The Callan method has 12 levels, from “beginner” to “advanced”. In this table you will see what you will learn in each level of the method, as well as the comparison of each level with the levels of the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).
Comparative table of levels
- Standard Level: Beginner
Students begin to learn the English language from the most basic sentences. Teachers begin by practising basic Anglo-Saxon sentence structure, including interrogative inversion, the most common contractions and inclusion of subject pronouns. The copula («to be») and the normal verb «to have» are first presented to the students and practised. Vocabulary includes numbers, letters, most frequently used prepositions, nationalities, possessive adjectives and object pronouns.
Result. Students learn how introduce themselves to new people and describe everyday things in their immediate environment.
- Standard Level: Elementary
Students are introduced to more than one verbal tense for the first time, learning to distinguish between the Present Simple “I do” and the Present Continuous “I am doing”. They are also introduced to the common quantifiers “many”, “much”, “few”, “little” and “a lot of; their comparative forms “more than”, “fewer than” and “less than”; and the superlatives “the most”, “the fewest” and “the least”. Teachers explain and demonstrate which are used with countable, and which with uncountable nouns. Students also learn and practise several indefinite pronouns such as “somebody”, “anybody”, “nobody”, “something”, “anything” etc. They also learn the days of the week, family members and how to tell the time.
Result. Students learn how to distinguish between actions that are happening now and repeated or habitual actions. They also learn how to express possession and quantity.
- Standard Level: Pre-Intermediate 1
Students are introduced to more 1-syllable and 3-syllable adjectives in their comparative and superlative forms, learning and practising the rule that governs their use. They also learn the comparative of equality, adverbs of frequency such as ‘sometimes’ and ‘never’, the Past Tense of regular verbs in the positive, negative and interrogative forms and the Past Tense of the verb «to be». They also learn the months of the year, further important prepositions (such as «above», «below», «beside», «along»), and the difference between «over» and «on». This is where the student gains confidence and agility with all present verb forms, before extensive practice with the Past Simple, Future and other tenses in the following stage.
Result. Students learn how to describe different qualities and communicate the manner in which actions are performed. They also learn how to refer to actions in the past.
- Standard Level: Pre-Intermediate 2
Students learn and practise the Past Tense of the most common irregular verbs (such as «speak», «leave», «come» and «go») and the most frequent uses of the verb «to get» in both the Present Simple and the Past Simple. They are introduced to the adverb «away» and the verbal construction «to be worth». The Future Tense is introduced and practised, along with its contractions. Students also learn the difference in use between «shall» and «will» in interrogative sentences. The use of contractions with both nouns and pronouns and the concept of euphony with regard to contractions is explained. The different forms of «to have» are taught. The meaning and construction of «succeed in doing something» and «fail to do something» are introduced. The difference between «must not» and «do not have to» is explained. Students learn how to form nouns from verbs using the «-er» suffix (e.g. work — worker) and about the paradigms of regular and irregular verbs. The three uses of the Present Perfect, and the difference between the Present Perfect and the Past Simple are introduced. Students learn the pronoun «one» and other ways to refer to the concept of «people in general». The Future Intention is taught and the difference between «He has been» and «He has gone». Students learn how to use the word «whether» and the word «just» to refer to an action we have just completed. Finally, students learn and practise how to construct and interpret 1st and 2nd Conditional Sentences.
Result. Students learn how to talk about the future, and actions that have happened up to now. They also learn how to communicate intentions, possibilities and suppositions.
- Standard Level: Intermediate 1
Students learn the use of the modal verb «should», the difference between «still» and «yet» and that between «for» and «since». They also learn the use of the word «could» as the Past and Conditional Tense of «can/to be able» and the two forms of the verb «to be» in 2nd Conditional sentences. The contractions of the Conditional Tense are introduced. Students learn the construction «make somebody do» and another contraction of the verb «to be». The Past Continuous Tense is introduced and practised. Students learn how to use the Passive Voice with all the past, present and future verb forms they are acquainted with so far. They also learn the use and significance of Reflexive Pronouns. The expression «I would say» is introduced. Common Phrasal Verbs with the adverb «back» are introduced and practised, along with the appropriate sentence structure. The Past Perfect is introduced and contrasted with the Past Simple. The Future Continuous is explained and practised. The meaning and use of the verbs «let» and «allow» are also introduced. Students learn how to construct and interpret the use of 3rd Conditional Sentences to refer to unreal or imaginary situations in the past.
