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)

At a Glance

  • Live online course
  • 2 hours a week
  • Thursdays 18:00 - 20:00
  • 10 weeks: April to June
  • Tutor: Su Peneycad
  • Fees from £120 to £205
  • Imperial College attendance certificate (T&Cs apply)
Booking Link

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

As we are going to teach the course online, using Teams, some changes will have to be made. When I know who has joined the group, I can assess what to choose from the syllabus according to the languages spoken and needs of the specific group. I will e-mail the necessary information/ course content to the students before each class.

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. The upcoming course in the summer term should be of a higher level than the separate, 40-hour course running between October and March.

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

Online Access to Course

This is a taught live online course which means you will be taught alongside other students on the course by a tutor at a specific time on a specific day of the week. To take part in the course you will need a suitably equipped and internet-enabled device. Please find full details and instructions below under 'Course Delivery'.

Attendance Certificate

Those who attend at least 80% of the course sessions will receive an attendance certificate from Imperial College London upon completion of the course.

Course Information

Course Programme

Course Programme (subject to change)

1.   Introductions and starting off

  • Introduction - basic grammar check
  • Nationalities - pronunciation
  • Syllable stress
  • Basic prepositions to, at, in, on, at
  • Prepositions often confused
  • Irregular past tense verbs check
  • Pronunciation: syllable stress
  • Vocabulary concerning 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
  • Pronunciation - vowel sounds
  • Kitchen utensils/ your kitchen
  • Home and technology
  • To use, use of everyday things
  • Vocabulary: house & home
  • Prepositions of place
  • Pronunciation: regular verb -ed endings
  • Spot the difference: mobile home

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
  • Showing mood when speaking - tone of voice
  • Situations - approval, disapproval
  • Agreeing, disagreeing

4.   Health: everyday problems and taking precautions

  • Visiting the doctor - dialogue - vocabulary
  • Medical vocabulary
  • Aches and pains - list
  • Hospital - prepositions in/at
  • Dialogues in a hospital or doctor's surgery
  • Advice on accidents in the home
  • Getting better - getting worse
  • Allergies
  • Pronunciation - vowel sounds

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

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

7. Appropriate vocabulary

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

8. Ways to continue your studies

  • Problems: What do you say?
  • Offers and promises
  • The many meanings of 'off'
  • Reading suggestions
  • Listening suggestions and discussion
  • Multi-meaning words
  • Some idiomatic phrases
  • Abbreviations 

9. Living in London

  • Leisure and places to visit in London
  • Poem by W H Davies
  • Writing a postcard home
  • The area where you live
  • Museums
  • Transport
  • Food
  • Superstitions and national customs
  • Customs in your country 

10. Ways to continue your studies

  • Active/passive vocabulary lists
  • Irregular past tense verbs check
  • Pronunciation check
  • Future time check
  • Your achievements

Additional Reading

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

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 Delivery

All our online courses are taught live which means you will be taught alongside other students on the course by a tutor at a specific time. To take part in the course you must be able to attend the online session at the time stated for the course description.

All times stated are British Standard Time.

To take part you will need a computer, or laptop, or tablet computer, connected to the Internet. The device you use will also need to have a camera, microphone and speakers. Most devices now have these built in, but if not you might have to buy them from a computer shop and to connect them to your device.

Microsoft Teams

This course will use Teams as its online delivery method. Teams is easy to use. You will need to log into your existing Teams account or, alternatively, please create a free account hereNear the date of your first online session you will be sent an email with a Teams web link that will allow you to access the course. All you need do is click on the course link in the email and you will be asked to enter your name. This is the name that will be seen by your tutor and other students in the class. Once you have entered your name you might be asked to enter a password to enter the class. The password will be included in the email sent to you. Once you enter the password you will either be taken directly into the class, or asked to wait in a virtual waiting room until the tutor is ready to let you into the class.

All courses lasting two hours have a 10 minute break in the middle.  For one hour courses there is no break.

Course Fees and Rate Categories

HoursWeeksStandard RateInternal RateAssociate Rate
20  10  £205 £120 £160
All fee rates quoted are for the whole course     Please note there is no early-bird discount available for the April intake courses

Rate 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 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
  • 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
  • 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)
  • Members of the London Zoological Society
  • Members of the Kennel Club

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 the Terms and Conditions [pdf] before enrolling on any course.

Term Dates

HoursWeeksAutumn termSpring termSummer term
 20  10 n/a n/a w/c 26 Apr - w/e 4 Jul 2021 (10 weeks)

Enrolment Process

Web enrolment starts 1 March 2021

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

Any Questions?