TIRF at 2012 TESOL - English at Work: International Workforce Training Programs

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Anthony Fitzpatrick presents on behalf of TIRF at the 2012 TESOL Convention in Philadelphia. In his presentation, Fitzpatrick discusses the results of a study TIRF commissioned. The paper investigates …

Anthony Fitzpatrick presents on behalf of TIRF at the 2012 TESOL Convention in Philadelphia. In his presentation, Fitzpatrick discusses the results of a study TIRF commissioned. The paper investigates English language training programs for the international workforce. Dick Tucker is the discussant for the presentation.

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  • Ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues. My name is Tony Fitzpatrick and for the next 40 min I will be speaking about:[Slide 1]English at Work an Analysis of Case Reports about English Language Training for the 21st Century Workforce You should have received a flyer as you entered the room. The flyer gives a general overview of what this talk is about with a list of the case reports I will be referring to in the course of my presentation. At the end of my talk, I will provide you with a reference to the complete report which can be downloaded in PDF format from the TIRF website.However, before I start, let me say that this is the first time I have spoken before a predominantly US American audience. I did ask British and European colleagues for tips on “dos” and “don’ts”, and thought to read few out to you, but, after re-reading them, I decided not to. However, bearing in mind that George Bernard Shaw that the USA and England were two countries divided by language (or words to that effect), I would like to check that you can actually understand me, language-wise. So, if there is something I say which you do not understand, could you please raise your right hand? Can we practice that? Please raise your right hand now. Fine, thank you. So, now that that is clear, we can continue. [Swedish]. (Depending on reaction: Good, thank you. OR Do we really need to practice that again?End of audience participation bit. English at Work is a study which I conducted with my colleague Robert O'Dowd at present at the University of León in Spain and which was commissioned by TIRF The International Research Foundation For English Language Education. 
  • Slide 4 One of the premises for our work, which was confirmed in terms of the case reports we received, was that the English language has become the most important means of global communication. I say this not in a programmatic, but rather in a pragmatic sense. This is not to raise English above any other language, it just so happens that this is the state-of-the-art at the moment.For those of you who are interested in a more generic approach which embraces all languages, I will refer to another related publication later.
  • Slide 5There were two key questions which TIRF asked us to answer in the course of our study:- "What English related skills are needed for the 21st-century workforce?", and,"How are English language training programs designed to help prepare workers and future members of the workforce for their areas of employment?“Let me outline how we went about answering these two questions:
  • Slide 6 We first looked at literature which addressed the two questions. In all, we reviewed over 100 books, articles, reports and websites about English language training for business, vocational and professional purposes.
  • Slide 7 We then collected a number of case reports submitted by colleagues from throughout the world. The collection makes no pretence of being comprehensive, but we believe that it is fairly representative. We then compared what the experts had written in the literature with what we found in the case reports, and discovered that there was a large amount of overlap, with the case reports providing concrete examples of some of the more significant claims or predictions of the experts. As you can see, we looked at the use of English in work contexts in English-speaking countries and in countries where English is a foreign language.
  • Slide 8 It was clear both from the literature review and from the case reports submitted that there has been a major shift in the concepts of providing adequate language training programs for those who need English in their working contexts. The most significant, but for this audience probably the most evident, change is that the learning of English is not seen as an objective in itself, but rather as a means to providing learners with a practical tool for conducting their own particular business.Slide 9
  • Slide 9These 21st-century skills complement the specific job-related expertise that graduates and workers bring to the workforce in their own disciplines.
  • A quotationfrom a reportby GlobalEnglish in 2011 isquite explicit aboutwhatisrequired in businesscontexts. [QUOTE}But what are these "other skills“ referred to above?
