Graham Law, SILS, Waseda University, Fall Term 2022

First Year Seminar B (Class 51/57)

*** This semester, with most overseas students able to get a visa and come to Tokyo, I hope to be able to hold most class sessions face-to-face on campus. However, even if only a single registered student is not in town, there will also be a Zoom link (available on Moodle) so that all members can participate wherever they are.  But, of course, we may have to go back entirely to online sessions if the Covid situation deteriorates. With the exception of the two fantasy novels which we will read together (regarding which please consult the Moodle class page), all course materials can be downloaded from the links below.***

(1) Outline:

The theme of this seminar is "British Children's Fantasy Fiction." The main aim is to encourage students to read two complete novels during the course. These will be quite lengthy works but the language encountered will be relatively simple. Class work will be based on exercises to improve reading comprehension and to promote discussion of the cultural and moral issues raised by the stories. The nature of Christianity is one of the key themes raised in the novels read this term. Where appropriate, versions of the stories in other media (for example, TV and film dramatizations) will be made available, to promote thinking about the nature of literary form.

At the same time, the course will provide an opportunity to develop the basic academic skills that you will need in your studies at Waseda. These include:
a) how to find and use the appropriate study materials, whether in the library or on the web;
b) how to present your findings and ideas effectively, whether orally or in writing.
A special session between the reading of the two novels will focus specifically on these activities.

This class will be especially suitable for students of INTERMEDIATE ENGLISH ability, who wish to broaden their VOCABULARY and increase their READING SPEED, or for those who already have some fluency in speaking but need to strengthen their reading and analytical skills.

(2) Texts & Schedule:

You must obtain copies of the following two books, which are available from both the Co-op Book Center on campus and from Amazon:
        C.S. Lewis The Magician's Nephew (1955)
        Philip Pullman Northern Lights (1995)
If you have difficulty obtaining the books, please consult the instructor or the "Online Study Instructions" file.

W1 [9/29]
: Introductory session

Discussion Questions

Presentation Files

W2 [10/7]

The Magician's Nephew, chs 1-3                   


"G. Law Model Presentation" 

W3 [10/14]

chs 4-7           


W4 [10/21]

chs 8-11         


W5 [10/28]

chs 12-15       


W6 [11/11]: Focus on Academic Skills: Finding Information (Library and Web Resources Quiz) & Presenting Ideas (Oral & Written)

W7 [11/18]

Northern Lights (alt. title, The Golden Compass) chs 1-3



W8 [11/25]

chs 4-6


W9 [12/2]

chs 7-9


W10 [12/9]

chs 10-13


W11 [12/16]

chs 14-17


W12 [12/23]

chs 18-20


W13 [1/13]

chs 21-23


W14 [1/20]: Course Overview: Discussion Questions on both novels         Instructor article on the "His Dark Materials" trilogy

W15 [1/27]: Final submission/Individual consultation

Click on the links above for the DISCUSSION QUESTIONS etc. for each session (in Adobe PDF format)

(3) Requirements:
Please complete the reading assignment regularly each week, come to the class on time, and try to use English all the time when communicating with the instructor or with your fellow student
In addition to regular attendance and active participation, each students will be required to give a short presentation and produce story summaries and writing assignments totaling around 1,500 words. Grades will reflect attendance and class participation, as well as the fulfillment of formal presentation and writing assignments.

Click here for details of the PRESENTATION SCHEDULE (Class 57
, period 1) / PRESENTATION SCHEDULE (Class 51, period 2)
Click here for details of the 

(4) Contact
Office Hours: Tue 3 / Thur 3
Office No: 11-1455

Copyright (C) Graham Law, 2004-22. All rights reserved.
First drafted: Mon 29 Mar 2004.
Last revised: Wed 20 Jul 2022.

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