BA in English Language and Literature
School of Foreign Languages and Cultures
Southwest University of Science and Technology
Selective Reading of British and American Newspapers (2012)
Aims of This Course
This course has been a traditional course in the curriculum for English majors in China. One of the underpinning ideas for its enduring presence in the curriculum is the belief that putting learners into touch with “original” news texts found in Western newspapers would (A) enrich language input in learning, which, at least theoretically, could maximize the chance of successful language learning; and (B) provide a chance for learners to “learn about” cultures shaping the news texts. Thus, this course has traditionally been regarded as a course that prepares learners for further development in language and intercultural communication skills. However, this skill orientated positioning of the course is not congruent to current understanding of university education. If university courses like this only focus on language and communication skills, then what is the core competency of graduates? How do they distinguish themselves from trainees in non-university institutions? What is their distinct competitive advantage compared with an experienced practitioner? As an attempt to answer these questions, this course is designed around the assumption that ‘thinking’ is the core competency of the graduate, more specifically, ‘applied critique’. Applied critique is knowledge that stands the test of time by providing the generic skill to evaluate any particular problem, technique, fad or common-sense solution that comes over the horizon, whether at home, at work or in a community. Graduation means developing this competency to critique tomorrow’s problems constructively. Thus, courses for undergraduates need to be designed help with this task. With these considerations in mind, the aims of this course include: (A) learn about the structure and use of English...
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