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
  • Thursdays 18:00 - 20:00
  • 20 weeks: October to March
  • Tutor: Su Peneycad
  • Fees from £252 to £470
  • This course is now full
This course is now full

This conversation course for non-native speakers is for speakers of languages other than English who want to improve their spoken English. The 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.

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, add 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.

Materials needed will be sent to you each week. This is not a grammar course, but common problems will be checked and taught throughout the course.

Live Online Course

This course will be taught live online (via the internet). To take part in the course you will need a suitably equipped device for session attendance each week on the weekday and time shown above.

Class Recordings

These classes are not recorded


Attendance Certificate


Successful completion of this course leads to the award of an Imperial College attendance certificate


Terms and conditions apply to all enrolments to this course. Please read them before enrolment

Course Information

Course Suitability Advice

Course suitability

It is very important to book onto a course which is a good match for your level of ability and your requirements.

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

Please contact our course tutor with any questions about your proficiency level and the suitability of this course: Ms Su Peneycad,

Course Programme

Course Programme (subject to possible modification)

Weeks 1-2. Topic: Communicating with other people

  • Introduction to the plan for the class. Pronunciation, use of modals, phrasal verbs etc will be introduced throughout the course, details not shown here.
  • Basic grammar check: modals; some and any; prepositions
  • First introductions – levels of language, formal and informal
  • Pronunciation of place names on the tube map
  • Starting a conversation- weather words
  • Irregular verbs -make a reference sheets file
  • Discussion: what is useful or of interest in the area where you live?

Weeks 3-4. Topic: Life in London and living in London

  • Social situations vocabulary: in a bank
  • Common phrases and when we use them
  • Introductions; establishing level of relationship
  • Say or tell? Which do we use?
  • Discussion suggestion: What you expected, and what surprised you, about life in the UK

Weeks 5-6. Topic: Life in the UK and cultural differences

  • Introductions and social occasions/ greetings                          
  • Question tags used in conversation
  • Adjectives – collocation and opposites/ comparison of adjectives
  • Relationships: liking and disliking/ family relations
  • Discussion suggestion: Suggest places you would like to visit in London 

Weeks 7-8. Topic: Holidays and celebrations

  • Asking for help/ Offers and promises
  • Invitations in different situations/ Accepting – refusing
  • Ways of saying ’No’ / Levels of politeness/ Giving an appropriate answer /Making arrangements
  • Christmas in London- having a visitor /Describing people
  • A Christmas pudding recipe /Cooking vocabulary
  • Discussion suggestion: Christmas or celebrations in your country

Weeks 9-10. Topic: Better communication

  • Speaking situations - Polite requests/ apologising
  • Telling the truth? Respecting people’s feelings
  • Make or do?
  • Identification and use of common objects
  • Onomatopoeia
  • Discussion suggestion: national customs or wedding ceremony in your country

*** Christmas break after week 9 ***

Weeks 11-12. Topic: What do we mean? How do we feel?

  • Approval / disapproval / giving an appropriate answer/ absolutely
  • Words concerned with feeling and opinions/ word building
  • Identifying feelings in given situations, at certain happenings
  • The six senses
  • Discussion suggestion: bring in and describe something from your country, explain the significance, meaning. Differences and similarities of cultures

Weeks 13-14. Topic: Making conversation

  • Agreeing/ levels of agreement/ Disagreeing: use of 'but'
  • Giving an opinion / Telling the truth?
  • Having strong feelings about
  • Discussion suggestion: Speak about an interesting place you have visited in London

Weeks 15-16. Topic: Making conversation 2

  • Some meanings of ‘give’
  • Problems: what do you say, answer? / giving advice
  • Causative ‘have’
  • Everyday expressions/organising a conversation
  • Discussion suggestion: Speak about an interesting place you have visited in London

Weeks 17-18. Topic: Jobs, skills and characteristics

  • Advantages and disadvantages/  used to, didn’t use to
  • Comparison of adverbs
  • Skills, qualifications and characteristics: using modals
  • Jobs vocabulary word building
  • Discussion suggestion: advertise your chosen job to the class. Who is interested in applying? Would you employ them?

