Program Structure

The College of Marin Intensive English Program is designed for students who have had at least one year of academic English or the equivalent. IEP students are placed into levels by testing, interviews, and writing samples during the first week of the program.

The full-time program meets Monday through Thursday and includes face-to-face instruction, field trips, culture and enrichment activities, workshops, special events, and more. Classes are small in size to allow for maximum student participation in all classroom activities.

IEP coursework prepares students for the demands of college and university work and brings together needed skills and content that go beyond preparation for English language tests and seeks to enhance student success. Students work on skills in the areas of grammar, reading, writing, speaking, listening, and pronunciation through the lens of current events, literature, American culture, history, and more. In addition, IEP promotes the practice of essential skills students will need in order to be successful in the United States higher education system such as how to use a US college library, take lecture notes, write essays, keep journals and reading logs, give short speeches in class, and work in teams.

Fun activities, such as field trips to sporting events, cultural events, and historic locations in the Bay Area add to each IEP student’s English development. Incorporating field trips into the program helps students gain context for new language skills and learn more about what is special to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Course Descriptions

Academic Writing and Reading

Using textbooks with extensive exercises, this course takes students step-by-step from writing a correct sentence to a coherent paragraph, to a variety of essays for use in college-level studies.

Listening, Speaking, and Pronunciation for Academic Success

Students learn to discuss academic subjects by listening to the recorded material, answering questions that focus on main topics and details, and by retelling what they have heard. This course also helps students identify and pronounce difficult sounds and stresses in words, sentences, and questions to enable students to speak more clearly in an academic environment.

Grammar for Oral and Written Communication

Through a variety of exercises, presentations, and text-based online homework, this course covers English grammatical structures necessary for success in an academic environment.

Idioms and Topics in American Culture

This course explains the background of American customs and everyday life through readings and discussions. The course incorporates all four skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) to increase students’ understanding of history, civics, and government in American culture. Students will also examine and practice American idioms and their use in everyday situations.

Guided Self-Paced Reading

Using the many graded readers, books, and magazines available in the College of Marin library, students will increase fluency and confidence in reading. The graded readers range in level from beginning to advance and include publications form Oxford, Cambridge, Penguin, Good Reads, Collins, and Raven Rapid Reads. Spending time at the college library helps students familiarize themselves with the many academic resources on campus.

Cultural Activities

At IEP, students learn about language inside and outside of the classroom. In addition to field trips, students learn about the United States through celebration. Students interact with locals for traditional American holidays, such as a Thanksgiving dinner, Halloween costume celebration, games, and other ways that make learning English fun and enjoyable.

Past field trips include:

  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  • Exploring the Larkspur and San Francisco Ferry Terminals
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
  • Yerba Buena Gardens
  • Alcatraz Island including an audio tour
  • Alcatraz Ferry: beautiful views of the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge
  • DeYoung Museum
  • Angel Island
  • Japanese Tea Garden