Rieko NishidaAssociate Professor, Osaka University
I highly recommend Contemporary Topics. It is a superb multi-media course that engages students’ interests and stimulates their intellectual curiosity with its content and language integration. It facilitates effective and efficient classroom teaching with a variety of individual, pair and group activities which motivate my class of about 50 students and encourage participation while keeping them on their toes. I teach a Practical English Conversation course using Contemporary Topics in the first year at Osaka University and my students love this book.
A typical lesson of mine starts with revising vocabulary related to the unit theme, then moving on to a note-taking activity while watching a video of authentic lectures. This is followed by “Listen for Main Ideas” and “Listen for Details” activities to test their understanding. I give them a vocabulary quiz towards the end of the class. You can also include group discussions and student presentations based on topics from the unit.
One of the things that I like about this series is the flexible scaffolding made possible by the choice of whether or not to use subtitles or “Coaching Tips” to meet different needs and levels of understanding. This is because some students prefer the challenge of not seeing the subtitles while other students do need more support.
There is a range of subject matter available as video lectures in the accompanying DVD including Psychology, Linguistics, Business Administration, Engineering, Science, Biology and Astronomy and these subjects cater to students of the Humanities, Science, Engineering, and Medicine.
Contemporary Topics features college lectures from several academic disciplines, including archaeology, anthropology and economics. Contemporary Topics prepares students for the challenge of college lectures with practice in a wide range of listening, speaking and note-taking skills. The lectures (available on CD and DVD) were recorded in realistic academic settings before live student audiences.
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