About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4616-4623
Publication year: 2014
ISBN: 978-84-617-2484-0
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain

CONFLICT RESOLUTION IN A PROJECT-BASED COMMUNICATION COURSE: A STUDY OF EXPECTATIONS AND EXPERIENCE AMONG SECOND LANGUAGE, FIRST YEAR ENGINEERING STUDENTS

A. Dallas

Petroleum Institute (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES)
The ability to function effectively in teams is one of the key soft skills required for engineers in the 21st century; yet, recent studies have found that many novice engineers feel underprepared for teamwork when entering the workforce (Balaji & Somashekar, 2009; Downing, 2001; SPE Research, 2012). One method to address this lack of preparation is to incorporate teamwork opportunities into the university curriculum, and project-based learning is one approach to accomplish this. The current study examines student expectations and experience concerning one aspect of teamwork, conflict resolution, among male, undergraduate students enrolled in a first year, project-based communication course at an English-medium, engineering university in the United Arab Emirates. Conflict resolution is a central component to effective teamwork as interpersonal conflicts that arise can impede both the outcome of the project and the learning process if students cannot successfully resolve such conflicts (Dörnyei, 1997; El-Sakran et al., 2013; Stoller, 2002). Engineering students, therefore, need to develop strong interpersonal skills, as well as language skills, in order to learn how to resolve team conflicts effectively. In this study, students and instructors were surveyed at the beginning of the semester about conflict resolution in teams. The students were asked questions about expectations regarding the issue of team conflicts and resolution skills, and instructors were questioned about expectations and experiences with similar issues. At the end of the semester, the students were resurveyed and asked to reflect on their actual experience over the course of the semester. The results indicate that students share some expectations with instructors at the beginning of the semester concerning skills for resolving team conflicts; however, on other issues, such as types of conflicts that actually occur and methods to resolve conflicts, student expectations diverge from instructor experience. At the end of the semester, student report on actual experience continues to diverge from the experience of instructors. Overall, the results suggest that further pedagogical intervention focusing on conflict resolution, as well as on self-reflection, would be beneficial to the development of students’ teamwork skills. Further pedagogical implications, limitations and recommendations for future research are also discussed.

References:
[1] Balaji, K., & Somashekar, P. (2009). A comparative study of soft skills among engineers. The IUP Journal of Soft Skills, 3:3, 50-57.
[2] Dörnyei, Z. (1997). Psychological processes in cooperative language learning: group dynamics and motivation. The Modern Language Journal, 81:4, 482-493.
[3] Downing, C. (2001). Essential Non-Technical Skills for Teaming. Journal of Engineering Education, 90, 113–117.
[4] El-Sakran, T., Prescott, D. & Mesanovic, M. (2013). Contextualizing Teamwork in a Professional Communication Course for Engineering Students. International Journal of Engineering Education, 29:2, 439–449.
[5] SPE Research (2012). Training and Development Survey. SPE International.
[6] Stoller, F. (2002). Project work: A means to promote language and content. Methodology in language teaching, 107-120.
@InProceedings{DALLAS2014CON,
author = {Dallas, A.},
title = {CONFLICT RESOLUTION IN A PROJECT-BASED COMMUNICATION COURSE: A STUDY OF EXPECTATIONS AND EXPERIENCE AMONG SECOND LANGUAGE, FIRST YEAR ENGINEERING STUDENTS},
series = {7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2014 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-2484-0},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {17-19 November, 2014},
year = {2014},
pages = {4616-4623}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. Dallas
TI - CONFLICT RESOLUTION IN A PROJECT-BASED COMMUNICATION COURSE: A STUDY OF EXPECTATIONS AND EXPERIENCE AMONG SECOND LANGUAGE, FIRST YEAR ENGINEERING STUDENTS
SN - 978-84-617-2484-0/2340-1095
PY - 2014
Y1 - 17-19 November, 2014
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2014 Proceedings
SP - 4616
EP - 4623
ER -
A. Dallas (2014) CONFLICT RESOLUTION IN A PROJECT-BASED COMMUNICATION COURSE: A STUDY OF EXPECTATIONS AND EXPERIENCE AMONG SECOND LANGUAGE, FIRST YEAR ENGINEERING STUDENTS, ICERI2014 Proceedings, pp. 4616-4623.
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