Academic journal article IUP Journal of Soft Skills

The Role of Pedagogical Intervention in Improving the Oral Proficiency of Engineering Students

Academic journal article IUP Journal of Soft Skills

The Role of Pedagogical Intervention in Improving the Oral Proficiency of Engineering Students

Article excerpt

Introduction

In the present era, spoken proficiency in English is one of the most important challenges to survive and excel in any field. The role of English is very crucial in today's world as it is "needed for mobility and social and economic advancement; it is the language of opportunities because it takes one outside one's own communities to places (within or outside India) where more opportunities are available for professional and economic growth" (Krishnaswamy and Sriram, 1994, p. 50). It has become the vital element in determining one's employability quotient. The English spoken proficiency development is of utmost importance in the present scenario with an objective to get the aspirants employed successfully in the engineering sector. The oral proficiency in English is required for engineers to make presentations, conduct meetings, give instructions, and participate in discussions at his/her workplace environment. Basically, most of the students have studied English for approximately 12 years before entering the tertiary level; nevertheless, they lack spoken proficiency in English. In most of the schools, English is taught as a subject rather than a language and the outcome of language learning is tested only through writing. As the learners do not have confidence in constructing their own sentences in English, they memorize the content from their textbook or teacher's notes and write their examinations. So many students entering engineering colleges have little training in speaking skills despite years of learning English during school. More emphasis could be laid on improving the spoken proficiency of students within the curriculum at the tertiary level as the primary objective for any higher learning institutions is to produce employable graduates. Clement and Murugavel (2015) argue, "Mere changes in the syllabus will not be able to bring in desired changes unless the English teachers are motivated to enhance their teaching methodologies to bridge the gap between the college and the workplace" (p. 123). The researcher of the present study is also an English teacher working in a self-financing engineering institution, where the study has been executed to improve the speaking skills of the engineering students for their academic excellence and career prospects. The researcher in this study plays a crucial role in developing the speaking proficiency of the learners using Oral Communicative Tasks (OCT). The objective of OCT is to enable the students to think and generate sentences on their own. The OCT facilitate the teachers to use varied motivational strategies to develop the speaking skills of the students. It is expected that the outcome of the study would enhance the development of the participants' speaking performance and also provide more insights for teachers to intervene into alternative activities to develop speaking skills for English as a second language learners in the engineering context.

Need of the Study

In universities, engineering curriculum includes papers on Technical English-I and II for the students in the first and second semesters. The objective of the two papers is to develop the students' basic communication skills in English with reference to the development of speaking skills. The expected outcome is stated as follows: to enable the learners to speak clearly, confidently, comprehensibly, and communicate with others using appropriate communicative strategies. In Technical English classes, the engineering students are seldom given opportunities to practice speaking. Most of the engineering classes are predominantly engaged in writing tasks based on grammar, as their syllabus and final examination are oriented towards the target of grammar-based syllabus. Spoken proficiency is not tested as a part of assessment in their internals as well as end semester examination. Most of the teachers skip the oral activities prescribed in the curriculum as their inclination is to make the students score pass marks in the end semester examination. …

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