1. Experience and expertise are important for us, but so are passion, enthusiasm and a desire to learn.
2. We share a positive attitude and the desire to bring people together and provide opportunities for them to learn and grow.
3. We are committed to listening carefully, to working in teams and to promoting open and honest communication.
1. Our school is central, well resourced and attractive.
2. The atmosphere is professional and relaxed. We attract people from around the world who want to learn or to teach English, Spanish and other languages for a variety of reasons.
3. Our online environments, (websites, OhConnect, Moodle and social media) bring people together, support learning and provide clear, honest and useful information.
1. Our courses are practical, enjoyable and challenging.
2. We believe our students should have the opportunity to achieve a recognized qualification to demonstrate their success in their language studies and teacher training to themselves and the world and therefore, we prepare them to obtain official certificates from international bodies such as Instituto Cervantes, Trinity College London and Cambridge English.
3. We are innovative and consistently seek to improve our courses, our materials and our methods based on what we learn from people we work with, and developments in our field.
4. We value recognition as an accredited centre after obtaining favourable evaluations from official bodies such as the Instituto Cervantes, in the following different areas: teaching and learning; staff profile, development and terms of employment; facilities; academic resources; legal requirements for teaching; management and administration; internal and external communication.
Founded in 1998 in Barcelona, Oxford House offers English courses to adults and young learners at our premises and online, as well as in companies and local schools, and Spanish courses for foreigners to adults.
We also offer English teacher training courses, accredited by Cambridge University and Trinity College London and Spanish teacher training courses.
We value the prestige of our brand. Our co-founder and current director, Duncan Foord, and our annual Innovate ELT conference have received industry awards and our teaching team includes industry-recognised professionals.
We are associated with the Spanish Federation of Language Teaching Centres (FECEI) and are recognised by Bildungsurlaub and the Instituto Cervantes.
We believe language teaching is primarily a human and social activity. For us, there are three key elements to learning a language in a classroom with a teacher. People learn best:
1. When they feel comfortable and relaxed with their teacher and fellow students.
2. When they are challenged by the tasks they do in class.
3. When those tasks involve learning new language and using it in situations which will be relevant for them outside class.
There are many different ways to learn a language. People can learn through self-study and practice, through living in an environment where the language is spoken and through attending classes with a teacher, or a combination of these. Whichever path the learner takes, they will need to work hard and have patience. We believe anyone can learn a second language, though factors such as motivation, discipline, opportunities to practice, age and aptitude can affect how long it takes.
The service we provide naturally leads us to focus on language learning through attending classes with a teacher. Our students come to us for an opportunity to practice the language and because they understand they will benefit from learning in a group of people with similar goals, which meets regularly with expert guidance and support from a teacher.
It is an important part of our approach to address each student in our classes as an individual and advise and support them in achieving their goals in the language. This includes developing students’ motivation and organization and encouraging them to practice the language independently outside class, not just by completing traditional homework tasks, but also by seeking opportunities to practice the language informally with other speakers and by taking opportunities to read and listen in the language.
To make sure we offer the best classes possible to students we believe in recruiting teachers who are expert users of the language they are teaching, have been suitably trained and demonstrate the appropriate skills and qualities to create classes which meet the three objectives listed above. We recruit teachers whose training includes observed teaching experience (such as The Trinity Cert TESOL/CELTA for English teachers and ELE courses for Spanish teachers. As a provider of Teacher Training courses for English Teachers, we encourage our teachers to develop their qualifications further by completing the Trinity Diploma in TESOL in house.
The teacher is the most important element of the service we offer. We believe it is important to support them by providing suitable physical resources (such as comfortable classrooms, books, computers and projectors) and personal support through observation and feedback, counselling and advice, mentoring, meetings and opportunities to attend workshops, conferences and training courses to develop expertise.
We have two directors of studies, both responsible for the adult English courses, in-company language courses and Spanish and one of them is also responsible for the young learner’s courses.