Result. Students learn how to talk about actions that were happening at a specific point in the past, and actions that were affecting the subject as opposed to the object. They learn how to talk about a sequence of events in the past. They also learn how to communicate past suppositions.
- Standard Level: Intermediate 2
Students learn the difference between «will» and «to be going to» when referring to events in the future. They are introduced to the emphatic use of the verb «to do» in positive sentences to deny something someone has said. Students also learn the five most common uses of the common adjective «fair» and the difference between the prepositions «in» and «within» as regards time phrases. The Future Perfect Tense, referring to time before and up to a specific point in the future, is introduced. Students also learn to use Short Answers with auxiliary verbs and the two ways to relate what someone has said: Direct and Indirect/Reported Speech. The Indefinite Pronouns «whatever», «whoever», «whenever» etc are introduced and practised. Students learn how to use and recognize verbs formed from one-syllable adjectives by adding the suffix «-en» and the modal verb «ought» as an alternative to «should». Four different ways to make a suggestion are introduced, as is the formation of the positive and negative imperative forms. Students learn the prefix «over-» applied to verbs, such as «overwork». Teachers introduce the Perfect Continuous Tenses to refer to the duration of actions. Students learn how to use Tail Questions and the difference in use between the verbs «to say» and «to tell». Modal Auxiliary Verbs and the time phrase «by the time» are also introduced.
Result. Students learn to report what others tell them. They learn how to communicate the causes of events, in addition to expressing the duration of actions in the past, present, and future.
- Standard Level: Upper-Intermediate 1
Students learn the Pronunciation of «-ed» in the Past Tense of Regular Verbs (e.g. «needed» vs. «asked»); the Present Continuous for the Future (e.g. » I am coming to school tomorrow»); Possessive Case for Domiciles (e.g. «I’m going to John’s»); Main Clauses and Dependent Clauses (e.g. «If I don’t sleep enough, I feel tired») ; Verb + Object + Adjective (e.g. «Milk will make you strong»); Relative Clauses (e.g. «I have a cat which is black»); the Preparatory «It» (e.g. «It is very difficult to understand what he says.»); Adverbs of Frequency (e.g. «I will always buy shoes from El Corte Ingles / I always buy shoes from El Corte Ingles»); Indirect Speech with Questions, Imperatives and Requests; Time Clauses and Conditional Clauses; Emphasizing Pronouns (e.g. «He wrote the story himself»); Defining and Non-defining Relative Clauses; many handy structures (e.g. «used to» — «I used to go to the cinema every Saturday when I was a child») and some frequently-used idioms (e.g. «I couldn’t care less»).
Result. Students learn how to use many common phrases, phrasal verbs, and idioms. By this point they have learnt to understand a native speaking normally about a familiar subject and are able to maintain an extended conversation.
- Standard Level: Upper-Intermediate 2
Students learn Plural of Nouns Ending in «F» or «FE»; Present Simple for the Future (e.g. «The film starts at 10 p.m.»); Relative Clauses with «What», «Whom» and «Whose»; Transitive and Intransitive Verbs; Words Not Used in the Plural (e.g. «advice»); Using Nouns in the General Sense (e.g. «People go to cinemas to watch films»); Definite and Indefinite Articles; Use of the Indefinite Articles «a» and «an»; «To Be» + Infinitive with «to» (e.g. «The President is to meet the Queen.»); «Could» as the Past of «can»; «Should» and «Ought To» for the Past and Future (e.g. «I should have done my homework last night» / «She ought to tell him about the mistake next week»); Making Requests; «Need» as a Modal Verb (e.g. «Need he come to work next Saturday?»); the Difference between «used to» and «be/get used to»; «So» and its Many Uses; Future Time Clauses (e.g. «When I eat dinner, I will watch TV»); many handy structures (e.g. «due to» — «The concert was cancelled due to heavy rain.») and some frequently-used idioms (e.g. «hit the nail right on the head»).
