Stanford University
Postdoctoral Scholars

Advanced English Skills for Non-Native Speakers - Curriculum for Postdoctoral Scholars

Non-native speakers of English are a majority of postdoctoral scholars at Stanford.  The Advanced English Skills for Non-Native Speakers is a year-long, 3-quarter, curriculum that is taught in small group, intensive 2-hour weekly class sessions.  The curriculum aims to refine the proficiency and fluency in speaking and writing in academic settings.  The curriculum is directed by Phil Hubbard, senior lecturer and director of English for Foreign Students Program at Stanford.  The complete curriculum is comprised of approximately 36 hours (12 per course) of in-class instruction, plus individual tutorial hours out of class with the instructors or course assistant over a 9-month period.  Enrollment is limited to 24 postdocs per class.   There are no placement requirements for the courses but a minimum English proficiency is required at a level equivalent to TOEFL score of 525paper/197CBT/71iBT, TOEIC 625, IELTS 5.5. 

The above courses are offered in partnership with the English for Foreign Students program at Stanford.  They are open to individuals in postdoctoral scholar appointments only at Stanford.  Visiting Scholars are not eligible. However, Stanford offers the opportunity for Visiting Scholars to take intensive course (688V) in the summer click here for details. During the academic year, language and communication courses are offered through Stanford Continuing Studies.  

Questions about these courses? Please contact the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.


I:  Oral Communication

Summer 2016-17:

Tuesdays, June 27 - August 1, 2017, 5:00-7:00pm (no class 7/4)
Register: CLOSED

This course will focus on helping students improve their oral communication skills for academic and daily life.  Emphasis will be on increasing confidence and fluency through realistic and practical activities both in and out of class.  Content will include such topics as pronunciation, idiom and slang usage, active listening skills, and conversation strategies. Students will be encouraged to bring in real or hypothetical situations which they are not quite sure how to handle. Students will also receive individualized instruction (in pairs) during two additional 30-minute tutoring sessions with the instructor.

Course topics:

• Conversations in formal and informal settings: what to say and how to say it
• Skills and strategies for effective listening and improving pronunciation
• Verbal skills and strategies for participating in group situations
• Understanding cultural cues and expectations in oral communication

 By the end of the course, participants are expected to:
• Gain skills to improve conversational fluency
• Apply techniques to improve pronunciation
• Develop active, and interactive, listening skills
• Articulate ideas more clearly and confidently
• Use more sophisticated verbal skills in negotiation, persuasive or awkward situations


II: Professional & Academic Writing

Prerequisite: Oral Communication

Winter 2016-17:

Thursdays, January 12 - February 16, 2017, 5:00-7:00pm
Register: CLOSED

The course is designed for those who are proficient and use English on a daily basis but would like to refine their writing skills. The course focuses on academic writing for publication, with particular attention to learning to write coherently, clearly, and concisely.  It will also include some practice in writing effective emails, letters, and short proposals. The course includes two 30-minute individual tutorials with the instructor.

The required textbook is Williams, J. & Colomb, G. Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace (current edition).

By the end of the course, participants are expected to:


III:  Oral Presentation

Prerequisite:
Oral Communication

Spring 2016-17:

Tuesdays, April 4 - May 9, 2017, 5:00-7:00pm
Register: CLOSED

Oral Presentation is the last of the three-quarter advanced curriculum for postdoctoral scholars who are non-native speakers of English.  The course is appropriate for those who are proficient in English.  The course focuses on building effective presentation skills with attention to pronunciation and rhetorical considerations, impromptu speaking skills, use of visuals and managing Questions & Answers from an audience.  Participants will practice in small and large groups.  Presentations will be video-recorded for analysis and instructor feedback.  In addition to in-class activities, assignments will include pronunciation exercises, review of self-recorded presentations, self-evaluations, and meeting with course assistant three times during the quarter for a review of pronunciation and presentation feedback. The course includes two 30-minute individual tutorials with the instructor.

Course topics: 

By the end of the course, participants are expected to:


IV. Accent Reduction

Prerequisite: Oral Communication

Summer 2016-17:

Thursdays, June 29 - August 3, 2017, 5:00-7:00pm
Register: CLOSED

This class is designed for those whose native language is not English to recognize and practice American English sounds, stress, and intonation patterns in order to improve comprehension and intelligibility. This is accomplished through identification of problem areas, focused practice and recording of exercises for instructor feedback. This course includes two 30-minute individual tutorials with the instructor.

Course topics:

By the end of the course, participants are expected to:

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