Teaching Managerial Communication to ESL and Native-Speaker Undergraduates

By Curry, Mary Jane | Business Communication Quarterly, March 1996 | Go to article overview

Teaching Managerial Communication to ESL and Native-Speaker Undergraduates


Curry, Mary Jane, Business Communication Quarterly


To succeed in the university and the work world, undergraduate management students need to learn both analytic and communication skills. These skills include analyzing a body of information, separating opinion from fact, reaching conclusions about the data, formulating recommendations, and communicating these conclusions and recommendations effectively and efficiently to a particular audience. Teaching these skills engages students on a variety of intellectual levels, from simply summarizing information to reasoning independently after grappling with difficult textual information.

Although communication instructors have long recognized the need for such skills, in recent years other disciplines in business and management have acknowledged their importance as well. For example, the Uniform CPA exam now tests candidates' writing ability, which "sends a message that the ability to communicate in writing is critical to the accounting profession" (Blum & Ferrara, 1994, p. 16). As North American universities enroll increasingly more nonnative speakers of English and working-class native-English speakers, students may arrive in university classrooms with varying degrees of preparation to confront the challenges of analysis and communication. Communication instructors can help students work at a level that goes deeper than rote learning and formulaic writing by supplementing or replacing traditional methods of teaching managerial communication with methods and strategies from other disciplines.

The techniques and strategies used to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) have much to offer. In particular, the methodology I discuss below is rooted in a learner-centered approach that seeks to find or create shared ground between students' knowledge and experience and the course material and requirements, "because learning only occurs when prior knowledge is accessed and linked to new information" (Bartolome, 1994, p. 182).

This paper results from my experiences in teaching and tutoring undergraduate students in Managerial Analysis and Communication (MAC 299), a required course in the College of Management at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. The nontraditional population at this urban commuter institution consists of older students (average age of 29) who often work full time, have families, and may have been away from the academic setting for a considerable time. Both nonnative and native English-speaking students tend to be first-generation college students. UMass/Boston's nontraditional students have much in common with English as a Second Language or nonnative speakers of English. Generally UMass/Boston attracts more immigrant than "foreign" students, so most students are proficient in English before coming to study in the United States.

With an M.A. in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), I was hired to teach MAC 299 specifically because the Marketing and Communication Department wanted to serve the increasing proportion of nonnative speakers among the undergraduates in the College of Management. In MAC 299, class size averages 25, with one fourth to one third of the students nonnative speakers of English. On average, about two thirds of the students are male, one third female, with an age range of roughly from 20 to 47.

MAC 299 focuses on analytical thinking in a management context and instruction and practice in oral and written communication. Students have taken at least a freshman English course. MAC 299 is offered only on a P/F basis, with 'P' standing for proficiency rather than pass; a 'P' requires producing at least B-level work. For graded work, students write four papers and give an oral presentation. Papers assigned are in business communication formats such as memos and letters or in the academic style of traditional expository or research papers. All, however, require the students to analyze a body of material, form an opinion, and communicate it to a well-envisioned audience. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Teaching Managerial Communication to ESL and Native-Speaker Undergraduates
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.