  • Slide 10They are first and foremost the skills referred to as "21st-century skills“ .21st-century skills include those that enable workers to communicate and collaborate with others, organize and analyze information, make informed decisions, and then take decisive action. The skills required demand the deployment of the innovative abilities, technological knowledge, and career skills required in modern societies. The case reports summarized in the study show how language training organizations are meeting these new challenges and how language teachers are designing curricula and training materials to satisfy the immediate and long-term needs of their learners.
  • This copy of the mind map taken from the E-VOLLution publication, which I referred to earlier when speaking about a cross-languages approach to ESP/VOLL and which is referenced in the selected reading list given on the back page of the flyer prepared for this presentation) illustrates many of the aspects of the new media available in what we used to refer to as WEB 2.0 for use in ESP/VOLL training courses.
  • And this part of the mind map shows parts which illustrate the “transversal” aspect referred to above.Let us now look at the case reports which we received to complement the background research.
  • The case reports summarized in the study show how language training organizations are meeting these new challenges and how language teachers are designing curricula and training materials to satisfy the immediate and long-term needs of their learners.
  • Key competences deemed necessary by the European Union for active citizenship, social cohesion, and employability in a knowledge society include the ability to communicate in foreign languages, digital competence, and social and civic competences, as well as cultural awareness and expression. All of these competences are being implemented through the use of English in many of the working contexts examined in this study.
  • The analysis of the case reports revealed that English language teaching methods and course design for training the workforce currently emphasize the need for mobility – both virtual and actual - and interdisciplinarity between language and the combination of professional and cultural content.
  • The teaching of subject matter through English has become a much more common practice than in the past. In addition, we have seen an increase in project-based approaches to classroom learning, which allow students to put into practice both the foreign language and the applied skills that they need for the workplace. These project-based approaches often involve the use of online tools and resources. These developments have led to a change in the approach and work of language teachers, who are now expected to integrate all these elements into their teaching.
  • Communicative Needs of the 21st-century Workforce What are the English language communicative needsof the 21st-century workforce? Those courses which have traditionally been called “business English” and “English for specific purposes” have mainly emphasized developing future workers’ skills in the classic business tasks of formal presentations, letter and email writing, formal negotiations, etc.
  • Recent studies highlight the importance of English for informal interaction and socializing in workforce contexts. English learners urgently need to be sensitized to communicative strategies for establishing relationships and maintaining rapport in the workplace. In meetings, the ability to take part in discussions is considered much more important than actually carrying out formal presentations. In addition, participation in teamwork is vital for job success. Furthermore, increased awareness of cultural differences that may arise in the workplace in both oral and written forms of communication is essential in the contemporary workplace, where personnel are of different ages and represent a range of linguistic, ethnic, and social backgrounds.
  • In the work of Chan (Case report 20) and of Warschauer we find explicit criticism of more traditional approaches to course and syllabus design. They both call for more project-oriented approaches which require engagement with real actors in real-life situations.
  • Based upon the findings of the study, a preliminary checklist for those wishing to set up or evaluate a language course for workers in a specific vocational or professional setting is provided at the end of the full report.The accompanying text addresses questions related to: Needs analysis / Language audits Preliminary background researchTESTS, TESTING AND EVALUATION: Entry and exit testing, ongoing evaluation (Portfolios, diaries, etc.) Syllabus and course designMaterials development
  • And, finally, here is an overview of the tableof contents of the report I have presented.THANKS: I would like to add at this stage my heartfelt thanks to Kathi Bailey, President of TIRF and Ryan Damerow of TIRF for their unfailing help, support and guidance in the production of this report as well as to the authors of the case reports, who provided us with concrete examples of good practice, illlustrating the main findings of the literature review.Thank you!
  • And thank you, too, for your interest in this study.