Result. Students learn how to use more idioms accurately, and be able to express much more complicated concepts and experiences. They also learn how to express more subtle ideas about necessity and ability. The student can talk with a colleague, and can understand texts on well-known subjects.
- Standard Level: Higher 1
Students learn Comparatives and Superlatives of Adjectives, Participles and Adverbs; Using Nouns as Adjectives (e.g. «train station»); Verb + Infinitive or Gerund; Compound Adjectives Formed from Adverbs or Adjectives and Participles (e.g. «beautifully-designed» / «slow-moving»); Compound Adjectives Formed by Putting an Adjective together with a Noun that has the Letters «ed» after it («blue-eyed»); Doubling Consonants (e.g. «big — bigger»); Unfinished Sentences Ending with «to» (e.g. «She didn’t do it, but she wanted to»); «The» + Adjective = Noun (e.g. «the young»); Uses of the Verb «To Wish»; Giving and Asking for Opinions; Changing the Letter «Y» to «I» (e.g. «tidy — tidiness»); Present Perfect Continuous with Evidence of Recent Activity (e.g. «Look at Lucy’s eyes: I think she has been crying.»); Was + Infinitive with «to» (e.g. «I did not know when I met her that she was to bring about our destruction»); Questions without the Question Form (e.g. «What does a sheep give us?»); «The» + Comparative …, «the» + Comparative … (e.g. «the sooner we get the job finished, the better»); The Suffix «-ish» (e.g. «He’s not very tall, but he’s tallish compared with his brothers»); «Some» in Questions; Double Contractions (e.g. «I’d’ve done it»); Two Meanings of «Quite»; Strong and Weak Pronunciation Forms (e.g. «can» / «cun»); Uses of the Passive Voice (e.g. «My car has been stolen!»); The Many Uses of the Word «By» (e.g. «The traffic passed by my house» / «Mr Williams lives by himself»); The Possessive Apostrophe (e.g. «Mr Johnson’s tie» / «The door of the house»); many handy structures (e.g. «at all» — «Although I’ve worked hard all day, I don’t feel tired at all.») and some frequently-used idioms (e.g. «get you down»).
Result. Students learn how to use a much wider variety of natural collocations correctly. They also learn to understand and use increasingly complex language and ideas. Students can now survive in a professional context abroad, able to communicate ideas and opinions and to understand a group of different speakers.
- Standard Level: Higher 2
Students learn The Use of Modal Auxiliaries for Probability (e.g. «I may buy some new clothes next weekend»); «Will» and «Would» for Habits (e.g. «Sarah loves books, and will often spend the whole weekend reading»); Further Uses of the Word «By» (e.g. «They were walking by the river» / We cooked the meat by roasting it»); Adjective + Infinitive with «To» (e.g. «She was sad to say goodbye to her friends»); Noun (Or Pronoun) + Infinitive with «To» (e.g. «I have a lot of work to do»); The Expression «It’s Time» (e.g. «It’s nine o’clock; it’s time for the children to go to bed»); Common Uses of the Gerund (e.g. «Jogging keeps me fit»); «Any» and «Some» with Singular Countable Nouns (e.g. «Take any biscuit you like» / «Some man came to see you this morning»); Big and Small Differences with Comparatives (e.g. «John is far taller than David»); Mixed Conditionals (e.g. «If I had gone to bed earlier yesterday, I would feel better now»); The Expression «It is _______ since» (e.g. «It’s six months since she gave up smoking»); Communicating General Beliefs and Opinions (e.g. «It is known that dogs are clever»); and many handy structures (e.g. «make the most of» — «If you go to London to learn English, you should make the most of your time there by speaking the language as often as possible.»).
Result. Students learn to use well-known language in much more precise forms. They also learn to describe different levels of probability, and more nuanced combinations of causes and possible consequences. Students now know how to make telephone calls, translate documents and write letters.
