Basic English Discussion in Life Science I

Numbering Code G-BIO11 51023 LE48 Year/Term 2022 ・ Intensive, First semester
Number of Credits 1 Course Type Lecture
Target Year Master's students Target Student
Language English Day/Period Intensive
Instructor name HEJNA, James (Graduate School of Biostudies Specially Appointed Professor)
Outline and Purpose of the Course Despite having excellent English reading and writing skills, most students, even native-English speakers, need to improve their oral English communication skills in order to thrive in the new international scientific community. This class is designed to provide students with ample opportunities to practice scientific discussions in English, while reviewing elements of English grammar and style as they arise. An added benefit will be coverage of a diverse range of current scientific topics; students will begin to look critically at scientific data, and how data are presented. The maximum class size will be 8 students, to create a low-stress environment conducive to student interactions.
Course Goals Students will work on listening and speaking skills in English, while at the same time developing their knowledge of specific topics. Students will be graded on personal effort and progress, including the quality of their presentations and their ability to join in discussions. Two goals will be: 1) to free you from reading a prepared script, and 2) to use your scientific vocabulary in a spontaneous discussion.
Schedule and Contents Five classes* are available with the following schedules:

A: Thursdays, 13:15-14:45 [April 21; May 12,19,26; June 2,9,16,23]
B: Thursdays, 15:00-16:30 [April 21; May 12,19,26; June 2,9,16,23]
C: Fridays, 13:15-14:45 [April 22; May 13,20,27; June 3,10,17,24]
D: Fridays, 15:00-16:30 [April 22; May 13,20,27; June 3,10,17,24]
E: Fridays, 16:45-18:15 [April 22; May 13,20,27; June 3,10,17,24]
The first class meeting will be devoted to introductions and class organization, allowing students to informally practice their English conversation skills In each of the rest of the classes, we will have short 10-minute talks, discussions, and exercises to promote spontaneous discussions. With this format, students should have a chance to give at least 4 short (~10-minute) presentations during the term. These consist of journal club presentations, descriptions of techniques, descriptions of your home laboratory's main research theme, and more. The focus is more on practicing communication rather than detailed analyses of data, so preparation time should not be too burdensome. Students are expected to actively participate in discussions. These will provide opportunities to practice speaking and to improve basic English skills, while at the same time sharpening analysis and critical evaluation of scientific communication. Note that there will be a break between the first class and the second class to allow time for preparation of the first set of presentations. Short grammar reviews and help with pronunciation will also be included. The organization is somewhat flexible, and can include an additional class for a round-table discussion, if students are interested.
There will be a short writing assignment, primarily to assess your current writing ability and to identify areas where you can improve your writing.
Evaluation Methods and Policy Evaluation will be based on effort, allowing for differences in English proficiency.
Further details will be announced in the first lecture.
Course Requirements No requirements,other than a motivation to work on English communication. It is assumed that students will have a good background in biology.
Study outside of Class (preparation and review) Students will have to do some independent reading in preparation for a journal club presentation. For research presentations, students should obtain approval from their supervisor if any unpublished results are to be presented. If laboratory rules forbid the presentation of unpublished results, we can resolve the problem on an individual basis with an alternative type of presentation.
Independent reading for a journal club presentation may take 5-10 hours, and preparation of a 10 minute talk may take 2-3 hours. In addition, students should spend a small amount of time per day either practicing listening to English, reading, or reviewing grammar.
Textbooks Textbooks/References Optional: C.S. Langham English for Oral and Poster Presentations (2007) Ishiyaku Publishers, Tokyo

This is old, but still good. Alternatively, many similar textbooks are available.
References, etc. None required