There are a lot of questions about NELP, but perhaps the question I get most often is "How difficult is the NELP program?"
This is a difficult question to answer because the REAL answer to this question is "How difficult do you WANT it to be?"
You see, the teacher doesn't decide the difficulty of the NELP program.
In NELP, we have a wide difference in levels for each student. Each student has different strengths. I have students who are good at speaking, listening, reading, and writing. I have students who know a lot of words, and I have students who are very good at using the words they know. I have students who have great accuracy in their language production, and I have students who have great fluency in their language production. It's very rare, though, to find a student who is strong in ALL these areas.
Each of my students faces challenges in different areas of their language development.
So I designed the NELP program for a wide range of levels in different areas of language reception and production.
The curriculum is based on a sliding scale. The low end of the scale is very easy, very basic, very concrete. As you move higher up the difficulty scale, the work becomes more challenging and more abstract.
I designed this program to serve the needs of intermediate students while still challenging the levels of very high-level language learners.
I did this by designing into the program different levels of tasks.
In our discussions, we have discussion questions ... but I don't require that students be able to answer EVERY questions.
In our class presentations and small group presentations, students can choose the easy topic, the intermediate topic or the advanced topic.
In our library reading, students can read as much as they want, and we have a wide range of library books that will suit all levels of students in our school.
In addition to the vocabulary required for the vocabulary quizzes, students have other vocabulary they can study, if they want to.
If that vocabulary is too easy, we have option Language Development vocabulary exercises which can help students prepare for the Eiken 2nd Grade, Pre-1st Grade and 1st Grade STEP tests.
In addition to the grammar exercises we do in class, first graders and second graders have access to Self-Access grammar sheets for further study.
Junior high school NELP students are welcome to join the high school NELP 8th period classes on Fridays. These include an oral communication conversation class, a presentation and debate class, and my own test preparation class. In my test preparation class, we prepare students for the Eiken Pre-1st and 1st grade STEP tests, the TOEIC test, the TOEFL test and the Center Test.
In our homework exercises for 4 new words, the students choose the new vocabulary words that they want to learn. How much time they devote to learning those words is completely up to the student. It can be used to introduce new words, or students can actively study those words.
In our homework exercises for 10 sentences, students may choose the words from the reading vocabulary that they want to use. The difficulty of the sentences is completely at the discretion of the students. I accept easy sentences, but students who want a bigger challenge are encouraged to try more difficult or complex sentences.
In our class presentations, students have a minimum speaking time. If the student does 80% of the time, they get full credit. However, students who would like a bigger challenge are encouraged to do MORE, prepare more, make slide presentations, make posters, be more expressive, etc. They can try not to use notes, for example, to make the exercise more challenging.
If the class is too difficult, I have English Open Room 3 days a week, and students are encouraged to come and study with me. They can prepare for speaking activities, study for tests with me, ask questions about the reading, and do homework with me.
I tell some of my students to come after school. But ultimately, it is the responsibility of the student to come.
The NELP program really isn't so difficult. Challenging? Yes. Does it make you think? Absolutely! Is it super-difficult? Not really. The basic NELP program isn't really all that hard. But everything in the NELP program can be very easily scaled by the student to challenge even the highest level student.
No, the NELP program isn't "for everybody." But it does accomodate a wide variety of levels and strengths.