Rutgers University-Newark Institute at Northeast Normal University (RUNIN)

FALL 2017 SYLLABUS: English Speaking for RUNIN Freshmen
Meeting Times & Locations: 3rd floor classrooms, by instructor.
Instructors: Ms. Erika Davis (Sections 1, 2, 4, 5), Mr. Theo Ramonono (Section 7), Mr. Enrico Sartori (Sections 6, 9, 10), and Mr. Julian Lee 李立安 (Sections 3, 8)
Offices & Office Hours: Contact individual instructors.

This syllabus is available and will be updated online at:

Jump to: Exams Class Schedule Midterm

OVERVIEW: This course aims to improve students' English skills, specifically listening comprehension and grammatically correct, oral self-expression. Fundamentally, students will be taught to communicate and interact with classmates and professors in English in the manner of an active, U.S. college classroom. A communicative focus means that a heavy emphasis will be placed on asking and answering questions orally and in complete, grammatically correct sentences. In each session of class, instructors will solicit authentic speech from students, focusing heavily on grammar for the first half of the semester. Topics of class discussion will be general for the first few weeks to increase students' comfort and confidence communicating in English, and some time after the midterm will shift into more specific topics of interest to students. This class will serve as a basic foundation for continuation in the RUNIN program and gradual expansion of students' English speaking ability in and outside of formal class sessions. 讲课的语言是英语。 听/看不懂英语的学生千万要提前安排助学办法。

TEXTBOOK: This course will use the "Think" Oral English textbook 1, published by The Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press (Speaking Critically 口语1: Intercultural Conversations 文化之桥) from 2015. Students should bring the textbook to every session of class, though actual in-class use of the book will vary by instructor.

IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES: In addition to grammar and vocabulary-building exercises, students can expect to talk to classmates about an assigned topic, make group presentations, sing songs, and play games. Often, these will be based on printed handouts given in class, so students who are absent should be sure to get copies of class content for missed sessions. Activities will generally be designed for students in pairs or small groups to bridge an "information gap" in the target language. Above all, the class will acclimate students to the Western college classroom, in which students are strongly expected to ask questions and participate actively, rather than listen passively to a professor's lecture. In this course, you are not studying English just to pass a test. You are learning to be a student of an American university!

INDIVIDUAL ATTENTION: Especially at first, course sessions will involve a lot of questions asked of individuals volunteering to answer or called upon to answer by the instructor. We understand that speaking individually before one's peers can cause stress and anxiety, so please note that if you are ever uncomfortable or do not want to answer a question, you may say, "I pass," and the instructor will call on another student to answer. We want to give opportunities to practice speaking, using new grammar structures and vocabulary, without adding more pressure to your academic lives.

GRADING: The midterm and final exams will be the main determinants of the final grade, with attendance and daily grades influencing borderline cases. The distribution will be 10% for attendance, 30% for each of the midterm and final grades, and 30% for in-class participation & presentations.

ATTENDANCE POLICY: Attendance in all sessions is mandatory. All absences require a note provided by the Fudaoyuan. Unexcused absences will result in point deductions for each class missed. Excessive absences are unacceptable and will be reported to administration.

EXAMS: Both the midterm and final exams will be administered orally, according to the requirements of your individual instructor. You may expect details about the exams at least a few weeks before they are held.

PARTICIPATION & PRESENTATIONS: Class participation is very important. All students should be actively involved in the class. This means listening when another student is talking and taking part in conversations during open discussion. Sometimes participation will be voluntary, as when discussing a topic as a group, and at other times the instructor will call on students individually. Every effort will be made to make sure that each student gets a chance to speak in each session of this course, whether in front of the class, in pairs, or small groups. Volunteering to speak or present informally (i.e. after a discussion in pairs) will have a positive impact on participation grades. For some lessons, students will prepare dialogs or sketches more formally (i.e. with a written script) which will be performed either at the end of class or in the next session. These will be noted as presentation grades.

EXTRA HELP: Students wishing to attend more than one section for extra practice, whether with the same instructor or one of the other instructors, may be able to do so if arranged ahead of time and approved by all instructors involved. Additionally, and less formally, anyone needing extra assistance or who just wants to talk is welcome to drop by during office hours. If the times are not convenient for you, appointments may also be arranged by email.

SOME WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT: Remember that speaking with errors is far better than remaining silent! We need to make mistakes in order to learn the proper way to express ourselves. It's always a good idea to be able to laugh at ourselves when we make a funny error, make corrections, and move on. Please don't take the instructor's suggestions or corrections as a criticism of you as a person. Please do note when you are praised for making improvements over the course of this semester. No one should ever be embarrassed to speak in this course!

