Course Title: Academic Vocabulary SkillsUnits: 3
Date Submitted: Spring 2006
Update: September 2006, February 2009
I. Catalog Description:
This course is designed for students who wish to develop their techniques for understanding academic vocabulary and using English words idiomatically. It emphasizes context and usage of academic words from the Academic Word List (Coxhead 2000) or a similar corpus. Students will learn to comprehend and use approximately 200 new words to improve their reading comprehension, speaking, and writing skills for academic success. It is designed for students at the 21A or 21B level or students who have placed in Group B on the English or ESL Placement Exam.
II.Required texts and References:
The following or similar texts:
McCarthy, Michael and Felicity O’Dell. Academic Vocabulary in Use. NY: Cambridge, 2008.
Schmitt, Diane and Norbert Schmitt. Focus on Vocabulary: Mastering the Academic Word List. NY: Pearson Ed, 2005.
McCarthy, Michael. Vocabulary Language Teaching: A Scheme for Teacher Education. NY: Oxford, 1990.
Nation, Paul. Learning Vocabulary in Another Language.MA: CambridgeU., 2001.
Schmitt, Norbert. Vocabulary in Language Teaching. MA: Cambridge
Thornbury, Scott and Jeremy Harmer. How To Teach Vocabulary. NY: Pearson Ed, 2002.
III.Course Objectives:A / Analyze context to determine meaning of words
B / Identify word families and word form
C / Use appropriate word forms of new vocabulary
D / Employ strategies for learning academic vocabulary
E / Use approximately 250 new lexical items from the academic word list
F / Recognize approximately 500 lexical items from the academic word list
G / Compose sentences using English words idiomatically, including collocations
H / Restate, paraphrase, and explain the meaning of passages using academic vocabulary
I / Analyze roots and affixes to determine meaning of new vocabulary
IV.Methods of Presentation
To achieve the course objectives, instructors use the following methods in approximate percentages:
Small group cooperative learning activities or paired activities 50%
Computer-assisted instruction 15%
Short film or video sequences 5%
Each week students will be introduced to a new group of word families and new strategies for understanding meanings and using words idiomatically. The strategies are reinforced and practiced repeatedly throughout the semester.Chapter tests and a final exam will assess students’ understanding and use of new vocabulary.Percentage
of Term / Topic
50% / Basic concepts: collocation, multi-word verbs, idioms, count and non-count nouns, transitive and intransitive, cultural connotations, register, ways to study vocabulary, word families, literal and figurative meanings, word use, and vocabulary learning strategies
25% / Practice of new words and concepts
5% / Synonymy, antonymy, and degree
5% / Introduction to Internet tools
15% / Sentence and paragraph writing using new vocabulary
VI. Methods of Evaluation(Actual point distribution will vary from
Instructor to instructor, but approximate values are shown.)
Writing assignments & homework 30%
Final exam 20%
VII. Sample Assignments: (please describe at least 2 sample assignments)
1. Students write a paragraph answering a question that requires them to correctly use ten of fifteen vocabulary items they have learned.
2. Students paraphrase a series of sentences using a different word form of the target vocabulary that appears in the model sentences.