- This course has two main aims: (1) to improve students’ reading, writing, listening, speaking, and vocabulary skills, (2) to familiarize students with controversial issues which will influence next year’s U.S. Presidential election and their effect on American political, social, and economic life.
- 【授業の概要 (course description)】
- Each lesson will examine a single controversial issue. Students will receive weekly reading/writing assignments, listening/speaking exercises & worksheets. They will be expected to work both individually and together in groups. They may be asked to give short presentations during the final class.
1回 Wealth Inequality: students will learn why 1% of the U.S. population controls over 50% of the nation’s wealth and how wealth inequality affects the lives of average Americans.
2回 Immigration: students will learn the history of U.S. Immigration, the role immigrants play in the economy, and the reasons why some Americans support restricting immigration while others do not. They will discuss President Trump’s wall, the imprisonment of people seeking asylum, and the separation of immigrant children from their parents.
3回 National Health Insurance: the USA is the only major country without national health insurance. About 44 million Americans have no insurance at all while 38 million have inadequate insurance. The cost of health insurance has skyrocketed since the 1980s: many people are one sickness or accident away from bankruptcy, while at the same time, pharmaceutical and health insurance companies are making record profits. Students will learn how this happened and how it affects society and the economy.
4回 Gun Control: More Americans were killed by guns in the first 6 months of 2019 than in the 911 Terrorist attacks. Gun ownership is decreasing, but gun purchases are at record highs. In fact, in many places it’s easier to buy guns than painkillers. Students will learn the reasons for this and the arguments both for and against gun control.
5回 Student loan crisis: student loan debt in the USA currently exceed the combined GDP of Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland. On average, students graduate from university over $33,000 in debt and are unable to afford homes, buy cars, or start families. We will examine the reasons for this and its affect on the nation’s economy and society.
6回 Military spending: the USA is the world’s largest arms exporter and spends more on its military than the next ten nations combined. Much of this spending has been targeted towards high tech weapon systems, yet military veterans often receive inadequate health care. Many become homeless. Students will learn the reasons why this is happening and its debilitating affects.
7回 Women’s Rights and Abortion: despite gains made in the 1960s and 70s, American women are still not paid equally as men and suffer from discrimination and violence. The far right has also made a effort to ban abortion, end sex education, and restrict access to birth control. Students will learn why this is happening and what the stakes are.
8回 LGBT Rights and Same-Sex Marriage: The U.S. Supreme Court struck down all state bans on same-sex marriage in 2015, but the Trump administration is seeking to overturn laws granting LGBT people equal rights. Students will learn why this is happening and what the affects are.
9回 Environmental Protection: The Trump administration has been rolling back laws protecting the environment and trying to open up national parklands to oil exploration. Meanwhile, over 100,000 citizens of Flint, Michigan, have been suffering from a contaminated water crisis since 2014. Students will learn why this is happening and about the Green New Deal (GND): an economic stimulus plan designed to address climate change and economic inequality.
10回 Review/Student Presentations
- 【授業の運営方法 (How to manage the class)】
- Class will be conducted exclusively in English, and geared toward active student participation. Students will work individually, in pairs, and in small groups.