Find out more about our placement sessions and group sizes.
1. What is the standard number of participants in each group?
We develop our courses for an optimum number of 16-20 participants in each group.
The better the ratio of trainer to participants, the more chance there is for the trainer to give personal support and guidance.
For larger groups training delivery will have to be different from our usual style to suit the participants and the logistics of training.
2. How is the course success measured?
Course participants are assessed 4 times during a 40-hour course. These assessment points are included in the course outline and provide the client with a good idea of how the participants are improving in the course.
If requested by the client, we can do an initial (pre-course) assessment in which the learners’ written or spoken language is recorded and compared with a similar (post-course) assessment task at the end of the course. The comparison will show the participants’ progress as a result of the training.
3. Are courses delivered in different levels, i.e. elementary, intermediate and advanced?
The courses are skills-based and suitable for a range of levels.
There is an initial needs analysis and placement stage before the start of the course. This initial stage helps the team to design and develop course content for the particular participants and make it relevant to their language proficiency.
Workshops are delivered without a placement session and the focus is on the development of a specific skill which is independent of the participants’ level of language proficiency. However, participants should be able to understand the course materials and communicate with other participants and the trainer.
4. What is the purpose of the placement session (needs analysis)?
Our trainers develop appropriate training content which is suitable for participants and matches their linguistic needs and abilities. Therefore, the placement session results are part of our needs analysis process and give us a clear idea of the general language abilities of the course participants.
The client will also have a general idea of the participants’ overall language proficiency before the start of training.
5. What is the necessary English level to take part in the workshops?
There is no placement session for the workshops and ideally the participants should be at least at an intermediate level (B1 level of English proficiency) to be able to communicate with each other and benefit from the training.
6. Can we ask for a native speaker trainer?
Yes, you can but did you know that:
- English is the official language in over 50 sovereign states and there are hundreds of dialects and accents which are all considered native varieties of English, but they are not all considered standard English.
- People who speak English as their second or third language outnumber native speakers by about 3 to 1.
- We communicate with people from different countries every day and we need to be trained to understand a wide range of accents.
- In leading ELT organisations, high proficiency in English is an important criterion in the recruitment and ongoing assessment of English language teachers and not their ‘nativeness’, as the best teachers of English are those with experience and professional preparation in their field, regardless of their own linguistic backgrounds.
- Non-native English speakers usually possess an advanced understanding of cultural sensitivity and are excellent role models for English learners.
7. Are all the British Council Malaysia PDU trainers native English speakers?
The British Council is an equal opportunities organisation and trainers are employed on the merits of their educational background, professionalism, teaching/training abilities and experience. As a result, there are both native and non-native trainers who carry a wealth of experience in delivering training and workshops in a variety of contexts internationally.
8. Can we ask solely for ‘accuracy improvement’ in the course?
- Our goal is to help participants communicate ideas effectively in English. The speaker may still make errors but they should not cause miscommunication.
- When we talk about “accuracy”, we refer to the correctness of the language being produced by the speaker. However, we find that just because a speaker focuses on accuracy does not mean they will be capable of producing effective communication.
- We aim to build confidence so participants are able to communicate more fluently. Our accuracy practice is guided by key errors made by the group that hinder the delivery of a clear message.
Given time constraints, we aim to give participants the tools they need to follow up with more accuracy practice to suit their needs.
9. What are the advantages of customised courses over course book based courses?
- Most coursebooks are Euro/US centric and do not offer enough local context for some learners (who do not work in a multinational context for example).
- Most coursebooks follow a similar grammar syllabus. The needs of the group are rarely linear. Customisation makes sure no time is wasted and that participants get to focus on exactly what they need.
- Many Business English participants are looking for more skills practice which means many books need to be adapted/customised by the trainer anyway.