The primary challenge for our students is to communicate effectively in the language. Our teachers, therefore, place emphasis on helping them to practice this. Students engage in communication activities which reflect the way they need to use the language outside class. For example, students will often work in pairs or small groups to take part in role-plays or simulations, have discussions, recount events and so on. The teacher will give them feedback on their performance and input on vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation which will help them improve. This will include explanations of new language and written and oral practice exercises to consolidate. Classes are conducted in the target language, though teachers and students sometimes use translation where it is helpful.
Teachers use a variety of materials designed for teaching from course books and the internet, as well as authentic materials (from sources such as newspaper websites and YouTube), which they adapt for students. Teachers set and monitor homework tasks to complement classroom learning. This is managed through our online platform OhConnect, where students join a group for their class to communicate with their teacher and classmates, participate in homework tasks and review class contents if they miss a class.
Our teachers are guided in their choice of content for their classes by the needs of the students and by established programmes in course books and the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). Courses are designed according to the students’ levels, needs and aspirations with the language. We offer a range of class types in English and Spanish: preparing students for official exams –Cambridge, IELTS, Trinity ISE and Trinity GESE, general language courses, courses for young learners and courses for Business English. We offer a range of intensive programmes of up to 10 hours per week and extensive programmes of 3 hours a week.
Students are continually assessed through progress tests and regular feedback from the teacher carried out approximately every 30 hours. Students preparing for public exams such as Cambridge English, IELTS or DELE are also given the opportunity to do a simulation of the actual exam.
Many of our students enjoy the opportunity to meet and practice the language they are learning by taking part in the social events we organise including language exchange evenings, and our annual Ski Trip or Charity Day. Spanish students can also participate in social and cultural activities, as well as visiting important Barcelona landmarks. They can also borrow books and films from our bookshop so that they can practise more at home.
To check we are doing a good job we get regular oral and written feedback from students and discuss this with teachers. Our Directors of Studies and marketing team manage this process with the aim of innovating and improving our classes wherever we can. We communicate with our students and potential students about our services, through images, videos and written descriptions and accounts from students on our website, social media and in social events we organize.
Our admin and reception team provides support and information for students, in particular processing subsidies for courses through FUNDAE (in Spain). Our reception staff is a first point of contact for students who need information or have questions about courses and services we offer and they are available Monday to Friday and Saturdays during opening hours, as well as through different means of electronic contact (e-mail, web, chat, social networks). Customer service is provided in Spanish, Catalan or English.
We created our Spanish department 2008. We wanted to apply the philosophy and experience we had gained teaching English to Spanish courses. We saw the demand for quality courses at an affordable price. By quality, we understand:
1. Students feel comfortable with their teacher and classmates.
2. Exercises done in class which are challenging for students.
3. Tasks and language which are covered in class is practical and useful.
Our goal is to offer a range of online and in-person Spanish courses that meets the needs of both non-residents who are looking to study short courses as well as residents who want to improve their language skills while they work or study here. We offer:
1. Online Intensive courses (32 hours a month in groups of a maximum of 16 students).
2. Online part-time courses (33 hours in 11 weeks in groups of a maximum of 16 students) .
3. In-person intensive and part-time courses.(32 hours a month in groups of a maximum of 10 students or 33 hours in 11 weeks in groups of a maximum of 10 students)
The evaluation procedure, support and teacher development are the same as that which we have established for our English teachers. Our English and Spanish teaching staff share a workspace and resources in the school. We want to encourage communication and teamwork between them. In fact, we have teachers in our team who teach both languages. Within our teacher development program we organize mixed events (for example, chats and talks in Spanish or English) about teaching methodology aimed at all teachers, in addition to specific meetings for each team. Our team of Spanish teachers meet to discuss topics of specific interest to them (for example, evaluation procedures for our intensive courses, the challenges posed by a monthly sign-up system, and how to teach classes with students of mixed nationalities and cultural backgrounds).