With spring semester about to end and summer break about to begin, many students at the Sophia University Junior College Division are now getting ready to participate in the English Study Support Program (ESSP). The ESSP is an English self-study program that takes place over ten weeks in the summer. It provides students with advice and other support from teachers so that they can study English effectively during the summer break, even when they are not attending any English classes.
Each student who participates in the ESSP decides her own study goals for the ten weeks, and each student is different. One student might want to improve her reading ability, another student might want to improve her academic writing skill, while another student might want to improve her fluency at speaking English. After each student decides her own study goals, she makes a detailed study plan to help her reach those goals. Students receive advice from teachers about the kinds of study activities, study materials, and study habits that can help them work toward their study goals. Teachers meet with students at the start of the ESSP to help them develop good study plans and again at the end of the ten weeks to help them reflect upon their self-study experiences and consider ways to keep building on their progress.
One benefit of the ESSP is that it helps students to think about short-term learning goals. While many students have long-term goals or even dreams related to English, such as “I want to have a career where I can use English to communicate with people from many countries,” it is also important for students to think about short-term “steps” toward their long-term goals. So, in the ESSP, students must think carefully: “What can I do in just ten weeks to improve my English ability? What are some effective, realistic, small steps that I can take to help me reach my big dreams?”
In such ways, the ESSP aims to help students to become autonomous learners of English and to make meaningful steps toward some of their important life goals.
Chris Oliver, Associate Professor, Department of English]]>