About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2225-2233
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.0613

Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain

LEARNING ENGLISH AND THAT’S IT? EXPLORING OPPORTUNITIES FOR SOFT SKILLS DEVELOPMENT IN AN ENGLISH CLASS COURSE

C.A. Santos, B. Barbosa, S. Filipe

University of Aveiro (PORTUGAL)
Foreign language classes are traditionally associated to the attainment and development of communication skills, innately embedded in the practice of the linguistic competencies listed by the Common European Framework for Languages: understand, speak and write in a second or foreign idiom, effectively. Some of the characteristics identified in the concept include focusing on the acquisition of language appropriateness for specific activities in terms of grammar, lexis, register and discourse. Little has been said, however, on the set of complementary skills university students can enhance in a language class, especially with syllabuses tailored to professional contexts. Indeed, soft skills are acknowledged by employers, students, and instructors alike (Chowdhury & Miah, 2016; Clokie & Fourie, 2016) as essential for work performance, and are expected not only from professionals but also from job applicants (Robles, 2012). In such a context, some courses seem particularly fit for developing soft skills, such as the ones related to communication, as suggested by Clokie and Fourie (2016). However, the opportunities foreign language courses provide for developing soft skills should not be neglected.

This paper offers insights on an exploratory study conducted with undergraduate students of Marketing in a Portuguese university and delves into their assessment of a set of employability and comprehensive skills stimulated and improved through a team project involving writing and presenting a Marketing Plan. This activity was conducted on an English language course for 3 consecutive years. A survey was used to ask students to identify and evaluate soft skills that were developed during the activity. From the 75 students involved, 35 accepted to participate in this study.

Amongst the employabilityskills students considered having improved are interpersonal skills, planning and organizing, innovation and creativity, decision-making, and autonomy, besides oral and written communication, thus including core work-related abilities and cross-functional skills. This kind of activity seemsalso particularly relevant for perceiving students' attitudes in professional simulation scenarios,considering that overall the participants referred as more difficult the oral presentation than the completion of the written assignment.

Despite the exploratory nature and the reduced number of participants in this study, it provides relevant cues for teachers, as it demonstrates that the use of applied projects in language classes enables a more diversified set of learning outcomes.

References:
[1] Chowdhury, T., &Miah, M.K. (2016) Employability skills for entry-level human resources management positions: Perceptions of students and employers. Australian Journal of Career Development, 25( 2), 55-68.
[2] Clokie, T., & Fourie, E. (2016) Graduate Employability and Communication Competence: Are Undergraduates Taught Relevant Skills? Business and Professional Communication Quarterly, (79)4, 442-463.
[3] Robles, M. (2012). - Executive Perceptions of the Top 10 Soft Skills Needed in Today’s Workplace. Business Communication Quarterly, 75, 453-465.
@InProceedings{SANTOS2018LEA,
author = {Santos, C.A. and Barbosa, B. and Filipe, S.},
title = {LEARNING ENGLISH AND THAT’S IT? EXPLORING OPPORTUNITIES FOR SOFT SKILLS DEVELOPMENT IN AN ENGLISH CLASS COURSE},
series = {10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN18 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-02709-5},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2018.0613},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2018.0613},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Palma, Spain},
month = {2-4 July, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {2225-2233}}
TY - CONF
AU - C.A. Santos AU - B. Barbosa AU - S. Filipe
TI - LEARNING ENGLISH AND THAT’S IT? EXPLORING OPPORTUNITIES FOR SOFT SKILLS DEVELOPMENT IN AN ENGLISH CLASS COURSE
SN - 978-84-09-02709-5/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2018.0613
PY - 2018
Y1 - 2-4 July, 2018
CI - Palma, Spain
JO - 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN18 Proceedings
SP - 2225
EP - 2233
ER -
C.A. Santos, B. Barbosa, S. Filipe (2018) LEARNING ENGLISH AND THAT’S IT? EXPLORING OPPORTUNITIES FOR SOFT SKILLS DEVELOPMENT IN AN ENGLISH CLASS COURSE, EDULEARN18 Proceedings, pp. 2225-2233.
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