In addition to English proficiency required for EMI classes, English competency is crucial for scientists and engineers due to the importance and prevalence of the language in international conferences, publications, and the workplace in engineering areas. Hence, Korean science and engineering programs and schools, particularly leading institutions, such as KAIST and POSTECH, have taken measures to improve students’ English communication skills, but their efforts for graduate students have not been sufficient and should be enhanced in order to prepare them to be professionals with functional communication competency in the globalized engineering world. · In order to offer more effective English communication training, it is highly recommended to establish an English communication center.
IELTS Writing: Task response/Task achievement
English Communication Center (ECC): The center of English communication training, ECC, will provide comprehensive, systematic English communication education and services for graduate students as follows: English Testing and Course Offering. Korean graduate students’ English levels may be in a wide range, and the exact status of their English ability is not known due to limited admission requirements. Thus, it is critical to establish a system that evaluates students’ English communication skills accurately and to implement an effective English communication program based on the results from a sound evaluation system. Needs Analysis and Program Evaluation. Both the student and the professor participants felt that students were in need of additional English communication training, but their specific needs and the two groups’ opinions of such needs were not in agreement. It will be necessary to conduct surveys of English communication needs on a regular basis so that ECC can offer classes, workshops, and special seminars that are tailored to students’ specific needs. Also important will be regular evaluations of English communication education and services to continually improve their qualities and ensure that ECC does, in fact, aid students in gaining the English communication skills necessary to succeed in their graduate studies and in a globalized society. Individualized Assistance. Sufficient, systematic tutoring and proofreading services should be rendered to students in need of their research activities and EMI classes. E-learning/Language Lab. ECC will need to be equipped with a large-scale e-learning or state-of-the-art language lab for more effective English communication training for students, the majority of whom are accustomed to high-tech study and research environments. Extracurricular English Communication Activities. ECC should also provide extended, systematic opportunities for students to use English in a more natural environment. Such activities may include social activities, such as gatherings and excursions with foreign professors and students. Faculty Training. This study has also revealed that the needs to strengthen English communication training are not limited to student population but also applied to faculty, although English communication training would be of a different nature. Closer cooperation between the English faculty and the faculty of major subjects is desirable in order for English communication training and services to meet their set goals. Since the English faculty’s background is usually of English communication education, rather than science and engineering, their participation in constant on-the-job training may be necessary for effective English communication training in an engineering school. This on-the-job training should be offered consistently and systematically by ECC. Furthermore, it will be critical for the nonnative speaker faculty of major subjects to participate in English communication training for effective EMI. Also, they may want to develop their paper-writing and presentation skills. These various needs of faculty can be satisfied by workshops and seminars conducted at ECC. Personnel. English communication instructors at KAIST are contractual, temporary positions, and this is often the case for Korean schools. However, ECC needs to be staffed with those who are well-trained in English communication teaching as well as in science and engineering. In order to have long-term sound teaching and research effects, high-quality candidates should be recruited and offered more stable positions such as tenured ones. To conclude, ECC will function as the center of English communication training and services. To be to offer systematic, effective English communication training, it will first need to be equipped with highly qualified, capable personnel, which requires the school to understand such a need and to provide the necessary investment. Furthermore, the following measures can be taken to enhance graduate writing courses and, ultimately, to strengthen students’ research writing skills: Setting Appropriate, Consistent Instructional Goals. For the successful running of a course, it is necessary to establish appropriate instructional goals and to make consistent efforts to achieve the goals throughout the offering of the course. When a course is offered in multiple sections by different instructors, it becomes a mandate to systematize the course, creating course guidelines and a uniform prototype syllabus for all instructors to share, to avoid discrepancies and biases among the courses. Individualized Instruction. Having students of different writing levels with diverse majors in different research stages in the same class and then teaching them the same materials will create a teaching environment where effective English instruction is almost impossible. Therefore, it is recommended to measure students’ writing levels accurately and to group them according to their writing levels. For more personal instruction and assistance, the instructor may meet with each student to discuss his or her writing problems, such as organizational, grammatical, syntactic, and vocabulary problems. This personal attention from the instructor will offer rare opportunities for students to understand their writing problems and to improve their writing proficiency with individualized professional assistance. Customized Course and Faculty Collaboration. For more effective writing instruction, collaboration between the regular faculty and English instructor is recommended. Whether it is partnership, team teaching, expert feedback, or another type, collaboration between the two groups will help English instructors address their students’ writing needs more precisely, hence allowing the courses to have more practical outcomes. While these measures are taken to improve graduate writing courses, long-term, consistent research efforts should be made by capable staff at ECC to continually improve English communication training programs.