For my new YouTube series on smaller language points, I’ve decided to answer the request of a couple viewers and explain the U.S. system of education. I feel a good number of language learners will benefit from my short talk because they either plan to study in the U.S. or are already studying in the U.S. For these people, understanding the big picture creates a clearer context. However, for all English language learners regardless of their present location or academic goals, it is helpful to reflect on how a system is organized and how it may contrast with the system in another country. Hearing me explain the U.S. system of education may give them the vocabulary and structures to explain how another complex system works. I see this video lesson giving listening practice and then lending itself to further classroom practice in the form of conversation, presentations, and/or writing.
Should you decide to make use of this new lesson on the U.S. system of education, here are some suggestions:
1. Use this 5-item exercise to assess students’ familiarity with the subject: Language Notes_2_classroom slides.
3. Choose a level-appropriate communicative activity from my Talking about Education_handout. For low intermediate students, the poll may be sufficient. For intermediate students, both the poll and the partner interview could work. Upper level students can prepare their own short presentations on the educational systems in their home countries.
4. In terms of writing, lower level students can write a short paragraph to describe their school experience from childhood to the present. Advanced students can do research online to find answers to questions that I chose not to explore in the video due to time constraints:
- What’s the difference between public and private schools?
- What are some differences between universities and colleges?
- Do all U.S. colleges have 4-year programs? What is an associate’s degree?
- Are professional schools and graduate schools different?
- What is the admissions process for most U.S. colleges and universities?