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BlogIntroducing Express 4: Our Exciting New Conversation-Focused Group Class

Introducing Express 4: Our Exciting New Conversation-Focused Group Class

Written by Holly on April 2, 2021

When E-QIP first began offering online group classes last year, our teaching staff knew it would take some time to figure out the very best way to deliver the conversational, student communication-focused courses our students are used to in a virtual format—and now, with the introduction of Express 4, we can confidently say we're there.

This iteration of E-QIP's existing virtual classes will focus on communication between small groups of students and teacher feedback and corrections, which will be complemented by brief instruction on level-appropriate grammar points. 

Introducing Express 4As with E-QIP’s in-person classes, the focus of Express 4 will be 30% fluency (students are encouraged to speak as much as possible. Instructors listen actively, then offer feedback on improving natural expression and flow), 30% accuracy (students are presented with and then review and practice elements of language, including form to usage. Instructors increase awareness of common challenges and help you eliminate them), and 40% connection (instructors host and facilitate conversation, introduce communicative strategies, and offer practical feedback. Students focus on functions and scenarios to master increasingly complex competencies)—aka E-QIP’s trademarked teaching framework, Kaizen Connect

Our Express 4 classes, which officially launch next week, will achieve this balance by utilising Google Meet’s breakout rooms feature, which allows our instructors to split students up into small groups or pairs that are separate from the main meeting room in order to discuss certain topics or questions amongst themselves, or prepare arguments to debate with their classmates. Instructors will jump between rooms, making observations and offering guidance and corrections as necessary. 

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We initially launched our virtual group classes in mid-2020 in the form an instruction-based course that utilized our instructors' expert knowledge but focused less on student interaction than a typical E-QIP class. For some students—especially those who are closer to the beginner level and who still harbour some apprehensions about speaking aloud in their target language—this instructor-focused class was a welcome development, as it allowed them to sit back and absorb the wisdom of our expert instructors. Many other students, however, missed the confidence, improved fluency and opportunities for self-correction that communication with fellow learners (under the watchful eye of our instructors) provides. 

Like these instructional classes, Express 4 will be capped at 12 students per class, with the majority of class time—two 45-minute sessions twice a week—spent broken off into smaller groups. 

Language instruction has faced countless unforeseen challenges and changes over the past year, and after many months of experimentation, trial periods and tweaking, we’re confident that we’ve arrived at a selection of offerings that don’t merely “make up for” our in-person classes, but actually build on them. We can’t wait to see where the Express 4 experience will take all of you!


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