Photograph of a man walking by a London bus

"A language tells you where its people come from, and where they are going." - Rita Mae Brown (writer)

Information at a Glance

  • Evening Class
  • Thursdays 18:00 - 20:00
  • 10 weeks: April to June
  • 2 hours taught time per week
  • Tutor: Su Peneycad
  • Fees from £115 to £200
  • Location: Imperial College, South Kensington Campus
Booking Link

This conversation course for non-native speakers is for speakers of languages other than English who want to improve their spoken EnglishThe intention is to both improve your confidence in speaking and widen your knowledge of English. This should help you to speak easily to friends and colleagues, and to know when more formal language should be used.

The exact level of each course depends on who joins but it is aimed at intermediate/upper intermediate/ B2 (Cambridge First Certificate) /IELTS 5.5-6.5 or equivalent level. This summer-term course running April to June (10 weeks) is of a higher level than the course running October to March (20 weeks).

The basic syllabus can be seen below. A few items may be cut if they are seen not to be useful for a specific group, and more will be added if needed.

This is a course to improve speaking, concentrating on pronunciation, intonation and stress. Practice in producing correct English vowel sounds and word stress helps students to be more easily understood in everyday conversation. Specific exercises will be introduced, depending on the languages spoken in each group.

During this course, short dialogues will be used to help with pronunciation, stress, intonation, vocabulary, and use of idioms and typical phrases. These are also helpful to recognise formal/informal levels of language.

Listening skills will be improved and vocabulary introduced by short films, with vocabulary support, leading to group discussion. Lists of the more difficult vocabulary, with explanations and questions are offered.

Discussion topics are suggested but can be added to by suggestions or interests of students, and short newspaper articles are used.

This is not a grammar course but common problems will be checked and taught throughout the course, such as prepositions, articles, some tenses, phrasal verbs.

Course Information

Course Programme

Course programme subject to change

1. Introductions and starting off

  • Introduction - basic grammar check
  • Nationalities - introducing yourselves
  • Basic prepositions to, at, in, on, at
  • Prepositions often confused
  • Irregular past tense verbs check
  • Vocabulary: the weather
  • Social occasions, invitations, accepting refusing
  • Social situations and appropriate language

2. Food and the home

  • Pronunciation: Vowel sounds - cooking and the home
  • Vocabulary, in a supermarket
  • Phrasal verbs concerning food and health
  • Cooking hints and terms - recipes
  • Kitchen utensils/ your kitchen
  • Home and technology
  • To use/use of everyday things
  • Vocabulary: house & home
  • Prepositions of place
  • Pronunciation: regular verb -ed endings

3. Feelings and opinions

  • Identifying feelings
  • Pleasant and unpleasant feelings
  • The six senses
  • Words concerned with feelings and opinions- word building
  • Adjectives of feeling in situations
  • Ways of saying yes and no /absolutely
  • Giving opinions, expressing strong feelings
  • Situations - approval, disapproval
  • Agreeing, disagreeing

4. Health: everyday problems and taking precautions

  • Visiting the doctor - dialogue - vocabulary
  • Medical vocabulary /Aches and pains
  • Hospital - prepositions in/at
  • Dialogues in a hospital / doctor's surgery
  • Advice on accidents in the home
  • Getting better - getting worse
  • Allergies
  • Spot the difference: paramedic unit

5. Vocabulary and situations

  • Visiting the dentist
  • Everyday situations - what do you say?
  • Make or do?
  • Weather words
  • Where/ when do you hear this?
  • Polite invitations
  • Prepositional phrases
  • Apologising
  • Active or passive vocabulary?
  • Onomatopoeic words
  • Abbreviations

6. Vocabulary and description

  • Adjectives, My brother's Wedding
  • Collocation of adjectives
  • Prepositions in a text
  • Use of colours in description
  • Describing people – appearance/ clothes
  • The many meanings of ‘give’
  • Superstitions and national customs
  • Customs in your country

7. Appropriate vocabulary

  • Question tags
  • Written to spoken language
  • Everyday expressions
  • Dependent prepositions
  • Phrases used in weather forecasts
  • Causative have, getting things mended
  • Vowel sounds topic: people
  • The many meanings of 'get'

8. Meaning and clarity

  • Telling the truth?
  • Problems- What do you say?
  • Offers and promises
  • The many meanings of 'off'
  • Appropriate responses
  • Social situations and appropriate language

9. Ways to continue your studies

  • Future time check
  • Irregular past tense verbs check
  • Pronunciation check
  • Some idiomatic phrases
  • Multi-meaning words

10. Finishing off

  • Active/ passive vocabulary lists
  • Leisure and places to visit in London
  • Writing a postcard home
  • Your achievements

Additional Reading

There is no compulsory reading required for this course, and there is no set course text.

