English course

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SISSA sponsored courses

Every year - next to be held in autumn, 2012 - SISSA organizes an English course in order to help students improve their ability to speak correctly. The course is focused mainly on talking abilities but before the beginning of the course students' suggestions about the contents of the course are welcomed.

Fall 2012-2013 courses

There will be three classes: intermediate, upper intermediate and 'academic writing and seminar presentation' (advanced level). The intermediate and upper intermediate courses will be focused on reviewing grammar. The advanced level is addressed to third and fourth year students, while the other ones are for whoever is willing to enrol on. The attendance for all of these courses is free of charge for SISSA people.

Each participant will be required to take an entry test to assess his starting level. Students will be divided according to their performance in different classes.

Each class will consist of two 1h1/2 lessons a week, which will be scheduled after 5pm. The classes should start by the end of November and last 45 hours.

There are 40 positions both for the Intermediate and the Upper Intermediate level, and 20 for the Advanced one. Please note that the lessons are addressed to PhD students of SISSA and are free of charge. Applications by other people (master students, postgraduate fellows...) will be accepted in time order up to depletion of the available positions.

In order to apply, please follow this link and fill in the form. ('Campo obbligatorio' means 'Required')

Please note that attendance might be compulsory for some PhD curricula.

Advanced course

The course will equip you with some general skills for writing and presenting academic papers as well as focusing on your own specific questions and examples. Each student will be required to work on a written paper and seminar presentation (also one you are already preparing for another course, journal or conference). Here the emphasis will be not so much on accuracy of content or indeed the originality of your research (we will leave that to your tutors and peers) but on how well you have communicated - in appropriate, clear, persuasive and accurate English.

In academic writing, we’ll make sure you are comfortable with the fundamentals of English writing such as punctuation, grammar and vocabulary as well as working on style and appropriateness. Most importantly you will get lots of help in structuring your paper and making it cohesive. You’ll become familiar with useful English phrases for comparing and contrasting, generalising and qualifying, and for interpreting data. You’ll learn how to develop a persuasive argument in English, how to vary the length and syntax of sentences, and how to draw conclusions.

For the presentation skills, we’ll be looking at how to prepare and deliver a talk. This will include the preparation and confident use of relevant handouts and visual aids. We’ll learn to formulate thought-provoking questions (and practise their correct pronunciation and intonation). Most importantly you will get lots of practice and support in a non-threatening environment so that you gain confidence and are able to speak clearly and persuasively.

You’ll also get some helpful pointers in how to participate fully in seminars even when you are not presenting – when is it okay to interrupt another speaker, and how do you get people to listen to what you’re saying?

While the two areas – written papers and oral presentations - will generally be taught in two separate 90 minute sessions, there will be space to discuss the important differences between the oral and written forms. For example, the introduction to a written academic paper requires quite different language and preparation from the opening to a spoken presentation.

For further information, please write to .

Other courses

One can also follow courses at the Università Popolare that is located in Piazza Del Ponterosso n.6. For these ones you have to pay a fair amount (around 120-130 euros for per course.)