This course adopts an all-embracing approach regarding foreign language (FL) learning.
The role of the course instructors is to:
- produce students who feel they are in command of their language use and are able to make decisions that make what they say and write powerful and effective,
- increase students’ awareness of what is involved in learning and using a FL,
- help students find their own motivating factors to use the FL productively,
- improve students’ levels of confidence as they encounter the FL,
- develop students’ awareness and use of learning strategies that work for them as individuals.
To this end, various methodologies, materials, techniques, activities, tasks, games, etc. will be used to involve the students in and imbibe them with this all-embracing, ever-present concept of learning. While it is now generally accepted by educationalists that each student has her/his own relationship with the language she/he is learning, the emphasis of the lessons is to make each student aware of this individual particularity, so that each can work out the best way for them to view, encounter and continue learning the FL.
The instructors will assume that upon entry to the university, students already possess knowledge about the language (structures, grammar, vocabulary, etc.). Their role will be to ensure that the students learn to reflect on their knowledge of the FL and monitor how they use it so that they can perform effectively, both orally and in writing.
During the semester, the instructors will involve the students and invite them to improvise and react spontaneously in language learning situations and in this way increase their alertness to language use.
While much of what will be used in the lessons will be based on descriptive and narrative texts, along with comparing and contrasting, the course will lay the foundations for applying the principles to higher language learning and academic writing.
Course Content (Syllabus)
This course aims at greater language mastery through the further development of independent study skills and the polishing up of learning skills in the following areas:
1. READING SKILLS
- Using reading comprehension techniques, such as scanning, skimming, predicting, anticipating
- Analysing and inferring meaning
- Recognising text type – style, register (e.g. formal, scientific), lexis
- Understanding text organisation: reference, repetition, linking devices, parallel structures
2. WRITING SKILLS
- Ability to take down notes from a lecture
- Ability to write with clarity, control and sophistication
- Developing a sound thesis statement and constructing topic sentences
- Writing paragraphs
- Developing ideas in a logical order (compare and contrast)
- Editing texts for gender bias, repetition, spelling, syntactic errors, etc.
- Describing objects, people, places, situations in detail
- Narrating events (real or imagined), using a variety of techniques
3. SPEAKING SKILLS
- Speaking with fluency and clarity of pronunciation (paying attention to word stress, rhythm, intonation)
- Speaking with accuracy, with regard to structure and choice of lexis
- Understanding and responding appropriately to questions and enquiries
- Presenting information to an audience in an interesting and natural way
4. VOCABULARY EXPANSION
- Dealing with unknown words; deducing meaning from context
- Using online dictionaries and/or a thesaurus
- Understanding word associations
- Using collocations
- Using strategies for recording, recalling and building further one’s vocabulary
5. GRAMMAR AND SYNTAX
Consulting Grammar Book(s) and focusing on areas which cause difficulty even among the most advanced learners, such as:
• tense and aspect, mood, word order, adverb placement, articles, and prepositions
• linking devices; discourse markers
• infinitives, gerunds, participles
• phrase, clause, and sentence structure
• dangling modifiers
6. REFERENCE SKILLS
Using primary sources wisely and selectively – books, articles, newspapers, magazines, the Internet, etc.
Additional bibliography for study
Corder, J. W., & Perrin, P. G. (1978). Handbook of current English (5th ed.). Glenview, Ill.: Scott, Foresman.
Graver, B.D. (1990). Advanced English Practice. Oxford: OUP.
Greenall, S., & Swan, Μ. (1986). Effective Reading. Reading Skills for Advanced Students. Cambridge: CUP.
Imhoof, M., & Hudson, Η. (1975). From Paragraph to Essay. London: Longman.
Leech, G.N., & Svartvik, J. (1994). A Communicative grammar of English. London: Longman.
McCarthy, M., & O’ Dell, F. (1994). English Vocabulary in Use. Cambridge: CUP.
O’ Dell, F., & M. McCarthy. (2008). English collocations in Use. Advanced. Cambridge: CUP.
Quirk, R. (1985). A Comprehensive grammar of the English language. London, NY: Longman.
Quirk, R., & Stein, G. (1990). English in use. Harlow: Longman.
Reid, J.M., & Lindstrom, M. (1985). The process of paragraph writing. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.
Rudzka, B. (1984). The Words you need. London: Macmillan.
Swan, M. (1995). Practical English Usage. Oxford: OUP.
Swan, M., & Walter, C. (1997). How English Works: A grammar practice book with answers. Oxford: OUP.
Trimmer, J.F. (1998). Writing with a purpose. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 12th ed.