If you are serious about improving your oral English, find others in your class who are similarly committed and try to speak to each other in English not only in this class but also in other subjects and environments outside the classroom. The tendency seems to be that students will continue to speak to each other in Chinese to converse and explain things in other courses, and this effectively puts a ceiling on your progress. Especially but not only for students planning to transfer to Newark, NJ, on the "2+2 Plan," your speaking and listening skills will need to improve continuously to excel in RUNIN's rigorous curriculum! Transitioning to a classroom where English is spoken exclusively (including by students) can be difficult, but speaking Chinese to each other here will make it moreso.

COURSE OBJECTIVES: In addition to raising students' comfort and confidence in speaking English generally, by the end of this semester's course, students will have mastered the following basic and specific skills: *giving one's surname, initials, and full name *using titles and surnames together *giving formal and informal introductions *describing likes, dislikes, and favorites *asking and answering "yes or no" and "A or B" questions *use of simple present 3rd-person verbs *use of simple past tense *use of past participles (present & past perfect tenses) *improved switching between singular male & female pronouns *making basic comparisons *describing people's appearances and personalities *forming contractions & using other "informal" expressions *agreeing & disagreeing *asking for and giving directions *talking about money *ordering food in a restaurant/eating at a family dinner table *talking about life goals *talking about love and relationships

Pending student interest, we may offer a session on pronunciation. These and other oral English skills will be vital for communicating with professors throughout the program at RUNIN, both inside and outside of the classroom. Failure to achieve the course objectives above may not only result in a failing grade for this course but also make it difficult to progress through the program smoothly, especially in more advanced courses which assume spoken fluency in English. In short, this speaking course and its successor next semester will be the only courses in your RUNIN curriculum whose primary purpose is to improve your oral English skills—others (and especially their ITPs) will focus on imparting different kinds of knowledge and skills under the assumption that you already have the skills taught here!

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: Although this course has little or no written assignments or exams, all students are still expected to focus on their own work, not provide answers to their classmates, or provide help unless in a group activity.

Cheating of any kind is not acceptable in the RUNIN program. The penalty for a student cheating rests with the teacher, depending on severity. The RUNIN Academic Integrity Policy establishes levels of violations and recommends sanctions. Depending on the severity of the case and the level of the violation, the sanctions for these violations include: failure in the course, mandatory participation in a series of noncredit academic integrity workshops, and/or suspension.

If you are in doubt as to what constitutes plagiarism or are concerned that you are misappropriating someone's words or ideas, speak immediately with your instructor. for more information, you can also consult the Rutgers University Code of Student Conduct or the Student Judicial Affairs website:

Some examples of cheating are:

-"Quoting directly or paraphrasing to a moderate extent without acknowledging the source"

-"Presenting the work of another as one's own"

-"Plagiarizing major portions of an assignment"

-"Paying someone to do your work for you"

DISABILITIES ACT: If you have a physical, psychological, medical or learning disability that may impact your course work, please contact the Rutgers Office of Disability Services. They will determine with you what accommodations are necessary and appropriate. All information and documentation is confidential. 

Students requiring emergency evacuation are encouraged to discuss their needs with their professors and Disability Support Services. For procedures and information, go to the following web site:



WEEK 1 (Sept. 4-8): CLASS INTRODUCTION: Assign & discuss Western names & titles. Sing "The Name Song." Play 7-up Stand-up. Student introductions.

WEEK 2 (Sept. 11-15): Likes & Dislikes. Time & Punctuality (Textbook Unit 3)

WEEK 3 (Sept. 18-22): Finish Textbook Unit 3 on Time. College in the USA (Textbook Unit 2)

WEEK 4 (Sept. 25-29, & Thurs. session on Sept. 30): Travel English (Textbook Ch. 15), Sports (Textbook Unit 9), & The Great Outdoors


WEEK 6 (Oct. 9-13): Debriefing on fall break.

WEEK 7 (Oct. 16-20): College life & comparisons.

WEEK 8 (Oct. 23-27): TBA

WEEK 9 (Oct. 30-Nov. 3): TBA

WEEK 10 (Nov. 6-10): MIDTERM ORAL EXAMS (All week)

WEEK 11 (Nov. 13-17): TBA

WEEK 12 (Nov. 20-24): TBA

WEEK 13 (Nov. 27-Dec.1): TBA

WEEK 14 (Dec. 4-8): TBA

WEEK 15 (Dec. 11-15): TBA

WEEK 16 (Dec. 18-22): TBA

WEEK 17 (Dec. 25-29): TBA

WEEK 18 (Jan. 1-5, 2018): TBA


This schedule is subject to change and will differ by individual instructor.

Class topics for remaining weeks listed as TBA...Informal American Oral English, Question Types, Agreeing & Disagreeing, Comparisons, Money, Describing a Person, Dreams for the Future, Love & Relationships, Music, Movies, Humans & The Environment, Health & Medical English (Textbook Unit 8), American Restaurant & Dinner Table (Textbook Unit 6). Assigned according to time availability and student interest.