This page is a course guide and teaching supplement for my students at Seijo University, Tokyo, Japan. It is not a part of the official website of the university, as it contains information related only to my classes.

About plans for teaching online during the corona virus pandemic

In April 2021 the corona virus pandemic is still forcing us to make changes in the way we teach courses. Students will be on campus again, but we will be following many precautions to avoid the spread of the virus. If the situation becomes serious again, we may go back to teaching online.

If we have to teach online, I will give students assignments to watch videos, read articles and write short reports about them. I might also ask students to make recordings of their own voices which can be sent to me as an audio file. I will communicate with students through this website, the university's WebClass system, and email. The important thing is that students should make an effort to keep in contact with the teacher, stay informed about assignments, and finish the assignments quickly. It is highly recommended that you use a computer to follow this course and complete homework assignments. When you are unable to use a computer, it will be possible to follow the course by using a smartphone, but a computer and typing skills are required.

You have to check three things regularly:

1. This website

2. WebClass and Campus Square

3. Your university email account ( Set up your university email account and check it every day.

Course Description

The purpose of this course is to offer students opportunities to practice presenting their ideas and interacting with English-speaking people both in oral and written forms in various academic settings. Students will practice listening and note-taking using short lectures on academic topics or other materials with abstract contents (documentaries, interviews, news reports) as source material. This activity aims to prepare students for study in an English-speaking college or university environment or for participation in international conferences. Through these exercises students should deepen their knowledge of the vocabulary and grammar necessary in academic settings. This practice will also help students make progress in the Listening and Speaking sections of TOEFL.

Course Goals 

Students can understand short and clearly structured lectures on academic topics or abstract contents and take good notes on them.

Students can get involved in interactions in academic settings.

Students can understand and use the basic vocabulary and grammar frequently used in academic settings.

Teaching Methods

Lessons will concentrate on comprehension of educational media (spoken, written, audio-visual), note-taking, creation of oral and written summaries and presentations (slideshows and other audio-visual materials), and oral and written analysis and commentary related to the materials studied. Students will develop the ability to comprehend short interviews and lectures, take notes on them, make written and oral summaries of them, and finally comment on them. Basic grammar and language skills will be reviewed as necessary. Authentic materials such as speeches and films will also be studied, with material selected according to the abilities of the students. Coursework assignments will be graded, and feedback will be provided collectively or individually. Feedback will be given through quiz and test results and comments from the teacher during classes.

If the corona virus (Sars-Cov-2) still presents too much of a danger at any time during the academic year, the teacher will conduct classes by Zoom sessions and by using some on-demand materials. If such a change is necessary, a revised syllabus will be given to students. Regardless of the general level of risk posed by the corona virus, there may be some students who have special health reasons for not wishing to attend classes on campus. Such students will be able to follow the course through independent study methods.

Course Schedule, First Semester, Spring 2021

1. Course Introduction. Story 1: How to tell a simple one-minute story or joke. "The Lawyer."
2. Story 1 continued: "The Lawyer." Introduction to sources for independent study to be used in monthly reports.
3. Video 1: Nature Photography. Grammar review: question formation.
4. Video 1: Listening quiz. Story 2: "The Dream that Came True."
5. Video 2: Describing weather. Grammar review: question formation.
6. Video 2: Listening quiz. Story 3: "The Lost Earring."
7. Video 3: Traditional medicine. Pronunciation: Terminology for talking about pronunciation--phoneme, syllable, vowel, semi-vowel, consonant.
8. Video 3: Listening quiz. Story 4: "The House by a Golf Course."
9. Video 4: Snorkeling in a coral reef. Pronunciation: identifying syllables, word stress, sentence stress, rhyming.
10. Video 4: Listening quiz. Story 5: "Message in a Bottle."
11. Video 5: Traditions in Sicily. Grammar review: Verb tense and verb aspect, review of irregular verbs.
12. Story 6: "The Longest Distance Commuter." Video 5: Listening quiz. Grammar review: Verb tense and verb aspect, review of irregular verbs.
13. Review lesson: Re-telling of Stories 1-6, focus on accuracy in grammar and pronunciation.
14. Review lesson: Videos, listening comprehension and vocabulary review.
15. Review lesson: Grammar review applied to storytelling skills. Students tell their own one-minute story of a personal experience.

Self-study outside of Course Hours (Assignments, Preparation and Review etc.)

At least one hour of preparation and review will be necessary before each class.

Assessment Criteria and Methods

quizzes and homework: 25%, monthly reports 25%, class participation 25%, final test 25%

A final report will be assigned if the final test is cancelled due to circumstances concerning the spread of the Sars-Cov-2 corona virus.  


No textbook required. 

Expectations for Enrolled Students

Students will have homework each week and frequent quizzes based on the videos studied in class. Listening skill is the most important skill to develop for first year students, so students will be encouraged and guided to find listening material for their own independent study. Each month students will have to write a short report on a resource of their own choosing (for example, a song, a video, a news article, a book, an English lesson).

Method to Contact the Lecturer

riches[at] or WebClass