Weeks 19-20. Topic: Jobs and being out of work

  • Out of a job vocabulary
  • Your Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Future time
  • Anything we need to re-check?
  • Discussion suggestion: Your future dreams

Course Fees and Discounts

HoursWeeksStandard RateInternal RateAssociate Rate
 40  20 Early Bird: £423  (£10.58 p/h) 
Full price: £470   (£11.75 p/h)
Early Bird: £252  (£6.30 p/h) 
Full price: £280   (£7 p/h)
Early Bird: £333  (£8.33 p/h) 
Full price: £370   (£9.25 p/h)
All fee rates quoted are for the whole 2-term course. Early Bird rates available 1 August to 30 September 2022 only. Part-payments are not possible. Equivalent to hourly rate is shown for comparison guidance only, it is not possible to pay pro-rata hourly rates.

Rate Categories and Discounts

Standard Rate

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

Internal Rate

  • 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)
  • Individuals enrolling under our Friends & Family scheme
  • Staff of the English Chamber Orchestra
  • Students, staff and Governors of Woodhouse College and the IC Mathematics School
  • 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 contact before completing the online enrolment form

Associate Rate

  • Alumni of Imperial College and predecessor colleges and institutes
  • Austrian Cultural Forum staff
  • City & Guilds College Association members
  • Co-operative College members
  • Francis Crick Institute staff, researchers and students
  • Friends and Patrons of the English Chamber Orchestra
  • Friends of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens
  • Friends of Leighton House/ Sambourne House
  • Friends of the Royal College of Music
  • Harrods staff
  • Historic Royal Palaces staff
  • Lycee Charles de Gaulle staff
  • Members of the Friends of Imperial College
  • Members of the Kennel Club
  • Members of the London Zoological Society
  • Members of the South London Botanical Institute (SLBI)
  • Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
  • National Health Service (NHS) employees
  • Natural History Museum staff
  • Residents of postcodes SW3, SW5, SW7, SW10 and W8
  • Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council staff
  • Royal College of Art and Royal College of Music tutors and other staff
  • Royal Geographical Society staff
  • Science Museum staff
  • Staff of Exhibition Road Cultural Group (Discover South Kensington) organisations
  • Students (non-Imperial College)
  • Teachers and other staff of UK schools
  • Tutors and other staff of institution members of the Association of Colleges
  • Tutors and other staff of other universities and higher education institutions
  • Victoria and Albert Museum staff

Late enrolment

It is possible to enrol on many of our adult education courses after the course has already 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.

Friends and Family Scheme

This course is eligible for the Friends and Family scheme, allowing Imperial College students and staff to share their discount with their friends and family.

Term Dates 2022-2023

HoursWeeksAutumn termSpring termSummer term
 40  20 Week commencing 17 October to week ending 17 December 2022 (9 weeks) Week commencing 9 January to week ending 25 March 2023 (11 weeks) n/a
Term 1 and 2 are separated by the Christmas break 

Enrolment Process

Web enrolment starts 1 August 2022. Early bird discounts are available from 1 August to 30 September 2022.

Enrolment and payment run through the Imperial College eStore. When enrolling:

  • Do check on the drop down menu above called "Course Fees and Rate Categories" to see if you are eligible for a discounted rate and also do make sure you select that rate when enrolling on the eStore
  • If you are a first-time eStore user you will need to create an account before enrolling. You can do this by entering an email address and password. This account can then be used for any future enrolments via the eStore.

When you have enrolled you will be sent the following email notifications:

What is sentWhen is it sentWhat does it contain
1. Payment confirmation Is sent straight away following submission of your online application
  • This is a receipt for your payment and includes payment date, order number and course title
  • Confirmation of your place on your chosen course will follow later as long as the course recruits enough students to run. If not you will receive a refund of your payment.
2. Enrolment confirmation Is usually sent within 10 working days. Please treat your payment confirmation as confirmation that your applicant details and payment have been received
  • Confirms your course choice
  • Shows your course's term dates
  • Confirms the day and time of your course
3. Programme information Is usually sent on Friday late afternoon the week before term starts
  • Contains joining instructions for your course, either online or in the classroom, depending on the course
  • If you need further help with the above information please ring 020 7594 8756 / +44 20 7594 8756.
  • All enrolments are provisional until the course is confirmed to run. This will be dependent on the course reaching the minimum number of enrolments.
  • All enrolments are subject to our Terms and Conditions. It is not possible to join one of our courses without agreeing to be bound by our Terms and Conditions.

Any Questions?

If you have any questions about the academic content or teaching of this course please contact our English Conversation Tutor, Ms Su Peneycad,

If you have any questions about your enrolment or payment processes please contact the Programme Administrator, Christian Jacobi,