- Standard Level: Advanced 1
Students learn General Advice for Writing; Inversions After Negative or Limiting Adverbials (e.g. «Never have I met such a rude man»); Common Prefixes (e.g. «unprofessional» / «unplug»); Writing an Informal Letter or Email; Writing a Cover Letter; Common Verb Suffixes (e.g. «identify» / «notify»); Writing a Report; Phrasal Verbs (e.g. «When an event I’ve been looking forward to is called off, I feel disappointed» / «I have never got along with my sister-in-law); and many handy structures (e.g. «on a … basis» — «Most magazines produce new issues on a monthly basis.»). Students also improve their English with Word Pools and Exercises.
Result. Students learn to express themselves clearly and understand high-level and subtle language, both spoken and written. Students can now understand language in any context and take part in group discussions. They can participate in meetings and make oral presentations.
- Standard Level: Advanced 2
Students learn the Use of The Definite Article with Comparatives (e.g. «I have two bedrooms in my flat. The smaller of the two is used as a storeroom.»); Common Phrases without the Definite Article (e.g. «in prison» / «at church«); Common Noun Suffixes (e.g. «citizenship» / «parenthood«); Writing an Essay; Writing an Article; The Use of the Structures «Not Nearly», «Nowhere Near» and «Nothing Like» (e.g. «My town is not nearly as big as London»); Reduced Relative Clauses (e.g. «The girl wearing the yellow hat is my sister»); Common Adjective Suffixes (e.g. «faulty» / «risky«); Writing a Review; Phrasal Verbs (e.g. «A policeman might decide to give up chasing a criminal in the street if the criminal was running too fast to catch» / «Some children find it hard to join in with others in the playground); and many handy structures (e.g. «in the event of» — «In the event of a military attack.»). Students also improve their English with Word Pools and Exercises.
Result. Students learn to use and understand complicated and colloquial registers. By this stage, students will find themselves expressing themselves with ease at the same level as a native English speaker. Students now know how to take notes and compile reports. Can work abroad effectively.
Students learn how to Write A Business Letter Or Email; Present Data In Graphic Form; Write an Informal Letter or Email; and Write a Cover Letter. In the vicinity of 700 items of lexis, including expressions and collocations, are introduced. Avoiding voguish buzzwords, Callan for Business focusses on the English structures and vocabulary students will actually encounter and require in various related business fields.
Result. Students can adapt themselves to English-speaking workplaces. They can now understand vocabulary in business contexts and take part in financial and commercial discourse. They can participate in business meetings and make sector-related presentations.
- Standard Level: Upper-Advanced 1
Students study English idiomatic language in detail, with focus on the structure of sentences in which the language will be used and contrasts between different idioms with a similar or related use. Students learn idioms such as: to go off (e.g. «This milk smells like it has gone off» / «My alarm clock went off an hour earlier than it was supposed to this morning»); to come/go over (e.g. «Would you like to come over tomorrow, as you’ve got the day off?» / «I don’t know what came over me»); to turn up (e.g. «What’s the point of turning up the radio? – you’re not listening to it anyway » / «I’m sorry I didn’t turn up yesterday but I had to go over to my brother’s»); to go on («Please go on with what you were saying» / «Unfortunately, he was reluctant to tell us what was going on»); to work out («You’d better work out exactly how much you are overdrawn by» / «They went out together for a while, but unfortunately it didn’t work out»); to turn out («I thought that going into business with them would be wonderful but it turned out to be a dreadful idea» / «Her publishing company turns out up to a thousand books a week») and to put off («The match has been put off until next Thursday because of the appalling weather» / «I wish they’d turn their music down; it’s putting me off my work»).
Result. Students expand use and command of complicated and colloquial registers. By this stage, students will find themselves expressing themselves with ease at the same level as a native English speaker. Students now know how to take notes, and write in-depth reports and summaries. Can work abroad effectively.
