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PROFESSIONALLY ORIENTED STUDYING OF ENGLISH IN TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY




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In recent times of development of science and technology, foreign language skills are obligatory for any specialist. According to State Educational Standard, graduates are to be able to develop cross-cultural and manufacturing communications, take part in international scientific conferences, successfully research other specialists experience in specific areas of science and engineering, and be in contact with other specialists.  Studying at the university is to provide main skills in communication activity and to teach students methods of self-studying of foreign languages when graduating from the University.

Modern requirements imposed on professional training of a graduate of a technical University are exceptionally high but reasonable.

There are some issues connected with teaching of foreign languages in the technical university, namely National Research Institute SSAU (Samara State Aerospace University).  One of them is the fact that lecturers of foreign languages department teaching students of different specializations are to have a lot of knowledge in a wide range of sciences.

Another issue is the fact that entrance examination in English is not required in SSAU. As a result, some first year students have very low level of English proficiency and a student group includes students having different level of educational background.

Foreign languages department of SSAU is very experienced in working with students studying technical sciences. Our task is to train qualified specialists able to:

  • read and translate authentic specific texts without a dictionary;
  • extract information from the text to use it in practice;
  • make  abstracts and summaries of texts read in English;
  • translate specific texts from English into Russian using a dictionary;
  • understand spoken language in English;
  • take part in conversations, discussions concerning their specializations [2, p. 32].

This means that the student is to acquire specific language that is to study features of learned prose language: vocabulary, word formation, grammar of specific technical area.

It seems to us that it is possible to teach students this specific English for a limited training period combining conventional and innovative methods focusing on communicative tasks when teaching and organizing tutorial materials and textbooks. .

To implement this, foreign languages department of SSAU developed the textbook according to the requirements of steering document for the first year students specializing in aircraft design in English. This course is profession-oriented and communicative.

Within a framework of this course, students ate trained specific language. First, it means that they collect at the basis of general English vocabulary and grammar a lot of specific terminology.  Next, they master grammar features that characterize academic language. Moreover, student’s attention is focused on features of specialization they study. Then, it is necessary to train students to principle of structuring of academic speaking. Special attention is given to the tasks dealing with understanding of text titles, selection of key words and recognition of definitions. Students are to acquire skills of working with information sources – to determine main idea of the text, logical structure of academic speech, to get various information and to activate these skills in spoken practice.

This course includes authentic texts according to professional subject matter. Each text focuses on one of professionally significant topic.

First (preparatory) units meet students with the history of aviation development and the most famous people in aircraft and spacecraft designing. They are also met with the fundamental principles of specialization. Basic vocabulary is formed at this stage. The following units deal with the main airplane components, their design features and functions. Each unit is provided with pictures and schemes.

Texts on each topic are accompanied by pre-text and post-text exercises. Their purpose is to develop translating skills, to activate information search skills required when working with information sources and to improve speaking skills on professional topics.

All the tasks are divided into the following sections:

— Preparing to Read.

  • Comprehension Check.
  • Vocabulary Focus.
  • Focus on Writing.
  • Speaking.

Section Preparing to Read focuses students’ attention on a topic of the unit involving them in prediction process, encouraging them to remark on the topic using background knowledge

Tasks of Reading section facilitate preparing of students to reading, understanding and translating of authentic texts on aircraft designing.   Accumulated vocabulary allows them to improve skills of different kinds of reading including skim reading that is the most common when working with information sources.

Comprehension Check. Exercises of this section promote them more thorough understanding of texts and direct students to formulation of meaningful statements in oral or written form (from prepared to unprepared saying).

Encouraged spoken language is provided with questions to the texts that concern text content and a number of various post-text exercises.

Section Vocabulary Focus provides materials for active and passive acquirement of specific vocabulary. There are a lot of lexico-grammatical exercises (word formation, grammar structures typical for technical language, search of synonyms, opposites, terminological counterparts, etc.) These various training exercises have the purpose to train language material. As a result, students are to operate fluently phonetic and vocabulary material. Multiple task-oriented repetition of foreign words and word combinations focused on engineering English can be found in these exercises.

Focus on Writing. Developing exercises for this section the author takes into consideration language skills that will be required in students’ future professional life and those that are required most of all [1,p.4].  Such motivation makes student’s work more effective.

This section provides tasks on written translation of authentic texts. Some units have tasks to write a role letter to develop writing skills. This kind of exercises can be suggested for self-guided work and the following checking them in class.

Speaking. This section includes some exercises developing reproductive skills. Purpose of the exercises from the section is to stimulate creative activity of students, engaging them is using acquired knowledge in speaking activity. These exercises include role and business plays. Role or business plays like no others encourage students in studying activity.  They facilitate mastering knowledge and skills and promote their actualization.  Training exercise-plays help reinforce, control and correct knowledge, skills and abilities. They create training and educational apparency when studying material.   Internet websites are recommended to use when preparing for a lesson and as an additional source of information. Periodical publications, promotion leaflets, articles from newspapers and magazines, samples of technical documentations in English can also be used.  Extensive use of role and business plays along with using study aids provides optimization of teaching and learning process.

Each section includes exercises for home task that make provision for refreshing and reinforcing of learned materials at the lessons.  Among these tasks, provision is made for creative tasks on preparing materials for presentations on a given topic and prepared plays for the next lesson.

English-Russian dictionary of aviation terms is given in the textbook. This dictionary is to help students work with special literature dealing with aircraft designing and manufacturing.

In conclusion, it can be said that in spite of insufficient number of classes for the foreign language it is possible to reach required professional level of graduates of SSAU. Clear drilling of materials at the lessons, combination of conventional and innovative methods of teaching, concerted efforts of teaching staff result in this purpose.

Mentioned textbook was tested at Space Engineering Institute of National Research Institute Samara State Aerospace University named by S.P. Korolyov.

References:

  1. http://cyberleninka.ru/article/n/obuchenie-professionalno-orientirovannomu-delovomu-inoyazychnomu-obscheniyu-v-tehnicheskom-vuze
  2. Khalilova L.A, Kovshova L.S.,Kalyamova L.A., Shavrina M.E. Foreign language: academic programme.M.: RSUH, 1998. —
    PROFESSIONALLY ORIENTED STUDYING OF ENGLISH IN TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY
    This article provides information on experience of teaching English students specializing in aircraft designing. Main types of exercises training different skills are described in the article. The author emphasizes significance of teaching specific language, as it is an obligatory requirement for future engineers.
    Written by: Salmanova Olga
    Published by: БАСАРАНОВИЧ ЕКАТЕРИНА
    Date Published: 12/28/2016
    Edition: euroasia-science.ru_26-27.02.2016_2(23)
    Available in: Ebook