FALL 2020 SYLLABUS: Online English Listening & Speaking for International Politics (Sophomores "Professional English 1" for 2019班)
Meeting Time & Location: Wednesdays & Fridays 8-9:30 AM, on DingTalk. (The instructor is unlikely to be in China for the duration of the course.)
Instructor: Mr. Julian Lee 李立安 Class Website: www.omnifoo.info/pages/IROralOnline.html
Office: None. The instructor will be located in Chiang Rai, Thailand, at least until late Sept.
Email: omniscientfool@tom.com
Email is the instructor's preferred mode of contact. It is the instructor's policy not to interact with students on social media (i.e. WeChat) until after the course has concluded.

Jump to: Chalkboard file Exams Class Schedule Midterm

OVERVIEW: This course aims to improve students English skills, specifically listening comprehension and grammatically correct, oral self-expression. 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 National Week will shift into more political topics. 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。

ONLINE DELIVERY ADJUSTMENTS: Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, this course will be offered online for the Fall 2020 semester to prevent spreading the disease. There are unfortunate disadvantages for an online course in foreign language learning, but with greater student effort, they can be overcome. For work in pairs and small groups, we will establish early on whether you would like to keep the same partner(s) or alternate over the duration of the semester. The instructor will try to leave at least 5-10 minutes in each session for students to apply what has been taught in class in pairs or a small group setting, separate from the rest of the class (though sometimes the instructor will monitor your pair or small group). Information such as new vocabulary which would normally be written on the blackboard in the classroom will instead be compiled in a word processing document on a daily basis for students' reference. As this will be the instructor's first experience teaching online, many course activities should be considered experimental, and we should all try to be mindful and forgiving of technical difficulties.

ATTENDANCE: With the course online, your attendance in every session will be easily confirmed and considered as part of your daily grade. Students who wish to attend other courses (i.e. the Political Science section or Reading courses for juniors) may do so, provided they mute their microphones and allow those taking the course for a grade to participate first. Contact the instructor ahead of time if you would like to audit another section regularly or attend one or more sessions.

IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES: Pending student interest, each session of class will begin with a brief discussion of the news. In addition to grammar and vocabulary-building exercises, students can expect to talk to classmates about an assigned topic, make group presentations, 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. Once or twice in the semester, students will meet with the instructor in "small conversation groups" for 15-30 minutes in lieu of a regular class session. Occasionally students will need to come prepared to make a group presentation or read a text to be ready for a debate or discussion, but usually there will be no homework.

GUEST LECTURERS: To supplement course materials and make up for the disadvantages of teaching online, the instructor hopes to invite his former classmates and colleagues teaching at U.S. universities to give special guest lectures on topics of their interest and expertise. We will want to be sure that students' English listening skills are firstly raised to the level where they can understand the majority of a 30-45 minute academic talk in their field, so the instructor will try to schedule guest lectures in the second half of the semester, mostly in Dec. and Jan. while the U.S. semester has ended. If some guests are only available on certain days, this may require us to meet according to their schedule, outside of normal class days and times. Guest lecturers will be told to expect questions from you, the audience, and asking particularly good questions will improve your daily grades.

EXAMS: The main portion of both the midterm and final exams will be administered orally, 1-on-1 with the instructor. A short written portion worth no more than 1/4 of the exam grade will supplement the oral exam.

GRADING: The midterm and final exams will be the main determinants of the final grade, with attendance and daily grades influencing borderline cases.

RECOMMENDED AMERICAN NEWS WEBSITES IN ENGLISH: General & Easy to Read - Washington Post ...(Left-Wing/Liberal) - CommonDreams ...(Right-Wing/Conservative) - National Review (There are lots more of each, and you're encouraged to explore! Many are unfortunately not accessible from China.) Any time you read something interesting about the U.S. election in Chinese or English, please bring a copy of it or a link to the article so we can discuss it in class.

It's an election year in the USA. Students are encouraged to visit the presidential candidates' official websites. We will vote in class in late Oct., before the election on Tues., Nov. 3rd. Democratic Party (D) Nominee Joe Biden; Green Party (G) NomineeHowie Hawkins; Libertarian Party (L) Nominee Jo Jorgensen; Republican Party (R) Nominee (Incumbent) Donald Trump. When Kanye West presents a more detailed platform than the one here, his "Birthday Party" may get on the class ballot.

