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Textbook Analysis of English for EngineersS. Jeyachandra, Ph.D.
The present study analyzes the textbook prescribed by Anna University for engineering students. The various aspects of the textbook are analyzed to check whether the objectives are fulfilled and communicative skills are improved through the textbook. This is elucidated with statistical data and reports.
Need for Communication Skills among Engineering Students
The word communication is derived from the Latin `communico' which means 'to share'. It means to share the information or to share what one knows and to interact with others.
The need of effective communication tends to be increasing due to globalization and information explosion. To keep abreast of the latest developments and trends in the field of technology, engineering students must have good communication skills. Science and Engineering students are often perceived to have poor communication skills1. The Engineering students often fail to foresee their future needs to excel in language skills. Engineers may have technical knowledge and creativity. However, when they are unable to share their knowledge and fail to convince their colleagues or supervisors, their knowledge will go unnoticed, unused and unrewarded.
Sushma Panniker, communication training head at Wipro, Spectramind Powei explains (Nisha Fitter, 2005:33), "Globalization is so rampant in India that one cannot afford to ignore communication. One can be technically sound but if he is unable to communicate that knowledge he ends up stuck doing one thing and not growing".
General Objectives of Engineering Colleges
The objective of any Engineering college is to impart science-based knowledge education, to develop the professional skills for immediate employment.
Because of globalization many well-reputed companies have come into India in search of engineers with excellent communication skills. Tragically, majority of our Indian Youth today not only lack fluency and polish but also embarrassingly deficient in grammar. More efficiency with better leadership not only benefits the employee but also the company. Leadership skills are closely linked to efficient communication skills. Hence communication skills are the basic foundation and integral part of a technocrat. It has become indispensable for an engineer to acquire the communication skills.
Aim of This Paper
There is widespread assumption that engineering students could obtain better knowledge and comprehension of their technical subjects through English. Hence it becomes necessary to analyze the engineering syllabus called "Technical English".
Many engineering colleges come under Anna University. An attempt has been made here to analyze the textbook "English for Engineers and Technologists" prescribed by Anna University. The aim is to find out the attitude of the students who have passed the examinations of various boards of education like the state board, Matriculation board, CBSE board toward the textbook, and methods of learning, teaching and testing. A review of these materials is done to check to what extent these materials or the methods they assume and demand are in accord with the realities, the needs, and expectations of the learners. Moreover, this paper will analyze how far these materials minimize the conscious efforts to acquire the language.
Method of Analysis
The descriptive method is selected and applied in the study. Opinions were gathered from Engineering students and the teachers of English working in Engineering Colleges. Two different questionnaires were prepared to obtain the views of students as well as teachers. The questionnaire contains questions related to their parental background, and the school board through which they took their school final exams. Students were asked to share their views on the content form, presentation and other aspects like grammar and the four skills. A mini survey was conducted among the students of five different Engineering colleges in southern Tamil Nadu and English teachers drawn from them.
We need to recognize an important point in Indian education. Generally, there is no direct contact between the learners and the syllabus. The textbook links them. Thus materials are implemented in the syllabus.
A textbook is defined as a book used as a standard work for the students of a particular subject. It is usually written specifically for a particular purpose, as a manual of instruction in any science or branch of study, especially as a work organized by scholars who usually have taught courses on the subject/s dealt with in a particular textbook.
Advantages of Using a Textbook
When a question is asked how important a textbook is, many answers will be offered. The following are the advantages of using a text book. A course book provides a clear framework, a sense of structure; progress and goal are provided to both the learners and teachers.
In many places a textbook serves as a syllabus. It is adopted systematically as follows:
i. A carefully planned and balanced selection of language content will be covered. ii. Readymade texts and tasks: The textbook provides the text and various tasks based on it. iii. Economy: A book is the cheapest way of providing learning material for each learner. iv. Convenience; It is a convenient package for the students to use. v. Guidance: For teachers who are inexperienced or occasionally unsure of their knowledge of the language, the textbook can provide useful guidance and support. vi. Autonomy: The learner can use the textbook to learn new material, review, and monitor progress with some degree of autonomy.
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S. Jeyachandra, Ph.D.
Department of English
School of Science and Humanities
Coimbatore - 641 114