English For Academic Purposes — Testimonials

Pearson's English for Academic Purposes

Using Contemporary Topics

Yasutoshi Mori, Professor, School of Sociology, Kwansei Gakuin University

We had a major change in the curriculum for the 2016 enrolment at the School of Sociology, Kwansai Gakuin University. Our mandatory English programmes in the language education module were subject to a systemic reform. We chose Contemporary Topics as the textbook for all 30 classes of freshmen in the Sociology Department from among the vast amount of domestic and foreign titles for five reasons:
  1. One topic per chapter from a range of disciplines including Humanities and Social Sciences, especially Sociology.
  2. The course serves especially well for the purpose of helping our students develop their listening skills as a larger number of them would later study abroad in English speaking countries as part of the Top Global University Project we have adopted at our university.
  3. It consists of four levels which cater to the different proficiency levels of the 650 students we newly enrol each year.
  4. It equips the teachers well with supplementary components such as DVDs, CDs, Teacher’s Pack.
  5. It comes with video materials for students available as streaming
Regarding (1) the curriculum committee decided that the purpose of our English curriculum should have a clear focus on teaching English for academic purpose rather than general English or business English that is needed in corporates after college. In particular, we needed to select a course book with contents which provide background to build a specialist education on, with a view to opening a new course called “Sociology in English” where Sociology is taught in English. Although it’s not be viable at our university to switch the language we use in the entire department to English, we now have a structure where both part-time and full-time lecturers work together towards the objectives set by the department instead of leaving things to each teacher’s discretion as we used to do.

As for (2) and (3), we are aware that the two English classes per week are not enough for our students to improve each of the four skills effectively even though that is generally what English language teaching is about. So in our new English curriculum we have decided to focus more on building listening comprehension skills for students who want to study abroad and rebuilding reading comprehension skills for the others. For higher level students, it is important for us to bring up the level of academic reading skills to match that of students 20 or 30 years ago so that it becomes feasible to teach Sociology in English instead of teaching Sociology and English separately. It may sound like regressive thinking, but it is quite a challenge for a school of Sociology. We need to shift our focus and leave something behind in order to re-establish a system to teach and learn English with academic objectives. I am sure Contemporary Topics with its main focus and selling point – listening comprehension – will be also useful for helping students build their reading comprehension skills and expand their academic knowledge.


Contemporary Topics

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.

Click the links below to request an inspection copy:
Level 1 (4th Edition)
Level 2 (4th Edition)
Level 3 (4th Edition)
Introductory (3rd Edition)