About Us

about2SOL is a non-profit organisation and registered UK charity set up in 1991 by its current Director.

It is committed to:
Supporting teachers of English in their professional work, with a clear priority on teachers from eastern and central Europe.
Providing exceptional value and low cost English language and cultural experiences in Devon.
Providing outstanding culture, language and methodology courses for teachers of English.
Encouraging a greater mutual understanding between Eastern European countries and the UK.
Whilst SOL’s focus has been primarily on providing this support in Eastern & Central Europe, we welcome the opportunity to assist both teachers and learners of English from any other country. They will receive the same warm welcome.

about3What we do:

SOL offers students something not available in their own school or country – complete immersion in the language and culture. SOL is not a language school in the traditional sense. We offer no study courses and no SOL programme is longer than ten days, unless specially requested. What we offer is far more effective for students learning English in their own country. We develop confidence in USING the English language and, of course, improved confidence means better motivation and accelerated progress.

about1The focus of each programme are the visits and the time in the family. Without any regular classrooms and no desks and knowing that grammar is best taught over a long period by teachers back home, we do not try to replicate that. Each programme is suited to the various levels that the students have reached in their own countries. Bringing the passive knowledge of the language to life is a key aim. Observational skills are very important here and everything we do is something that the teachers back home cannot do. So, talking to local people, asking them questions, researching shops and local history, discussing food, understanding the importance of charity giving and volunteering in the UK, and recognising the importance of the Sea in moulding our history, and our everyday way of life are all strongly featured in each programme.

The following graphic represents the philosophy of a SOL programme and many of the topics which students can use as a basis for their research or conversations in English. These topics not only give them a true insight into British Culture but will engage them because of their interest.
SOL graphic2

A typical SOL day has three main elements:

Evenings and Sundays are spent with a local host family. Our families are all important in providing a ‘home’ for the stay. Time with a British family gives a real insight into British culture and also gives students the opportunity to practise their language skills in a relaxed and supportive environment. Sundays are always family days. Tasks are given to students to complete each evening with their host family. Food, Leisure, the home routines, pets, are all issues considered.

On each day we arrange a visit to a nearby place of interest. Being close to the Atlantic, this will often be to one of the beautiful locations on the coast, but there are many interesting towns and villages inland as well. Most excursions are for half a day with the other half being spent at the SOL Centre but a typical programme will include one or two whole day trips. Each visit will be with a guide who, through stories and information, provides the cultural background but, in addition, students will have observational and fieldwork tasks to complete at each location.

At the SOL Centre, our staff will discuss with the students their feedback from the families and the visits, as well as prepare them for future visits and to set future tasks for the evenings. They will prepare them for interviewing people and will also help their presentations. Fieldwork is an important aspect of the programmes with students doing their own research and interviews (usually in pairs) in order to discover more about their chosen topic. On the final day they prepare their presentation about what they have found to be given to the rest of the group. All sessions in the centre are highly interactive and may include local fieldwork, games, creative work and role play and will ensure that every student is using English for communication.

All our staff involved in the programmes are selected for their expertise, experience and ability to relate to students and establish the trust which is so important in developing the confidence to use English for real!