English at the Ecole des Ponts
The ENGLISH SECTION at l’Ecole des Ponts et Chaussées is committed to promoting a versity of cultural and linguistic approaches in accordance with the standards of the Département de Langues et Cultures (DLC), which offers a wide variety of courses in multiple languages and operates under the framework of the CTI.
At Ponts et Chaussées, English classes are compulsory due to the fact that English has become the de facto international language of the arts, science, and business. The ENGLISH SECTION provides a panoply of theme classes designed for advanced language learners. Students are given all the support necessary to achieve the highest level of fluency and accuracy.
Our program is specifically designed to address the student engineer’s needs to acquire cross-cultural, transversal, and communication skills. This is accomplished by a diverse team of teachers with different skill sets and hailing from different cultural backgrounds, each one using innovative pedagogy to encourage collaboration and interaction within the learning environment.
Our department’s mission is focused upon the values of Discovery, Critical Thinking and Creativity. With over 50 themes to choose from every semester, our course selection provides something for everyone. Students have a rare opportunity to explore subjects that may complement, or diverge from, their engineering degree. This provides a chance for students to spread their wings, to be exposed to different perspectives, and to challenge themselves.
No matter which class a student chooses to take, they will receive a unique learning experience since every professor transmits their passion for the subject matter by creating an original syllabus in line with departmental standards. The process involves providing the skills necessary for ‘lifelong learning’ so that students can graduate with the highest level of self-sufficiency. One of the principal tools for acquiring this ability is the ‘autonomous project’, a feature of every class, uniquely designed to serve not only the subject matter at hand, but to stimulate intellectual curiosity and creativity.
Ultimately, students who have taken courses at Ponts and Chaussées will leave with more than just fluency in written and spoken English. Our students will have the cultural knowledge, critical thinking, and transversal skills to broaden their horizons along with the communication abilities required to show a high level of professionalism essential to succeed in any future career.
Choosing your English course
We usually encourage students to choose their second language course before they choose their English class, since there are more English classes available. This does not mean that you should choose your English class just for the title, the teacher, or the time: each description will indicate the target population, the subject of the course, the kind and style of work involved, and the spirit or personality of the course. While choosing a course for one semester, students should also consider how this choice fits in with their total English programme over their time at the school - more a question of covering a range of different content areas and competences than an apparently neat linguistic progression from one level to another.
Courses usually offer a range of levels, so that even if students are not very strong in English, they can still choose a course on a subject that interests them. Some of our courses are language skill or level based, but most are organised around subjects. This is because we think that interesting and useful subjects are more motivating than language exercises detached from context, especially for students who have studied English for many years already. In this way, students can learn English and another subject at the same time. If levels are not entirely homogeneous as a result, this too is representative of the situation in the wider world, in which speakers learn from and adapt to one another.
Teachers, Staff, and Who to Contact
There are four permanent English teachers in the DFL and up to 10 part-time teachers in any one semester. Your class teacher is also your English teacher, your first contact for English affairs and the person to go to for help in the first instance, and to inform if you change groups or have to miss a class for any reason. The four permanent members of the English section are Stacey Benoit (USA), Caroline Preller (England), David Sayers (England) and Kyle Weinandy (USA). They are there to help in any way they can and welcome suggestions for new courses and activities.