FALL 2020 SYLLABUS: Online English Listening & Speaking for Political Science (Professional English 1 for 2019 班)
Meeting Time & Location: Tuesdays 8-9:30 AM & Thursdays 10-11:30 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/PoliSciOralOnline.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. For Oct. and until after Election Day (Tues., Nov. 3rd), expect the themes of class to shift toward the U.S. presidential election. 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 (9-1, 9-3): CLASS INTRODUCTION: Online course logistics & expectations, distribute Videoconferencing English-Chinese Glossary. Assign & discuss Western names & titles. Sing "The Name Song.". 2nd session postponed by typhoon.

WEEK 2 ( 9-8, 9-10): Student introductions.

WEEK 3 (9-15, 9-17): Time.

WEEK 4 (9-22, 9-24): Likes & Dislikes. College in the USA based on this handout. Assign 2-page assignment on the world of work.

WEEK 5 (9-29, 10-1): Travel. NATIONAL WEEK...NO CLASS Thurs.

WEEK 6 (10-6, 10-8): Greetings & informal American English (based on handout). Give answers to worksheets on "the world of work." Handout on basic political geography.

WEEK 7 (10-13, 10-15): Agreeing & Disagreeing (based on handout) "Yes or No" VS. "A or B" Questions. Play "20 Questions". Use handouts on political disagreements in debates and for past experience in politics on accountability for keeping promises or making mistakes while in office. HOMEWORK: Write a "dialog of disagreement" using the handouts and directions given in class. THURS: Practice, perform, and answer questions about dialogs of disagreement.

WEEK 8 (10-20, 10-22): Comparisons. Compare China & USA generally.

Introduce the political spectrum in the USA using handouts on electoral politics in the USA,. Introduction to basic political terms in English: government, state, regime, administration, dynasty, etc. using basic political terms handout. If time permits, outline regime types & Max Weber's concept of "legitimate authority" and its three types (traditional, charismatic, rational/legal/bureaucratic). Introduce structure of U.S. government as a presidential, liberal, representative democracy, based on handout to be distibuted in class.

WEEK 9 (10-27, 10-29): Assign students to groups and times for small conversation groups on Thurs. (assuming no time conflicts). Distribute instructions and questions for midterm oral exam. Thurs. small conversation groups.

WEEK 10 (11-3, 11-5): After reviewing policy platforms of four party candidates, students make speeches in support of one of the presidential candidates. Students "vote" for the U.S. president. Post-U.S. elections debriefing & discussion. VOCABULARY GAME

WEEK 11 (11-10, 11-12): MIDTERM REVIEW GAME.


WEEK 13 (11-24, 11-26): 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. Thurs. will be a session on pronunciation.

WEEK 14 (12-1, 12-3): Student presentations on (political) songs. Read handout on basic terms in politics. Sign up for presentations on specialized terms using the word "state."

WEEK 15 (12-8, 12-10): Presentations on "state" terms. Describing a person handout & examples.

WEEK 16 (12-15, 12-17): Draw descriptions of a photograph given by a partner. Love & Relationships. Dreams for the Future.

WEEK 17 (12-22, 12-24): Finish pronunciation lesson (long & short vowels). Rhyme battles, Pronunciation tic-tac-toe. Small Conversation Groups.


WEEK 19 (1-5, 1-7): Final oral & written exams (all week)