PROGRAM


Why Optimus?

Small Student/Teacher Ratio

OLS offers an affordable ESL program with intensive conversational skills classes through student to teacher ratios of 4:1 and 8:1. We keep our student/teacher ratio low so that we can customize our curriculum to meet student needs and emphasize individual attention. With classes averaging three to four students, each student has more time to interact with our instructors. This is great because, as we all know, the main key to improving English conversation skills is constantly conversing to maximize practice.

We want you to feel confident that OLS is the right place for you to learn English, so we offer a guarantee program so you know you will get the most out of your time studying with us!

For more information, check out our guarantee program.

Once you decide to study English in the US, you don’t want to be waiting around forever for your I-20 form to come. We know you want to start the visa application process as soon as possible. So, to help you get started quickly and make the most of your enthusiasm, we process your I-20 right away so that you will receive it at your home within one week from the time you are accepted to OLS!

For more information, check out our guaranteed processing time.

OLS runs an ESL program tailored to specific topics and situations with the goal of providing you with the confidence to speak English in your everyday life. We also offer supplementary programs, such as Book Club, Daily Journal, and TED Talks to enhance the depth and the variety of your English education. We also have programs that will help prepare you for English tests such as TOEFL/ TOEIC/ OPIc.

Life Skills Focus with Themed Units

Our mission focuses on life skill development so that students can feel confident and comfortable performing everyday tasks, such as shopping, paying bills, ordering food, getting a job, and discussing complaints. Each week has a different task theme to give students a context in which they will practice their English. Our textbooks, other curriculum, and culture week activities all align with this focus.

Weekly Student Presentations

Students complete projects over the weekend and then give a presentation on each Monday of what they worked on. These presentations are sometimes done individually and sometimes as a group, depending on the type of project. The teacher and other students can ask the presenter questions about his or her presentation at the end.

Individual Speaking Questions on Weekly Unit Tests

Students take a test at the end of each week on the unit they have been studying. In addition to the paper test they take, students are also tested on their speaking through two unit-specific speaking questions. Students take this part of the test 1-on-1 with the teacher, and the teacher scores each student’s answers independently and gives immediate feedback before moving on to test the next student.

Online Daily Progress Report

Our goal is to provide students with the best English instruction possible and to help them achieve the high standards we have set. We believe that clear communication between our teachers and students encourages students to set goals for learning and helps teachers establish plans for teaching. At OLS, we provide individual daily online progress reports. These allow students and their families to view class activities and monitor student progress through teacher comments. Additionally, the daily progress reports indicate how well students are progressing in class and provides an early indication of those areas where the student may need additional help.

Weekly Homework Checkup and Progress Meetings with Teachers

Every Monday, teachers go over scores with students to let them know why they received the scores they did and to give them tips on how to improve if necessary. Teachers also provide suggestions for other resources the student can seek out on his or her own time for extra practice in any of the four skill areas (speaking, listening, reading, or writing).

Portfolio Tracking

Tracking student points with portfolios allows us to see a student’s progress throughout the quarter by looking at samples of real work they have done. It also allows students to check their grade at any time and see how their skills grow from one quarter to the next.

Daily Journal (4:1 or less ratio classes)

In our classes with 4 or fewer students, we offer a daily journal. Students write short entries about what they do before and after class as well as any questions they come up with as a result of their English encounters that day. The teacher corrects these journal entries daily and gives meaningful feedback. While these entries help students with their grammar, they also function as a great indicator of progress as entries increase in length and require fewer corrections over time.

Book Club (4:1 or less ratio classes)

Every week or every other week (depending on reading level), you will read a book from OLS's program, write your comments on given questions, and present and discuss the book through a book club meeting. This work will increase your ability to understand English texts and to organize and express your thoughts in English.

TED Talks (2:1 or 1:1 ratio class)

We include short clips of informative TED Talks, video lectures in which people from all walks of life share their knowledge and experience on a wide variety of topics. We organize discussions of these lectures to provide detailed explanations that help students understand and communicate about them. They also give students a stronger perspective on global English. TED Talks are a fun way to incorporate more listening and speaking practice into our units. (Students in 4:1 or 8:1 classes have the option of adding this as a supplemental class outside of their normal ESL class.)


OLS Guarantee

promised
improvement

Guarantee Program

Our ESL courses are guaranteed for students who sign up for one year of classes! Students who register and pay for one year in advance will take the OPIc (Oral Proficiency Interview – Computer) speaking assessment test twice free of charge ($140 total value). This test checks the level of English speaking proficiency by simulating and recording an interview conversation. Students take this test once at the beginning of the program and again at the end of the year to compare scores and see progress. Those students who do not meet the necessary OPIc score will receive one quarter (three months) of additional instruction for free.

