Blog IELTS How Could English Communication Education be Improved for Korean Graduate Engineering Students?

How Could English Communication Education be Improved for Korean Graduate Engineering Students?

This section explores the results to the second research question: opportunities to improve English education. Specific opportunities explored in this section include an expansion of offerings, offering more assistance outside of class, increased training for—and collaboration among—faculty, revisiting the scientific writing requirement, customizing the course, and expanding course offerings. Expansion of English Communication Offerings: For additional courses to be offered, faculty and student respondents showed different preferences (Fig. 6). The faculty respondents preferred subjects. ·  Additional courses to be offered according to faculty and students. order of general writing (26 out of 48 respondents, or 54.2%), presentation (52.1%), speaking (27.1%), and pronunciation (18.8%). On the same matter, the student respondents preferred additional courses to be offered in the order of presentation (48 of the 116 respondents, or 77%); general speaking (58%); discussion (37%); pronunciation (29%); technical writing (26%); and general writing (24%).

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These figures show that while both groups saw pressing needs to enhance presentation skills, the students wished to enhance speaking-related skills most urgently in contrast to the professors who preferred the improvement of students’ general writing skills the most. The possible reason for this difference is that the surveyed students had already taken or been taking SW, a writing course, so they saw additional needs for speaking courses. On the other hand, the professors may have urgent needs to strengthen students’ writing skills for their collaboration with students for publication purposes since KAIST is a research-oriented institution. Offering Assistance Outside the Classroom: For other services to be offered to improve students’ English skills, some student respondents commented that there were needs for a “writing center wholly devoted to helping students with editing and proofreading their work” and for writing help through the Internet. Others suggested personal assistance systems, such as a one-to-one student mentoring system where fluent English-speaking foreign students offer help with writing papers, a tailor-made tutoring system, personal help for individual students’ thesis writing, and one-to-one discussion sessions. Faculty Training: Other suggestions include the improvement of faculty’s English lecturing skills. Two student respondents made comments that Korean professors’ English teaching skills should improve: “Maybe professors should take English courses too to improve their teaching skills,” noted one of the students. Faculty Collaboration: As for needs of collaboration between the faculty of major subjects and the English faculty, 37.5% (18) of the 48 respondents of the faculty questionnaire said that they acknowledged such needs, whereas 29.2% said there was no such need, with the remaining 27.1% saying they were unsure. This reveals that the majority of the respondents did not see clear benefits in cooperating with the English faculty. Scientific Writing Requirement: The results of both the faculty and student questionnaire surveys indicate that SW, the only graduate writing course that teaches thesis-writing skills across majors, should be made a required course. An overwhelming number of professor respondents (75% or 36 of the 48 respondents) said that the course should be required for all graduate students, along with 64.7% (75) of the 116 student respondents (Fig. 7). Customization of Scientific Writing: Fifty-nine percent (59%) (69) of the 116 respondents of the student questionnaire said that SW should be offered at different levels according to students’ writing abilities. Expansion of Scientific Writing Offerings: Furthermore, class enrollment shows that the number of English communication classes for graduate students with SW classes, in particular, should be increased. Since its first offering, the number of SW classes has steadily increased: 13 in 2009, 15 in 2010, and 19 in 2011. When the number of graduate students, 5711, is considered, however, the offering is still limited. The enrollment in SW between 2009 and 2011 averaged 158 students/semester, which means that only 2.8% of the graduate students have taken SW, the only research writing skills course, per semester.

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