- Standard Level: Upper-Advanced 2
Students study English idiomatic language in detail, with focus on the structure of sentences in which the language will be used and contrasts between different idioms with a similar or related use. Students learn idioms such as: to make out («I can’t make out why he keeps putting off the wedding» / «He makes out that he’s poor but actually he’s quite well-off»); to make up («Don’t try it on with me! I know you’re just making it up!» / «Last night they were having a terrible go at each other, but I gather that they’ve made up this morning»); to pick up («I’ll be round to pick you up at 9 o’clock» / «When I was over in China last year, I managed to pick up a little Cantonese»); to get over («There’s nothing that can make up for the loss of her husband – she’ll never get over his death» / «We got over the problem of sacking him by encouraging him to give in his notice instead»); to take up («I’d like to take up swimming when the children break up» / «He has applied to take up residence in Switzerland, but they are bound to turn him down»); odd («I don’t know why we took on such an odd character» / «The row of houses on this side of the road have all got odd numbers»); to come up («I’m off to lunch. If anything comes up, you can call me on my mobile phone» / «Did anything interesting come up at the meeting this morning?»); to mess around/about («I fancy spending this weekend just messing about at home» / «Please stop messing around with my camera; I know how clumsy you are»); to get off («It’s a good thing we’re getting off at the next stop ― I could murder a cold drink» / «Can you have a go at getting this lid off? It’s impossible!»); to go through («They went through an awful time last year when the Home Office started to crack down on illegal immigrants» / «Even though I can get by in English, it takes me ages to go through a newspaper»); to see out/through («My business course is not what it’s cracked up to be but, as there is only one month to go, I may as well see it out/through» / «You can try to talk them into doing it your dishonest way, but they are bound to see through it in the end»); and to get through («Yesterday, I made up my mind to call John but I couldn’t get through to him» / «I don’t know how I got through last week: I felt all the odds were against me»).
Result. Students can understand a wide range of demanding, longer English texts, and recognise implicit meaning. Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.
- Standard Level: Mastery 1
Students study English idiomatic language in detail, with focus on the structure of sentences in which the language will be used and contrasts between different idioms with a similar or related use. Students learn idioms such as: to wind up («It must be quite a while since we last wound the clock up» / «As we’ve got through practically everything we intended to discuss, we might as well wind up the meeting») and to turn on («I nearly hit the roof when you turned on the light last night: didn’t you know the children were asleep?» / «It was appallingly ruthless of the Army to turn on its own people»); to put down («I didn’t mean to put you down the other day: it was just the way it came over» / «If you put down what I’ve just said, you won’t have to go over it again tomorrow»); to come off («No wonder the door handle came off – you kept messing around with it» / «Don’t take it for granted that the scheme will come off – we’ll have to talk many people into going along with it»); to get round («We’ll have to start from scratch, unless you find a way of getting round the problem» / «News soon got round that the Prime Minister had fallen out with the rest of the cabinet»); to put on («I can’t get over how much weight she has put on since her marriage broke up» / «Can you put that Brazilian song on again? I’ve really taken to Samba») and to get at («I’m not trying to get at you in particular; what I’ve said goes for all those who were involved» / «I don’t know what you’re getting at, but I’d prefer you to be blunt and tell me what you really mean.»)
Result. Students can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.
- Standard Level: Mastery 2
Students study English idiomatic language in detail, with focus on the structure of sentences in which the language will be used and contrasts between different idioms with a similar or related use. Students learn idioms such as: to lay out («If you lay everything out on the table, it will be easier to sort out which papers are worth keeping» / «The garden is clearly laid out in my mind»); to come through («We had to put up with a lot of hardships during our time in the Army but we all came through it in the end» / «What came through most of all was his reluctance to come to terms with the truth»); to go round («I don’t really go around with my college friends any more. We’ve drifted apart in recent years» / «The stories that went round about these two were a real eye-opener»); to get going («Let’s get this meeting going before we wind up having to spend the night here» / «It’s so easy to get your brother going; I never knew he was so touchy»); to draw out («If you run short of ideas you can always draw out the seminar by bogging the audience down with some statistics» / «It doesn’t matter how much they try it on, they’ll never draw a word out of her»); to draw in («Don’t draw me into your rows!» / «As the train drew into the station I tried to wipe out the memory of the last time she turned up out of the blue») and to write off («I can’t get over how we managed to break even, considering how many debts we had to write off» / «At school he was written off as a borderline case. No one knew he had it in him to stand out as a brilliant politician»).
Result. Students can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources of English language, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation.
