Department of English Language Pedagogy
School of English and American Studies - Eötvös Loránd University
1088 Budapest, Rákóczi út 5. tel.: (36-1) 485 52 00 extension: 4407, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Good to know - This is mostly for new students
Starting a new phase in one's life or entering a new professional community might mean having to face new situations, new forms of communication or having to adopt new ways of behaviour. It is these areas that this page wishes to address.
DELP staff are fully committed both to promoting the freedom of expression and to respecting the rights and dignity of all people, whatever their ethnic or cultural background, religion, beliefs and sexual orientation. We expect the same commitment from our students in their everyday and professional discourse and behaviour.
Dictionaries and grammar reference books
Apart from a bilingual dictionary, a good monolingual dictionary and a good grammar reference book are indispensable for an English major student.
Don't rely solely on online or CD-ROM dictionaries. Buy a good printed volume. Choosing may be difficult with the number of different publications available; the advice below might be of help:
- Look at the general structure of a dictionary and also the structure of the entries, and choose the one that has the most information in it. Apart from the definition, dictionary entries also offer synonyms, antonyms, sample sentences and hints on grammar.
- Choose a number of words and expressions and compare the entries for these in various dictionaries.
The same procedures can also be applied for choosing a grammar reference book.
It is also very worthwhile getting a dictionary of synonyms (a thesaurus) and a dictionary of collocations as well. A collection of typical "Hunglish" mistakes is very handy to have on one's bookshelf, too.
When you get a writing assignment, try to do it as soon as possible, so that you can put it aside for some time before handing it in. This way you will have the opportunity to take a look at it with "fresh eyes" before making a final copy. This is the best way to notice mistakes one might otherwise leave in a paper.
Think of writing as a process: In order to come up with a good product you have to plan and carefully execute your writing: collect your thoughts, research the topic, make an outline, write a first draft, put it aside and ask for feedback, consider the feedback, look at the draft again, correct and re-write where necessary to come up with the final version. Don't forget to use the spell checker on your computer before you print the text.
Autonomous learning to increase proficiency and to prepare for language exams
With a BA or MA in English, you will be an English language professional. This status requires far more than general fluency and efficient communication skills. Language professionals must use their most precious tool accurately with a wide-ranging and sophisticated vocabulary and must always aspire to understand, interpret and communicate intricate meanings precisely. Although language development courses provide purposely planned instruction, language learning is an independent and never ending process to a great extent.
Autonomous learning has an important role in boosting language proficiency but many autonomous techniques can also be used for a shorter term purpose, i.e. in the preparation for language exams. Language exams are different from other exams in that you cannot prepare for them at the last minute. Try to take every opportunity to improve your English. In our experience, many students who speak very fluently and are good communicators let themselves be misled by their success in general interactions, and do not pay enough attention to developing the accuracy of their language use.
The list below contains a few motivating ideas for autonomous learning:
The economic pressures of today make a large number of students take on different kinds of jobs during their university years. This might serve as good experience but often gets in the way of studies. Try and find a good balance between earning money and studying.
Please make sure you do not take on jobs at the expense of your studies. Do not neglect your assignments and do not be late for classes because of other commitments. If you come to class late and/or without your homework, not only do you seriously hinder your own progress, but you also make it difficult for your group mates and your teacher to keep the desired pace.
Don't hesitate to turn to your tutors for any help concerning your studies. They are happy to clarify issues you might have missed, give further explanation or advice. It is also a good idea to contact them if for some reason you cannot make it to class, particularly if you are to give a presentation.
In some cases, e.g. when asking for a waiver or submitting the title of your thesis, you have to contact the head of department or an appointed colleague. Check out their office hours.
Luckily it does not happen often, but should you have a disagreement with a course tutor, try to discuss it with them. If the problem cannot be settled, turn to the head of department.
Should you want to appeal against the result of an exam, you can turn to the head of department in writing. Please note though that appeals can be based on particular instances in the marking of the exam paper; humanitarian reasons cannot be considered, nor can we accept complaints concerning the oral exams, since these are not retrievable. You should also be aware that our language proficiency exams are standardised, and each part is marked by at least two markers, all of whom have to undergo a benchmarking session and examiner training at the beginning of every single exam period. Borderline cases are checked by a third reader. The procedures we use are comparable to the standards and protocols of internationally accredited language examinations.
In cases that cannot be settled at the department you can turn to the deputy head of school, who is our director of studies, or to the head of school.
Even though the university and the department represent a formal professional community, it is not difficult to communicate with the members of this community, who, indeed, are very approachable.
Yet, we have found that written communication might be a little difficult to master in the beginning. It is particularly the form of address or salutation that seems to cause problems. When you write a letter or a note to a teacher in English, do not start it by: "Dear Fekete Lajos/Lujza,"; it is much more polite to say: "Dear Dr. Fekete,". If the person does not hold a doctorate, you can say: "Dear Ms. Fekete," or "Dear Mr. Fekete, ". In Hungarian the situation is similar. The use of the name only does not sound too good, so instead of "Tisztelt Fekete Lajos/Lujza" choose the following forms: "Tisztelt Tanár Úr!", "Tisztelt Tanárnő!", "Tisztelt Fekete Tanárnő!", "Tisztelt Tanszékvezető Asszony!", "Tisztelt Igazgató Úr!".
For efficient communication, some teachers allow you to call them on their private phone number. In order not to ring at a bad time, please make sure you ask them when you can contact them.
We certainly do not want to introduce a dress code, but talking from experience there are a few things worth mentioning:
There is no need to dress up formally for written exams. Wear comfortable clothes so that you can concentrate on the task. The same goes for oral exams, though a neat and tidy appearance is naturally appreciated.
When you do your teaching practice, you have to observe the requirements of the school, but in any case, make sure not to dress in a way that would distract the students' attention.
© ELTE DELP, Budapest