Get started with OLS, knowing that you are guaranteed to improve your English skills!

FREE e-Learning Prep Course

We want to make our ESL classes more effective for our students by helping them to learn basic English words and phrases before they begin studying with us. In order to make sure you are set up for success, we offer free prep class to get you ready before you come to the US. You will use our online OLS e-Learning website (www.optimuselearningschool.com) to study 20 lessons (with 20 words or phrases in each lesson) of vocab, verb phrases, and popular American idioms that will make it easier to understand the English you’ll be learning in your ESL class. This prep class is designed to last 4 weeks with one lesson each weekday. At the end of each week, you will take a quiz on that week’s lessons. To encourage you to do your best, students with an average score of 90% or higher on their quizzes will receive FREE textbooks for their first quarter with us!


What is OPIc?

WHAT IS THE ORAL PROFICIENCY INTERVIEW-COMPUTER (OPIc)? The success of the ACTFL OPI has resulted in increased worldwide demand for valid and reliable testing of oral language proficiency. More and more schools and universities use the interview as an instrument of assessment. More and more commercial enterprises, international organizations, and government agencies recognize the usefulness of the OPI as a reliable tool to determine the linguistic functional capabilities of their personnel. The Oral Proficiency Interview-computer (OPIc) was developed as a computerized tool to deliver and score valid and reliable oral proficiency testing on a large scale. The computer delivered assessment emulates the qualities of the OPI, but handles the delivery of the questions by a carefully designed computer program. An ACTFL OPIc is assigned one of the following ratings: Superior, Advanced High, Advanced Mid, Advanced Low, Intermediate High, Intermediate Mid, Intermediate Low, Novice High, Novice Mid, or Novice Low. The recording of their responses is made available via the Internet to Certified OPIc Raters and is evaluated by raters within a short period of time. Because of the availability of access to the test, speakers can take an OPIc easily, anywhere in the world.

WHAT IS THE ORAL PROFICIENCY INTERVIEW? The ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) is a valid and reliable testing method that measures how well a person speaks a language. It uses a standardized procedure for the global assessment of functional speaking ability, i.e., it measures language production holistically by determining patterns of strengths and weaknesses.

The ACTFL OPI assesses the Interpersonal mode of communication (two-way communication) as described in the Standards for Foreign Language Learning. The OPI assesses language proficiency in terms of a speaker’s ability to use the language effectively and appropriately in real-life situations. It does not address when, where, why, or the way in which a speaker has acquired his/her language. The OPI is not an achievement test assessing a speaker’s acquisition of specific aspects of course and curriculum content, nor is it tied to any specific method of instruction.

The OPI does not compare one individual’s performance to others, but each individual performance to the assessment criteria.

Placement Test

The placement test at OLS takes approximately 3 – 4 hours to complete and costs $100. If you decide to enroll after taking the placement test, your placement test fee will be credited towards your tuition.


Courses

The ESL program at OLS consists of 6 levels, from Basic to Level 5. The final goal of the ESL program is to be able to communicate comfortably in all areas of English, including speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Students will improve grammar and conversational skills. Students take a placement test to determine which level they will start the course at, with each level taking 3 months to complete. At the end of each level, you will need to take the the level test again to see how you've progressed in speaking, listening, and reading. If you have passed satisfactorily, you will move on to the next level. Once you have completed the highest level (Level 5), you will receive a certificate of completion proving that you have completed the ESL program at OLS.

Reading, Writing, Grammar

OLS conducts reading and writing activities at each level. Students will become more familiar with English sentence structure and will be able to read easily and expand their vocabulary through the level-appropriate reading passages. The writing activities will allow you to write your own sentences starting with simple sentences and progressing to formatted essays. In addition, you will learn many English idioms through this process and will be able to use complex grammar rules, which will help you to speak English accurately and more naturally.

Conversation

OLS offers a variety of thematic and contextual conversation activities to practice speaking and listening skills that are used in real life. All classes focus on conversation between instructors and students. Instructors maximize learning efficiency by giving prompt feedback through constant dialogue with the students and correction of pronunciation and word choice. Through this process, students will practice speaking confidently and gain more listening practice through constant conversation. This is only possible with a small number of students in class, something that OLS is proud to offer.

