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The sentences:

Some of the foundation work for a more just, sustainable future has a very high profile, ringing resonantly in the fine speeches of the world leaders, advocated passionately by the massed groups of environmental and development organizations, amplified with increasing authority by the world's media. Despite the media's tendency to leap from one fashionable cause to the next (from world hunger to AIDS to the environment), it would be narrow-minded to deny their part in increasing environmental awareness. It is easier to be "green" today than ever before.
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Now, what is the topic sentence?

IMO, it's "Some of the foundation work for a more just, sustainable future has a very high profile," (and the conclusion is "It is easier to be "green" today than ever before"). But the problem is, it's not really A COMPLETE SENTENCE: it's part of a complete sentence, followed by participles.

Is it OK to teach my students that part of a sentence can be also called "topic sentence"?
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Comments  (Page 2) 
Certainly not-- because I have no idea what your sentence means. Please re-read my post carefully. The first set of italics is the topic. The second set of italics is the topic sentence.
Ah! So "this" refers to:

Practically speaking, I can imagine that in short paragraphs, the topic could appear in a clause.

, right?
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Hi Taka,

In my original paragraph, here quoted:

"Practically speaking, I can imagine that in short paragraphs, the topic could appear in a clause. After all, the whole paragraph may be only a single sentence. For example, the topic of this paragraph could be taken to be the clause 'the topic could appear in a clause', although if asked to select the 'topic sentence', I would be obliged to choose 'Practically speaking...in a clause'. "

'This' refers to my whole original paragraph.
The italics is the topic sentence.
The bold within the italics is the topic.
As you say "After all, the whole paragraph may be only a SINGLE SENTENCE," and then you say "For example...," I thought "this" referred to the head sentence only...
yes, because if someone says "it just goes to show..." well the first part wouldn't be part of the topic sentence
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