Most of our universities and colleges offering technical education seem to realize the importance of English communication skills beside domain knowledge. All the students are required to take a course on English which is designed to focus extensively on communication skills. So where does this course go wrong?
As far as the syllabus is concerned, the emphasis, understandably, is on developing LSRW skills and not on English literature. Students are required to read passages, attempt comprehension questions, develop an understanding for lexical and contextual meanings, listen for general and specific information, practice JAM (Just A Minute) sessions and so on which all sound quite impressive. However, what remains unimpressive is the performance of many students in the interviews.
Several Universities implement the English course only in the first semester. B.Tech is a six semester course. One wonders how much of the English course a student retains at the end of the course unless he/she has kept in touch regularly. One needs to think about there being more courses on English communication or spreading the English course over a considerable part of the entire duration for it to be more effective and helpful for the students.
We also need to understand that the focus of students coming to study engineering will be on the technical courses since they’ll want to be masters of their domain. The English course ends up being looked at as just an extra or even a burden sometimes. I have seen some of my friends studying engineering and for them it’s all about putting up with this trouble rather than taking a serious interest in it. Implementing courses alone won’t serve the purpose. It is up to the lecturer to make the students realize the importance of English communication skills in professional life and devise ways to keep the students interested. In the posts to come, I’ll attempt to look at the lecturers’ approaches to the English courses in engineering colleges.