Role of English in Technical Education
English is one of the most widely used languages all over the world. All continents have an English influence, an aspect that relates directly to the British colonization of many countries in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. As many world activities including education take place in English, it has become a universal language in many parts of the world. One of the most affected areas where English has a key influence is in technical education.
Among the most recognized areas in technical education is engineering. To better understand and master engineering knowledge and skills, students need to be proficient in English. First, most of the engineering professors in a wide range of universities utilize the language in their lectures. This has to do with the fact that many researchers, professors, and other research groups do publish their journals and scientific findings in English. For these reasons, non-native speakers need to learn the language and develop fluency in it. Attending engineering classes that are conducted in English can be a major challenge to non-native speakers, including the doing of assignments and submitting of theses which largely have to be done in that language.
Technical aspects of engineering courses do not particularly require English as the courses can also be taught in other languages such as French, Spanish, and Chinese among other languages. However, the professionals’ development aspects of the course require that the student has the ability to communicate both in oral and written forms. If an examination is given in English, the student has to answer in the same language.
Once a student graduates from college, an even greater challenge awaits him. If he does not have a good understanding of English, he faces a rough time searching for a job. No engineer can work alone- he has to work in collaboration with others as a significant number of engineering problems need to be solved by a collective team. As communication skills are one of the most important skills that any employable graduate requires, technical education must have the ability to verbalize his linguistic prowess and combine this with deep knowledge of engineering concepts and applications.
At times, an engineer in one part of the world needs to communicate with fellow professionals across the world to find a solution to a given problem. It is at this point that engineers discover how important English as a language is. Fluency would enable an engineer in Australia to chat online with, and get help from a team of professionals in Canada, or any other part of the world. In many circles, English is considered the de facto language of communication between engineers. Regardless of his or her native language, he has to communicate with and interact with colleagues. In fact, a large number of engineers in the world speak English either as their first language or as their language of work. Non-native speakers are thus required to have an understanding of the language to succeed in their profession.
In conclusion, a non-native engineering student at a college or university would find it easier and more beneficial if he first undertakes English classes before continuing with the professional courses. Academic excellence and effective performance at the place of work is achieved if one can communicate effectively and interact well with others in a common language.
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