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
Week #8 (June 5, 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. Here you'll find two examples, one of which was done as a Word document, and the second of which was done as a blog entry. In the latter case, the student simply sent me the blog URL.
- ✔ From ...
- ✔ HW: Write a one-page reaction report about this unit. As always, this may be handed in either by e-mail or in person.
Week 6 (May 15, 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.
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:
- ✓ Watch either of the two food videos and write a one-page reaction report. Of course, your reaction report should be in the proper format for an academic paper (hint, hint). Some debate links:
- ✓ A primer on Lincoln-Debate debate
- ✓ Some background on the Lincoln vs. Douglas debates
- ✓ Some debate cross-examination questions from the International Debate Education Association
- ✓ More cross-examination questions from Seth Brake
- ✓ A lengthy but informative blog post on the cross-examination element of debate
Week 7 (May 22, 2017) — Food, Part 2
Good afternoon, everyone. Today we will enjoy a series of debates on food-related topics.
We will ...
- ✓ Text here ...
- ✓ More here ...
Week 8 (May 29, 2017) — Midterm exam(s)
This week we will examine ...
Good People, your homework today is ...
- ✓ Begin considering your topic for the July 3 poster presentation, which will be a group poster and presentation.
- ✓ And even more here ...
Week 9 (June 5, 2017) — Housing, Part 1
We will devote some time today to looking at ...
Inasmuch as this ...
Week 10 (June 12, 2017) — Housing, Part 2
This afternoon I would like to spend ...
OK, having finished ...
- ✓ Living Standards (1997)
- ✓ Something here ...
Week 11 (June 19, 2017) — Poster Basics
Let's have a glance at some posters I've seen over the last year or so.
Courtesy of George Hess, here is a very useful video on giving an effective poster presentation.
More Poster Session Links
Oh, go on, we can't stop there, can we? Here we have more poster session links:
Even More Poster Session Links
Week 12 (June 26, 2017) — Communication, Part 1
This week we'll dive into Unit 10, Communication (pp. 151ff).
This afternoon ...
Week 13 (July 3, 2017) — Communication, Part 2
More here ...
This morning ...
Week 14 (July 10, 2017) — Poster Presentations
Being the astute folks you all are, you'll have realized that this week will be devoted to doing poster presentations.
Week 15 (July 17, 2017) — Final Evaluation (Exam?)
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.
Note that it is your responsibility to be familiar with the items below. Not having read them is NOT an excuse.
- ✓ Classroom (40%): quizzes, homework, reaction reports, effort, etc.
- ✓ Exams (40%): written exam, paired oral assessment
- ✓ TOEIC (10%)
- ✓ e-learning (10%)
- ✓ 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 :-)