The aim of this course is to supply advanced undergraduate students with the "tool set" they need for using English in spoken situations, particularly in discussions/debates, interviews, and presentations (e.g., lectures and academic conferences). Every attempt will be made to accommodate students' needs and desires in terms of subject matter and format, with individual consultation given.
Students will read about and discuss topical scientific and technological issues across a wide range, reflecting their differing backgrounds and areas of specialty. Opportunities will be given for presentations at regular intervals. Written essays on the topics discussed will also be assigned to urge students to focus their ideas. Possible topics for discussion include science education, robots, evolution and DNA engineering, new synthetic materials, energy development, and the history of science.
Materials will be drawn from the Internet, newspapers and magazines, and television news and documentaries. There will be no one “set” textbook.
Grades will be based on (1) class participation, (2) performance in presentations, debates, and interviews, and (3) essays. Excessive absence (4x or more) will result in no credit, unless other arrangements are made in advance..
The most important way to improve one’s English ability is to take an active approach, while being exposed to as much material as possible and absorbing it. I hope and expect that the students in my class will participate actively and eagerly, interacting with the other classmates with the same attitude.