CULTIVATING STUDENTS’ COMMUNICATION SKILLS FOR THE GLOBAL WORKPLACE: A CROSS-CULTURAL ONLINE EXCHANGE PROJECT WITH NON-NATIVE SPEAKERS

KATE SATO, BIRTE HORNE

Abstract:

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) at universities with a distinct focus on science and engineering, we have found that one of the major challenges is a perceived lack of motivation in our students. Though acknowledging the theoretical importance of English as the lingua franca of science and business, students often do not appreciate the importance of its practical application when they enrol in technical degree courses. In order to stimulate and engage our students, we introduced a communicative business project to our respective courses from 13th April 2018 – 22nd June 2018. Our aim was to provide a very practical and first-hand experience of how English may be an essential part of professional interaction. In groups, students were asked to produce two short videos. The first was an introduction of their team and the second gave business advice pertinent to a person visiting their country from the other country. To accomplish these assignments, students had to communicate regularly with their partner-group via a chat app on their mobile phones. Thus, cross-cultural communication was not only encouraged but became a crucial tool to complete given tasks successfully. Despite a number of hindrances, the students were able to complete the task and also said they benefitted from doing the project. Further projects were planned however, more research is needed to illuminate what factors helped this project succeed.

Keywords:
tertiary EFL, asynchronous PBL, inter-cultural communication, business English

DOI: 10.20472/TE.2020.8.1.005

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APA citation:
KATE SATO, BIRTE HORNE (2020). Cultivating Students’ Communication Skills for the Global Workplace: A Cross-Cultural Online Exchange Project with Non-Native Speakers. International Journal of Teaching and Education, Vol. VIII(1), pp. 64-83. , DOI: 10.20472/TE.2020.8.1.005


Copyright © 2020, Kate Sato et al, sato-ka@hus.ac.jp


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