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Business English, Professional English, Legal English, Medical English, Academic English etc.
Online peer-reviewed Journal for Teachers

English for Specific Purposes World (ESP World)

English for Specific Purposes World

ISSN 1682-3257

English for Specific Purposes World (ESP World) Home    Information   ESP Encyclopaedia    Resources    Contacts

Business Multi-Disciplinary Projects (BMDPs) in ESP Classes to Develop Workplace Communication Skills

Dr. Tharwat M. EL-Sakran, English Department, American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, telsakran@aus.edu

Dr. David Prescott, English Department, American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Dr. Ahmed Ankit, Vice-President for Cultural and External Affairs, Ajman University of Science and Technology, Ajman, United Arab Emirates

Abstract

Business Multi-Disciplinary Projects (BMDPs) have been utilized as a tool towards the contextualization of the teaching and learning of several technical communication skills in a business communication course taught to business students in a private university in the United Arab Emirates. Students are assigned to teams of mixed majors (e.g., finance, management, accounting, etc.) with each team comprising a minimum of four students and a maximum of five. Team members are required to collectively identify and choose a research topic that warrants the involvement of all business majors/disciplines in its development, execution and completion. Students call for meetings, prepare research proposals, decide on budgets and communication tools, search for and contact vendors, concerned authorities for inquiries and consultations, academicians, and field experts and communicate with them through emails, formal letters and planning face-to-face interviews with some of them. Furthermore, they have to send copies of all correspondence within the team members and amongst them and members from the outside community to the course instructor. By mid semester, students deliver powerpoint-supported oral progress reports of their research projects followed by the submission of a detailed written report by the end of the semester. Students’ performance in on-going written exams, tests and quizzes and oral presentations during the three-month- long semester reflect great improvements in writing fluency, clarity and cohesion and coherence. Furthermore, students’ end of semester comments on the course’s effectiveness show favourable responses measured in light of their level before the start of the course.

Key Words: Professional communication skills, contextualized teaching and learning, learners’ autonomy, business multidisciplinary projects.

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