Albert's Engineering students' needs analysis task, (see his posting), where his students went out and visited an IT company to talk to company employees to find out exactly what its employees used English for, is an excellent example of a real-world task with an outcome that is both useful and sharable with others.

Albert's Engineering students' needs analysis task, (see his posting), where his students went out and visited an IT company to talk to company employees to find out exactly what its employees used English for, is an excellent example of a real-world task with an outcome that is both useful and sharable with others. The students were able to make recommendations to their teacher about what to include in their course. So it gives them a feeling of empowerment and this should raise individual motivation. This was quite a complex task and since it could have so many different stages I would call it a project. Here is the project outline - divided into separate tasks. 1. identify company and arrange a time to visit to explain the goals of the project and to set up interviews with company employers, asking permission to record them. (Admin task) Make notes of main points agreed and send letter of confirmation to the company. 2. Carry out the interviews and take notes of main points 3 Listen to recordings of interviews; discuss and analyse findings, transcribe relevant extracts. 4 Plan first Draft of report including data from interviews; pass this around for comments and editing 5 Plan a 'launch' for the report and invite relevant people: teachers, head of department, a rep from the company, other classes of students 6 Write up final report for 'publication' / display on the 'launch' day and plan how to present it (Power point ?) - divide it up and share out the sections to be presented orally by different students 7 The launch event itself - with recommendations for future action and question time and summing up time 8 Write a letter of thanks to the company who took part and enclose a copy of the report. 9 Discuss and write an action plan to ensure the recommendations can be put into practice. Put this (and teh report) on to the web-site of the institution. 10 Evaluation and feed-back   So a ten task project and it occurred to me this can be done by ANY students anywhere. Whatever their field. Even for EAP.   Comments please! jane Jane's blog is now closed - see our Guest Writer's page to find out who our current blogger is.

Comments

Jane,

Thank you very much for expanding my project to a ten-task project.  It will be quite interesting and beneficial to the students if they have time to complete the ten tasks.  I'll fieldtest the project and let you know the outcome.

Critical thinking is considered one of the most important skills for engineers.  I'd like to get your views on incorporating it into the English language course.  Could you  suggest one or two tasks to develop students' critical thinking skills?

Albert P'Rayan

Email: rayanal@yahoo.co.uk

Mobile:  +91 988438

Albert - I am not an expert on critical thinking.

All I can suggest is that if you want to encourage engineering students to think critically, make sure they do tasks that require some evaluation.  For example, put them in groups of 3 or 4, give them an engineering problem that they know something about and let each group suggest two solutions and outline the advantages and disadvantages of each solution. They then read or hear each others', and evaluate which solution would be the most cost effective / easiest to construct / longest lasting / best for the people concerned  etc  in a particular context/situation. 

If I were you  I'd find an expert on critical thinking!

cheers, Jane 

Jane

Thank you for suggesting a task to improve students' problem-solving skills.

My students have group discussion sessions every week and I give them controversial (debatable) topics.  Such topics promote heated discussion and at the same time enable them to develop their creative and critical thinking skills.

I have incorporated creative and critical thinking skills into the Engineering English course and the experiments have been very successful. 

Based on such experiments, I have designed a course entitled "Engineering Communication: An Integrated Skills Approach"   Some components of the course are:

1.  Oral Presentation : A Process Approach

2.  Group Discusssion: Looking through the Glasses of Recruiters

3.  Interviews : A Soft skills Approach

4.  Reports : A Project-based Approach

I have piloted the above components with engineering students and the outcome is very encouraging.   It is mainly task-based learning and teaching.

 

Albert P'Rayan

Email: rayanal@yahoo.co.uk