ULTERIORI ATTIVITA' FORMATIVE - CONOSCENZE LINGUISTICHE (INGLESE)
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The course is specially designed to meet the needs of PhD and master-class students from Scientific Departments. Its primary aim is to develop the students language competence/skills while focusing on the peculiar structures of the specialized English required to communicate within the scientific community (English for Scientists).
The syllabus covers topics related to typical research studies.
Besides developing an advanced language competence (C1 level of the European Framework), the course aims at equipping students with the language skills needed to perform communicative tasks within academic and professional contexts relevant to their careers (e.g. internships). More specifically, the course aims at raising the students awareness of relevant areas of grammar and syntax (e.g. appropriate use of articles, tenses, noun phrases, lexicon) in order to help them:
- increase their knowledge of course-of-study-related specialized syntax, phrases and vocabulary
- write clear and grammatical English in an appropriate ESP style (EN for Scientists)
- receive and transmit information accurately and efficiently (clear conveyance of meaning)
- focus on high level of accuracy in writing work
- understand spoken/written English as it might be encountered in academic or professional situations
- integrate reading, writing and study skills in the pursuance of task-based activities (writing a report/critical review, presentations).
On successful completion of the course, students will improve their ability to understand and produce oral and written English as used with colleagues, professors and the general public in science-related situations.
More specifically, they will be able to:
Writing: write reports, articles, essays including an introduction, abstract, methods, discussion, and conclusion section; organize paragraphs logically, use an appropriate vocabulary, register and style; formulate their ideas in an appropriate style; explain procedures to colleagues.
Reading: understand academic and scientific essays; differentiate between facts/opinions in science-related articles; identify core vocabulary words in science-related articles and lectures; scan science-related documentation in order to get specific linguistic information.
Listening: follow a lecture, discussion or demonstration in English; understand science-related language when listened to in oral interactions in scientific career settings; understand spoken language in the form of descriptions, speculations, explanations in settings such as training meetings, supervision activities, performing procedures.
Speaking: express their opinions appropriately and clearly and stand up for an argument in science-related settings; use an appropriate ESP language to report on procedures performed.
Target level: C1 - Proficient user
Entry level that learners are expected to have at the beginning of the course: B2.
This ESP course is directed to participants whose level of language proficiency is upper-intermediate and above. Learners who will be accepted in this program are expected to have, before accessing the course, a B2-level language competence and - in terms of general English - should be able to do the following:
B2 - Vantage or upper intermediate
- understand and use spoken English for practical communication
- understand the main ideas and topics in oral interactions (including technical discussions in their field of specialization) and complex text on both concrete and abstract topics
- understand science-related language when listened to in lectures and academic settings
- read articles and reports in which the writers adopt particular attitudes or viewpoints
- interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction quite possible without strain for either party
- express their opinions and stand up for an argument orally
- briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans
- produce clear, concise and grammatical English that allows for a clear conveyance of meaning; produce clear, detailed text on a range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
Each student’s entry level will be assessed through a placement test.
LANGUAGE SKILLS AND PERFORMANCE
The course focuses on the specialized language that is commonly used in scientific communication (ESP for scientists) and on its application.
A review of grammar general rules (level B2) is foreseen where there is a need to point out/distinguish the standard use from the specialized use.
For reading, listening and communication activities, specialized articles/essays/videos are selected. Scientific topics might be related to the students’ fields of expertise.
Learning and practice activities are designed to develop the students skills and performance in the following areas:
LANGUAGE STYLE IN SCIENTIFIC WRITING AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS (speaking)
Writing in an appropriate style - Writing up research
How to write the introduction to a research paper
Citations in a scientific article
Writing an abstract
Language used in reporting, describing, expressing an hypothesis
The language of Definitions: sentence patterns and tenses
Designing an experiment (explaining “how”): describing equipment, mechanisms, procedures, methods, reasonings, man-made processes and natural phenomena
Speculating, describing probability
Evaluating the results of an experiment. reporting progress
Describing problems with an experiment
Describing diagrams and graphs
Cause and effect language patterns
Organizing the results and discussion section
Making comparisons of experimental results (similarities and differences, contrasting)
Preparing a presentation
Introducing the topic, making a statement, giving details
Illustrating a point - giving examples and referring to research
Developing an argument: illustrating/exemplifying arguments, ideas and opinions, expressing certainty and doubt
Using evidence in arguing a point, agreeing and disagreeing, refuting arguments, offering evaluative comments
Drawing conclusions, Making suggestions
Dictionaries and glossaries
How to simplify structures
The use of passive
Content equivalence in the transition IT-EN. Application to sentences used by students
Connotation of verbs
Language used in reporting, describing, expressing ideas and hypothesis, defining and explaining: sentence patterns, phrases, and tenses
Complex sentence - Linking words and markers: how to improve your style and register
Understanding meaning (reading, listening)
Understanding explicitly stated information and conceptual meaning in specialized articles and essays
Understanding highly nominalized texts
Recognizing unsupported claims and claims supported by evidence
Distinguishing main ideas from supporting details
Appropriate use of specialized grammar and syntax (language patterns, tenses, conditionals and modals, articles, phrases, noun structures, collocations)
NOUNS – ADJECTIVES - ADVERBS
- Articles and their use in the language of science.
