Gaps in Content-Based English Enhancement in Science and Engineering

Wing Yee Siu

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Teaching and learningpeer-review


In the fields of science and engineering, teaching and assessment habitually makes use of calculations and drawings rather than extended writing or oral presentations. Although the ability to communicate eloquently in the disciplinary context is required of students, the development of language skills is often contracted out to language teaching units. This chapter reports on a project that aimed to devise content-based strategies to enhance students’ English language skills within a technical curriculum. In a baseline survey conducted to understand students’ habits and views about English, respondents self-reported a general confidence in their language use for the purpose of learning their discipline, but noted difficulties in speaking and, to a lesser extent, writing, with the fluency of both affected by deficiencies in grammar and vocabulary. Moreover, it was found that the target students’ motivation for language improvement was highly instrumental, based on obtaining better jobs or
better grades. The study reveals some systemic problems, such as the lack of opportunities for more extensive use of language in teaching and assessment in technical disciplines and an overall lack of motivation among students.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnglish Across the Curriculum: Voices from Around the World
EditorsMorrison Bruce, Julia Chen, Linda Lin, Alan Urmston
Place of PublicationLouisville, Colorado
PublisherUniversity Press of Colorado
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-64215-122-0, 978-1-64215-123-7
ISBN (Print)978-1-64642-222-7
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • English Across the Curriculum, writing across the curriculum, engineering education, science education, university education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Education

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