Developing Communication Skills through Co Communication Skills through Co-operative Teaching Methodology. ... English language communication skills lab (ELCS) 3 .

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  • ISSN (ONLINE) : 2349 - 3399 ISSN (PRINT) : 2349 - 3380

    IJARRAS Volume 3 Issue 3 Page 1254

    Developing Communication Skills through Co-operative Teaching Methodology. Dr.P.Sreeramulu

    Asst Professor, GITAM University, Bengaluru

    India is a vibrant country brimming with potential we should develop needed soft skills

    throughout India. -An English Teacher

    With the business environment rapidly expanding in India, there is also huge demand for

    quality corporate communication skills training. There is also a lack of providers with the

    experience and expertise to give professionals the standard they require.

    -A Private Corporate Trainer

    Language is an expression of human activity. English language has become so

    popular that among the 1.1 billion people of India who speak and communicate in more than

    a thousand languages, a vast majority have a common language-English. This languages is

    now an employment passport to a fresh graduate, In fact, it still remains a strong

    communicative language. The success of an endeavour hinges on the ability to communicate

    effectively in todays fast paced life, everyone is asked to do more with less. In such a

    scenario, effective communication holds the key. Effectively, communication centres round

    the usage of words, speed of delivery of words, pitch modulation and body language. Using

    the right tools to communicate the right messages at the right time can salvage crises and

    motivate people to work towards success. Truly said, communication works but for those

    who work at it. In the existing globalization scenario, most of the Information Technology,

    I.F Enabled Services, management institutes, public and private sector, multi-national

    Companies, Union Public Service Commission, and State Public Service Commission search

    for a right and suitable fresher for executive posts. Whatever be the recruiting criteria that IT.

    ITES, industry giants had in their agenda, once this was clear a first class degree would not

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    serve the purpose, the candidate has to satisfy the skill sets that the companies were looking

    for, And unanimously, the important group in the skills set is the communication skills. It has

    been identified in several studies conducted by the MNCs and IT sector industries that many

    Indian graduates (around 50% of technical qualifications and hard skills at university but

    lacking in communications skills essential to getting the right job. There is a need to provide

    valuable training to Indian students so they can develop these vital soft skills, making them

    more employable and better equipped to achieve their full potential. How can we do it? Is our

    curriculum flexible enough?

    There are several ways how this can be done. The campus recruitment training

    institutions which mushroomed, thanks to the blooming ITES, claim to develop the

    communication skills of the students in just as short a time as two months. Some of them

    even convince the4 skill deprived enthusiast that they can become effective communicators

    within a month, if they choose so. The Indian graduate student in search of a decent job that

    requires good communication skills as a prerequisite can be broadly categorized under two

    streams engineering and non-engineering Students coming under the engineering stream in

    some states like Andhra Pradesh can be regarded fortunate in the sense that considerable

    changes have been made to their curriculum to add communication skills development

    component in the form of practical/laboratory course work. It is the non-engineering

    graduates that we need to care more for. As we know there is a great rural-urban divide

    among the student population in India and this division becomes more effective in the

    analysis of communicative Performance of the students in English. Most often, English as a

    course is present in the 1 st year of the 4 th year B.Tech Programme. Within the curricular

    framework and given academic constraints, can we develop the communicative skills of

    Indian students?

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    The fact that 85-90% of college leavers in India are not considered immediately

    suitable for employment in the ITES sector presents a huge challenge for the industry. So

    what is the solution? One of the action points from the 2008 NASSCOM-Everest BPO report

    is to:

    Increase employability and access untapped talent pools by creating greater linkages

    between the current education system and the needs BPO industry, and facilitating the

    development of BPO-specific education models.

    The report goes on to make a number of recommendations in this area:

    Initiatives related to education are required to expand the employable talent pool in

    India. The industry needs to work more aggressively with the Government to create greater

    linkage between the current education system and requirements of the BPO industry. This can

    be done by 1) Policy changes like liberalization of higher education, 2) increased

    collaboration between industry and academic institutions to take up initiatives such as

    introduction of BPO-specific curriculum and improving students access to funds for higher

    studies, 3) introducing coursework changes and teacher training at the school level in

    accordance with future requirements of the BPO industry.

    The need of the hour is to teach English not as a subject but as a language in use, and

    focus on the nuances of oral communication. This will help to develop the ability to use

    discourse features of spoken English in regular communication. A concentrated development

    of basic skills rather than specific skills (like call centre skills, front office skills, etc.,) will go

    a great way in making the students autonomous in choosing their career. What is important in

    this context is the need to revisit our teaching methodologies adopted and give more

    emphasis on Listening and Speaking skills, In short, instead of calling it development of

    communication skills and making it the term employability skills and make all the teachers

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    teaching various courses in a college responsible in making a student ready for the job

    market. There is extensive material available on the communication skills requirements in

    workplaces including different new age jobs; tertiary level learners preparedness to face thse

    emerging workplace challenges; the effectiveness of the existing UG Curriculum and

    teaching methodology to prepare our learners for the workplace; and the need to change the

    existing curriculum or to reinforce it.

    Some observations regarding the communicative efficiency of the students are listed

    below.

    Some students write well, but they are not able to express themselves orally.

    Some speak fluently, but cannot write without grammatical errors.

