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ELTA Intensive - Course Descriptions

Level 4 

At the fourth level of ELTA, students take four unique courses.

Writing and Grammar

This course develops students’ writing skills with a particular focus on writing academic essays according to American academic conventions. After reviewing and honing their ability to write clear, focused, and well-developed paragraphs, students learn to state and defend a thesis while composing essays in multiple genres, including compare and contrast, cause and effect, and argumentative. Students engage in all aspects of the writing process, including pre-writing, brainstorming, outlining, drafting, editing, and peer review. Students will learn the value of feedback and revision. In addition, students analyze and address the typical grammatical trouble spots for non-native speakers. Throughout the semester, students pay close attention to the norms of academic integrity and the issue of plagiarism. The course culminates with an introduction to the research paper.

Academic Discussion

This course focuses on improving all aspects of the oral and aural skills necessary to be successful undergraduate students. The curriculum emphasizes receptive skills, such as listening for content, note-taking, paraphrasing, and summarizing, as well as expressive skills, such as giving a variety of presentations and participating in small group and whole class discussions. In the process, students increase their fluency and accuracy in expressing their ideas, expand their academic and idiomatic vocabulary, and sharpen their critical thinking skills while becoming more comfortable and confident with the culture of an American classroom.

Reading and Vocabulary

This course offers undergraduate students the opportunity to develop critical academic reading skills and to expand their academic vocabulary. Students read a variety of texts, such as essays, newspaper articles, short stories and novels. Students respond critically to the texts by writing journals and essays, giving presentations, and actively engaging in small and whole group discussions with their classmates in order to explore the nuances and deeper meanings in each text. All semester students keep a vocabulary journal composed of new words they encounter from each article, story, or novel.

Life and Culture in Washington, DC

In this course, students of all levels have the opportunity to both study and experience the life and culture of the U.S. capital. Through readings, discussions, watching films, guest lectures by experts in the fields of history and politics, and site visits in Washington, DC, students gains a more profound knowledge and insight about this exciting and intriguing city. Over the course of the semester, students will also compare and contrast the life and culture of DC to that of the US as a whole. In the process, students strengthen all aspects of their English language skills and deepen their understanding of US culture.

Level 5

Academic Discussion

This advanced level course builds on the academic aural and oral skills learned in the level 4 course. The focus is on comprehension of oral communication in the classroom (i.e. listening for content, note-taking, paraphrasing, and summarizing) as well as participation in oral communication in the classroom (i.e. utilizing verbal and non-verbal communication skills, managing conversations/discussions, and giving oral presentations). Particular emphasis is placed on understanding and responding to long-form academic lectures from a variety of disciplines. In addition to a variety of individual and group presentations, students also give a short lecture and lead a discussion on a topic of their interest. In the process students increase their fluency and accuracy in expressing their ideas, expand their academic vocabulary, and sharpen their critical thinking skills.

Reading and Vocabulary

This course builds on ELTA’s Level 4 learning goals, further developingcritical thinking skills, academic reading skills, and expanding academic vocabulary. Students will read and interpret literary works, academic texts, and media articles, write on assigned topics, and apply a range of learning strategies and research skills effectively. Students will participate in debates, lead classroom presentations and discussions, and work collaboratively to complete in-class activities.

Writing and Grammar

This course develops students’ academic writing skills with a particular focus on how written academic essays can be used to develop a short research paper. Students will build on their previous essay writing skills, incorporating complex grammatical structures and using different rhetorical genres such as classification, definition, problem/solution, and compare/contrast to increase the sophistication of their writing. Students engage in all aspects of the writing process, including peer review workshops, and learn the value of feedback and revision. In addition, students analyze and address the typical grammatical trouble spots for non-native speakers with a particular focus on tone, hedging and boosting. Throughout the semester, students pay close attention to the norms of academic integrity and the issue of plagiarism as they research and document their work.

American TV and Cultural Studies

By closely watching and discussing films from each decade since WWII students observe the evolution of American culture, history, and society over the past seven decades. Students watch one film per week on their own, complete a worksheet about the film, and come to class prepared to discuss it with the instructor and their peers. Class discussions aim to dissect the film’s meaning beyond the plot and make connections to the key events of the film’s time period trying to understand the zeitgeist. In the process, students develop critical thinking skills, increase awareness of American culture and history, improve oral and aural skills by actively participating, and become more confident public speakers by giving presentations on key events of each decade.

Level 6

Academic Discussion

This advanced content-based course approaches oral and aural skills holistically. With Ted Talks as a unifying source of diverse content material, students not only improve their listening and speaking skills, but also pronunciation, vocabulary, note-taking, presentation skills, and critical thinking. The course topics range from sociology to literature to statistics, among several other disciplines. However, a key theme to the course will be in the world of business. Presentations will be framed around this topic, but with flexibility to make it relevant to each student’s needs and goals.

Reading and Vocabulary

Students develop their critical thinking skills, academic reading skills, and expand advanced academic vocabulary. Students read and interpret academic texts across a diverse array of disciplines as well as scholarly articles and a novel. In addition to writing analytical responses to the texts, students apply a range of learning strategies and research skills, participate in debates, lead classroom presentations and discussions, and work collaboratively to complete in-class activities.

Writing and Grammar

This course develops students’ academic writing skills with a particular focus on how to write research papers and graduate-level research proposals. Students will build on their previous essay writing skills, incorporating complex grammatical structures and using different rhetorical genres to increase the sophistication of their writing. Students engage in all aspects of the writing process, including peer review workshops, learning the value of feedback and revision. In addition, students analyze and address the typical grammatical trouble spots for non-native speakers. Throughout the semester, students pay close attention to the norms of academic integrity and the issue of plagiarism as they research and document their work.

American Film and Cultural Studies

In this course students deepen their understanding of media and culture by evaluating and responding to how American culture is represented on television sitcoms. Through readings, discussions, presentations, and watching various shows students gains insight into the way TV portrays the culture and people of the U.S. Students specifically examine the representations of gender, race, ethnicity, family, sexual orientation, and politics while also viewing how these representations have changed over the history of TV sitcoms. In the process, students strengthen all aspects of their English language skills.