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ON THE ISSUE OF FOREIGN LANGUAGE SKILLS IMPROVEMENT FOR TECHNOLOGICAL ENVIRONMENT Bielousova Rimma

Communication is a phenomenon, on the one hand, influencing society as a whole and, on the other hand, influencing man as individual. Effective communication requires knowledge and respecting of psychological, social and psychological as well as social and communication principles.

The aim of teaching foreign languages at the Faculty of Manufacturing Technologies of the Technical University of Kosice with the seat in Presov, Slovakia is to develop productive communication skills via topics that are closely connected with the study programs of our faculty. The basic study material, which is carefully selected and adapted in close cooperation with the technically oriented departments of our faculty, is presented in the university textbooks specially designed for foreign languages courses at our faculty [1,2,3]. It is known that «tailor- made» study materials are rather time consuming to prepare. According to P. Robinson, however, they are more specific for learning situation, have greater face validity in terms of the language dealt with and the contexts it is presented in [4]. Even though the approaches towards «tailor-made textbooks» for special purposes are different, we have chosen this alternative after years of experimenting and searching for appropriate texts. When adapting materials the following criteria were taken into consideration; importance of information needed for our students future career, language adequacy of study material as well as application of already mastered communication skills in different contexts.

On the one hand, technical English has its own characteristic features: special terminology, passive voice constructions, etc. On the other hand, technical communication has much in common with everyday speech. Technical English is not only about graphs and figures. It would be much closer to the truth to say that technical English is about forming relationships with colleagues, customers and a variety of international contacts.

It regards especially expressing agreement and disagreement, explaining, emphasizing, etc. Thus, it is the language which students are supposed to master when studying general English. A key difference between technical and general English consists in the language skills balance. If you make a mistake when writing, you can go back and check it. The same is with reading, but when you are speaking, you are under pressure and making mistakes when speaking can result in loss of face. Thus, we consider speaking to be a top priority skill. Our aim is to control the teaching process so that the process of learning the technical language was closely connected with the language of general English, i.e. using the forms of living speech: discussion, interview, presentation, etc. Consequently, we select the methods that simulate professional activities and at the same evoke interest to interchange opinions, cooperate as well as suggest solutions to different problems. When selecting topics we take into account their interrelation with technical disciplines taught at our faculty, thus synchronizing study of foreign language topic with the study of particular area within special discipline. As a result, the more effective feedback can be achieved. The main topics that have been selected to meet the needs of our students are as follows: Describing Manufacturing Processes, Engineering Materials, Traditional and Advanced Machining Processes, Engines, Environmental Problems, Information Technologies, Welding, Safety at Work as well as Interview, Meetings, Negotiations, Telephoning, etc. Briefly speaking, we try to use the language as a communication tool on the level teacher- student, but especially student-student. Presentation format, media and purpose vary a lot - oral, multimedia, PowerPoint presentations, short presentations, long planned presentations - but every successful presentation uses the same principles that can be learned.

Oral presentation has a unique place among productive communication skills.

When preparing students to give talks, first of all we focus their attention on the following: 1.

Realization the difference between oral and written communication. Communication includes the transfer of information from one person to another. Writing is considered to be a static form of transfer while speaking is a dynamic transfer of information. Oral communication uses words with fewer syllables than the written language, the sentences are shorter, and self-referencing pronouns are common. Oral communication also allows incomplete sentences if they are properly delivered. A good speaker has to make use of the dynamism of oral communication. The written language is often more precise because the written words can be chosen with greater thought. 2.

Using the paralinguistic features of oral speech, such as facial expressions, head movements, hand gestures, eye movements, etc. P. Roach defines paralinguistic features as those used intentionally by the speaker, and non-linguistic feature as those that cannot be used intentionally, such as age, sex, state of health etc [5]. Paralinguistic features are vital communication tools and all human beings employ them. Thus, effective use of these features enhance fluency, and perhaps more important fact is that these features may be the one set of tools that learners can rely on when all other language tools have failed. The problem of non-verbal communication is widely discussed in literature. There are many different „channels» of non-verbal communication: facial expressions, the clues in our voices („vocal paralanguage»), hand gestures, body movements („kinesics»), touch („hap tics»), and personal space investigated by proxemy - the study of man's appreciation and use of space. The significance of prox- emy especially when working within international environment is important for a number of reasons: through the distance that is chosen when communicating to one another, people express their degree of intimacy and trust towards that person.

