Oral English Skills Advanced Level

Welcome, ESL Students and Teachers


The aim of this course is to improve students' fluency in speaking, to develop reading skills, and to expand active vocabulary.

The course focuses on the topics which are included into the Course Outline. It covers issues related to the origins of Western culture, Western ways of communication, present-day Western etiquette, Western thinking, modern Western cultural values and traditions. 

Each student must fulfill the following requirements of the course.

1. Take lecture notes and actively participate in discussions on various topics by asking questions and giving short one-minute presentations or giving comments on different issues. 

2. Prepare at least one oral presentation during the semester. Handouts, PowerPoint, overhead projector or other devices can be used but you are not allowed to read from a paper or from a computer. The presentation should last about fifteen minutes, and about five to ten minutes should be devoted to questions-answers and discussions. The presentation will be assessed out of 20 points. An outline of the presentation must be handed in to the teacher in advance. The outline must be printed on one page (A4 size page) and must contain your student number, your name in English and in Chinese (written on top of the A4 size paper), title of the topic, and the basic points of your presentation. The font size should be Arial 9 (the same size as the size of this text). Please click here if you want to see a sample of an outline. Your oral presentation must meet the following requirements:

  1) You must plan in advance WHAT to say and HOW to say. A forceful speech must be thought out beforehand. Write it at home but never read it in class.
  2) Keep it simple. Resist the temptation to cram into a speech as many points as possible. Your audience will not be able to remember them all. Speak clearly and slowly. Do not hurry.

3. Use visual means if possible (PowerPoint, overhead projector, handouts, etc.).

4. Take command. Show your audience who is holding the floor and deserve full attention. The speaker who tries to do the job sitting down abdicates authority. You must come out into the open. The audience wants to see as much of you as possible. They will then feel that you are confiding in them.

5. Relax. Even an experienced orator such as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, admits: I feel nervous on every occasion I have to speak. But never let stage fright show. An audience feels sorry for a panic-stricken speaker to begin with; then listeners lose patience and interest. If you are too nervous, try to forget that it is you who is about to speak. Pretend it is someone else, e.g. a speaker you admire.

6. Stand confidently in front of the audience. The most frequent question I get from students is What shall I do with my hands? Take a pencil or a book and keep in your hand. Be friendly. Audiences are warm to amiable, happy-looking speakers. Begin with a smile. It switches on your audience, arouses their interest. 

7. Watch your timing. Audiences never forgive speakers who overrun and keep them from lunch. Twenty minutes is about the maximum time for your speech. If you cannot see a clock face, twist your watch round to the underside of your wrist for discreet time-checks. There is a Latin proverb for the best possible advice on timing: Praestate dicete et tacete (=Stand up, speak up and shut up).

8. Please note that you will not find in the textbook all the topics that are included into the Course Outline. You will often need to do some research and find additional information in the Internet, books, textbooks, magazines, newspapers and other resources.

9. You must write an outline of your speech but NEVER READ it in front of the class. In the navigation bar you will find websites which will help you to prepare your presentation topics.

10. Attend all classes regularly. If a student misses more than four classes without a clear reason s/he will not be allowed to continue the course without a special permission from the Dean.

11. Attend examination. Cheating at examination is not tolerated and students who are caught by invigilators during the examination will be automatically failed.

12. The Course Outline is the main document and the topics which are written in the Course Outline must be discussed in class. Each student should study the textbook and other learning materials as required according to the course outline, and prepare for classroom discussions. While preparing at home, use online dictionaries.

13. Assessment consists of
   1) attendance - 10 points (this means that you will be automatically awarded 10 points if you do not miss any classes)
   2) participation in class discussions - 10 points (if you actively participate in discussions, ask questions and express your ideas in class)
   3) oral presentation - 20 points
   4) examination - 60 points.

14. Questions or suggestions related to the above can be answered by your tutor. A student who approaches the tutor by e-mail must write their student ID number, name and the course section number. Anonymous e-mails will not be replied.

15. Each student is expected to study the Course Outline and all required materials - websites and textbooks.


The link below is for English teachers and TEFL students