    Some are comfortable speaking among themselves in a small group, but are not

    comfortable facing the audience.

    Some having problems with their body languages and use inappropriate gestures,

    some find it difficult to maintain eye contact.

    Some are always misunderstood. Some students had

    Limited vocabulary

    Inaccurate grammar

    Lack of fluency

    Imperfect pronunciation

    Lack of active listening

    Fear of speaking in public

    Fear of expressing certain views

    Lack of confidence

    Lack of group skills

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    Fear of group skills

    Lack of exposure and practice.

    It is generally perceived by the managements and academic staff of the

    colleges that is the responsibility of the English Teacher Alone to develop the

    communication skills of the students. In most of the rural colleges in A.P courses

    other than English are taught in vernacular medium. Here, it is important to note that

    most of the UG programs like B.Sc, B.Com, B.A., etc. except professional

    programmes like B.Tech, B. Pharm, MBBS, etc in A.P, are offered in both vernacular

    and English mediums. English is usually taught in the first year of the non

    engineering UG programmers along with second language and other branch related

    courses. On an average, time allotted for English course in the curriculum on these on

    these UG programmers is 4hrs of classroom teaching and 3hrs of laboratory practice

    while the total number of teaching hours (if all courses are put together) per week is

    40. It is here that we can make some practical adjustments to our teaching methods in

    the college. The scenario is not much different.

    With B.Tech, B. Pharm and B.Sc Agri programmes. Of course, English is

    conveniently left out of the MBBS and related medical programmers for reasons best

    known to the curriculum developers.

    Let us for example take the First year of a B.Tech Programme (that runs into 33

    weeks) in Electronics and communications Engineering of a JNTU affiliated college. The

    courses offered for the programme are with hours of teaching and credits are given below:

    S.No Courses Hours per week

    1. Introduction to mathematics (MI) 4

    2. Mathematical methods (MM) 4

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    3. Applied physics (AP) 4

    4. Network analysis 4

    5. Electronic devices and circuits (EDC) 4

    6. Engineering drawing (ED) 3

    7. C programming and data structure (CDS) 4

    8. English 3

    9. English language communication skills lab (ELCS)

    3

    10. EDC Lab 3

    11. C programming lab 3

    12. IT workshop 3

    From the table it is very clear that teachers of other courses can make a great

    difference in developing the communicative skills of the students. If the teachers of other

    courses follow cooperative teaching method (CTM) considerable improvement can be shown,

    thus limiting the need for finishing schools that give special employment related training. For

    example, if an Applied physics lecturer or an Electronics professor understands that listening

    skills play an important part in communication processes, and that they too can develop

    listening skills in the students. They can develop patience and desire to understand in the

    students. They can encourage them to concentrate on listening and maintain eye contact.

    They can also help the student to resist distractions by making him involved in the listening

    activity. If the teachers are willing to follow a specific methodology that can lead to

    developing the employability skills in the students, then there will be reinforcement to what

    an English teacher tells them in a communication skills development class. This is where it

    can be called co-operative teaching method (CTM). The teachers in a college should

    cooperate with one another should be willing to share the responsibility. There should not be

    any feeling of division or segregation among the teaching community.

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    In a C programming class, for example the teacher can, while working on a program,

    instead of simply transferring the program from text to the blackboard or by projecting it on

    to the screen, he can initiate small group discussion among the students as to what kind of a

    logic is used and which is the best way of writing a program if the same program can be

    written in more than one way. This brings into the class, the dynamics of team learning and

    cooperative behavior. Generally, an English teacher is asked to take care of group discussions

    of the students and most often they come up with some general topics that are usually outside

    the classroom and curriculum. If the computer science teacher or a network analysis professor

    follows the dos and donts of group discussion in his class while involving the students in an

    interactive way, the net result of student development would be entirely different. These

    teachers should believe that GD is all about communicating with a group of people and not

    the subject matter of an English teacher. Simple thing like eye contact and body language

    work as indices of confidence. By giving the following Dos and Donts for GD to the class,

    the engineering subject teacher can play a major role in cooperative teaching. Some Dos of

    a GD are

    Speak pleasantly and politely to the group.

    Remember that a discussion is not an argument.

    Try to stick to the discussion topic. Dont introduce irrelevant information.

    Be aware of your body language when you are speaking. Some important

    Donts are

    Lose your temper. A discussion is not an argument.

    Shout Use a moderate tone at a medium pitch.

    Use too many gestures when you speak. Gestures like finger pointing and

    table thumping can appear aggressive.

    Interrupt; wait for a speaker to finish what they are saying before you speak.

    During the interaction if the teacher facilitates the use of positive language that is

    polite, pleasant, practical, percussive and powerful, there is a chance to develop positive

    attitude in the students and make them think positively. It is this positive language that

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    creates a positive impact on the student and it helps them to attain their goal and achieve

    success. Is it very difficult for a non English teacher to try this out in his classroom?

    In this way, any teacher, not just an English teacher, can take up the responsibility of

    developing the most needed communication skills among the students in a cooperative way.

    There should not be any hesitation in sharing the teaching resources as far as cooperative

    teaching is concerned. Language skills and communication skills are essential for getting

    good placement in the information technology and I.T Enabled Services, M.N. Cs., public

    sector and private sector industries etc. Everyone should revis...

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