Transcript

  • 1. Anthony Fitzpatrick 2012 TESOL ConventionPhiladelphia, PA 29 March 2012
  • 2. TIRFTHE INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH FOUNDATION for English Language Education
  • 3. English language = de facto lingua franca for global cooperation
  • 4. Key questions1. What English-related skills are needed for the 21st century workforce?2. How are English language training programs designed to help prepare workers and future members of the workforce for their areas of employment?
  • 5. Literature Review: • 100+ recent books, articles, reports and websites about English language training for business, vocational and professional purposes reviewed
  • 6. Research reports and case studies: • English language needs of immigrant workers in English speaking countries (e.g. UK, USA and Australia) • English language training for business, vocational and professional purposes (VOLL) = basis for findings and recommendations of study
  • 7. First key question ?11. What English-related skills are needed for the 21st century workforce? Major shift of paradigm in course design and methodologies in ELT to achieve new aims and objectives defined as essential in the modern world.
  • 8. Role of English• No longer seen as something to be taught separately from other subjects and skills, but rather as a tool to help people implement other skills in their daily practice.
  • 9. Workers are not developing English communication skills fortheir own sake, but as a way to communicate in the contextof business. The opportunities to develop English skillsshould be relevant and contextual: Beyond providingexercises for core skill improvement they should focus onreal-life business situations, reference commoncommunication vehicles such as email, and include tools tosupport employees’ ongoing communication needs duringthe work day (2011, p. 5). Report by GlobalEnglish (2011)
  • 10. ELT and other ‘applied skills’• ELT and other ‘applied skills’ needed in the 21st century workplace – “21st century skills” complement specific job-related expertise Mastery of “transversal competences”  Wide range of elements: innovation, technology, and career skills
  • 11. Case reports show how• organisations meet new challenges• language teachers are designing training materials to meet immediate and long-term needs of their learners
  • 12. Key competences as seen in Europe (EU)• ability to communicate in foreign languages• digital competence• social and civic competences• cultural awareness and expressionAll of these found (through English) in manyworking contexts in the case reportspresented
  • 13. Present day emphasis in English language methodologies andcourse design for the workplace 1. Learner mobility 2. Interdisciplinarity between language and business and cultural content
  • 14. Present day emphasis (continued)3. CLIL - Content and Language Integrated Learning (BE) = CBI – Content Based Instruction(AE)4. Increase in project-based approaches5. The use of online tools and resources
  • 15. Future EL communicative needs of the 21st century workforce Shift from … •“Business English” and “English for Specific Purposes” courses emphasising development of future workers’ skills (e.g. ‘classic’ business tasks of formal presentations, letter and email writing, formal negotiations) to …
  • 16. Future EL communicative needs of the 21st century workforce English for informal interaction and socialising o communicative strategies for establishing relationships and maintaining rapport in the workplace o taking part in discussions more common than formal presentations
  • 17. Sophisticated skills of argumentation and persuasionmay not readily emerge from the syntactic syllabi orbasic functional syllabi evident in most Englishclasses. Instead, new project-based approaches willhave to be found that give students the opportunityto learn and practice the kinds of analytic problem-solving and argumentation that they will need inEnglish if they are to compete for the better jobs insociety . (Warschauer, 2000, p. 516)
  • 18. Future EL communicative needs of the 21st century workforce (continued) o participation in team work seen as vital for job success o building relationships and taking part in informal conversation = most frequently used forms of communication
  • 19. Future EL communicative needs of the 21st century workforce o awareness of cultural differences in workplace communication essential in the contemporary workplace (personnel = different ages and different national, ethnic, and social backgrounds)
  • 20. Second key question ?2How are English language training programsdesigned to help prepare workers and futuremembers of the workforce for their areas ofemployment?
  • 21. Case reports• Wide range of professional fields (e.g. dentistry, nursing, the military, diplomatic services, engineering, finance and general business, among others)• Many different geographical backgrounds (Australia, Japan, Latin America, Europe, the Gulf region, China, the Near East, Hong Kong and the USA)
  • 22. Case reports (continued)• Practical portraits showing how principles, aims and methods described in literature review are being put into practice around the world. o 20 cameo sketches help decide which are important for individual readers. o Full version of reports on the TIRF website.
  • 23. Principal trends and developments• A move towards specialisation and personalisation of English language training• Consolidation of online technologies as tools for learning and teaching• Increased recognition given to cultural aspects of language and communication
  • 24. Principal trends and developments (continued) • The rise of project-based learning and authentic materials • Recognition of the importance of autonomy and developing the skills of learner independence • The vital importance of company support (by higher management) of English programs
  • 25. Checklist for ESP/VOLL courses
  • 26. English at WorkAn Analysis of Case Reports about English Language Training for the 21st Century Workforce
  • 27. Resources Available The report will be available as a freedownloadable PDF on TIRF’s website: www.tirfonline.org
  • 28. Resources AvailableFor a reference list on language inbusiness, industry and the professions,go to www.tirfonline.org.Click on “Resources”and then on “References.”Scroll down.
  • 29. Thank you for your attention –I hope you found it interesting
  • 30. The International Research Foundation for English Language Education (TIRF) www.tirfonline.org info@tirfonline.org
  • 31. Important contribution by the authors through their:• Review of extant literature, and by their• Collection and analysis of 20 broadly sampled case studies
  • 32. Sample• Healthcare professionals• Teachers• Japanese executives• Diverse military personnel• Sales & marketing executives• Diplomats• Visually & hearing impaired
  • 33. What’s My “Take-Away?”• Significant improvements in business process efficiency can be achieved by removing language barriers between business units• Borderless workplaces increase needs for workerswith communicative proficiency in English
  • 34. Reece Duca’s presentation in Boston (2010 )Percent of NNS in Global 1000 companies • 1996 30% • 2006 50% • 2011 70%
  • 35. Jun Liu’s presentation in New Orleans (2011)40,000 companies being set up in China annuallywith a total (in 2007) of 25 M employees
  • 36. EF English Proficiency Index (2011)• Two billion people will be learning English in the next decade• Private English instruction is a $50 B/year industry
  • 37. Today• Globally connected Human Network• English Proficiency imperative for the entire workforce• English spreads innovation
  • 38. Global English Special Report (2011)• Current business English skills are not sufficient to meet the demands of global business in the 21st century• 91% of Employers say English proficiency is critical or important• 9% say the level of proficiency of their staff is sufficient for their job
  • 39. This morning’s presentation highlighted…• Tremendous & increasing needs exist for communicative proficiency in English• Move toward CLIL (or CBI) in what amounts to a paradigm shift in ELT [language & professional content]
  • 40. Highlights cont’d .• Need ability to communicate in English, digital competence, & cultural awareness • communicate & collaborate with others • organize & analyze information • make informed decisions • take appropriate action• Need higher management support
  • 41. Highlights cont’d .• Need to learn how to combine both foreign language skills and e-skills to be able to work and collaborate in new contexts where the borders between the virtual and the real, and between the distant and the proximate, are increasingly blurred
  • 42. Tomorrow’s Challenge We need to prepare our students to collaboratevirtually with people of differing ethnicities,religions, and gender across time and space tosolve problems tomorrow that did not existyesterday!
  • 43. Sincere Thanks to…A sincere thank you to Tony &Robert!Dick Tuckergrtucker@andrew.cmu.edu