Teaching of Foreign Languages for Engineering Students in Indian Contexts

Teaching of Foreign Languages for Engineering Students in Indian Contexts

Calaivanane R. (VIT University, India) and Karthikeyan J. (VIT University, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3464-9.ch003

Abstract

This chapter describes how in the globalized era, the need for learning a foreign language has increased the unquenchable thirst of students to attain success globally. Though English enjoys all privileges the same as the regional languages of India, it is no longer considered a foreign language. After the successful completion of engineering courses, a majority of students are placed in IT sectors, and a few, with a keen interest on research, go abroad for higher education. Language is an important part of culture and civilization, and students, by learning foreign languages, get a wide cultural and linguistic exposure. Language is a major aspect of globalization and is closely connected with waves of migrant students.
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Introduction

“Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.” ‒Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.” ‒Oliver Wendell Holmes

The tremendous advancements in science and technology has made the world shrink and the people of the world are ‘linguistic relatives’, as languages play a pivotal role in making the global community share their thoughts and ideas beyond horizons. Study of foreign languages has become an added value in the successful journey of the aspiring and ambitious students towards their vision and mission. In all leading institutes in India, teaching of foreign languages has acquired new dimensions in terms of methodology and pedagogy. VIT, being a competitor of world class universities in terms of innovations in teaching, teaching of foreign languages has its own uniqueness. The author, in this paper, in order to standardize and globalize teaching and learning of foreign languages, presents the concerted efforts put forward by him in order to serve the purpose as meaningfully as possible.

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Methodology Adopted In Teaching Foreign Language

Members of faculty, Department of Languages, VIT, being professionally dedicated, constantly involve themselves in employing innovative approaches and methods to make language teaching as effective and as meaningful as possible. Eclectic approaches are also experimented, thus engaging learners with knowledge and skills required to meet the challenges in the global market. The Department is constantly working on providing a dynamic, congenial and intellectual environment by fostering critical, reflective and conceptual thinking in learners, and aims at enriching the language abilities of the learners by adopting unique, relevant and need-based approaches to learning. Different approaches and methods are adopted in accordance with the understanding capabilities of learners, and Dr. N.S. Prabhu, an international researcher of repute in English Language Teaching (ELT) rightly observes through his research that no specific approach or method can be considered the best, as far as language teaching-learning is concerned. For learners from initial to advanced levels, different approaches and methods need to be adopted in order to enable them to move from better to some stage bettering the better and progress to a stage that could be considered best to their intellectual capacities. Integrating international perspectives into its teaching, the Dept, with a strength of 18 members of faculty well-specialized and well-experienced in teaching foreign languages such as French/ German/ Spanish/ Arabic/ Chinese/ Japanese, besides teaching of regional languages such as Tamil and Hindi lures the attention of learners from a wide range of cultural and economic backgrounds, and provides a rich and diverse teaching-learning environment.

Foreign Languages offered at three levels at VIT are as follows

  • Basic Level – Level-1

  • Intermediate Level-Level-2

  • Advanced Level- Level-3

Students of B.Tech/ M.Tech programs have the privilege to choose a foreign language (Level-1) which is considered a University core, whereas the Indian languages are offered as elective courses and learners who are willing to pursue their higher studies abroad may choose the intermediate course (Level-2) and Advanced Course (Level-3) of the course that they have already studied at Level I.

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