Therefore, for a person from a culture where the personal distance is generally close, a person from a culture where personal distance is generally greater may appear as mistrusting. Whereas the person from the culture where personal distance is generally greater may feel confused by the „intrusion» into his personal space. Famous American anthropologist E.T. Hall established four zones of interaction: intimate, personal, social, and public, with a close and far phase within each zone, and the understanding that the size of these zones would vary from culture to culture. 3.

Selecting topic of presentation. Because of new secondary school leaving examination system in Slovakia, foreign language is a compulsory examination. Even though the skill levels vary according to the type of school, secondary school graduates possess necessary foreign language communication skills that can be further developed. That is why our university students are required to select topics that are closely connected to their study programs. 4.

Using visual aids. Students are being taught that visual aids are not used to decorate their presentation. There some important cognitive reasons. A. Mehrabian showed that the way people take in information during a presentation is 55% visual, compared to 38°% vocal and only 7% through text [6]. Visual presentations are one of the best kept secrets in the business world. They are considered to be more powerful technique any person could learn. They are simply one of the best ways to convey our ideas and to convince our audience. Students are encouraged to use various visual aids when giving oral presentations. Visual aids can take the form of models, posters, diagrams, charts, handouts, videos, computers, overhead transparencies, etc. Research has shown that when visual aids are added to oral presentation, retention increases by about 10 per cent. Students learn vocabulary twice as well when the presenter uses visual aids. Students understand about 7 per cent of information delivered verbally but they understand 87 per cent when information is delivered both verbally and visually.

5.

Evaluating oral presentation is the next important issue. When evaluating students presentations the following points are taken into consideration; persuasiveness and fluency of speech, lexical and grammar variety, interaction between speaker and audience, i.e. answering questions, coping with audience positive or negative reaction, etc. Evaluation is conducted within teacher - student cooperation using presentation evaluation rubric [7]. Based on our survey results, we can state that students learn to communicate both verbally and non- verbally; problem- solving learning is included into the process; students learn to logically organise their ideas and search for the most effective way of their expressing in English; at the pre-preparation stage students are motivated to search for appropriate technical literature as well as vocabulary; speakers learn to present their ideas to the audience and at the same time to overcome stage fear, thus it can be stated that oral presentation helps to develop not only language skills but also students‘ personal qualities.

References 1.

Bielousova, R., Gluchmanova M. Anglicky jazyk pre bakalarov / R. Bielousova, M. Gluchmanova; FVT TU. - Presov, 2007. 2.

Bielousova, R. Rusky jazyk pre bakalarov / R. Bielousova; FVT TU. - Presov, 2007. 3.

Rohalova, T. Nemecky jazyk pre bakalarov / T. Rohalova; FVT TU. - Presov, 2007. 4.

Robinson, P. ESP Today: A Practitioner’s Guide / P. Robinson. - Hemel Hempstead; Prentice Hall, 1991 5.

Roach, P. The Emotion in Speech Project / P. Roach, 2000. 6.

Mehrabian, A. Silent Messages / A. Mehrabian. - Belmont, CA; Wadsworth, 1971. 7.

Evaluating Student Presentations [Electronic resource]. - Access mode; http:// www. ncsu. edu/ midlink/ rub.pres.html. - Access date: 10.12.2009.

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Источник: Байдаров Е.У.. Информационно-образовательные и воспитательные стратегии в современном обществе: национальный и глобальный контекст. Материалы международной научной конференции, г. Минск, 12-13 ноября 2009 г. - Минск: Право и экономика. - 762 с.. 2010

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