In 2005 Colegio Seminario began a deep restructuring of the English Department in pursue of two objectives: that the students would leave school with an ability to use the language close to that of a native speaker, and to obtain one or more language certificates from Cambridge University.
The main objective at the secondary level is that pupils acquire a command of the language allowing them to use it as a tool to acquire other knowledge. It is important to prepare our students for both the world of work and for the academic. For this purpose, the Department of English, together with its team of teachers, are constantly working on the elaboration of programmes where language and content are integrated. Likewise, the development of skills and competencies in English already is an important feature in our programmes.
The increase in weekly hourly load made possible a marked progress in the teaching of the language, expanding the spectrum of levels offered according to the skills and knowledge of students.
Even though we believe the preparation of exams is an important objective, it is not our main aim. On the contrary, the aim is to achieve the acquisition of a second language at the advanced level and aim at helping students become bilingual before leaving school. Examinations are offered to certify at an international level, that each student possesses the level the school claims the student has achieved.
Today, high school students have the possibility of receiving instruction in English from level B1 according to the Common European Framework, corresponding to the "intermediate" level to the most advanced C2, corresponding to a command close to a native of the language. According to this table of levels, students have the possibility of different exams of the University of Cambridge and graduation certificates of FCE, CAE and CPE.
Research in language teaching, particularly of the English language, is conclusive regarding the benefits of reading. Reading allows us to improve our perspective of the language, increase our vocabulary, and provide us with ideas which are then flushed in the writings that we do. But above all, it is a source of entertainment and pleasure. This is why we have embarked on a scheme of reading in which students have access to at least four books of different genres, in the year. So the school has purchased a large quantity of books that will be provided to students on loan throughout the courses.