ENGLISH AT THE ECOLE DES PONTS
Unlike other foreign languages at the Ecole des Ponts, English is compulsory. We counter this by offering as much choice as possible throughout the DFL English programme. Our aim is to help students become expert users of English, capable of communicating effectively with both the native speaker community and with the international community where native speakers may be in a minority or absent, but where expert standards are still expected.
For the first, we have a team of native speakers from varied backgrounds England, the United States, Australia and offer many opportunities to widen and deepen your knowledge of culture, literature, language, and customs. For the second, we make use of the fact that students in English classes are of varying levels, origins, characters and backgrounds, with different communication strategies and styles: not unlike future communication partners in the world. We also have specialist courses in particular fields, in which students will discover the essential performance and presentation standards of those disciplines in the wider international community.
CHOOSING YOUR ENGLISH COURSE
We usually encourage students to choose their second language course before they choose their English class, since there are more English classes available. This does not mean that you should choose your English class just for the title, the teacher, or the time: each description will indicate the target population, the subject of the course, the kind and style of work involved, and the spirit or personality of the course. While choosing a course for one semester, students should also consider how this choice fits in with their total English programme over their time at the school - more a question of covering a range of different content areas and competences than an apparently neat linguistic progression from one level to another.
Courses usually offer a range of levels, so that even if students are not very strong in English, they can still choose a course on a subject that interests them. Some of our courses are language skill or level based, but most are organised around subjects. This is because we think that interesting and useful subjects are more motivating than language exercises detached from context, especially for students who have studied English for many years already. In this way, students can learn English and another subject at the same time. If levels are not entirely homogeneous as a result, this too is representative of the situation in the wider world, in which speakers learn from and adapt to one another.
THE VOCABLE E-LEARNING PACKAGE AT ENPC
The DFL English section has set up the Vocable e-learning package for the students as a way for them to become more autonomous and responsible in their language learning practice. It is designed to be complementary to classwork – 90 minutes is short and depending on the course, oral skills will be prioritised. Vocable provides a space for students to do extra listening practice, pronunciation practice and grammar revision. Students can also train for the TOEIC with the TOEIC 30-minute practice tests. Students need to know that they have all this material to hand, and that it could be useful for them, even if hours spent on Vocable will not contribute to their final course mark.
What is it?
- At the school, students have free access to a fortnightly online magazine, Vocable, with articles (ranked by level from A2-C1) that they can read and listen to simultaneously. There are also interviews linked to the articles, which can be read and/or listened to.
- There is also Vocable Plus, which has 30-minute TOEIC style practice tests, as well as masses of grammar exercises, vocabulary-building exercises and exercises for pronunciation practice. There is even an amazing translation tool to have fun with; LexicOnline.
Where is it?
Vocable has been set up on the school’s self-access computers on the 4th floor of Prony, in the library and the language labs.
How do I access it?
- After signing on with your ENPC student log-in, you can access the magazine directly by clicking on Vocable in Programs, or by clicking on the Vocable icon. Or you can put Vocable in a search.
- For Vocable Plus you need to login = firstname.lastname@example.org password – vocable
- There can be up to five people working at the same time.
- Please contact Caroline Preller, email@example.com for more information.
THE TOEIC AND OTHER RELEVANT INTERNATIONAL EXAMS
A minimum of 785 points on the TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) test is an ENPC degree requirement. We organize several TOEIC tests here at the ENPC per academic year, and offer language improvement courses for weaker students ( for example, Practical English for the TOEIC). Stronger students will be invited to join the two or three sessions immediately preceding the test (obviously without ECTS). TOEIC preparation materials are also available in the school library, and on line. Students will receive an email giving them information on test dates.
Students entering the school will sit an English test similar to the TOEIC during their first semester at the ENPC: the result of this test will only be used to give students an idea of where they stand in relation to the TOEIC level required by the school.
If you have an equivalent international test or exam, Cambridge ESOL exams, IELTS or TOEFL, go to see Stacey Benoit in B120 or Monique Schumacher in B223 with the original of your certificate, score report etc. so that equivalence can be officially recognized. We do not insist that your exam/test result be very recent, but if your result was obtained some years ago, you should consider taking the TOEIC at the ENPC as a means of having a more up-to-date certificate of your English ability.
The TOEIC is geared towards the use of English in the workplace, and is often demanded by future employers. It is NOT accepted by English-speaking universities, for which the American TOEFL or the British/Canadian/Australian IELTS is required (see below).
You may register for TOEIC test sessions by signing your name on the appropriate list which will be posted outside B226. For the first year sessions, you will be registered automatically and informed of the date that concerns you. Official score reports are to be collected from Monique Schumacher in B223.
ENGLISH SPEAKING UNIVERSITIES
English-speaking universities require a test of English of all non-native students, either the American TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the British/Canadian/Australian IELTS (International English Language Testing System). 40% of American universities accept IELTS and almost all British, Canadian and Australian universities accept TOEFL. Both tests measure your competence in academic English and your ability to live on an English-speaking campus. No university will accept the TOEIC (see above).