Course Descriptions

Semester Course Descriptions

INTRODUCTORY ACADEMIC READING / WRITING
Course Description: This introductory (high-beginning to low-intermediate) reading and writing course prepares students for the next level, intermediate to high intermediate and in some instances advanced reading and writing. This course focuses on improving students’ abilities in reading comprehension, building spelling and vocabulary skills, and writing well-formed simple, compound and complex sentences and well-organized paragraphs.  Attention is paid to reading skills such as identifying the main idea and supporting ideas, and using context clues for vocabulary. Emphasis is placed on the writing process, with students doing prewriting, peer-editing, and multiple drafts. Students move from writing well-formed simple and compound sentences to well-formed complex sentences and then to well-organized paragraphs with topic sentences, supporting details, and a conclusion. Readings are simplified and from a variety of texts such as media, fiction and academic selections that often, along with discussions, form the basis of student writing.

ACADEMIC READING / WRITING I (Intermediate)
Course Description: This course prepares students for advanced ESL level reading and writing.  They read a wide variety of academic texts of easy to medium reading difficulty.  Students practice reading skills such as pre-reading/surveying texts, adjusting their speed and reading style to different skimming an scanning requirements. They practice a variety of vocabulary skills such as using roots and affixes to understand the meaning of a word, using context clues to understand the approximate meaning of the word, and knowing when it is or is not necessary to look up a new word in the dictionary. They learn how to write simple, compound and complex sentences and incorporate them into short paragraphs and short essays.

This class builds on the reading and writing skills learned and practiced in Introductory Academic Reading and Writing, but practices them at a more advanced level.  There is also more attention, in this class, to following academic writing and typing style conventions, learning academic rules of punctuation, sentence joining, learning to include details in writing products.  Reading assignments are short and frequent, and become more complex.

 ACADEMIC READING / WRITING II (Advanced) 
Course Description: This course prepares students for college level reading and writing. Students practice reading more quickly, with greater comprehension, while adapting their reading style to different types of text. Reading and vocabulary go hand and hand, and vocabulary work focuses on words in context. Students increase their critical reading skills, using various textbooks, fiction, magazines, newspapers, and student writings and discuss and evaluate those materials. Time is spent developing academic skills such as writing summaries, taking essay exams and citing outside sources in writing. 

ACADEMIC READING / WRITING III (Advanced)
Course Description: This course prepares students for early-to-advanced college reading and writing. Students read a wide variety of types of texts, practicing skills such as pre-reading/surveying texts, adjusting speed and reading style to different genres and tasks, improving comprehension, and reviewing and retaining material. Students focus on critical reading skills, such as evaluating the reliability of published or Internet materials, and recognizing biases in written works. Students practice vocabulary skills such as using roots and affixes, and using context to understand a word and when it is necessary to consult a dictionary. Students learn to write longer academic papers in a variety of genres, including essays, reports, and papers incorporating research. The class builds on the reading and writing skills learned in Academic Reading and Writing I and II, but practices them at a more advanced level, with more attention to argument, logic, rhetoric, and writing in the disciplines. Essays are longer and more developed. Journals are longer. Reading assignments are longer, more frequent, and more complex.

INTRODUCTORY GRAMMAR
Course Description: Although students at this level have studied English grammar in their countries, their grasp of the grammar is still tenuous, and they lack facility in applying grammar in their writing and speaking.  Thus basic grammar will be reviewed in this class, and there will be emphasis on intensive reinforcement of and practice of the grammar in various contexts.  Instruction will aim to increase students’ confidence that they can use the grammar in real life situations as opposed to only knowing it as a school subject.

GRAMMAR I (Intermediate) 

Course Description: Students at this level are assumed to have covered and mostly mastered basic grammar, yet need a review of intermediate grammar and an introduction to advanced grammar. Grammar structures will be introduced and practiced in various ways, formal and informal, oral and written.  There will be consideration of functional aspects of grammar in the language, and of grammar in context, as well as of grammar’s connection with other language aspects (in particular, pronunciation, reading, writing).

GRAMMAR II (Advanced)
Course Description: The focus of this course is on students’ reviewing basic structures and acquiring more complex structures. The focus is on accuracy and fluency and meaningful use of structures in context. Practice is communicative and includes both oral and written work, designed to reinforce and perfect students’ grammar usage. Emphasis is also placed on meta-cognitive skills, skills needed to analyze and explain grammatical structures and usage.

GRAMMAR III (Advanced)
Course Description: This very advanced grammar course prepares students for college level work in their CORE and major classes. The focus is on accuracy and fluency and meaningful use of structures in context, in various types of discourse, both in speaking and writing. In addition to brief reviews of the structures taught in Grammar II, there is a special focus on complex sentences, on subordination, on gerunds and infinitives, and on active and passive voices. Emphasis is placed on grammar skills related to writing skills, such as coherence, transitions, and control of tense shifts. Emphasis is also placed on meta-cognitive skills, skills needed to analyze and explain grammatical structures and usage.

