Marie McEntee, who coordinates one of the approved AELR courses (SCIGEN 101/101G Communicating for a Knowledge Society), explains the benefits students will gain from completing an approved Academic English Language course to meet the Academic English Language Requirement.
When you come to University you need to know how to successfully access literature (that is the academic material relevant to your specialty), to understand it and interpret it and to be able to use this material effectively in your own work. While some students experience difficulties doing this because of English language concerns, this is not always the case. Other students simply do not always enjoy writing, presenting seminars or reading literature.
The Academic English Language Requirement (AELR) courses at the University of Auckland are specifically designed to give you the necessary skills to become familiar with the language of University, so you can communicate effectively in all your courses. Being able to communicate competently at University will assist you with your study and enable you to be a more successful learner.
Why are good communication skills important for students?
To be able to effectively communicate your work in an understandable way requires you to present your work in a logical, coherent and well-structured manner. It must draw on appropriate academic sources and be well referenced. To do this effectively assists you with understanding and engaging with your specialist knowledge. It also enables you to communicate your knowledge to others, including your lecturers and tutors who have to mark your work. Course assignments and exams require good communication, so being able to communicate effectively can have a direct impact on your grades. However, most importantly effective communication enhances your enjoyment and engagement in learning at University.
What are the benefits for students to be effective communicators?
Learning to communicate effectively at University not only helps you with your study and coursework, but it will also provide you with essential employment skills. While at University you will learn to master a body of specialist knowledge in your chosen field – whatever that may be. However, employers also want you to develop a range of transferable skills of which communication is one of the most important.
Communication enables you to connect with people and to share your specialist knowledge and gain understanding and knowledge from others. When you graduate you will engage with people inside and outside your specialist field. You will need to work and collaborate with others – and for this you need to be an effective communicator. Employers rank communication as one of the most important skills they look for in graduates.
Marie McEntee is a 22-year teaching veteran who teaches science communication in the School of Environment, Faculty of Science, as well as running a number of public outreach programmes. Marie recently received the 2015 Sustained Excellence Award at the AKO National Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards, and feedback on her teaching includes many unsolicited comments that highlight the engaging, demanding and often transformative nature of her courses.