Language Centre, quality education
Promoted by SOAS University of London

5 ways SOAS Language Centre is committed to quality education

How do you have fun and create impact while learning a new language? For many, the answer is simple: join the SOAS Language Centre. Locals and graduates know SOAS as “the world’s university.” It’s where the world’s foremost experts in Africa, Asia and the Middle East teach, conduct research and interrogate the planetary questions of our time. And it’s here that you’ll find a decolonial outlook on education, one that empowers the building of a more equal and just world just as much as it builds bridges within global communities and forges equitable global partnerships.

Where better to learn a new language? But being housed in SOAS is by no means the sole reason why its graduates speak highly of the SOAS Language Centre. Here are five features that make the SOAS Language Centre the top choice for quality language education today:

Language Centre, quality education

The SOAS Language Centre makes learning practical, fun, and accessible. Source: SOAS University of London, Language Centre

1. Expert teachers

At SOAS Language Centre, teachers are recruited in their language of competence. This means you learn from the best. They know what’s relevant and interesting and use this knowledge to update course content to meet the needs and interests of learners. During away days, workshops, virtual chats, and tutor’s awards, teachers enhance their knowledge by sharing best practices and innovation in teaching and learning.

“Hassan is a really excellent teacher! He made the lessons so engaging and the activities he arranged were not only fun but also so helpful to improve memory of new grammar and vocabulary,” shares an Arabic student. “I really like how he encouraged us to speak because it can be nerve-racking to speak in another language.”

“Wonderful” is another word used to describe the centre’s teachers. “The course content is thorough, balanced and life-enhancing,” says a Bengali student. “Amy is very composed, calm and clear in delivery, yet we always get through so much material each time and in a way that really sticks.”

 Language Centre, quality education

Source: SOAS University of London, Language Centre

2. Inclusivity

Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced learner, the centre ensures you’re welcomed and feel belonged. “As this was my first time ever taking a Persian group class, I entered it with both excitement and anxiety. But, very soon after the first or second class, my anxiety disappeared and was replaced with great joy,” shares a Persian student. “I am pleased that, in addition to advancing my language skills, the course materials are being used in a way which introduces aspects of Iranian culture.”

Teachers use different teaching methods to accommodate the various backgrounds and needs of students. This includes small or large group discussions, presentations and collaborative work with peers or individually. With access to materials and quizzes given, you can reinforce your learning at your own pace too.

Before you begin your course, you will first go through an assessment to determine your competence level, learning needs, preferences and cultural background as well. This ensures you are placed in the right course tailored to your needs.

3. Innovative approaches and technologies

SOAS Language Centre uses technology meaningfully to achieve two goals: add value to lessons and support students beyond the classroom. Courses include multimedia resources, online platforms for communication and collaboration, and language learning software. There are three dedicated coordinators who ensure courses comply with high standards by putting quality assurance mechanisms in place.

This allows teachers to promote collaborative pre- and post-class tasks as part of the Blended Learning approach. This method fosters active engagement and deeper understanding among students, preparing them for real-world language use. For example, the Japanese section has dedicated apps that intertwine kanji, grammar and vocabulary in cyclic revisions and a library of graded reading materials sourced from previous and current students.

Language Centre, quality education

Small group classes allow for immersive and interactive learning. Source: SOAS University of London, Language Centre

4. Accessibility

The SOAS Language Centre aims to make learning accessible to all students. Offerings include small group language classes that encourage interactive learning as well as one-to-one sessions tailored to individual needs, such as academic research, translation and business interactions. Meanwhile, evening and Saturday lessons make it easier for students with work, family responsibilities or busy schedules to take up language learning.

“I can access world-class education even when out of the country,” shares an Arabic student.

Their online courses allow you to learn from anywhere in the world, not just in London. Previously, students had to leave their home country to attend their course. Today, they can join the centre while being based in the US, Canada, Germany, Spain, Australia, India, Thailand, Scotland, Ireland and more.

Students can access the SOAS Library premises and its over 1.3 million volumes, periodicals and audio-visual materials in 400 languages. Online students have multimedia resources as well as tailored recommendations of free language learning apps for students to access learning materials at no cost. Some courses even offer free online textbooks.

Language Centre, quality education

Source: SOAS University of London, Language Centre

5. Emphasis on culture

When you study at SOAS, you’re not just mastering a language, you’re also learning about the current and historical issues surrounding countries in which the language is spoken. “I am pleased that, in addition to advancing my language skills, the course materials are being used in a way which introduces aspects of Iranian culture,” shares a student. “I have been able to learn about many aspects of Iranian and world cultures that cannot be attained from other sources easily.”

Another Bengali student highlighted the effective use of art and media. “The course exceeded my expectations for what concerns the cultural topics,” they say. “I have loved the use of literature and the movie suggestions.”

Twice a year, there are themed social events with activities like live music from different regions and cultures, calligraphy workshops or taster sessions in several languages – further enriching SOAS’s all-year-around list of happenings. ‘The event was really interesting and was well organised and executed’. Another student said ‘It was inspiring to meet other students and teachers and get to try unfamiliar languages. The language taster sessions were really fun and interactive’. Another student said ‘the atmosphere was very friendly and I enjoyed the calligraphy sessions very much’.

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