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 Northwest Vista College Library
1st Floor, Redbud Learning Center (RLC)
3535 N. Ellison Dr.
San Antonio, TX 78251
(210) 486-4513
Mon - Thu: 7:30am - 8:30pm
Fri: 7:30am - 4 pm
Sat: 8:30am - 2:30pm

Course Descriptions



Small classes - 12 to 20 students per class

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Small classes - 12 to 20 students per class

ESL Accelerated

Accelerated Levels 1-6:

Note: The skills encompassed in all six levels include integrated speaking, grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, listening, reading, and writing.

All courses are very interactive, and students will be expected to participate in conversations with other students and with the instructor. Every effort will be made to avoid embarrassments for the student, but it is important to understand that fluency comes through practice. We learn from our mistakes.


Level 1 Beginners

This course is for students who speak a little English and are familiar with the Western alphabet. It will be especially helpful for students who (1) have not studied English in a classroom before, or (2) have a first language that does not use the Western alphabet.

Students will practice greetings and simple conversations. This level emphasizes foundational grammar concepts related to the words “be” and “do.” It also includes simple and continuous verb tenses.

Level 2 Beginners

Students who have become conversational in their English, but still need a firmer foundational knowledge of English grammar will benefit from Level 2.

This course reinforces Level 1 concepts by deepening students’ understanding of verb tenses and sentence structure. Emphasis will be placed on the correct word order of questions and statements and on correct usage of auxiliary verbs. Irregular verbs will also be introduced.

Level 3 Intermediate

This course builds on the foundation laid by the beginner courses. It will introduce some higher-level grammar concepts, including perfect tenses, modals and the passive voice. Students will also begin to master irregular verbs in this level.

Students are ready for Level 3 when they have begun to feel comfortable with simple and continuous verb tenses and basic sentence structure, including basic auxiliary verb usage.

Level 4 Intermediate

The grammar concepts touched on in Level 4 will be increasingly varied. The class will become familiar with the reasons for using diverse verb tenses and will become more comfortable with “story telling” (correctly using various tenses that express past events and processes) in their conversations. Students will be progressively more adept at constructing complex sentences, learning a variety of types of clauses and phrases.

Level 5 Advanced

In this level, students will receive a lot of exposure to professional English, including communication with customers, with one’s boss and with potential employers in an interview setting, as well as other work-related English language skills.

Students will have the opportunity to master grammar concepts such as phrasal verbs, higher-level modals, real and unreal conditionals, gerund and infinitive phrases, etc. They will be expected to engage in conversations regarding any number of topics, including abstract and imaginary ideas.

Level 6 Advanced

This course incorporates problem solving and critical thinking, encouraging students to cognitively multi-task while operating in an English speaking environment (much like they already do in their first language). It provides extensive practice through listening comprehension. The emphasis in this class is on communication, encouraging students to express their own ideas and feelings. Of course, the students’ pronunciation and grammar usage will be continuously monitored by the instructor.

Grammar includes the study and usage of verbs in the subjunctive, mastery of passives and complex conditional sentences.


ESL Electives


Speaking & Listening Idioms, I and II (Levels 4-6)

A very energetic and fun pair of courses, these lessons help students speak more like Americans. Students will be introduced to English idioms used in ordinary American conversations. It emphasizes American sayings that cannot be translated or understood literally, but must be understood in their cultural context.

This course is recommended for intermediate-advanced level students. Even though the section related to idioms can be memorized by students at any level, the conversational grammar element is analytical in nature and requires some foundational ESL to be beneficial.

Speaking & Listening through American Media (Levels 4-6)

This lively higher-level class will challenge your listening skills and encourage you to think in English! Students will be exposed to various accents and styles of speech through a variety of American media (both video and audio) that not only stimulate communication development but also contribute to a better understanding of American culture and values. Students are encouraged to engage in the many conversations inspired by what you will see and hear in this course.

Speaking & Listening on American Public Life and Society (Levels 4-6)

This is an exciting new course that has received high acclaim from our advanced and high-intermediate students! It is a conversation class that explains and analyzes many different aspects of American society (including common American beliefs about business, education, family, ethics, immigration, etc.). It is packed with meaningful conversation about key current American debates and political cultures. In short, it is a conversational study of the “American psyche.”

Advanced Grammar 1 (Level 6+)

This course welcomes students who have a solid grasp of basic English grammar and who still want more. The class will include some high-level grammar concepts that will be incorporated into spoken English.

Advanced Grammar 2 (Level 6+)

Those who have completed Advanced Grammar 1 will have the opportunity to give presentations throughout this course. They will continue to master complex English grammar concepts.

TOEFL Preparation Course

This course is designed for advanced ESL students who are preparing to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), a standardized exam that is commonly required in order to study at American universities. The course is taught using official ETS test preparation materials, and classroom dynamics will include lecture, occasional TOEFL-related media, sample questions and exercises, writing workshops, and a guided online practice test developed by the makers of the TOEFL. This course’s main objective is to prepare college-bound students to ace the TOEFL.