What is the ELA?

The English for Liberal Arts Program (ELA) is the new name for the revised English Language Program (ELP). The ELA name communicates how this program helps students to improve their English abilities and gives them practice in applying those skills to become effective liberal arts students. The ELA gives students the opportunity to discuss, read and write about a variety of liberal arts topics - such as Intercultural Communication, Issues of Race, Visions of the Future, and Argumentation -- all in English. This helps students build fluency in English and learn how to be critical, creative and independent thinkers at the same time. The main goal of the ELA is to prepare you to be successful in university courses taught in English at ICU. Therefore, the main emphasis in the ELA is English for academic purposes, and most ELA classes focus on the important skills of accurate reading and understanding, academic writing, and listening and note-taking in lectures.

In other words, the ELA will help you develop both English language skills and basic academic critical thinking and study skills. You will learn the English needed for class discussions, to speak with your instructors, and to meet and talk with non-Japanese on campus. However, it is important to remember that the goals of the ELA are different from those of a conversation school.

Another important thing to remember is that the ELA alone cannot make you a fluent English speaker. Learning a language well enough to use in academic and professional situations requires not only opportunities for using English, but also the desire and effort to learn it. The ELA provides students with opportunities to use English, but you must provide the desire, motivation, and effort to become fluent.

The new ELA Program structure also provides four different Streams for completing the program. For students who already have strong English skills, there are shorter Streams that allow them to move more quickly into their regular academic courses. For students who need more help in building strong English skills, there are longer Streams that provide more instruction and practice. The longer Streams also offer classes in a variety of Academic Skills, such as giving presentations, researching topics, listening to lectures, and debating. All students finish the ELA with a Research Writing course that prepares them for research writing in their regular academic courses outside the ELA, while exploring academic topics that are interesting to the students.

The ELA is designed to promote maximum student engagement and interest, which make learning easier and more enjoyable. The ELA has small classes that emphasize group discussion and a lot of interaction with other students and teachers. There are also many chances for students to work with their teachers in individual tutorial sessions.

The Structure of the ELA

The English for Liberal Arts Program at ICU has two major components: the freshman (first year) and the sophomore (usually second year). The sophomore component is the same for all students, but the freshman component varies depending on students' needs.

The freshman component is divided into four Streams:
  • Stream 1 (advanced) - 1 term
  • Stream 2 (high intermediate) - 2 terms
  • Stream 3 (intermediate) - 3 terms
  • Stream 4 (lower intermediate) - 4 terms

The sophomore component has one course, Research Writing. This is the same course for all students, but when students take this course depends on which first year Stream they are put into. Stream 1 and Stream 2 students take this course in their first year; Stream 3 and Stream 4 students take it in their second year.

ELA Streams and Sections

Once you enter the ELA, you will be placed in one of the four Streams based on your language test results, your language background, and, if necessary, an oral interview. ELA students in each Stream are divided into sections of about 21 students. Together with your section mates you will take most freshmen ELA classes together.