On 18th, November, 2009, the State Council officially gave a reply toLayout Plan of Cooperative Development in Tumen River Region in China --Chang-Ji-Tu as the Development and Opening up Forerunner Region, which signals that the establishment of Chang-Ji-Tu Development and Opening up Forerunner Region has become national strategy. The area becomes the first frontier development opening up area approved by the state. This will definitely result in the great demand for talents at different levels in different fields, among which foreign language talents going to the world from Jilin Province are valued unprecedentedly. Therefore, understanding current situation of foreign language talents and demand for foreign language talents under Chang-Ji-Tu strategic background have become important and urgent issues to achieve the goal of cultivation of application-oriented foreign language talents to meet the requirement of the construction of forerunner region.
I. Status Analysis of Foreign Language Talents
1. Knowledge Structure of Talents of Foreign Language Specialty
Currently, knowledge structure of students of foreign language specialty in colleges and universities is relatively single, but they possess solid language ability and communication ability. However, the professional knowledge in certain field such as finance, insurance, trade and investment is insufficient. For example, the scope of language learning is relatively narrow and strain capability is poor, therefore, there are few high-end foreign language talents who are able to be interpreters in large-scale foreign-related activities; besides, the reason Sino-foreign joint ventures are hard to find good interpreters is not that the interpreters cannot understand foreign language; the reason is that though the interpreters are proficient in foreign language, the application-oriented talents possessing the professional technology and practical knowledge of international operation are rare [1,p.107]. Thus the foreign language talents with traditional and single knowledge structure who only emphasize basic knowledge and ignore the industry knowledge are no longer fit for the development of regional economy. On the contrary, the talents with solid foreign language ability and profound knowledge in certain field will be increasing valued by enterprises.
2. Current Employment Status of Talents of Foreign Language Specialty
In recent years, employment status of talents of foreign language specialty is not optimistic. On the one hand, with the increasing enrollment of colleges and universities, popularization of higher education is becoming increasing obvious and the number of graduates of foreign language specialty is also increasing rapidly, thus the phenomenon of oversupply in the employment market is also becoming more outstanding. Graduates of foreign language specialty are faced with great employment pressure. On the other hand, with the scientific and technological development and foreign contact development in depth and breadth in the 21st century, international cooperation increases. Demand for foreign language talents in society is diversified. Demand for traditional basic skill-oriented foreign language talents in the majority of employ units has reduced to none. On the contrary, with the development of regional economy, in broader fields such as trade, mass media, tourism and medical treatment and public health and service, demand for application-oriented foreign language talents is increasing.
II. Demand for Foreign Language Talents under the Chang-Ji-Tu Strategic Background
With the development of Chang-Ji-Tu Development and Opening up Forerunner Region, a new formation of cooperation and exchange with other regions abroad has formed. Agricultural products processing, optoelectronics information, bio-pharmaceuticals and petrochemical engineering have possessed solid industry base. And Chang-Ji-Tu tourist industry belt with distinctive characteristics has formed. Therefore, the technological reform of the enterprise, technological innovation and development of new products, implementation of national major projects, construction of ecological agriculture and development of resources demand the real asset of advanced technology and information of international market. And the grasp of these technology and information is closely related to foreign language talents.
1. Foreign Language Talents of Minority Language Specialty
In the regional development, with deepening institutional reform and institutional innovation, regional cooperation with Japan, South Korea, North Korea Russia and Mongolia has been vigorously development, which has achieved great progress in developing regional trade, introducing investment, developing overseas resource, and developing cross boarder economic cooperation zone. Meanwhile the demand for foreign language talents of minority language specialty is also increasing rapidly. But among the graduates majored in foreign language in colleges and universities in current stage, talents in foreign language major is over supplied, but the supply of foreign language talents of minority language falls far behind the demand. In other words, considering the current number of foreign language specialty in colleges and universities. The demand space in the market of foreign language talents of minority language is considerable.
2. Attaching Less Importance to Educational Background and Emphasizing Actual Ability
Due to the development of regional economy, criteria of employers for foreign language talents are constantly increasing both in the depth of knowledge and width of the subject. And the requirement for foreign language talents is not limited to the traditional liberal arts majors such as management, law and commerce, but is more involved with science and engineering majors such as mechanical, electronics, medical and computer. The enterprises not only need foreign language graduates with solid language ability and complete knowledge structure, but also prefer international application-oriented foreign language talents who are very innovative, familiar with the operational of international affairs, and who possess the cross cultural communicative ability. And such knowledge structure is usually missing in the cultivation of talents of foreign language specialty in the majority of colleges and universities.
III. Cultivation Strategy Application-oriented Foreign Language Talents
Application-oriented foreign language talents refer to the new composite talent with foreign language application ability who possess the ability of language knowledge, language skills and language application. Language knowledge includes speech sounds, grammar, lexicon, function and topics; language skills include basic ability of listening, speaking, reading, writing and translating in foreign language specialty; while language application is to combine foreign language and professional knowledge on the foundation of grasping and mastering one or more professional knowledge to conduct researches in other aspects [5,p.248].
1. Optimizing Major Setup and Strengthening Curriculum Model Construction
Major setup is the basic way of realizing the cultivation goal of application-oriented foreign language talents. Setting up the course more scientifically and reasonably not only corresponds to the cultivation goal, but also to the cultivation standard, which is an extremely important link of the cultivation of talents [6,p.41]. Therefore, setting up the course should be market-oriented, and further expand the major setup, and optimize course system, take fully consideration of the characteristics and process of application-oriented foreign language talents to explore a curriculum system model which takes vocational ability as standard, and application as core and practice, reality and effectiveness as principle.
