Development of Soft Skills While Teaching English to Master’s Students
Besides the knowledge and skills directly related to the profession, the so-called soft or transferable skills are essential for future specialists in all areas. Soft skills involve communication, problem-solving, decision-making, computer, leadership, teamwork, critical and creative thinking, presentation, reflection and other skills, which help people to be employed and develop a successful career. To develop these skills while teaching English at University the following activities are useful: projects, presentations, discussions, debates, keeping portfolios, writing reflective diaries, role play and business games. A mixed paradigm was applied: quantitative research (self-assessment questionnaire survey) with 60 MA/MS students and, for triangulation, a focus group interview (a qualitative approach) with 6 of those respondents who volunteered to take part in it. The goal of the research was to find out whether activities supporting the development of soft skills were applied in MA/MS English classrooms and whether the respondent students realized their usefulness for their future careers. Two corresponding research questions were asked. The research held applied a researcher-made Likert-scale questionnaire and a focus group interview. The questionnaire was validated and piloted. The interview asked the same questions, trying to get students’ insight on the issue. A conclusion was made that presentations, discussions and debates, as well as role-play were often applied in their classes, while portfolios, diaries and business games were more or less applied and projects were almost not used. However, the students realized the importance of these activities for their future careers.
Keywords: soft skills, teaching English as a foreign/second language (EFL, ESL), activities, Master’s students
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