP teachers are also encouraged to attend national workshops and conferences to share good practice with colleagues in other universities.


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If you have any queries please email culp@langcen.cam.ac.uk.

23jun

Study with CULP and become fluent!

Our very own student (Milo Edwards, Alumni 2015, read Classics @ Peterhouse.) of CULP Russian (Basic 1 & I1) has moved to Moscow to become a stand-up comedian.... in Russian!


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