Introducing Cross-College themes

Date: 01/08/2017

Theme of the Week

Cross-college themes are weekly topics which inform classwork, activities and excursions at the International College. During term time, themes such as ‘Society’ and ‘Education in Oxford’ focus English language learning and enable learners at different levels to interact with one another. There are a number of benefits to this approach, including:

  • A genuine unity of purpose across the college.
  • Opportunities for taking learning ‘beyond the classroom’.
  • Opportunities for students of different language levels and nationalities to mix.
  • A fresh start and sense of momentum for students on longer-stay courses.
  • An opportunity for shorter-stay students to integrate easily.
  • Exposes students to Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL).

How are the weekly themes chosen?

There are several key considerations for deciding the weekly themes:

  • They are preferably something Oxford-related at times when students arrive at the college.
  • Weekly themes chosen during term time need to fall into longer 3 or 4-week overarching ‘modules’ of connected themes.
  • Local, national or international events influence the theme content. This could be the Lunar New Year, Red Nose Day, Wimbledon, etc.
  • Themes should be interesting, topical and add to students’ knowledge of the world.
  • Themes should tie in with IELTS and Cambridge exam topics.
  • Themes can highlight promotional messages from the British Council or Visit England.
  • Themes, activities, and cross-college events should work together wherever possible.

A look at the most frequent IELTS or CAE writing topics will reveal a great deal of overlap with our Weekly Themes. This includes topics such as education, traditional culture, the environment, technology, and crime.

Feedback from the British Council and ISI includes, our thematic approach to teaching and learning helps students build an “awareness and understanding of cultural themes”, and “provide opportunities for students at different levels to practice their English together”.