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Regular version of the site
Master 2019/2020

Practice in Speech Culture of the First Foreign Language

Category 'Best Course for Broadening Horizons and Diversity of Knowledge and Skills'
Area of studies: Linguistics
When: 1 year, 1-4 module
Mode of studies: distance learning
Instructors: Alexey Bakulev, Alexandra Nagornaya, Sergey Ryabchun, Лондарева Елена Владимировна
Master’s programme: Иностранные языки и межкультурная коммуникация
Language: English
ECTS credits: 6

Course Syllabus


The overarching objective of the course is to enhance critical thinking skills, which are essential for competent communication in a variety of professional settings. These skills are developed through an in-depth conceptual and language analysis of authentic texts and video materials covering a wide range of social issues: from income inequality to educational reform. Students are systematically taught to critically assess the content of provided materials, to construct logically sound and well-reasoned arguments, to detect bias and describe their perspectives on the issues under study. Special emphasis is laid on enhancing speaking and writing skills. Students are supposed to improve and expand their specialist vocabulary and master speech patterns most commonly used in social discourses. Of particular relevance is the development of translation and rendering skills, which will be required in the students’ future professional activities.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • To teach the students basic critical thinking skills through selection, analysis and discussion of materials within the framework of the course
  • To enhance general speaking skills, to expand and improve speaking and writing vocabulary;
  • To develop reasoning skills when discussing topical social issues;
  • To develop translation and rendering skills.
  • The objective of the course is to learn to give speeches of different types – lectures, conference talks, acceptance speeches etc. – in front of an audience.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the issues underlying social problems
  • Explain an issue comprehensively;
  • Employ evidence from different sources in conducting an analysis of an issue
  • Describe their perspectives on the issues under consideration;
  • Construct logically sound and well-reasoned arguments;
  • Employ specialist vocabulary in oral and written speech;
  • Render original articles from Russian into English with the use of course vocabulary
  • Conduct debates on the issues under study.
  • Be able to create a coherent text;
  • Use the cohesive devices correctly;
  • Pay attention to the grammatical, lexical and phonetic accuracy;
  • Speak with appropriate prosody;
  • Be able to maintain eye contact;
  • Use the appropriate manner of delivery;
  • Use the visual effect (in the case of a talk with slides).
  • Acquire lexical and grammar structures typical of academic discourse.
  • Use lexical and grammar structures effectively in speech and writing.
  • Produce a 1-page (400 – 450 words) abstract of his/her term paper (exploration) constructed in accordance with the norms of academic written discourse.
  • Be able to introduce the topic containing a discussion of the context of the research.
  • Provide a rationale explaining the choice of the research topic.
  • Provide a description of the aim of the research.
  • Discuss the methods used (only naming the methods is not accepted).
  • Be able to interpret the findings.
  • Be able to provide a conclusion.
  • Give a 7-minute talk on the topic of his/her term paper (exploration) constructed in accordance with the norms of academic spoken discourse.
  • Provide an introduction containing a discussion of the context of the research.
  • Describe the aim of the research.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • 1st year, Critical Thinking. Section 1. Academic Integrity.
    Introducing the aims and objectives of the course to students. The notion of academic integrity. Code of ethics. Cheating and plagiarism.
  • 1st year, Critical Thinking. Section 2. World Hunger.
    World Hunger as a global issue. World hunger in history. Current situation: reasons and solutions.
  • 1st year, Critical Thinking. Section 3. Information Revolution.
    Information revolution, its history and influence on people’s lives in different countries. Positive and negative consequences of information revolution, censorship and control on the Internet.
  • 1st year, Critical Thinking. Section 4. Cybersecurity.
    Cybersecurity, newest trends in cybersecurity, benefits and drawbacks of developing cybersecurity; cyberattacks and cyberespionage and how they can be controlled.
  • 1st year, Critical Thinking. Section 5. Income inequality.
    Highest and lowest per-capita incomes, poverty and social dysfunction, comparison of capitalism and socialism societies, globalization.
  • 1st year, Critical Thinking. Section 6. Climate change.
    Reasons and consequences of climate change, possible solutions and challenges, psychological factors and climate change, fracking and shale gas.
  • 1st year, Critical Thinking. Section 7. Global health.
    Major epidemics and pandemics throughout history and current situation in the world; technologies and their influence on viruses spreading; innovations and vaccine development.
  • 1st year, Public Speaking, A: What makes a good public speech?
    We can tell a good public speaker from a bad one, but how do we become good public speakers? The students will learn about key ingredients which contribute to a good public speech, as well as mistakes that beginner make and how to avoid these mistakes.
  • 1st year, Public Speaking, B: Intonation patterns of different types of public speech.
    The intonation pattern depends on the genre of the spoken text and varies greatly as one passes from fiction to a news report. The students will learn about various intonation patterns and practice them by trying to read several texts of different genres.
