Welcome to English Core II-A, which to me is much clearer as simply "Speaking & Listening II" or something similar. This is an integrated-skills offering in which students will engage in and with the four basic skills of language acquisition. Using a series of topics from our textbook, we will explore various modes of expresssion, including oral presentations and debate. This course will focus on language useful in university contexts. This is a 15-week course offered by the Department of Science and Engineering during Spring, 2017.

The principal focus of this course is on enhancing English that students can and hopefully will use in university contexts. In addition to some reading, writing, and listening, this course will include many speaking opportunities, in which students are expected to actively engage.

Class material will be provided by the instructor and will also be available online. Students are encouraged to bring any electronic devices they feel might be helpful, including by not limited to e-dictionaries, smart phones, and personal computers.

 Week 1 (April 10, 2017) — Class introducation; e-mail basics 

Good day, everyone, and thank you for enrolling in this course. We will endeavor, as you certainly know, to expand your knowledge of skills necessary to function in English both in your university context(s) and in the wider world.

Obviously, one important facet of functioning in any language is sufficient vocabulary knowledge. In our class you will encounter some new lexis (i.e., vocabulary), and I expect you to make a concerted, systematic effort to acquire those new words and phrases. More specifically, I expect you to create an online vocabulary page using Google Drive; all students are required to do so, and you will add at least five new words or phrases each and every week.

One important step is for me to invite everyone to our shared Google document. To do so, you will need to send me a polite e-mail and ask me to invite you; this, of course, means your first step is to create such an e-mail.


 Week 2 (April 17, 2017) — Treasures from the Past, Part 1 

Today we will begin with time for taking care of any problems with our class Word Bank. In addition, I will explain the AWL column and the synonym column, both of which you have certainly been wondering about.

Today we will begin our unit about treasures of the past, which we will understand to mean artifacts (or artefacts if you prefer the latter spelling). In your textbook you'll find this unit on pages 41-67.


  • ✓ Fill out this artifact worksheet, but remember you will NOT hand this in next week.
  • ✓ Spend 10 minutes or so becoming familiar with Unit 3 in our textbook (pp. 41ff).

 Week 3 (April 24, 2017) — Treasures from the Past, Part 2 

Text here ...

 Week 6 (May 15, 2017) — Treasures from the Past, Finale 

Today, Gentle Students, we will finish our examination of things past.

 Homework & Class Material: 

  • ✓ HW: Write a one-page report about something in this unit. This could be a topic, a word, a person, or even a related topic. Your report will be handed in by our next class (again, either by e-mail or in person would be fine).
  • ✓ Here we have a sample paper on Cleopatra in which you can see the style that I require for any and all academic reports.
  • ✓ A TED Talk by Colleen Leth on "Why Museums Matter"

 Week 7 (May 22, 2017) — Space, Part 1 

As you'll recall from my introduction a couple weeks ago, I have a BS in physics and a lifelong interest in science. Why? Well, Good People, the answer lies in the Apollo Project, which is ancient history for many but a most important part of my childhood. My interest in science began there, and it has not abated. The image to the right, you ask? That is the lunar lander, the Eagle, on the surface of the moon in 1972. (No, I don't accept the various conspiracy theories about the moon landings. You could try to convince me, however!)

In our text this unit is pages 121-140.

Consider visiting the website of the Dark Skies Initiative, which is an effort by the McDonald Boservatory to promote awareness of light pollution and simple solutions thereto. Here you'll find an interesting video about preserving dark skies, which is somewhat difficult to envision while living here in the Kanto area.


  • ✔ With your group, prepare for next week's discussion about "dark skies" (pp. 138-139).
  • ✔ the Dark Skies webpage

Weeks #8-10 (June 12, 19, 26, 2017) —  Space, Part 2 

Today we will devote the first half of class to our textbook, but in the second half we will be discussing the pros and cons of this dark sky issue (see page 139 in our textbook).

Another facet of our class is perhaps less exciting yet nonetheless important. I require so-called reaction reports about some of our classes. I will ask for only a few of these, and the reaction report for next week is the first.

Please note that you will use the same format as you did for the earlier report. Thus, your report will include a title page plus the body of your report, which means you will have at least two pages.

