Have you ever wondered why AELS requires you to sign up for quarters instead of months? We have good reason for this. Through our research and reflection on our program, we learned that students who are only in class together for a month tend to spend a good portion of the first and second week being shy and hesitant to speak or participate in class. They are still getting used to each other half way through the month, which means they are only making real progress for approximately 2 weeks before they are off to a new class group and new students with whom to repeat the process. We wanted to make this getting-to-know-you process faster and more meaningful.
There are two ways in which we achieved this goal. The first is that we decreased the number of students in class in order to speed the process up. Everyone will get used to talking and participating in class much more quickly and comfortably. In addition, we decided to extend the courses to take place over 12 weeks, instead of breaking them down into three 4-week courses. While students in month-long classes may take 2 weeks acclimating and 2 weeks making real progress each month, students in our quarterly courses will take only about 1 week acclimating and will make 11 weeks of real progress.
We also found another benefit to our quarterly system: people are less likely to take breaks that often derail their success. On the monthly system, students know they will only be missing a couple of weeks of real progress. However, when they know they will be missing far more material and will not be able to enroll in another class for 12 weeks, they realize how much progress they will lose and how likely they are to regress after that much time without practice. For that reason, students are far more likely to stay focused on their studies than they would be if they were enrolling in a monthly program.No Rolling Enrollment
Rolling enrollment is the process of enrolling students at any time during the year, regardless of when the current quarter began. It is our policy to have NO rolling enrollment. There are two main reasons why we do not allow rolling enrollment. The first reason is that beginning your studies part of the way through the quarter means you will have missed the information from the previous weeks and will be lacking in those skills. It is difficult to continue on without going over that information, but it isn’t fair to repeat it all in class when other classmates have already learned it. The second reason why we don’t allow rolling enrollment is because we want our students to feel comfortable speaking in class, which can be hard if classmates keep changing or a new person comes in after everyone else has become comfortable conversing with each other.
The first few days of a new class is always a period of getting to know each other. The teacher needs to become familiar with students, and students need to become familiar with each other in order to have open communication and speaking practice in class. The first week finishes with students beginning to work on some of the base concepts you will need over the next 12 weeks of the course. You can understand how missing even just this first week of class can put you behind and cause you to struggle with both the material and the expectation of frequent conversation in class. Many language schools have rolling enrollment, meaning that you can begin taking class at any point. American English Language School, on the other hand, sets itself apart by not allowing students to enter a class after the start of a quarter. We created this policy because we believe it benefits ALL students, those already enrolled and those who wish to enroll.
Imagine also how this can affect students who were there from the first day of class and have already completed these introductory activities. In order to get one new student caught up, up to 7 others will need to repeat information they have already learned. This can be extremely tiresome and cause unnecessary delays in learning new material.
Teachers suffer from rolling enrollment, too. The teacher always feels a certain amount of responsibility for “filling in the gaps,” or re-teaching skills and concepts to the new student so he or she won’t fall further behind or feel left out. For all of these reasons, AELS does not allow rolling enrollment.No Night Classes
Through the years, we have received many inquiries as to why we don't offer night classes here at American English Language School. The reasons are simple but not always obvious to students. These students often get sucked into what seems like a great deal: hugely discounted classes offered in the evening hours, which leaves you time to accomplish other tasks during the day. However, the reality is that you truly are getting what you pay for in this case.
Imagine that you sign up for night class at another school. You show up for the first night of class to find that you have been packed in with 20-30 other students in the classroom, perhaps even up to 40 others. Maybe you let it go because you are excited to learn English and you plan to make many opportunities for yourself to practice, even if the class is so big that you don't always get a chance to try speaking. As the weeks go on, fewer and fewer people show up to class because although they have good intentions of going to class each night, other things come up during the day that take all of their energy or throw off their schedules, causing them to be late or absent altogether. This means you are now losing some of the partners that you were getting speaking practice with before. The teacher often seems very tired during class because he or she likely has another job during the day and is already tired by the time the night class begins. This starts to affect the quality of language education you are receiving.
None of this sounds like the great deal you thought you were getting. In fact, it is starting to sound more like a burden and a waste of your time. However, although these realities are part of the reason AELS has chosen not to offer night classes, they are not the main driving factor in our decision. Instead, our main motivation for only offering daytime classes comes from the fact that F-1 students are here to do one thing: study English. Those who choose night classes are choosing to distract themselves with other priorities during the day and pushing off their main priority of studying to night time, when they are already tired and their brains are no longer function at full capacity. It is understandable for students to want to visit some of the local points of attraction, such as the beach, popular shopping malls, or amusement parks. However, if we begin offering night classes and allow your academic pursuits to become secondary to your cultural and entertainment pursuits, you will have lost your focus and are not likely to achieve your language goals with us. This is not an outcome AELS is willing to accept. Therefore, we do not offer night school here because we want to provide the highest quality education we can, and we will make sure you stay focused on improving your English!