Basic English Discussion in Life Science II

Numbering Code G-BIO11 51024 LE48 Year/Term 2022 ・ Intensive, Second 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 This class is designed to build upon existing reading and writing skills by developing strengths in oral presentation and discussion of science in English. Aimed at Masters students in particular, who may not yet have extensive research results to present, the class will consist of longer (~30 min) student presentations, covering recent science news, methods, and technology. We will also practice 10 min. talks, to give students some experience with a standard meeting short-talk format. Students are expected to contribute to the class by commenting and raising questions, at the same time strengthening their ability to look critically at the way science is presented. If time permits, we may also include round-table discussions. Fall term usually has fewer students than Spring term, so there is usually more time per student for practice, and less peer pressure. This is a good class for motivated students.
Course Goals Students will improve their ability to read scientific articles in English.
They will improve their English comprehension, and develop confidence in discussing science in English. Ideally, they should feel comfortable about raising questions related to a scientific presentation, and they should be able to organize and present a short talk. One objective is to give students practice in condensing a 30-minute talk to just 10 minutes, and deciding which figures and points are most important. One goal will be to try to give a presentation without reading from a script!
We will devote a portion of the class to issues of grammar and pronunciation as they arise.
Students will be evaluated based on personal effort and improvement.
Schedule and Contents The schedule should allow students a chance to give two long presentations with time for discussion and two 10-minute talks, giving particular attention to content, grammar, and pronunciation. In addition, as a group we will edit some manuscripts written by non-native-English authors, identifying typical grammatical problems, and applying that analysis to English speaking practice. You may choose one of 3 sections (A, B, or C) during the Fall term*. Dates and times are as follows:
A: Thursdays, 15:00-16:30 [Oct 20; Nov 10,17,24; Dec 1,8,15,22]
B: Fridays, 13:15-14:45 [Oct 21; Nov 11,18, 25; Dec 2,9,16,23]
C: Fridays, 15:00-16:30 [Oct 21; Nov 11,18,25; Dec 2,9,16,23]

The first class 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, two students will give ~20-30 min presentations, with topics to be determined by the students. The length of the presentation will largely be determined by how many students enroll in each section. For example, a section with 8 students may have 20-minute talks, whereas a section with 6 students may have 30-minute talks. In past years, students have enjoyed the challenge of presenting timed 10-minute talks. Again, the organization is somewhat flexible, and we will determine the final schedule on the first day of class.
Note, for research presentations, students should obtain approval from their supervisor to make handouts of their research. The class organization is somewhat flexible, and can include short reviews of grammar, or a round-table discussion, if the students prefer.
Evaluation Methods and Policy Evaluation will be based on attendance and on effort, acknowledging differences in English skills among students.
Further details will be announced in the first lecture.
Course Requirements No requirements, but students should be motivated to try discussing science in English! There will be a short writing assignment, which will allow me to identify individual elements of English grammar and syntax that need further attention.
Study outside of Class (preparation and review) Students will need out-of-class time to prepare their presentations. A journal club presentation may require up to 10 hours to do the background reading, make slides, and review the talk.
Additional time will be required to review and practice English grammar and pronunciation. Hopefully, students will want to spend about 20-30 min per day working on grammar and pronunciation.
Textbooks Textbooks/References None required. Suggested (Optional): English for Oral Presentations, Speaking Exercises. C.S. Langham. Ishiyaku Publishers, Inc., Tokyo. ©2010
References, etc. None required