Bunker Hill Community College

Bunker Hill Community College Mobile and Tablet Version

ESL-087 Contemporary Issues and Conversations

Course Syllabus

3 Credits

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Grade of C or better in ESL-074, ESL-075, ESL-078, and ESL-079, or placement.


In this high-intermediate course, students practice and demonstrate effective speaking functions in small-group and whole-class discussions of academic reading materials. Students develop a method for delivering an oral presentation to a large group. All speaking activities are organized around reading and writing exercises. Students learn grammar and build their level-appropriate academic vocabulary in the context of speaking, in the context of the reading materials, and in the context of student generated writing. Students must earn a C or better in order to pass the course.


Students can…

Deliver at least three oral presentations (group and individual) using effective delivery and visual aids (two academic and one personal presentation recommended)

Use the Internet for research

Demonstrate comprehensible pronunciation for level 2 of vowels and consonants along with stress and intonation patterns (Note: It is not necessary to list all of the examples below on your syllabus. Use your own discretion.)

  • Past tense (-ed) verb endings
  • 3rd person singular (-s) endings and plurals
  • Contractions
  • Minimal pairs
  • Stress patterns
  • Rhythm

Demonstrate an increased understanding of level-appropriate academic vocabulary

Use transitions

Use proper MLA format

Demonstrate various speaking functions in small-group and whole-class discussions of contemporary issues and topics (Note: It is not necessary to list all of the examples below on your syllabus. Use your own discretion.)

  • Facilitate (Lead) a group discussion
  • State and support a position
  • Express agreement/disagreement
  • Ask for clarification
  • Restate others’ views (interpret)
  • Give instructions
  • Narrate
  • Solicit opinions
  • Discuss and describe problems and offer solutions
  • Demonstrate effective interpersonal and intercultural communication style

Demonstrate effective listening skills

Read and demonstrate comprehension of articles in preparation for presentations

Write paragraphs and essays on topics related to class assignments

Demonstrate proficiency of the grammar in the 087 curriculum


Speech Communication Made Simple, 3rd edition by Paulette Dale and James C. Wolf, Pearson Longman Publishing, 2006.


This class will include lecture, class discussion, group work and individual work. Students are expected to be prepared for class and to participate. Most reading will be done outside of class. Writing will be done both inside and outside the class. Groups will be asked to give some informal presentations or explanations to the class. Some quizzes will be given without notice. Students will usually be able to rewrite at-home compositions for a higher grade; in this case 1st and 2nd copies of the work must be submitted to the instructor. Students may be required to complete assignments in the Language Lab.


Plagiarism will be discussed in this course. Basically, it is the unauthorized use of someone else’s work. Examples of plagiarism include copying ideas or sentences from a textbook or Internet article without using quotation marks or without including the source with the essay. Plagiarized work may result in a failing grade for the assignment or for the course, or a student may be asked to leave the course. All students are asked to read the Student Code of Conduct in the Student Handbook. All students must complete the plagiarism course at this website and print a copy for me: https://plagiarism.iu.edu/certificationTests/


All students are expected to be present and on time for each class. It is your responsibility to make up work if you are absent. If you miss a class, you must come to me in class or in my office to get any missing work. Three absences will result in a 1/3 letter grade drop (A to A-, A- to B+, etc.) Each successive absence will cause a 1/3 drop in the final grade.


All out of class assignments must be typed in “times new roman” font size 12, double-spaced, and should include your name, the class, the date, and a title. Save your work on a flash drive. Save all assignments that have been graded and returned to you. Assignments are due on the assigned date. Late assignments may result in a lower grade.


All students are expected to behave in a manner considerate of the instructor and the other students. Disruptive students may be asked to leave the class. Students must turn off cell phones during class. If you need to receive a call because of some emergency, please let the instructor know at the beginning of class.


Writing assignments (weekly): 50%
Group Presentations: 20%
Individual Presentation: 10%
Tests: 10%
Quizzes: 10%
Total: 100%


A=94-100 A-=90-93 B+=87-89 B=83-86 B-=80-82 C+=77-79 C=70-76 D=60-69 F=below 60

This syllabus may be subject to change.