The ELP Mission

The ELP Mission

The ELP Mission

The mission of the English Language Programs (ELP) is to provide English language training, intercultural education, and support to learners at Penn and in the broader international community as they strive to achieve their academic and professional goals.

Our mission statement is supported by three strategic pillars:

  • Provide an enriching environment for all learners
    The ELP creates a positive experience both inside and outside of the learning space by utilizing efficient and informative enrollment processes; prioritizing student wellness; cultivating a culture that values diversity and inclusion; and promoting access to learning.
  • Deliver engaging programs and expert support that prepare learners to achieve their English language goals
    The ELP offers thoughtfully designed curricula, impactful assessments, instructional expertise, and individualized advising that enable learners to realize their academic and professional goals. The ELP utilizes innovative tools and technologies to facilitate learner engagement.
  • Foster intercultural understanding within the Penn community and the world
    The ELP furthers Penn’s global initiatives by creating a safe and welcoming space for open intercultural dialogue, as well as hosting meaningful sociocultural events and activities.

Intensive Program mission statement

The mission of the Intensive Program is to provide high-quality instruction and support to learners who want to increase their English language proficiencies to achieve academic, professional, and personal goals and to improve their understanding of the cultures of the United States.

Philosophy of teaching and learning

We believe that students learn language best when they feel comfortable in their classes and are given as many opportunities as possible to participate. Our teachers provide students with meaningful content in all of our classes and encourage students to use that content to interact (talk and listen) with their classmates and teachers. Students in the ELP receive frequent and detailed feedback from their teachers on their reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. This helps students discover their individual strengths and the weaknesses that they need to work on to improve their language skills. We believe that our students should be accountable for their own learning and will be most motivated when they have some choice in what and how they learn. We look forward to helping students reach their language learning goals at the ELP!

We believe that second language acquisition in the classroom is best fostered in positive affective conditions, where stress is facilitative, not debilitative, and where the atmosphere is nurturing yet challenging and motivating. We believe that the classroom must provide input and opportunities for interaction and student output.

Activities in and out of the classroom should acknowledge and exploit our environment. The input should be meaningful and come from multiple sources and through multiple media. It should be at and above the student's current level of competence. It should provide information about the different aspects of language needed for communicative competence: phonology, grammar, pragmatics, discourse, writing styles and conventions, literacy, semantics, cultural customs and values, and communicative and learning strategies. Input should be natural language, whether it is graded or not, scripted or nonscripted.

The interaction should provide opportunities to practice all of the above aspects of language. Interaction should be between the student and different interlocutors (other students, the teacher, people outside the classroom), should be in different tasks and should use different channels (writing, speaking, listening, etc.). Some interactions should require negotiation to achieve meaning and it should be two-way, i.e., the student should hold some of the information necessary to achieve meaning. Student output should be frequent, meaningful as well as mechanical, and should vary in task, activity, and focus. Student output should receive feedback, both cognitive and affective. Cognitive feedback should be both positive and negative (corrective).

When teaching, the teacher should consider the pacing of both the rate of speech and the speed at which information is given. The teacher should vary presentation styles and take into account different student learning styles (holistic-analytic; inductive-deductive; visual-aural). The teacher should vary tasks and foci. The teacher should consider the meaningfulness of the tasks, activities, and the language used. The teacher should consider what kinds of feedback should be given to students and when. The teacher should consider student interests, expectations, needs, and reasons for study.

Students should be accountable for learning in terms of attendance, attention, and homework. As adults, our students will be most motivated when they have some control over and choice in what and how they learn, especially in terms of task, task style, content of class materials, and focus of the class. Our courses should meet or change student expectations.