  • 1st year, Public Speaking, C: Grammar and vocabulary of public speech.
    The grammar and vocabulary the speaker employs depends on the message to be communicated and the target audience. The students will learn how to choose the vocabulary and structures appropriately.
  • 1st year. Academic Writing: A. General academic vocabulary and word combinations.
    Academic English has certain peculiarities which make it different from everyday English. The students will learn the vocabulary and grammar of written and spoken academic discourse.
  • 1st year. Academic Writing: B. Organising your research project.
    Writing a good research project, however short or long, is a skill which is honed with time. There are, however, general principles of research projects which will serve as guidelines to a young researcher. The students will learn about the structure of a research project and practise writing one.
  • 1st year. Academic Writing: C. Communicating your ideas effectively
    The ability to communicate your ideas to an audience is no less important than the ability to put your ideas into words. The students will learn about typical mistakes which are made during a presentation and learn how to avoid them.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Auditory
    The teacher assess the students' participation in classroom activities: discussion, debates, problem-solving activities, neat classwork notes.
  • non-blocking Test
    Tests aimed at the control of new knowledge and skills formation, timely correction of reaching strategies which include lexical tests, grammar tests, written assignments. The maximum grade for this type of assessment is 10. To calculate the final (cumulative) grade for this type of assessment the average mark is used.
  • non-blocking Homework
    Homework assignments may include creative activities such as projects, written products. The maximum grade for this type of assessment is 10.
  • non-blocking Exam
    The Critical Thinking aspect exam is held. Итоговый экзамен представляет собой итоговую контрольную работу, выполняемую дома. Собеседование по результатам контрольной работы проводится на платформе https://us04web.zoom.us/ . К экзамену-собеседованию необходимо подключиться согласно расписанию ответов, высланному преподавателем на корпоративные почты студентов накануне экзамена. Компьютер студента должен удовлетворять требованиям: наличие рабочей камеры и микрофона, поддержка Zoom. Для участия в экзамене-собеседовании студент обязан: поставить на аватар свою фотографию, явиться на экзамен согласно точному расписанию, при ответе включить камеру и микрофон. Во время экзамена студентам запрещено: выключать камеру, пользоваться конспектами и подсказками. Кратковременным нарушением связи во время экзамена считается нарушение связи менее минуты. Долговременным нарушением связи во время экзамена считается нарушение минута и более. При долговременном нарушении связи студент не может продолжить участие в экзамене. Процедура пересдачи подразумевает использование усложненных заданий.
  • non-blocking Critical thinking
    The current grade for Critical Thinking aspect is the average mark of all the elements (test, classwork participation (auditory) and homework).
  • non-blocking Public Speaking
    Final grade is calculated according to the formula: 0.05 x (homework) + 0.05 x (performance in class) + 0.05 x (tests) + 0.05 x (control task)
  • non-blocking Academic Writing
    Final grade is calculated according to the formula: 0.05 x (homework) + 0.05 x (performance in class) + 0.05 x (tests) + 0.05 x (control task)
  • non-blocking Online
    An introduction to academic and business writing for English Language Learners, focusing on grammar, vocabulary, structure, editing, and publication. The students take the online course. The average mark of all the tests and assignments is calculated.
  • non-blocking Exam Total
    The exam is based on the materials and topics covered in three aspects: Critical Thinking, Public Speaking, Academic Writing, and skills acquired throughout the whole course. The examination is conducted orally (a survey on the course materials). The exam is conducted on the platform https://teams.microsoft.com/ or https://us04web.zoom.us/ or https://join.skype.com/. You need to connect to the exam according to the schedule of answers sent by the teacher to students' corporate mail on the eve of the exam. The student's computer must meet the requirements: a working camera and microphone, support for Ms Teams / Zoom / Skype. To participate in the exam, the student is obliged: to put his photo on the avatar, to appear for the exam according to the exact schedule, and when you answer, turn on the camera and microphone. During the exam, students are forbidden to: turn off the camera, use notes and tips. A short-term communication disruption during the exam is considered a communication disruption of less than a minute. Long-term communication disruption during the exam is considered a violation of a minute or more. In case of a long-term communication disruption, the student cannot continue to participate in the exam. The retake procedure involves the use of complicated tasks.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (1 module)
    0.2 * Auditory + 0.4 * Exam + 0.2 * Homework + 0.2 * Test
  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.2 * Academic Writing + 0.2 * Critical thinking + 0.3 * Exam Total + 0.1 * Online + 0.2 * Public Speaking


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Cottrell, S. (2011). Critical Thinking Skills : Developing Effective Analysis and Argument. [N.p.]: Palgrave Macmillan. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1525114
  • Van Emden, J., & Becker, L. M. (2004). Presentation Skills for Students. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=197544

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Cambridge academic English: advanced: student's book : an integrated skills course for EAP, Hewings, M., 2012