This article devoted to edutainment technique usage (extra-curricula excursions, drama activities, games) to cultivate “soft skills” at EFL classes.
Key words: “soft-skill”, “hard-skill”, excursions, drama activities, games, edutainment.
Nowadays the world is becoming a global village. Multinational companies, professionals and workers are crossing barriers and boarders. It has become very evident that English language is taking centre stage in this phenomenon and becoming more and more indispensable.
Engineers have traditionally focused on “hard-skill” knowledge acquisition. Nonetheless, in modern society the increasingly multicultural work practices of professional engineers demand the better “soft-skill” proficiency, such as a foreign language competence, a communication confidence, teamwork, decision making, positivity, time management, motivation, flexibility, problem-solving, critical thinking and cross-cultural experience .
English is used as an international language in all world activities: cultural and sports events, conferences. Moreover, English is important in developing sciences, manufacture, technology, education because most of resources are written in English.
Students and staff of Department of Foreign Languages (Institute of Non-Destructive Testing, Tomsk Polytechnic University) were interviewed to reveal how EFL use potentially impacted academic and communication performance.
The results showed that engineering universities might be concentrating on the EFL content at the expense of assisting the development of “soft skills”. The findings suggest that students do experience problems with the communication skills that may be strengthened in the process of learning foreign language.
This paper has the implications for any university engineering department where students are taught EFL and where issues of communication and culture are recognized as impacting the professional development of engineers for the global workplace.
After trying to optimize that, edutainment technique usage with extra-curricula excursions, drama activities, games in target language can be considered as an alternative to traditional EFL teaching and learning in rapidly developing modern engineering education. The goal of edutainment is not only to educate, but to stimulate and motivate as well. Engineering students can learn from edutainment if the activities are carefully selected to entertain as well as educate and cultivate their “soft skills” .
Methods and techniques of excursions mean the study of objects in their natural location and in connection with the movement and can be use as a type of extra-curricula EFL class, which creates conditions for students’ communication with about the objects and for the organized and efficient edutainment activity.
Sightseeing experience of the tour “Historical places of my city” was organized by the Institute of Non-Destructive Testing students for students who came from other countries to study at university turned out to be cognitive and exciting.
Dramatizations are equally successful in making learners’ language experience in operation and provide motivation to use language embedded in a context and a situation.
The main idea of Traditional American Song “Oh Susanna” dramatization staged by the second year students of the Institute of Non-Destructive Testing was to improve and extend students knowledge of the target language culture and perfect pronunciation.
The repetitive nature of most authentic songs and rhymes help students learn vocabulary and the rhythm of the language. To make a class more challenging, a copy of the song or rhyme with words missing can be given to the students. The song can be played and the students can fill in the missing words. This helps with listening comprehension, writing, reading and spelling .
The mission of dramatization was to present visual and performing Traditional American Song “Oh Susanna” that are interesting and exiting to students.
Definitely teaching drama techniques may become an interesting and effective tool in forming EFL and cross-cultural competence of future engineers at Tomsk Polytechnic University which is of current importance up to questions of effective teaching methods selection.
Within the situation when current higher education system demands methods of effective EFL training taking into account studying activity and practical directivity, the authors’ idea of using the popular board game Scrabble, which is recognized by international English teachers as an effective teaching tool, became the reason of Scrabble tournament and organizing Scrabble club in Tomsk Polytechnic University. Playing Scrabble is so much fun; students won’t notice how much they’re learning. The game boosts a half dozen skill areas, as well as social and personal skills [4,5].
In the process of the study the participants (teachers and students) were interviewed and tested to establish the effectiveness of Scrabble game usage and its perspectives as an educational tool. The project of Scrabble usage includes introductory seminars, presentations and competitions at universities of Ukraine, Latvia and Belarus, discussion and analysis for methodological comprehension of the problem.
The results of the study showed that board game Scrabble promotes learning in the ways that are far superior to strictly traditional teaching methods. Moreover, Scrabble can be the field tested by educators with amazing success. The obtained results may actualize the educational process and help to identify the other methodological advantages of using the board game Scrabble [5, 6, 7].
The authors hope EFL teachers will think seriously about incorporating extra-curricula excursions, drama activities, board game Scrabble into the engineering university teaching environment to enhance students’ engagement and motivation, to bolster creativity and innovation, to make learning more effective.
The authors are convinced that the use of edutainment technique could significantly contribute to the success of learning program and forming cross-cultural communicative competence so important in engineering education .
English Foreign Language (EFL) teaches need to become more energized to introduce innovative curriculum schemes, more proactive in developing challenging learning approaches, and more willing to integrate cross-cultural language, and communication skills training into traditional engineering contexts through edutainment .
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