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Conversational English Syllabus, Spring

Community English Program
Spring, 2016
Teachers College, Columbia
**This syllabus is a work in progress, and is subject to change,
depending on student needs, goals, and interests**
Instructor: Amy Joy Lashmet
E-mail: ajl2221@tc.columbia.edu
Level: Advanced Conversational English
Class time: Mondays and Wednesdays 5:00-6:30pm
Course Description:
The Conversational English course is designed for students with intermediate level
proficiency. It provides students with an opportunity to develop and strengthen
speaking and listening skills needed in both formal and informal encounters. Through
interactive tasks, role-plays, and presentations, students will build up fluency,
accuracy, and appropriateness in a range of communicative situations.

About the
The Community Language Program (CLP) is a unique and integral part of the TESOL
and Applied Linguistics Programs at Teachers College, Columbia University. It
provides English as a second language and foreign language instruction to adult
learners of diverse nationalities and backgrounds. In addition, the CLP serves as an
on- site language education lab in which TESOL and Applied Linguistics faculty and
students enrolled in the programs teach the courses and use the CLP as a setting for
empirical inquiry. Here at Teachers College we believe that observation and
classroom research are the best way to learn about how we teach and gain insights
into how teaching might take place. Thus, we encourage observation and classroom
research and want people to use it as a tool for learning. Ongoing assessment and
program evaluation allow us to make the CLP a better program.

Course Materials:
Required: please bring a notebook and writing unstruments to every
Optional: please bring a smartphone and headphones if you have
access to them
This course does not require a textbook, so handouts will be
provided as necessary. Therefore, you may want to bring a folder to
keep pages and notes
Course Objectives:
At the end of the course students will be able to:
Develop conversational strategies such as circumlocution and asking
clarifying questions to maintain English conversations
Give an academic oral presentation
Make phone calls to make an appointment and make a complaint
Express their opinions, agree/disagree with others, and offer
Enhance their academic English by enriching their vocabulary
Tell jokes and funny stories using proper stress, intonation, and pauses
Reflect on their personal use of language and challenges they
Give and receive peer feedback
Converse in English with standard pronunciation and intonation
Midterm: 30%
Final test: 45%
Attendance and Participation: 10%
Homework: 15%
Attendance Policy:
If a student misses 5 or more classes, s/he cannot pass the course. If the student is
late for 10 classes, s/he cannot pass the course.


A+ 97
A 94 96%
A- 90
B+ 87 89% B 84 86%
C+ 77 79% C 73 76%
Fail/Repeat Poor
69% or
D 63 66%
D- 60
Withdrawal Below
(With permission from the teacher
the Director, the student withdrew from the course
due to extenuating circumstances)

CEP: Advanced Conversation Assignment Descriptions

Homework/Reflective Journal (15%):

As previously mentioned, you

will keep a reflective journal, (1 entry due every Wednesday) documenting
your experiences using English. Your journal will consist of three parts:
1. Choose 3 real-world contexts in which you feel uncomfortable using English
(with native speakers, making appointments on the phone, making new
friends, etc).
2. Throughout the course, document these interactions- what went well, what
didnt, and how you think you can improve for the next time.
3. How did you feel during and after the interaction? Were you anxious? Selfconscious? Satisfied? Confident?
My 3 personal goals are:
1. _____________________________________________________
2. _____________________________________________________
3. _____________________________________________________

March 9, 2016- Midterm (35%):

You and a partner will be video recorded speaking about a topic that we have
discussed in class.
After you speak, you will watch the video and reflect on your speaking as well
as give your partner helpful feedback for the future.
You will be given a reflection form that will guide your response.

Your final exam will consist of 3 parts (45%):

Part 1- Presentation (20%):
On a determined date, you will give a 7-10 minute presentation on an article that
you have read. It can be on any topic that you find interesting or a recent current
event. This presentation must include:

A summary of the article (please do not simply read the article to us)
Your opinion on the article (do you agree? Disagree? find it interesting? etc)
3-5 new vocabulary words you learned
4 discussion questions for the class to talk about after your presentation.
o Good ways to begin discussion questions include:
What do you think about
Do you agree/disagree
How does this affect
What did you think (about)
[these are just suggestions- you can ask whatever you want!]
Any of the following presentation materials


Powerpoint/prezi slides
handouts (I can help you print if necessary)

Part 2- Self reflection (15%):

Your presentation will be recorded and you will write a reflection acknowledging
what you would like to improve and how you were successful.
You will be given a form with directions to guide your reflection.

Part 3- Peer Feedback (10%):

You will also give feedback to your peers regarding their presentations
You will be given a form with directions to guide your feedback.
These forms can be anonymous and will be given to the speaker

Program Policies:
The College will make reasonable accommodations for persons with
documented disabilities. Students are encouraged to contact the Office of
Access and Services for Individuals with Disabilities (OASID) for information
about registering with the office. You can reach OASID by email at
oasid@tc.columbia.edu, stop by 163 Thorndike Hall or call 212-678-3689.
Services are available only to students who are registered and submit
appropriate documentation. As your instructor, I am happy to discuss specific
needs with you as well.
It is the policy of Teachers College to respect its members observance of their
major religious holidays. Students should notify instructors at the beginning of
the semester about their wishes to observe holidays on days when class
sessions are scheduled. Where academic scheduling conflicts prove
unavoidable, no student will be penalized for absence due to religious reasons,
and alternative means will be sought for satisfying the academic requirements
involved. If a suitable arrangement cannot be worked out between the student
and the instructor, students and instructors should consult the Program
Director. If an additional appeal is needed, it may be taken to the Provost.


Important Dates
Week 1

February 8
February 19
March 9
March 14-18
April 18
April 20

Week 5
Week 6
Week 10




and New York



Speaking/Listening Objective



First day of class

Last day for refunds
Spring Break-No class
Final Projects due
Last day of class/potluck

Telling a story using
sequencing words and so
Sharing Pet Peeves

Using functional language to

respond to a story
Expanding on a topic
Assess oneself through personal

Debating- persuasion and
counter arguments
Agreeing and disagreeing


February 15

February 22
February 29

March 7
March 21
March 9th


Phone Calls

Making a complaint on the phone

Clarification strategies

Making an Appointment on the





Identify the qualities of

academic language
Identify the qualities of
informal language
Use the Oxford Academic
English dictionary to expand
academic vocabulary
Using stress an intonation to
change to convey meaning or
add emphasis

Using pronunciation for

humor (puns)
Using pauses for humor
Telling a funny story with
appropriate timing

March 28
April 4

April 11
April 13

Week 10:
Final Projects
due Monday,
April 18