Course Goals

Basic Goal: Students will begin to communicate basic needs in a variety of real life/survival situations.
Level 1 Goal: Students will begin to develop the necessary language competence needed to successfully function in survival and social environments.
Level 2 Goal: Students will achieve the necessary language competence needed to successfully function in survival and social environments.
Level 3 Goal: Students will begin to develop competence to live and work effectively in the U.S.
Level 4 Goal: Students will develop competence to live and work in the U.S. with some difficulty in order to function in most common environments.
Level 5 Goal: Students will develop competence to live and work in the U.S. with sufficient proficiency in order to function in most common environments.

ESL classes

A class with a 4:1 ratio of students to teachers is the recommended class size at OLS. The shortcut to improve your conversational skills is to practice speaking and listening through repeated interactions. OLS refuses to enroll a large number of people in a class, like many other language schools do, because it makes it difficult to even say one word in class, let alone engage in the kind of repeated interactions that are required to improve your conversation skills. This is why we offer 4:1 ESL classes at an affordable price. (For 4:1 classes, Book Club and Daily Journal programs are available at no extra cost.)

The 8:1 class is for students who want a lower tuition cost but do not want to miss out on the style and efficiency of learning English in a class of limited size.
The ESL program offered in our 8:1 allows students to focus on conversational English, which is still much more efficient than classes in other schools, although it is less intensive than the 4:1 class.

Overview

Students can apply for additional classes at OLS for further study. (Cost not included in regular tuition.)

TOEFL

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is an academically-focused test used by colleges and employers all around the world to ensure that your level of English proficiency meets their standards. Our TOEFL classes can help you to achieve the speaking, listening, reading, and writing scores you need by providing you with useful test-taking tips specific to the format and scoring of the TOEFL test. We can identify your weaknesses and help you develop a study plan customized to your needs.

Daily Journal Writing

To improve your grammar and writing skills, you can write a daily journal entry in English and 1:1 proofreading and feedback will be given. It is the most efficient program to improve intensive composition skills in a short period of time.

Book Club session

Every week or every other week (depending on reading level), you will read a book from OLS's program, write your comments on given questions, and present and discuss the book through a book club meeting. This work will increase your ability to understand English texts and to organize and express your thoughts in English.

TED Talks

TED Talks are video lectures, based on a wide variety of interesting topics, in which people from all walks of life share their knowledge and experience through a short lecture. These videos are shared online for free. At OLS, we organize discussions of these lectures to provide detailed explanations to help students understand and communicate about them. Through these discussions, students can improve their listening skills, increase their vocabulary, and develop their speaking skills to a higher level.

Private Class

This class option offers a one-to-one ratio between the student and instructor. If you are interested in this type of class, please ask for more details.

"We have a lot of opportunities to speak English."

Shin Hye T.

Culture Week

Guest Speaker

Once a quarter, either during Midterm week or Culture week, we feature guest speakers who talk to students about their professions and how English is a part of their everyday work. They also give insight into the way American culture affects their lives. Sometimes these speakers come to OLS, and sometimes we are able to visit them on location and get a tour of their workplaces. Some examples of speakers we feature are bankers, chefs, physicians, hair stylists and self-employed entrepreneurs.

Culture Week

Culture Week is an important part of each quarter. While you will take tests throughout the quarter on what you have been learning, Culture Week is the real-life test at the end of the quarter to see if you can function in normal everyday situations outside of the classroom. You will gain authentic speaking and listening experience through a discussion of American media and pop culture as well as personal experience garnered from guided field trips, all with the same small-group ratio that is enjoyed in class. Some past field trips have included live performances at local theaters as well as visits to the Brea Community Center, the Richard Nixon Library, California State University (Fullerton), and the Orange County Fair.


Schedule

General Schedule Information

The ESL program at OLS includes English conversation (speaking and listening), writing and grammar, and reading. It consists of 4 hours a day, Monday to Friday, to make up 20 hours a week. There are a total of 240 hours of class per quarter, and all courses at OLS are conducted on a quarterly basis.

Admission and enrollment must be completed no later than 4 weeks before the start of the quarter.
Classes begin on the first Monday of each quarter (January, April, July, and October).

Time Program Learning Module
9:00 AM - 1:00 PM ESL Integrated Skills
Reading Comprehension
Writing and Grammar
Conversation Skills
Daily Journal Write Daily Journals
Receive Corrections
Daily Book Club Read Throughout the Week
Comprehension Questions
Vocabulary
GroupDiscussion