Welcome to English 3A/4A, which is an integrated-skills offering in which students will engage in and with the four basic skills of language acquisition. Using the topics of food and university student life, 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 Economics during Spring, 2017, and the official syllabus is here for anyone having problems sleeping.

The principal focus of this course is on enhancing English that students can and hopefully will encounter on the TOEIC text and 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.

In addition to the textbook, class material will be provided by the instructor and will 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 11, 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 18, 2017) — Word Bank; University Student Unit 

Thank you for your e-mail, everyone, and also for adding vocabulary words to our class Word Bank. Remember that I expect you to add at least five new words or phrases each and every week.

Today we will begin our 3-week unit dealing with student life at jolly old Toyo U. Let's first embark on some brainstorming: what, exactly, comprises your student life? To help you out, here is a worksheet on university student life. You'll notice that I've included some questions about your parents and grandparents (if they in fact attended university). My own grandfather attended Purdue University in Indiana for one year in 1915, incidentally; that was quite unusual at the time.


 Week 3 (April 25, 2017) — E-devices; academic manuscript basics; Chapter 1 

Good day to you all. Today we will spend a large portion of our class using our textbook, which finally arrived (or has not). In the latter case, I will provide paper copies (which I seldom do, but this may well be an exception). At any rate, we'll be having much more of a "study" class than the last couple classes.

Let's begin with a worksheet on digital devices, a mainstay of our modern world.

As you'll recall from class, your homework over Golden Week is to choose one of the three options below (Shirky, Clay, or Riley) and write a short essay about it. In the essay I expect three parts: your reason for choosing that option, the author's main points, and your opinion or thoughts about the author's work. Of course, your essay needs to follow my computer paper guidelines. Please make sure your essay includes a title page as shown in this example about gas streetlights.

Option #1: Many people sing the praises of the Internet, claiming it makes us smarter, faster, more efficient, and so forth. Here is an article by Clay Shirky titled "Does the Internet make you smarter?"

Option #2: On the other side of the issue are those that maintain that the Internet is making us dumber. One prominent representative is Nicholas Carr, who asked, "Does the Internet make you dumber?"

Option #3: A small challenge for you, good people: how about giving up your cell phone and all of your other electronic devices for 90 days? One young man that did is Jake Reilly, featured in this interview and in the video below.

Click on the video to the right to watch Jake Reilly navigate through 90 days of existing with no cell phone (or Facebook or Twitter or email). Could you, Gentle Student, do that?

A somewhat longer and very thoughtful look at a man, Paul Miller, that removed himself from the Internet for an entire year. This page includes an interesting video documentary of his year - recommended.

A recent article that expands on thie "dumber" angle is titled Are e-books making us stupid? (McCormack, 2010), which looks closely at what might become of libraries as we move increasingly toward reading e-books instead of paper books.

One of the issues of late that has drawn considerable attention (Snowdon and the NSA, anyone?) is privacy on the Internet. It seems that in the current digitial world, one's cyber-self is difficult to erase.

 Homework & Class Material: 

 Week 4 (May 9, 2017) — Golden Week; Description 

 Week 5 (May 16, 2017) — Part-Time Jobs; Chapter 1 

As you all certainly know, being a student is (often) a very full-time job. However, for many reasons, some students choose to work part-time while attending school, and as of 2013 the number of students working part-time had increased.

An Irish speaker (perhaps), this young lady explains the benefits of having a part-time job while studying.

 Class Material: 

Your job this week is to look through these materials and use them to develop an informed opinion and position statement about this part-time work question. Of course, you may find and use additional material as well; such material may be in English, Japanese, or any other language.


  • ✔ Prepare a statement of at least one page that shows thoughtful consideration of the issue of part-time work by university students.

Week #6 (May 23, 2017) —  Domicile Choice; Debate Skills Introduction; Chapter 3 

This class will be devoted to a choice that you will all face when you decide where to live. I refer, of course, to the decision about whether to live in the city or in the countryside.

 Class Material 


  • ✔ Spend some time looking through the five debate links above.

Note: I will be on a business trip next week, so we will have no class on Tuesday, May 30.

 Week 7 (June 6, 2017) — Quiz; Debate Skills; Chapter 4 

Our class today has two parts, which you may cleverly have surmised. First, we will have a short quiz about material covered in class to this point. I can imagine you'll see a question or two about polite e-mail, about academic paper format, about our class Word Bank, and about the student life material we've covered in class.

Thereafter you will have time to prepare for next week's debate. Of course, I expect you to devote yourselves to this task and not just veg out :-)

 Week 8 (June 13, 2017) — Group Debate on University Student Topic 

Good afternoon, everyone. Today we will enjoy a series of debates ...

 Week 9 (June 20, 2017) — Food Unit; Presentation Basics  

This week we will ...

Good People, your homework today .

 Class Material: 

  • ✓ Something here ...
  • ✓ And more here ...

 Week 10 (June 27, 2017) — Slow Food 

{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.

 Week 11 (July 4, 2017) — Food Movements 

Welcome back, everyone, and I hope that 2017 is a happy, healthy, prosperous year for you and your family.

This afternoon I would like to spend the first part of our class covering

 Week 12 (July 11, 2017) — Food Aid 

{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.

 Week 13 (July 18, 2017) — Population and GM Food (Part 1) 

We ...

This ...

 Week 14 (July 25, 2017) — Final Presentations 

As you have no doubt surmised, in this class you will be making your presentation.

 General Requirements: 

  • ✔ Regular attendance
  • ✔ Assignments on time
  • ✔ Active participation in classroom activities
  • ✔ Concerted effort to speak English

 Grading Criteria:  Grades will be determined as follows:

  • ✔ Class participation 10%
  • ✔ Homework 15%
  • ✔ Group presentation 10%
  • ✔ Debates, town meeting 20%
  • ✔ Final paper 20%
  • ✔ Quizzes 10%
  • ✔ Vocabulary 15%


  • ✔ 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/toyo/toeicA/toeicA.html

The logo was created on Cool Text.

Date last updated: May 9, 2017 * Copyright 2017 by JE