SYLLABUS FOR 2019-20

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.

Content

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.

Objectives

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.

Procedure

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.

First semester

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: 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.

Second Semester

16. Video 6: Forest Fires in North America. Grammar review: Expressing regret.
17. Video 6: Listening quiz. Story 7: "The Dangers of Hitchhiking."
18. Video 7: Life in Mumbai, India. Grammar review: Modals verbs expressing necessity and permission.
19. Video 7 listening quiz. Story 8: "Prison Break."
20. Video 8: Chinese agriculture and Chinese food. Grammar review: Modal verbs expressing possibility.
21. Video 8: Listening quiz. Story 9: "The Kite that Flew a Child."
22. Video 9: Protecting rare animals in national parks.
23. Video 9: Listening quiz. Grammar review: Contrasting usage of passive voice and active voice. Story 10 "The Haunted House."
24. Video 10: Winter transportation in isolated locations.
Story 10: "The Haunted House."
25. Video 10: Listening quiz. Grammar review: Sentence structures used to express conditions and hypothetical ideas.
26. Review of pronunciation lessons done in the first semester: Terminology for talking about pronunciation--phoneme, syllable, vowel, semi-vowel, consonant.
27. Review of pronunciation lessons done in the first semester: identifying syllables, word stress, sentence stress, rhyming.
28. Review lesson: Assessment of listening skills with material never studied previously.
29. Review lesson: Re-telling of stories with focus on accuracy in pronunciation and grammar.
30. Review lesson: Grammar.

Approach, Activities

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

Evaluation

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

Suggestions

Attend all the classes and make efforts speak English in class. Stay on schedule with all the assignments. Work hard and do not find yourself in the repeaters' class in the next academic year. There are 30 classes per year. At the end of the course, any student who has been absent for more than 1/3 of the classes, for whatever reason, cannot get credit for this course. Note that this permitted number of absences gives a student a reasonable allowance for any absences due to illnesses, injuries, and emergencies. For example, if a student were absent 9 times for no good reason, then absent once because of a serious injury, then absent again to attend a funeral (good reasons, usually), he would fail to get credit for the course because 9+2=11, which is more than 1/3 of 30.