(1) Curriculum Module of Language Theory. This kind of curriculum is the traditional theoretical curriculum of English major. By the curriculum such as intensive reading, extensive reading, listening, speaking and translating, the students are able to grasp the listening, speaking, reading, writing and translating skills. The curriculum run through four years.
(2) Curriculum Module of Language Practice. With the mode of cooperation with enterprise and practical teaching week, students are introduced to enterprise to personally experience the application of language in different economic zone, such as foreign language in public relations, secretarial foreign language, foreign trade language foreign language in tourism, and laws concerning foreign affairs. This kind of curriculum has strong applicability and pertinence, which is able to narrow the gap between the talents cultivation mode of schools and demand standard for talents in the market, and emphasize the timeliness of employment service and guidance.
(3) Curriculum Module of Artistic Appreciation. The introduction of history of the world, geography and culture, Chinese and foreign difference between customs, international economy and trade, and international etiquette as well as curriculum such as linguistics, literature and rhetoric can enhance the ability of the students to deal with international knowledge and international affairs [4,p.204].
(4) Curriculum Module of Interdisciplinary. Compulsory courses are reduced and optional courses are added to allow the students to select the interdisciplinary and interschool courses according to the specialty, hobbit and market demand [2,p.79]. For example, setting up some curriculum for example science and engineer, trade, tourism and law or double degree is favorable for the students to improve knowledge structure, broaden scope of knowledge and cultivate the application-oriented ability.
2. Reforming Teaching Method and Improving Practical Foreign Language Ability
Language is different from other disciplines, which is not only knowledge course but also instrumental course. With the development of Chang-Ji-Tu Development and Opening up Forerunner Region, there will be a batch of international and provincial cooperation zones with a considerable scale of construction. Therefore, in the classroom teaching, the teachers are required to take consideration of the characteristics of the economy and industry demand in the forerunner region and apply situational teaching, case teaching method, and practical teaching to train the students with a target, and combine imparting knowledge and cultivating the strain capability of the students with improving the level of practical foreign language of the students.
(1) Situational Teaching Method. Teachers are able to adopt different kinds of situations to simulate enterprise, hotel, bank and processing plant in the classroom to let the students use the acquired linguistic knowledge on different occasions to communicate or describe in different ways, for example, guiding the students to plan a English advertisement; organizing a simulated negotiation in foreign language; or holding simulated press conference. Thus the teaching content is more practical and perceptible by the students and the scale of applying foreign language can be better grasped.
(2) Case Teaching Method. Case teaching method is able to help the students to grasp the theories and principles in class, and help them to comprehend the application method of language, and to enrich the disciplinary background of the students. For example, teacher can simulate the case of negotiation of overseas funded enterprise and organize a debate over a certain foreign affair. In the case, the involved knowledge of trade, law and common sense of foreign affair can be summarized. Besides, teachers are able to expand the field of case study and stimulate the learning enthusiasm and sense of participation in the maximum degree, thus the linguistic ability and thinking ability can be cultivated.
(3) Practical Teaching Method. One to two weeks are used in every semester to lead the students to the factory and to the industrial zone to integrate into the employer unit and conduct practical teaching. When adding the social experience of the students, the employment of students can also be expanded. Moreover, the students can be a guide to take a trip with foreign teachers, who can use professional foreign language knowledge to introduce the places of interest [3,p.98], and customs to strengthen the control ability of foreign language and improve the ability to apply foreign language in the teaching activities with multiple practices.
3. Adjusting Teachers’ Structure and Improving Teaching Staff Construction
Cultivation of application-oriented foreign language talents has raised higher demand for the professional skills of foreign language teachers in colleges and universities. There is great gap between the majority of teachers and the “Double-type” teacher with profound linguistic foundation and proficient practical skills demanded by the market, thus the teachers are hard to meet the fundamental need of curriculum reform which emphasized practice and application. First, foreign language teachers in colleges and universities are required to take advantage of all the conditions to constantly complement new knowledge, grasp modern educational theory, construct cutting-edge knowledge network and comprehensively improve the professional ability, organizing ability of teaching and research ability. Next, it is necessary for the teachers to adjust and enrich the knowledge structure that are already proficient in professional knowledge, and integrate professional knowledge reflecting the characteristics of the time into the teaching material and teaching plan, and to expand the individual professional range, to improve practical ability and to motivate the students with higher self-cultivation and outstanding personality. Besides, foreign language teachers are encourage to accept professional training and professional advanced studies such as further study and lectures to explore into the professional field and form a kind of disciplinary thought connected with international academic level and conduct exchange of teaching ideal and method to realize the share of resource and to reach the goal of re-optimizing the overall quality of the foreign language team and the improvement of level of professional construction, thus a foreign language teaching team with profound professional knowledge, diversified ability and reasonable structures and layers.
Above all, the global boost of Chang-Ji-Tu Development and Opening up Forerunner Region has raised higher demand for the cultivation mode of talents of foreign language specialty. Practice and operability of the students can only be cultivated by grasping the market demand and professional orientation, and adjusting curriculum mode, and scientific application of teaching method, thus the students can become knowledgeable application-oriented foreign language talents.
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