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Commonly-Used English Expressions in the University Classroom

Robert E. Johanson

(Friday, October 26, 2007, 12:20-1 p.m.) Introduction


The purpose of this talk is to familiarize non-native English-speaking instructors with some commonly-used English-language teaching terms for the university classroom. This presentation is divided into the following three sections: 1) a quick introduction to RJs Blackboard and class weblogs; 2) a review of The University of California at Santa Barbaras Useful Phrases for Classroom Communication*; and 3) a few other expressions RJ uses in his teaching here at NTUST. Enjoy and Happy Teaching!

Part I: Blackboard, Weblogs & ESL Websites


1) RJs Blackboard Sites & Class Weblogs Computer Assisted Language Learning (http://computer-assisted-language-learning.blogspot.com/) Johansons Academic Writing (JAW) (http://afl-writing.blogspot.com/) Writing for Academic Publication (http://writing-for-publication.blogspot.com/) 3) Three Useful ESL/EFL Websites a.) Randalls Listening Lab [http://www.esl-lab.com/] b.) Rong-chang.com [http://rong-chang.com/] c.) Purdue University Online Writing Center (OWL) [http://owl.english.purdue.edu/] ____________________________________________________________

Part II: Useful Phrases for Classroom Communication*


Set out below are a series of useful expressions that have been adapted from the UCSB teaching assistant handbook*. Please refer to the handbook, itself, for a more in-depth coverage of these topics.
[Note: To save paper, I have collapsed some of the phrases together and connect them with back-slashes (/).]

Introducing a Topic What we are going to cover today is... / First of all, I would like to talk about... Today, I am going to talk about / What I want to do today is... The important point I want to make today is... / Today's topic is... Making Transitions Between Ideas
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Now, let's see what happens. / The second point I want to make is... If that's clear, we will go on to the next point. / Let's get back to the idea of... Now, let's approach the problem in a different way. I'd like to finish talking about... before we move on. Summarizing and Concluding In summary... / To conclude... / In conclusion... / The conclusions we can draw from this are... What we have been talking about... /Okay, we have discussed... So far (up until now), I have been trying to show you... The important points to remember are... Inviting Participation or Discussion Who would like to say something? /Do you agree...? / Could you say a little more about that? Can you elaborate on that? / What do you think...? / How do you feel...? What comparison can you make between...? What is the point made by the author of this article? Clarifying Student Comments In other words... / If I understand you correctly, you mean... What you said is... / What this means is that... I think I understand what you mean. Let me put it another way. Would you like to elaborate on this point? / This brings us to our major question... Could you restate your point? / I'm not sure I understand. Giving Examples For example... / Take...., for example. / To be more specific.... Let me give you an example... / For instance.../ ____________________________________________________________

Part III: Some Common English Phrases in RJs Classes


Attendance/Taking Roll-call Whos absent today? / Time to take role. Present / Not Present / Anyone M.I.A.? (missing in action) Whos gone A.W.O.L.? (absent without leave) Late-Tardiness Youre late. The doors will be locked ten minutes into the period.
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Tardiness reflects a lack of respect for your teacher. Two lates equals an absence. *Dont worry: Better late than never, right? *Dont tell me, you were born late, too, right? *Youre not late, youre just early for next week, right? Class Rules/Regulations Please raise your hand if you have something to say. No sleeping in class. (You snooze, you lose.) Please put your cell phones on silent mode. Please dont talk when Im talking. See me after class. No eating in class. *Im talking to you not talking at you. *And what was your advisors name, again? * Your new English name is Chucky! [Tai-gi: Chut-ki] Homework Do vs. Due Due next week. Vs. Do next week. Example Sentence: Due next week in class. Grades & Test Performance Final Examination = Mid-Term = Test = Quiz =Pop Quiz = Learning Check G.P.A. = Grade Point Average I want to know what you know, not know what you dont know. To ace a test. (do well) - To bomb a test. (fail) - Goose egg. (zero) Ill definitely be seeing you next semester!
(I dont want to beat a dead horse here, so Ill conclude this lesson )

Conclusion This presentation introduced you to some common English-language phrases used in the university classroom. For a more balanced perspective on this matter, be sure to check with more other qualified and experienced teachers on this matter, as well. rj *Source for Part II:
Ronkowski, S. (1999). The International Teaching Assistant Handbook: An Introduction to University and College Teaching in the United States. Santa Barbara, CA: Regents of the University of California. Uploaded October 22, 2007; http://www.id.ucsb.edu/IC/TA/main.htm.

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