INTRODUCTORY ACADEMIC ORAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Course Description: This course focuses on basic oral communication skills in academic situations. Students are exposed to a variety of verbal content, functions and forms. Students practice basic listening and speaking activities common in university classes. These would include group work, discussions, lectures and informal presentations. A variety of authentic, but modified materials are used. Some classes may be held in the Language and Cultural Center classroom.

ACADEMIC ORAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS I (Intermediate)
Course Description: This course focuses on oral communication skills in academic situations.  Students explore a wide range of verbal content, functions, and forms.  Students practice listening and speaking activities common in university classes, including discussions, lectures and informal speeches, and group discussions and presentations.  A variety of types of authentic materials are used.  Some classes may be held in the Language and Cultural Center classroom. 

ACADEMIC ORAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS II (Advanced)
Course Description: This course focuses on oral communication skills needed in academic situations. Students explore a wide range of verbal content, functions and forms and participate in listening and speaking activities common in university classes, including discussions, academic lectures, formal and informal speeches, and group discussions and presentations. A variety of types of authentic material are used. The language lab is used for classes as well as homework assignments.

ACADEMIC ORAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS III (Advanced)

Course Description: This course shifts focus to performing a variety of five to ten minute speeches in academic and professional settings with emphasis on oral communication skills of clarity, information organization, and delivery using conventional American university-level vocabulary and gestures, in addition to accompanying speeches with appropriate supporting information and visual aids. Students should finish the semester feeling more confident performing a speech in front of a variety of audiences, and also as members of group presentations. Listening, pronunciation, behavioral and vocal techniques may be employed to accomplish a stronger, more dynamic, confident performance of public speaking.

PRONUNCIATION I
Course Description: This class helps students improve their English pronunciation. Students work on strategies to help correctly use American English stress, rhythm, and intonation. Students also study individual vowel and consonant sounds. Class activities include pronunciation drills, pair and group practice, and work in the language lab. Students are required to practice pronunciation outside of class by listening to native speakers and trying to use what they have learned in class. Students are also encouraged to watch movies and television, attend lectures, listen to American radio, and join the Conversation Partner Program.

PRONUNCIATION II
Course Description: This course will present students with an acute awareness of how vocal sound is produced, how the anatomy and breath support strong sound, and how the articulators can sharpen the pronunciation of English. Students will focus on both individual sounds and sentence stress. The International Phonetic Alphabet will become familiar through the use of exercises from Speak with Distinction by Edith Skinner. We will also begin with a brief overview of where sounds are placed in the mouth using information and charts from Teaching American English Pronunciation by Avery and Ehrlich (supplied). In addition to the academic aspect of sharper pronunciation, students will have the opportunity to perform multiple presentations, individually and in groups, to practice new sounds in conversational communication, and to build confidence through understanding and practice. The main text will be supplemented by students’ own writings, plus poetry, tongue twisters, and excerpts from a classic American play.

VOCABULARY AND IDIOMS I
Course Description: This course provides an introduction to academic vocabulary and idioms by exploring ways in which idioms are incorporated into daily speech and ways in which academic vocabulary is used in daily and academic situations.  The course provides intensive listening and speaking practice of idioms and vocabulary presented in the textbook and supplementary materials.  Attention is given to correct pronunciation of new vocabulary and idioms and the use of these new items in students’ speech.  Sentences and short written work using targeted lexical items are also stressed.

VOCABULARY AND IDIOMS II
Course Description: This course provides advanced academic vocabulary and idioms common in daily and academic situations.  The course integrates all four skills (listening, reading, speaking, and writing) in helping students increase their command of idiomatic English and academic vocabulary in a variety of disciplines.  Attention is given to correct pronunciation of new vocabulary and idioms and the use of the targeted items in students’ speech and writing and their comprehension of these items in spoken and written texts.

TOEFL iBT PREPARATION 
Course Description: The course is designed to help students succeed on the TOEFL exam by improving their English language skills (listening, structure, reading, vocabulary, writing and integrated skills) and by focusing on test-taking skills and strategies. Students improve their skills by analyzing the English language, doing TOEFL-type exercises and taking regular practice quizzes and exams. In the class, students practice for both the paper and pencil TOEFL and the new iBT TOEFL test. This course complements the other English classes students are currently taking.  

ENGLISH FOR BUSINESS (Advanced Only)
Course Description: This course focuses on the acquisition of business related vocabulary, including collocations, and incorporation of new lexical items into written and spoken texts. Students gain exposure to business topics through written and oral texts in newspapers, magazines, radio, T.V., Internet, recorded conversations and interviews, as well as a textbook. The class learns and practices business skills such as making a group presentation, using databases to conduct corporate research, leading and participating in meetings, and writing business documents such as letters, memos and summaries.

GRADUATE WRITING & SPEAKING PRACTICUM

Course Description: The goal of the course is to help students develop and perfect the English writing and speaking skills needed for active participation in graduate courses, in the wider academic community, and in professional life. Students write, discuss, and present on topics in their individual disciplines. Focus is on helping students identify their own errors and weaknesses and on developing strategies for correcting them and being more accurate and fluent in English.