R. porras soriano, J. lozano, V. ávila, . et.al
Technical communication is an extremely important soft skill for civil engineers at the workplace. Due to globalization trends this technical communication often should be performed in English. If we join the fact that undergraduate engineering programs in Spain have been taught exclusively in Spanish, with which in addition, in rare cases those programs provide intentionally placed discipline-specific technical communication experiences, this all amounts to a major problem, regarded as an obstacle that limit undergraduates’ opportunities to work abroad. Aware of this problem, some schools provide their students with a brief course on “Technical English”. However, this course does not cover all the skills that the student would need in the labour market, such as speaking and listening abilities.
This paper promotes an innovative teaching methodology that allows Spanish Civil Engineering students to hone English communication skills through “Lunch&Movies” sessions. In each session a documentary about technical Civil Engineering topics is shown. After the screening, students work in small inter-cohort groups with a guiding lecturer. These groups debate on different questions related to the video, encouraging participation, and fostering their self-confidence to talk about technical English topics in public. Different surveys were developed to demonstrate the students’ interest in learning technical English, and to evaluate the benefit for the attendees and their achievements. The results show that the students are conscious of the importance of technical English for their future careers, and most of them improved their initial level as the sessions progressed and they gained confidence in the foreign language. Also, through a pilot subject in English, it was demonstrated that the participants of the “Lunch&Movies” sessions obtained better oral qualifications than those who did not participate. In fact, the overall results indicated that Lunch & Movie sessions can improve students' technical oral skills as well as their own perceptions of their abilities.
Published on 02/11/20
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license
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