Covid-19 will remain in the news indefinitely, but we may not cover it in this course. If you want to bring it up in the news discussion at the beginning of class, perhaps the glossary of public health and welfare and a handout on health & medicine may be helpful.

Care to see what Julian's other classes are doing? Visit the NENU landing page for his current and previous reading, writing, public administration, and IR theory courses. All classes should have received a copy of EFL student guides to Western music and Western movies. Feel free to share and distribute them.

Every effort will be made to present class materials in a fair manner which does not unconciously or excessively privilege Western thought and theories over Chinese and other approaches. However, given the instructor's training in a U.S. university, the majority of the material will be presented as closely as possible to an "Intro to IR" class in the USA. Anyone wishing to object officially, of course, has the option of reporting the instructor to the hotline reported below:


It is hoped that will not be necessary, and we can use this class to learn and discuss collegially how China and the U.S. view international politics!



WEEK 1 (9-2, 9-4): CLASS INTRODUCTION: Online course logistics & expectations, distribute Videoconferencing English-Chinese Glossary. Assign & discuss Western names & titles. Sing "The Name Song.". Student introductions. "Yes or No" VS. "A or B" Questions. Play "20 Questions"

WEEK 2 (9-9, 9-11): Time. Likes & Dislikes. Travel.

WEEK 3 (9-16, 9-18): WED. Finish travel lesson. Handout on basic political geography.

WEEK 4 (9-23, 9-25): WED. Studying politics in a U.S. university. Instructor presents on college life in the USA. FRI. Finish college in USA presentation.

WEEK 5 (9-30, 10-2): NATIONAL WEEK...NO CLASS Fri.

WEEK 6 (10-7, 10-9): WED. Greetings & informal American English (based on handout). Geography game? Yes or No Questions. Agreeing & Disagreeing (based on handout). FRI. In groups of 2-4, students write dialogs on topics about which they disagree, using at least ten sentences and five expressions from the handouts.

WEEK 7 (10-14, 10-16): FRI. Practice, perform, and answer questions about dialogs of disagreement. FRI. Compare China & USA generally using this handout on comparisons.

WEEK 8 (10-21, 10-23): WED. Add U.S.-China comparisons relevant to int'l politics. FRI. Begin discussion of U.S. foreign policy using this handout. Assign students to groups and times for small conversation groups on WED. (assuming no time conflicts).

WEEK 9 (10-28, 10-30): WED. Discuss the 2020 U.S. Elections using this handout. FRI. Small Conversation Groups

WEEK 10 (11-4, 11-6): WED. Presentation on U.S. presidential candidates foreign policy platforms. Students make speeches in support of one of the presidential candidates. Students "vote" for the U.S. president. Distribute instructions and questions for midterm oral exam. FRI. VOCABULARY GAME


WEEK 12 (11-18, 11-20): WED. MIDTERM ORAL EXAMS (All week). Return & discuss midterm written exam. Introduce basic IR concepts on the Security & IPE handout. FRI. TBA

WEEK 13 (11-25, 11-27): WED. Return & discuss midterm written exam. Music & Politics: Assign students to present on a song (political or not) s/he likes in different styles of Western music. Discuss political uses of music for propaganda and protest, gov't censorship of music. Student song presentations schedule will be open for Tuesday's session. Recommended reading: Music Censorship in the NY Times. FRI. will be a session on pronunciation.

WEEK 14 (12-2, 12-4): WED. Student presentations on (poltiical) songs. FRI. "Money Is the Root of All Evil"? based on this handout.

WEEK 15 (12-9, 12-11): WED. Bond trading game. FRI. Describing a person.

WEEK 16 (12-16, 12-18): WED. Love & Relationships. FRI. Dreams for the Future.

WEEK 17 (12-23, 12-25): WED. Rhyme battles, pronunciation tic-tac-toe. FRI. Small Conversation Groups

WEEK 18 (12-30, 1-1): WED. FINAL REVIEW GAME. FRI. New Year's Day (no class)

WEEK 19 (1-6, 1-8): Final oral & written exams (all week)