- Standard Level: Mastery 3
Students study English idiomatic language in detail, with focus on the structure of sentences in which the language will be used and contrasts between different idioms with a similar or related use. Students learn idioms such as: to head off («I must be heading off. I’ve got to go round to Peter’s this evening» / «The police were a bit slapdash in trying to head off the protesters»); to make a comeback («It was a foregone conclusion that he wouldn’t be able to make a comeback» / «I thought the Fiat Uno might have made a comeback but sales are dwindling»); to alienate («As time goes by the government are increasingly alienating the voters» / «He could never appreciate the hardships his parents went through in bringing him up»); pushover («She may be down to earth, but by no stretch of the imagination is she a pushover» / «He’s sulking because he thought his dad would be a pushover when it came to lending him his car; he turned out to be very mistaken»); to shift («The date of the meeting has shifted to Tuesday» / «This detergent will stand you in good stead for the future; it shifts stains without a fuss»); to build up («A massive backlog of claims has built up over the Christmas period» / «In the aftermath of the war, the press built him up to be a hero but in reality he was very adept at turning everything to his advantage») and jaded («I’m feeling jaded and in need of a rest»).
Result. Students can express themselves spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in the most complex situations. Students are capable of smoothly expressing themselves in written or oral form.
- Standard Level: Mastery 4
Students study English idiomatic language in detail, with focus on the structure of sentences in which the language will be used and contrasts between different idioms with a similar or related use. Students learn idioms such as: done and dusted («The deal is done and dusted at last. I’m so happy about that. It seemed we were just plodding on, getting nowhere»); in the wake of («There are many things that we cannot afford to overlook in the wake of the farce which went on in the boardroom last Friday»); to fob off («When he asked the minister if the law was likely to be implemented during this parliament, he was fobbed off with fake assurances»); to do oneself down («Don’t do yourself down all the time. You shouldn’t be so easily deterred from having high aspirations»); to rope someone in/into («He started attending discussion groups after work, and tried to rope me in; but I don’t fancy getting involved in all that palaver»); knee-jerk («It all sounds perfectly plausible to me at this early stage, but I don’t want to come out with some knee-jerk response that I will live to regret later on»); to set in («The cold weather has unfortunately taken its toll on the old people of the village. Winter is definitely setting in.»); to pull one’s weight («It certainly sparked debate when he accused some of the staff of not pulling their weight») and heads will/would roll («I think if they hadn’t clinched that agreement, heads would have begun to roll»).
Result. Students can articulate themselves spontaneously with facility and exactitude and also make finer subtleties of meaning distinct in more discursive contexts. Both students’ spoken and written English is almost equivalent to well-educated native level.
- Standard Level: Mastery 5
Students study English idiomatic language in detail, with focus on the structure of sentences in which the language will be used and contrasts between different idioms with a similar or related use. Students learn idioms such as: to pan out («I’m not sure how it’s all going to pan out. The problem you mention is just the tip of the iceberg. I suppose we should count our blessings and not get too worked up about it»); to fend for («I think the penny has finally dropped. His parents are feeling the pinch and at 27 years old he will have to fend for himself.»); entrenched («He is very set in his ways and his entrenched views on the role of women in society fly in the face of modern thinking»); watershed («I have been left somewhat bereft of hope. I had a hunch that the meeting was going to mark a watershed in our negotiations with the bank.» / «The BBC will tarnish its spotless reputation if it puts on this film before the watershed»); to milk it/this («He has never won Wimbledon before, so you can’t blame him for milking it»); to delve into («If you delve into his past, you will see that whenever he has been given free rein to work without restrictions, he has wreaked havoc.»); whitewash («Many commentators believe that the enquiry into the legality of the Iraq war was a whitewash, and that the former Prime Minister should bear the brunt of public outrage»); to mull over («I’ll mull over what you have suggested during the weekend, and I promise I will not duck any issues when I come back to you on Monday») and knock-on effect («Teachers often claim they are viliefied by parents and in the right-wing press, but what many of them don’t realise is that poor teaching has knock-on effects for children in their future lives»).
Result. Students can follow with ease nearly everything they read or hear. They are able to condense information from different oral and written discourse, recreating discussions and reports into a logical delivery.
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