Federal State Autonomous Educational Institution of Higher Education “South Ural State University (National Research University)” (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2017 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 1442-1449
ISBN: 978-84-617-8491-2
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2017.0479
Conference name: 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2017
Location: Valencia, Spain
Communication skills are vital to researchers working in an increasingly globalized academic world. The dominance of English as Lingua Franca means that for non-native English speakers, the ability to network successfully means they must master a second language or risk marginalization. Although much research has been devoted to the problems of teaching Academic English for publication, less attention has been paid to the pressing need to correspond in English. Conferences, exchanges, collaborations and publication all involve extensive ancillary correspondence. As part of the Project 5-100 modernization programme at South Ural State University, a needs analysis was conducted of the professional communication problems that faculty members face. A questionnaire, which was designed to gain an insight into Russian academics’ understanding of writing correspondence in English, was completed by academics from three groups of similar programme of study in South Ural State University. The participants were of different age, gender and with different academic experience. In addition, they were interviewed to determine their views on their own level of competence in academic correspondence. The findings show that the majority of those surveyed do understand what academic correspondence involves and consider it important to their academic careers. However, from the staff perspective it appears that academics are not familiar with the types and the structure of formal letters in English; moreover, they lack specific vocabulary and grammar. Based on the results of this analysis, the authors designed a new professional development course, “English for Correspondence”. Taking a system approach, competence-based and interdisciplinary approaches, the course specifies the forms and methods of interaction between participants and lecturers that will meet their communicative needs. It aims not only to teach specific competences such as writing formal letters, but also to develop the ability to recognize different communicative situations. The introduction of the course will ensure that Russian academics can participate in their discourse communities successfully, and play a fuller role in global intellectual exchanges.
Academic correspondence, vocational training, methodological approaches, forms and methods of interaction.