Class Material & Homework:

 Week 11 (July 3, 2017) — Food, Part 1 

In this class we will venture into the world of food, which is of crucial importance to us all. Of course, we here in Japan have access to a variety and quality of food that was unimaginable some scant 100 years ago, but I fear that we often take this for granted. Let us consider where our food originates, some challenges we face, and possible solutions to those challenges.

Let's begin with a look at farming in California and, more specifically, at farming associated with UC Davis. As you'll see in the video, farming is a vital cog in society in myriad ways.

OK, here is a look back at agriculture in history. The narration is perhaps less than exciting, but the images and information are well worth your time.

In the video to the right we have a look at the cycle of food as it moves from farm to table. This is courtesy of our friends at National Geographic.

Text coming here, and the question of whether it will have meaning or make any sense whatsoever is still very much an open question. Again, the question of whether it will have meaning or make any sense whatsoever is still very much an open question. From Farm to Table

 Class Material & Homework: 

  • ✓  ...
  • ✓  ...

 Week 12 (Saturday, July 22, 2017) — Food, Part 2 

Good afternoon, everyone. Today we will glance at a couple of food-related topics. The first is the wonderfully-named Slow Food movement, which began in Italy and has spread around the world. The second is the organic food movement, which has spread at a somewhat slower rate because of the various hurdles that have had to be overcome.

{Quick Quiz: What is this title based on?} Today we'll be on one of mankind's favorite topics, which is naturally food. Glorious food. As you'll know from today's presentation, Slow Food is much more than those two simple words. Indeed, it is an entire movement, the webpage of which is located here..

Of course, life is better with a bit of intellectual stimulation, so let's take a look at another TED Talk. This one is courtesy of Josh Viertel at TEDxManhattan. As you'll notice, he posed a question to a certain gentleman you may have seen a time or two.

{Quick Quiz: What is this title based on?} I speak here, of course, of the ongoing challenge of feeding all seven billion of us - quite a task. In the clip to the right, you'll hear Bill Pritchard speak about the reality of food aid and how it is not at all a simple problem with a correspondingly simple solution.

You would do well to be familiar with some of the major organizations that work to address this problem. Even a cursory search will turn up quite a few, many of which have a religious afiliation of some nature. Among them you will find such groups as

When I was in college some hundred years ago, it became something of a common occurrence to hold a charity event (often a concert) and request that audience members provide a donation of food. Although it antedated you by a few years, you likely are familiar with "We Are The World" from 1985.

You might also devote a bit of time to what is known as donor fatigue, which occurs when donors (or potential donors are repeatedly inundated by requests for donations.

We will ...

 Week 13 (July 24, 2017) — Course Summary & Final Evaluation 

Yes, the time is at hand for that dreaded event, your final exam. Not to fear, however, for your good attendance and excellent study habits mean that you will all do fine on this/these. I will explain in class exactly what you need to do to finish our English II-A course.


Note that it is your responsibility to be familiar with the items below. Not having read them is NOT an excuse.

 Grading Criteria: 

  • ✓ Classroom (40%): quizzes, homework, reaction reports, effort, etc.
  • ✓ Exams (40%): written exam, paired oral assessment
  • ✓ TOEIC (10%)
  • ✓ e-learning (10%)

 General Requirements: 

  • ✓ Regular attendance
  • ✓ Assignments on time
  • ✓ Active participation in classroom activities
  • ✓ Two consultations
  • ✓ Peer-response group work


  • ✓ Homework should be submitted on time. For each session that homework is late, 10% will be deducted from the grade (i.e., one class late = 10% deduction, two classes late = 20% deduction, and so forth.
  • ✓ Homework should be completed on time and conscientiously. I expect you to spend at least 30 minutes on homework for each class.


  • ✓ Four or more absences = no grade for this course
  • ✓ Two times late = one absence
  • ✓ Active participation in classroom activities
  • ✓ Unexcused absences: 1 time = OK; 2 times = -5 points; 3 times = -10 points; 4 times or more = fail course
  • ✓ Playing with your cell phone in class = absence
  • ✓ Sleeping in class = absence
  • ✓ Arriving after class begins = late (of course)
  • ✓ Arriving more than 20 minutes late = absence
  • ✓ Train delays, etc. = no problem :-)

URL: www.jimelwood.net/students/aogaku/english2A/english2A.html

The logo was created on Cool Text.

Date last updated: July 25, 2017 * Copyright 2017 by JE