Teach English in Quanlin Zhen - Jining Shi

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Introduction: English for Specific Purposes, or ESP, is the methodology of teaching English for professionals in various fields, focusing on types of expressions, vocabulary, standard and formal structures that will be used most of all in a specific field, etc. The most common ESP is Business English; there are also e.g. English for law, English for medical purposes, English for tourism, and English for engineers, etc. As the business world continues to become a close-knit global community, people around the world will learn English in a professional capacity. Business English is not a monolithic entity. There are many variations, types, and specializations of Business English. The specific purpose of this essay is discussion about American English required for Information Technology (IT) personnel who come to USA on job assignments from India. This essay is based upon my personal experiences in dealing with these IT people in various projects. Background: It is a well known fact that India is the largest exporter of IT professionals to the USA. These IT professionals work on various types of projects at the company sites as well as client sites. In my last 15 years of service as a senior manager in large IT companies in USA, I had many opportunities to interview, talk to, and work with the IT professionals from India. Though English is a mandatory subject for all Engineering and Technology students in India, many of the IT professionals do not possess good knowledge of English. I have observed the following problems regarding English communicative skills of these IT professionals. 1. Accent and Pronunciation: This was one of the major problems that US Managers faced in dealing with IT Professionals from India. The American English is definitely different from the English that is taught and spoken in India. Pronunciation and phonology were never given much consideration during the school English lessons. There are many variations of English accent spoken in India influenced by local native language. A person from northern parts of India will speak English with an accent heavily based upon local language Hindi as opposed to a person from a south Indian province whose accent will be dominated by the local language of that province. Moreover, I found that these people from spoke very fast without any tonal considerations. 2. Listening and Comprehension: While communicating with these IT professionals, I had great difficulty in determining whether they have really understood what I am saying. One of the reasons for this is the social and cultural background. People in India think that if a person says that he has not understood, others may consider of this person as incapable or unfit. This resulted in wasted time and rework in the project. 3. Writing and Presentation: The formal writing was acceptable and satisfactory though they had to learn many new words which are commonly used in American English. Another writing problem has cropped up because of smart phones and texting. In order to keep the message length as minimum as possible, a new English script of text messaging has evolved. For example, “How are you?” will be written as “how r u”. This short cut culture has crept into formal emails and written communications in India. I found this was very annoying and unprofessional. Effects of Communicative Problems: The lack of English communicative skills had major effect on the projects, US employers, as well as Indian IT professionals. These communications problems caused project delays on many occasions because of errors and rework. It also created resentment in the US based employees that their employment is being taken away by cheap Indian labor force. Indian IT professionals also suffered because their work was never appreciated enough. They deemed themselves as failures. Many of these problems could have been easily avoided if the Indian companies trained these IT professionals in enhancing their receptive and productive skills and taught them pronunciation and phonology of American English. Motivation for the Solution: I am a retired IT professional after successfully working in the US for 37 years. This is the best time for me to do some useful volunteer work. One of my objectives of studying this TEFL course is to go back to India and help IT professionals to improve their English communicative skills. I would like to build a curriculum that teaches communication skills in American English. The driving force behind it is that more than 60 percent of Indian IT professionals who are posted on foreign project assignment come to the USA. This course has provided me lot of insights in the teaching the English language. I would like to take full advantage of my recently acquired knowledge and the past work experience in designing the curriculum. Course Outline: This course will be based upon the Engage, Study, and Activate (ESA) methodology. Each lesson within this course will be taught using the ESA methodology. It is a major task that will take some time, but tentative outline of the course plan is described below. These lessons will be designed to address students’ needs and maximize student talk time. They will be flexible such that they can be modified and improved as the time progresses based upon reviews, course evaluations, and constructive suggestions. This course will provide a positive guidance to the students to confidently communicate in a new language environment and become successful professionals. Objective: To improve communicative American English skills for IT Professionals Learner Objective: The student should feel more confident in communicating using American English Duration: 2 weeks (10 working days). Two hours each day with 15 min break Class Size: Maximum 10, Minimum 2 Sequence of Lessons: 1. Introduction a. Warm-up Activities b. Need Analysis 2. Review of Grammar 3. Development of Receptive Skills a. Listening Skills b. Reading Skills 4. Development of Comprehension Skills a. Text Comprehension Skills b. Oral Comprehension Skills 5. Development of Productive Skills a. Writing Skills b. Speaking Skills 6. Pronunciation and Phonology a. American English Vocabulary b. Everyday Conversations c. American Accent 7. Technology based language improvement a. Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) b. Online resources 8. Student Presentations 9. Review, Evaluation, and Conclusion Course Implementation Plan: There are two major tasks in this effort: the development of the detailed course lessons, and the implementation logistics planning. Both these tasks can be performed concurrently but both have to be completed before the actual implementation. The knowledge acquired during this course will be very helpful in developing the course details. The implementation logistics planning is much different from the teaching aspect. My work experience, contacts, and resources will be extremely helpful in developing the implementation plan and the actual implementation of the course. Conclusion: This is an ambitious project. There are many organizations in India that teach Business English. But, my focus here is to teach English for a special purpose. With my IT business experience and the knowledge about teaching English as foreign language, I will be able to help IT professionals to be successful in their project assignments in the USA.