- Noun phrases and prepositional phrases in scientific writing
- Comparing nouns, data, results
- Verb tenses in scientific writing
- Reporting verbs and their degree of ‘support’/criticism
- Modal verbs to express ability, necessity, prohibition, speculation and future possibilities
- Conditional sentences (real / unreal possibilities)
- The use of passive in scientific writing
- Simplified sentences
- Reported speech in scientific reports
- Connecting sentences to make points clear
- Linking words and patterns to express cause and effect
The syllabus activities and target level are designed, from time to time, to match the learner’s entry level of language competence. The entry level is assessed and established before starting the course.
The focus of the syllabus is the improvement of listening, speaking, reading and specially writing performance/abilities with reference to the specialized English used in scientific academic and professional contexts. The syllabus covers topics related to the students course of study and to the typical communication activities they might be required to perform. Special attention is paid to the purpose for which English is being studied (to be used in science departments/careers).
Lectures are based on a functional/notional approach that takes communicative factors into account right from the beginning, without losing sight of ESP grammatical and situational factors.
The development of accuracy is encouraged through a constant application of the appropriate (specialized) language patterns and grammar to writing exercises and speaking activities. Evaluative feedback is used to facilitate the progression of skills (towards a more appropriate and coherent language use).
Opportunities are provided for students to practice in contexts likely to be encountered in the target scientific community, in order to
- express meaning as clear as possible
- interact and communicate actively with/among colleagues, also from other fields of expertise
- actively apply the language skills specified under the “Content” section through guided/targeted practice (production of short essays, presentations, debates).
Acquisition of linguistic elements: Lectures with explanation of specialized language used in scientific communication.
Application: lectures are followed by conventional targeted application exercises - writing, reading, listening, speaking activities, presentations and mock meetings.
Communicative activities are related to the communicative and grammatical topics covered.
Practice sessions: in-class practice, group projects, listening comprehension; understanding questions, handouts, articles, presentations; interfacing with colleagues, explaining concepts.
Interaction: asking for clarification or information, answering to the request for clarification, oral presentations, making suggestions, participating in seminars, discussion of topics related to scientific issues.
Group activities and individual homework: written and spoken, designed to develop mastery in autonomous/proficient production in English for Scientists.
Individualized correction of errors made by students in their written exercises, highlighting of mistakes based on a grid of values (error severity) and indication of hot spots on which to focus self-study activities.
Studying reference materials (textbooks, manuals, articles, handouts etc.), searching and reading for assignment-oriented information.
Self-study could be required.
Attendance is definitely required and recommended.
1.Continuous assessment of active participation in class activities and of performance improvement.
2.Continuous assessment of written/oral assignments (Homework).
To have access to the final test students must:
- possibly attend a recommended percentage of the scheduled lessons,
- possibly actively participate in class activities,
- produce all required assignments (homework) while undertaking to study and properly apply the rules and linguistic elements illustrated and discussed throughout the course. Homework must be mandatory handed in within the established deadline.
Attendance is required to ensure a successful outcome of the course.
- Oral presentation (with .ppt slides)
- Production of a short essay including an introduction, abstract, etc. Students should use an appropriate language (specialized structures and phrases), making reference to the content of the course.
- Test on grammatical and morphosyntactic aspects
Credit recognition is subject to successful completion of the final test and to a positive evaluation/outcome of the active participation in the course (achievement of minimum profit targets).
Reference Learning materials will be handed out to the students in class or uploaded to the E-learning pages of the course.
We will make use of:
Grammars, manuals, handouts
Other reading Materials (magazines, journals, papers)
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