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Mastering the language: Strategies for proficiency in English communication (English Course Singapore) | TMC Academy

Updated: Jun 30

Singaporean adults have, on average, some of the highest English proficiency levels in the world. Of 88 countries, they came in third place, trailing only Sweden and the Netherlands.


This proficiency in English is partly due to the vision and determination of Singapore’s first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, who saw English as a means to build the economy and develop Singapore’s regional and global competitiveness. Under Prime Minister Yew’s plan, English became the medium of instruction in Singaporean schools. At the same time, the languages of the three major ethnic groups—Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil—were taught as secondary languages. In the 1960s, bilingualism was made compulsory in all primary and secondary schools.



English Course Singapore, Certificate in English, Certificate in General English


In the 1980s, Singapore adopted a Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) approach, focusing on creating authentic contexts in the classroom where students could practice using English rather than focusing on abstract grammar rules and rote vocabulary exercises. This focus has been reinforced through subsequent curricular reforms in 1991, 2001 and 2010.


TMC Academy continues Singapore’s strong tradition of providing opportunities and effective strategies for students to master English and become skilled communicators in the English language. These strategies and learning opportunities provide a safe learning environment for international students who may lack confidence in their English skills or who may be struggling with understanding and expressing themselves in the academic English of their course.


Studying English at TMC Academy


There are several reasons to study English at TMC


Learning is fun


While any course of study requires discipline and hard work, it should also be enjoyable. At TMC, learning English is made fun through


  • Dynamic and interactive classes

  • Excursions every school term

  • Make friends from all corners of the world!


Conducive learning environment


TMC provides a conducive learning environment for students, including a low teacher-student ratio and teachers who are approachable and willing to spend time assisting students. Comments by former students who have studied English all agree that the teachers are patient, take time with students, and ensure classes are interesting and facilitate learning.


Students learn English from experienced international teachers from the UK, the USA, and Europe, as well as teachers from Singapore with strong English foundations and innovative teaching methods.


Hawthorn Language School


Hawthorn Language School is a learning centre within TMC Academy.

The Hawthorn English Programme was established by the University of Melbourne, Australia, in 1986. In 2003, TMC Academy took on the franchise of Hawthorn Singapore as part of the worldwide network of Hawthorn Language Centres. Hawthorn Singapore became fully independent under TMC Academy in 2009 and continues delivering high-quality English programmes under the brand Hawthorn Language School.


Studying at the Hawthorn Language School gives students a strong foundation in reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. The school also offers a preparatory course for the IELTS examination upon request.


Having decided to study English at TMC Academy, the choice is whether to study:

  • The Certificate in General English and English for Academic Purposes or the

  • English Course Singapore


The Certificate in General English and English for Academic Purposes (English Course Singapore)


This Certificate is designed to enhance students’ confidence in English for everyday use and academic purposes.

The Certificate in General English and English for Academic Purposes programme (EAP) equips students with the necessary general English Language skills to feel confident and participate actively in English-speaking environments.


Students at the higher level of this certificate course will learn academic English, giving them the confidence and ability to pursue higher education.


Upon completing this programme, students will be able to read, speak, and write confidently in the English language in general and in academic applications.


Duration and Levels of the EAP


This Certificate course takes twelve months to complete, either full-time or part-time. It has four levels, each taking three months to complete.


Level 1 - 2

The first two levels focus on General English to assist students:


  • Recognise basic to intermediate language forms and make simple expressions.

  • Comprehend basic to intermediate spoken and written English.

  • Express/communicate in everyday situations.

  • Gain exposure to reading, writing, listening and speaking skills and

  • Gain exposure to ‘learner skills’ to become independent and self-directed learners.


Level 3 – 4

These two levels focus on English for academic purposes (EAP) and assist students:


  • Recognize intermediate to advanced language forms and make accurate expressions.

  • Comprehend moderately spoken and written English in an academic context.

  • Express/communicate effectively in everyday situations.

  • Gain exposure to a range of reading, writing, listening and speaking skills

  • Gain exposure to ‘study skills’, which include notetaking, gathering and presenting information, critical thinking, planning and conducting research


Certificate in English


The Certificate in English program provides students with a solid foundation of English skills they can use in vocational, casual, and academic environments. Classes are designed to allow students to practice these skills with their fellow students.


The Certificate program consists of nine levels, each providing an integrated and carefully planned sequence of student-centred tasks and projects of increasing complexity that build student confidence and English communication skills.


Within the Certificate in English program, there is an English for Academic Purposes component that covers a range of skills and activities students need in academic contexts, such as the ability to summarise information and take notes while listening to lectures, essay and report writing skills and study skills including summarising arguments, planning papers and dissertations.


While the Certificate in English takes fifteen months to complete on a full-time basis, students have a choice of two ways to study the Certificate.

  1. Classroom and Activity-based learning. This is a full-day program with three hours of lessons, and three hours of activities, and guided sessions each day.

  2. Classroom-only based learning. This is a half-day program with three hours of lessons.


Having a strong foundation and confidence in using English in various settings, from academic learning to communicating in professional and work situations, is crucial for students' success in their academic and professional pursuits.


Getting this foundation, building confidence and mastering the English language is what students achieve in studying through TMC Academy.

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