English 10A, Speaking and Listening for Academic Purposes, is the fourth and finalskills-focused course of the Intermediate-Advanced Cycle in the Academic Purposes Support Program (AESP). This course is designed to help students improve their receptive (listening) and productive (speaking) language skills by developing key communication sub-skills and strategies important for speaking and listening tasks such as presentations/talks, and lectures in their academic field. The course focuses on several key aspects of planned public presentations, and students will perform speaking tasks in different genres relevant to oral communication in academia (formal spoken presentations, and a speech to inform on an academic topic). In addition, students will participate in listening activities and tasks designed to complement their public spoken presentations. This course places special emphasis on learning a range of speaking and listening skills and strategies, such as identifying the main ideas of a talk, note-taking techniques, developing confidence and spoken fluency, establishing a connection with the audience, , as well as the importance of designing effective visual aids, organization and clarity of language when expressing ideas in an academic context.
The course is also based on the idea that being a strong public speaker requires focused practice, so ‘learning by doing’ is emphasized. In sum, students completing this course display improved clarity, fluency and precision in planned talks. Public speaking skills are enhanced due to improvements in organization, concision and confidence, leading students to realize that it is not only what one says, but how one says it. This concept is emphasized not only with respect to the aforementioned techniques but through related academic readings on linguistics and critical discussion about sociocultural themes surrounding language learning and use.