English Language Education

Social Speaking Skills

The aim of this course is to help improve your confidence and ability to communicate successfully with both UK home students and other international students in everyday social situations.

Although many international students hope to integrate socially with home students and international students from other countries, barriers such as a lack of understanding of UK cultural references, home students’ use of informal, idiomatic expressions and the wide range of accents you may encounter here at The University of Edinburgh, can sometimes make social interaction with home students and students from other countries challenging.

Course Details

Course Content

The course covers a range of communication strategies typically encountered when engaging in social communication. These will include:

  • managing informal group conversation
  • initiating and responding to conversations with new people
  • improving your understanding of different accents
  • improving your understanding of British colloquialisms and cultural references
  • communicating over the telephone
  • making complaints

Teaching Methods

The classes will consist of tutor input, pair work and small and whole group discussion tasks and role-plays. The teacher will provide feedback on grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary.

Class Size

There will be a maximum of 18 students in a class.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, you should:

  • have greater confidence in participating actively in informal group conversation
  • feel more able to instigate social conversation with new people in English
  • have gained an awareness of some of the different features of the wide range of UK regional and global English accents and considered how to accommodate your own accent to facilitate intercultural communication
  • be more aware of current informal expressions and cultural references commonly used by young people in the UK
  • be more confident in communicating over the telephone
  • be more confident in having to make complaints and deal with difficult social conversations

Timing and Location

Wednesdays from 7 February 14.10 - 16.00 (5 weeks)

Fridays from 9 February 14.10 - 16.00 (5 weeks)

Paterson’s Land, Holyrood Road


All undergraduates and taught master’s degree students currently studying at Edinburgh University. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.


Registration is now open for Semester 2 ELSIS Courses. The deadline for applications for this course is Friday 26 January 2018:

Apply now