Your Tutor

Your tutor is Su Peneycad. Su has many years experience teaching English to non-native speakers and will be able to offer not only excellent advice on improving your English languages skills, but insight into English attitudes, culture and society.

Course Fees and Rate Categories

HoursWeeksStandard RateInternal RateAssociate Rate
20  10  £117 £67 £90
All fee rates quoted are for the whole course.
Term dates 1

Fee Categories and Discounts

Standard Rate

  • Applicable to all except those who fall under the Internal Rate or Associate Rate category, respectively.

Internal Rate

  • Applies to current Imperial College students and staff (incl. Imperial NHS Trust, Imperial Innovations, ancillary & service staff employed on long-term contracts at Imperial College by third-party contractors).
  • Current Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication (CLCC) staff, current CLCC PhD students, Science Communication (Sci Comm) postgraduate students, and students enrolled on an Imperial College 'Language for Science' degree programme should email evening before completing the online enrolment form.

Associate Rate

  • Students (non-Imperial College)
  • Alumni of Imperial College and predecessor colleges and institutes
  • City & Guilds College Association members
  • Members of the Friends of Imperial College
  • Francis Crick Institute staff, researchers and students
  • Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
  • Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council staff
  • Harrods staff
  • Historic Royal Palaces staff
  • Natural History Museum staff
  • Science Museum staff
  • South London Botanical Institute Members
  • Victoria and Albert Museum staff
  • Royal Geographical Society staff
  • Royal College of Art and Royal College of Music tutors and other staff
  • Santander Bank staff (Imperial College Walkway branch only)
  • Austrian Cultural Forum staff
  • Staff of Exhibition Road Cultural Group (Discover South Kensington) organisations
  • Lycee Charles de Gaulle staff
  • Tutors and other staff of other universities and higher education institutions
  • Tutors and other staff of institution members of the Association of Colleges
  • Residents of postcodes SW3, SW5, SW7, SW10 and W8
  • Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
  • Members of the South London Botanical Institute (SLBI)

Late enrolment

It is possible to enrol on many CLCC Evening Class and Lunchtime Learning programmes after the course has started. For non-language courses this is subject entirely to agreement by the tutor. For language courses it is subject to agreement by the language Coordinator conducting level assessment. If you want to join a course late do bear in mind there might be work you will need to catch up on, particularly in language courses.

Applicable terms & conditions

Please read these before enrolling on any course.

Term Dates

HoursWeeksAutumn termSpring termSummer term
 20  10 n/a n/a 27 Apr - 6 Jul 2020 (10 weeks)

Enrolment Process

Web enrolment starts 1 March

Enrolment and payment run through the Imperial College eStore. Please click on the blue booking link on the relevant course page noting below instructions:

  • Our rate categories are explained on the course page and your applicable rate category must be selected on the eStore
  • First-time eStore users please create an account by entering an email address and password. These credentials should also be used for future bookings. Imperial College users please note the eStore is not a single-signon College system
  • The booking process involves entering payment details before your course choice and applicant details are queried on an in-built questionnnaire which completes the process
  • The following email notifications are sent
What is sentWhen is it sentWhat does it contain
1. Payment confirmation Instantaneously following submission of your online application
  • Confirms payment, payment date, order number and course title
  • Should not be treated as a course-enrolment confirmation which is only sent later
2. Enrolment confirmation Sent in due course but likely not before the end of March. Please treat your payment confirmation as confirmation that your applicant details and payment have been received
  • Re-onfirms your course choice
  • Shows your course's term dates
  • Confirms your course' day of the week & time
3. Programme information Usually sent Friday late afternoon the week before term starts
  • Contains further course details incl. classroom location and teacher contact information
  • Provides further general programme details
If you need further help with the above information please ring 020 7594 8756

Certificate of Attendance

Our adult education evening and daytime classes do not offer academic credits, but we do offer an attendance certificate to those learners who attend at least 80% of the taught classroom sessions. Eligible learners receive their certificate by email after the end of the course.

Any Questions?

Questions regarding the content and teaching of the above course should be addressed to the course tutor, Su Peneycad, at