About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 625-633
Publication year: 2012
ISBN: 978-84-695-3491-5
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain

ENGLISH AS A REFERENCE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF OTHER CROSS-CUTTING COMPETENCES IN TECHNICAL SUBJECTS

L.M. López-Ochoa1, C. García-Lozano1, J.L. Míguez-Tabarés2, C. Míguez-Álvarez2

1Universidad de La Rioja (SPAIN)
2Universidad de Vigo (SPAIN)
The Thermal Machinery & Motors (TMM) Area of the University of La Rioja has been working for some years on numerous innovative teaching projects with three goals: to enhance the implementation of the new EHEA (European Higher Education Area), to adapt university teaching to today’s social environment and to the needs of the labour market and to meet our own aspirations for day-to-day improvement in the education that we provide. In this context there can be no doubt that the teaching of technical subjects in a second language is a significant area, and one in which a great many proposals and initiatives are being implemented.

The second language chosen is, of course, English, due to its universal acceptance as a vehicular language.
Accordingly, the syllabus for the subject of Thermodynamics in Year 1 of the degree in Mechanical Engineering was adapted to enable it to be taught in English. However the experience cannot be regarded as a success, mainly due to the disparity in the standards of prior knowledge observed among students.
The subsequent process of self-assessment has highlighted two issues that sum up most of the concerns of the project team:
One concerns is the project itself: is teaching a technical subject in a second language an overambitious goal at the present time?
The other concerns are the standard of prior knowledge on the students: is there really sufficient, qualified demand for schemes of this type?
As a result, the project has been redirected and modified and its goals have been simplified to cover the design of specific activities rather than the full subject. The idea is to draw up activities that are within the scope of all students.
Moreover, there is a broad consensus in the field of education concerning the advisability of setting longitudinal learning objectives. As a result, the EHEA includes a number of cross-cutting competences, among them language learning, intended to prepare students in areas that are not strictly academic but that are nevertheless highly important in terms of their graduate profiles. These competences also include teamwork, ICTs, project-based learning, etc.
Seeking solutions for our specific case, we decided to design a number of activities that would combine these criteria, i.e. to develop cross-cutting competences for the subject of Thermodynamics, taking the learning of technical English as a common reference point.

Although the initial objectives of the project are adjudged to have been overambitious and have thus been considerably reduced, a viable solution has been obtained that has been more widely accepted by students. This encourages us to continue working on projects of this type.
Innovation in teaching is a process of continuous improvement whose success depends largely on the ability to adapt to new situations in the step-by-step pursuit of excellence.
The experience has been positive, and the method is about to be exported to the University of Vigo.
@InProceedings{LOPEZOCHOA2012ENG,
author = {L{\'{o}}pez-Ochoa, L.M. and Garc{\'{i}}a-Lozano, C. and M{\'{i}}guez-Tabar{\'{e}}s, J.L. and M{\'{i}}guez-{\'{A}}lvarez, C.},
title = {ENGLISH AS A REFERENCE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF OTHER CROSS-CUTTING COMPETENCES IN TECHNICAL SUBJECTS},
series = {4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN12 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-695-3491-5},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {2-4 July, 2012},
year = {2012},
pages = {625-633}}
TY - CONF
AU - L.M. López-Ochoa AU - C. García-Lozano AU - J.L. Míguez-Tabarés AU - C. Míguez-Álvarez
TI - ENGLISH AS A REFERENCE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF OTHER CROSS-CUTTING COMPETENCES IN TECHNICAL SUBJECTS
SN - 978-84-695-3491-5/2340-1117
PY - 2012
Y1 - 2-4 July, 2012
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN12 Proceedings
SP - 625
EP - 633
ER -
L.M. López-Ochoa, C. García-Lozano, J.L. Míguez-Tabarés, C. Míguez-Álvarez (2012) ENGLISH AS A REFERENCE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF OTHER CROSS-CUTTING COMPETENCES IN TECHNICAL SUBJECTS, EDULEARN12 Proceedings, pp. 625-633.
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