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Publication date: 20 August 2021

Urvashi Kaushal and Toran Talwar

Engineers graduating from premier institutions of India look for global opportunities that will provide a chance to work with the best and the most innovative minds in the world…

Abstract

Purpose

Engineers graduating from premier institutions of India look for global opportunities that will provide a chance to work with the best and the most innovative minds in the world. Nevertheless, to compete in the global job market, they require added competence in English. However, it is seen that despite exemplary hard skills, lack of good communication skills has obstructed the growth of engineers. This study aims to find a viable tool to enhance engineering students' communication skills despite many limitations. The purpose of this study is to explore how presentations can be used to address problems of low levels of English ability in highly skilled, high-functioning engineering professions.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper discusses a study conducted in India's premier institution where around 240 first-semester engineering students were the sample. It uses partial ethnographic research to verify its hypothesis that presentations compel students to plan, prepare, practise and perfect their communication skills. It presents an ethnographic experiment conducted by the researchers and data collected using the qualitative research method of interviews.

Findings

The results of the paper indicate that making engineers plan, prepare and make presentations can explore their ability to communicate in English. It also concludes that presentation helps students explore all four language skills, that is, reading the information collected, listening to peers, writing or preparing their presentation and finally speaking in front of the audience.

Practical implications

This paper argues that presentation can be made a practice even in a large class of multi-level second language (L2) learners as it will generate interest in students and will develop many qualities such as team spirit, confidence and public speaking.

Social implications

This study will help to address problems of low levels of English ability in highly skilled, high-functioning engineering professions.

Originality/value

Since engineering classes in Indian institutes often comprise 80–120 students, the English teachers face immense challenge of simultaneously improving communication skills of a large number of students who are multi-lingual, multi-level L2 learners. Therefore, this paper presents an effective and interesting way of involving all the students and using presentation to improve their communication skills.

Details

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-3896

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