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Writing, Chemistry and the Four Skills: An Ongoing Process 

 

 

Paper presented at:

"Science, Technology, Education and Local Wisdom for Sustainable Development." 
Udon Thani Rajabhat University, 01-03 November 2006.

 

Paper published in the Journal of the English for Specific Purposes Special Interest Group (ESPSIG), Summer-Autumn 2007, Issue 30 pages 10-13. International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL). 
 
 

ABSTRACT


This study recounts the process undertaken to produce English language teaching materials for chemistry majors at Udon Thani Rajabhat University. Initially, a writing course was requested for third year students for one semester and later the Language Center decided to produce an integrated skills course focussing on listening, speaking, reading and writing for possible future use. This semester, the third year chemistry students are to have a second course; therefore, this has presented the Language Center with the possibility of trialling various sections of the new integrated skills course.

 

The chemistry students are of particular interest to the Language Center, as they seem to be able to assimilate information easily, they are prepared to ask questions and they do well in examinations. Students understand the importance of English in their field and the benefits of being able to express their work in an international language.

 

The approach used to collate materials for the initial writing course was to use a generic writing book to introduce the individual writing processes and then progress to more science based materials. A small amount of grammar was also introduced to help with the writing of a process paragraph, “A very simple experiment.”

 

Materials for the integrated skills course focussed on inventions and science based reading and listening materials. Speaking would be conducted by presentations describing the experiments that students had completed previously.

 

In conclusion, this is an ongoing project so there are no final results as yet, however, early indications are that the new materials will provide a varied and challenging addition to the existing writing course, giving chemistry majors the opportunity to further their English language studies in accordance with government policy, in addition to giving them the confidence to study and produce their work in the English language.

 

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