ELP 2013 Syllabus

English Language Program 2013 Syllabus


1.    Programmatic Overview

Students address academic goals, and the concept of integration applies throughout the curriculum as students work to achieve comprehensive mastery of the English language. The classes use liberal arts academic texts as the impetus for learner-centered, content-based instruction.
Students “learn more than one thing at a time” in their group and individual work: they speak while reading; they listen while observing; they read while writing; and so forth.  More importantly, they use these opportunities to achieve linguistic equilibrium and apply it to their writing and discussion assignments in academically astute ways.  We recognize that although writing and discussion skills are obvious measures of student success, it is the acquisition of outstanding reading and comprehension skills that underpins them and ensures their emergence. Hence, we expose them to a wide variety of reading material and train them to use these materials efficiently.
We also strive to balance the appreciation of the academic skills that students have developed in their home countries with mastery of American academic mores. Since we are particularly concerned to advise students about the issue of plagiarism, we require students to access the link to the Harvard Guide to Using Sources: http://usingsources.fas.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do and to mark and inwardly digest it: they will be thus clear about the constraints on documenting sources and resorting to others for assistance, and encouraged to go beyond memorization and rote to use language creatively.
We expand upon these procedures by using examples of fictional and professional writing from print and other media for analysis, comment, and emulation, and instructors craft classroom activities that develop:
•    the ability to read critically and analytically -- so students can discuss how an author treats different problems, how different authors address the same problem (in different media), or how topics have ephemeral or enduring importance;
•    familiarity with the scientific method -- when students practice data collection, hypothesis formation and analysis, and examine their implications;
•    the ability to interpret and make reasonable conclusions about language presented in different formats -- when students analyze statistical tables, graphs, or formulae;
•    the ability to synthesize sources and contribute to a debate arguments that are fluent, cohesive, persuasive, and adequately supported – when students practice the process method in writing and oral presentations;
•    knowledge of the roles of languages in culture – when students are presented with examples of variation and change in the social and syntactic use of English, and of the norms for oral and written comprehensibility;
•    historical awareness – when research broadens students’ perspectives on human endeavor and on the institutions and traditions of the world.

2.    Learner Training

The program begins with a session of learner training that involves explaining to students the academic focus on consultation, negotiation, demonstration, and practice, as well as their need to set challenging linguistic goals; monitor their own progress toward these goals; and modify these goals and procedures as needed during the session.
Instructors consciously initiate a relationship of mutual responsibility that permits everyone in the classroom to:
•    contribute their particular talents to the work of the group;
•    use all the designated texts to provide the framework for developing the goals of the class;
•    receive "direct teaching" - explanation by an instructor of a linguistic point - as opposed to "teacher-fronted" classes;
•    define the forms feedback will take and how it is shared by instructors and students to promote active monitoring of the language behavior in the classroom and appropriate comment upon it;
•    emphasize effective communication, eliminating editorial error-correction and unhelpful interruptions;
•    make conscious links between what is happening in the classroom and in the world encompassing the classroom;
•    participate in establishing the ground rules -- agreeing on how students will request clarification from other students and the instructor and avoid a range of disruptive behaviors.

3.     Proficiency Profiles and Goals

The Harvard University English Language Placement Test (HELP Test) is an in-house instrument that is used to make the first cut in establishing IEL classes on the basis of a listening comprehension test, error identification and vocabulary components, and a reading comprehension test.  Subsequent to this test, students will write a timed essay and engage in oral diagnostic exercises to finalize their class assignments.
GSAS students typically score at Levels C, D and E on the HELP.  Students completing a Level C course are not normally deemed ready to begin graduate work in English, and often those at higher levels still need additional instruction and guidance beyond the ELP. IEL will provide official reports on each student's proficiency at the end of the course, in addition to recommendations for further English Language instruction in ensuing terms.
In 2013, IEL plans to assign the following instructors to address the needs that students at the respective levels present:

Level C  - Shawn Morris, ABD.
1. obtain the gist of controlled authentic texts and track their development;
2. discover and interpret issues in a variety of texts, and incorporate personal background
knowledge in oral and written responses to them;
3. argue an opinion clearly and cohesively;
4. employ the process writing skills needed to produce a 5-paragraph essay;
5. use techniques for incorporating secondary sources;
6. express personal needs for structural accuracy in production;
7. recognize irregularities and complexities of English as an international language in its
written and spoken forms;
8. apply culturally appropriate strategies for classroom activities.
    
Level D – Luz Rodriguez, Ph.D.
1. understand the main ideas and most details in authentic materials on a variety of topics;
2. analyze the development of a given text and recognize contradictory positions;
3. synthesize generalizations and abstractions;
4. use authentic materials as a springboard for oral and written production;
5. employ standard techniques for incorporating multiple secondary sources;
6. utilize a variety of stylistic structures and demonstrate mastery of the conventions of
     Standard English;
7. understand explicit and implied messages of authentic communication;
8. understand idiomatic language;
9. apply culturally appropriate strategies for maintaining classroom interactions.

Level E – Sara Gramley, M.A.
1. interpret and respond critically to complex authentic materials;
2. independently use the process approach to writing;
3. use a variety of stylistic and rhetorical strategies effectively and appropriately;
4. evaluate and respond to explicit and implied messages of authentic communication;
5. use contextualized idiomatic expressions;
6. identify and fill specific linguistic gaps based on personal experience and goals;
7. comply with prevailing conversational norms in a variety of professional settings.

4.      Procedures:

After completing the HELP Test, scheduled for 2 p.m. on Sunday July 28 in the Science Center, students will do a 30-minute writing sample. On Monday July 29, students will meet at 2 p.m.  in the Common Room of Dudley House where the instructors will conduct a variety of diagnostic exercises to fully establish class membership in three groups. Learner Training, using the reading assignment for the next day's lecture, will take up the rest of this first workshop.
The calendar outlines the meeting times and nature of the other classes and events that comprise the ELP program.

Texts:  
•    About the Author by John Colapinto, ISBN 9780060932176
•    The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, ISBN 0-395-92721-8
•    A World of Ideas: Essential Readings for College Writers  Eighth Edition, Ed. Lee A Jacobus,  ISBN978-0-312-38533-0
•    A Writer’s Reference by Hacker and Sommers, ISBN 978-0-312-60143-0  
•    non sibi: A Liberal Arts Approach to Mastering English by Lilith M. Haynes (in press: ISBN tba)

IEL will also provide:
•    the ELP Orientation Brochure containing the apparatus for using the Common Reading and Listening related to the theme for Summer 2013, “The Dream at 50: Human Rights and Economic Justice”
•    a coursepack with readings assigned for lectures by Harvard faculty;
•    Site Visits to the JFK Library and Museum; the Concord Museum; the Peabody Essex Museum; and a Duck Tour.

Students should also invest in a college edition of a monolingual English dictionary that affords access to sophisticated academic vocabulary, as well as a college edition of a Thesaurus to guide their precise use of the language in many contexts.