Enriching career experience of international academics through language training and practicing programs

Zhou, Hong and Basnet, Badri and Pigozzo, Robyn (2013) Enriching career experience of international academics through language training and practicing programs. In: 24th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AaeE 2013): Work Integrated Learning-Applying Theory to Practice in Engineering Education, 8-11 Dec 2013, Gold Coast, Australia.

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Abstract

BACKGROUND
There are increasing numbers of academic staff employed at Australian universities who have immigrated from overseas, and English is their second language (so called ESL Academics). ESL academics can face a range of socio-cultural and language challenges when they enter into the learning and teaching profession at Australian universities containing diverse cohort of local and international students. This paper reports on the progress of a staff professional development project carried out at The University of Southern Queensland (USQ) since 2011.
PURPOSE
The project aimed to provide smooth transition for international academics to adjust to Australian tertiary teaching environment. Distinguished from others, the project was initiated and organised by ESL academics, who have been striving to develop socio-cultural communication and English language presentation skills through training and practice. The project demonstrated that continuous systematic institutional support is necessary for achieving our goals in improving communication skills and teaching performance for international academics.
DESIGN/METHOD
A series of trial workshops were conducted in 2011 and 2012. The contents of the workshop focused on hands-on practice sessions (i.e. practical training). The workshops covered pronunciation, stress, intonation, gesture and general presentation skills. The segments of lectures were recorded before and after the training. A participant feedback survey about the usefulness of the training program was also conducted. The effectiveness of the training program was evaluated by; (a) comparing the differences between the two recordings; and (b) using participants' feedback surveys.
RESULTS
The results clearly demonstrated direct and indirect benefits of the workshops to the participants. During training workshops, participants became aware of the strengths and weaknesses of their English communication and lecture presentation. They addressed the identified issues during the training workshops. After training program, participants learned to communicate clearly (i.e. tone, speed and expression), consciously avoided monotonous lecture delivery, and significantly improved the clarity of their presentations.
CONCLUSIONS
Although there are many challenges for ESL Academics in improving English communication and presentation skills, the training programs has been useful to equip them with appropriate knowledge for a smooth transition to Australian tertiary learning and teaching environment. The benefit of such training program is received by both individuals and the institution.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2013 Australasian Association for Engineering Education. This publication is copyright. It may be reproduced in whole or in part for the purposes of study, research, or review, but is subject to the inclusion of an acknowledgment of the source. Outside of these uses, no part may be reproduced by any process without the written permission of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2014 06:40
Last Modified: 05 Dec 2014 03:51
Uncontrolled Keywords: international academics; professional training; career development; adult learning; language acquisition
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130313 Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators
13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2003 Language Studies > 200303 English as a Second Language
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/24476

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