Teaching Terminology at the English for Specific Purposes Class
Teaching Terminology at the English for Specific Purposes Class
One of the main objectives of foreign language teaching at a non-linguistic university is to master terminology that makes up the lexical core of the language of any field of knowledge. The authors of the article put forward the system of methodological techniques designed for the development of the foreign language terminology competence that comprises four steps: drawing up a terminological grid of a studied communicative situation, making up a term cloud, filling in the term card and playing term games. The proposed system of methodological techniques is aimed at developing high standard logical structure of the terms, key concept-words of the topic in the learners’ mind. This allows to avoid fragmentary perception of the studied units and contributes to retentive memorizing.
Mastering the terminology that makes up the lexical core of the language of any field of knowledge is considered by methodologists as the basis of the formation of professional foreign language communicative competence of future specialists, and therefore is one of the main objectives of foreign language teaching at a non-linguistic university. The issue of foreign language terminology teaching has drawn the attention of a wide range of sientists (Alekseeva L.E., Minyar-Belorucheva A.P., Krupchenko A.K., Valeeva S.V., Molchanova Yu.A., Andrianova S.V., Vepreva T.B., Mitrophanova K.A., Polyakova T.Yu. and others), nevertheless the search for new methodological solutions, practically providing students with qualitative mastery of the foreign language terminology of the professional branch is still a burning issue. This postulate confirms the need and relevance of the innovative and comprehensive system of methodological techniques designed for the development of the foreign language terminology competence.
The aim of the article is to put forward and describe the system of methodological techniques that can be applied at the ESP class and will make the terminology training process consequent, systematic and efficient.
2. Main results
The system of methodological techniques designed for the development of the foreign language terminology competence has been developed at the foreign languages department of Voronezh Air Force academy. An algorithm of the development of methodological support (PP presentations, didactic materials) that accompanies practical implementation of the system at the English for specific purposes classes has also been proposed. The scientific novelty of the proposed methodological system is proved by the fact that it comprises the functional, field, traditional and communicative approaches to terminology teaching, thus might be regarded as the innovative and integrative one. Moreover, the system can be regarded as universal and applicable to teaching terminology of any professional field, thus contributing to the methodology of terminology teaching in general. The proposed system of methodological techniques designed to train terminology is based on the fundamental principles of teaching foreign language vocabulary, lexical skills' formation, taking into account the specificity of professional terminology teaching.
The system is based on the following theoretical statements:
1) mastering terminological units is to be based on students’ cognitive and communicative needs and activity;
2) mastering the vocabulary should be based on students’ cognitive processes (perception, attention, imagination, memory, thinking);
3) professionally oriented vocabulary under study should be organized according to the principle of terminological field in which each concept must be presented with all the diverse connections;
4) learning terminological units should be based on different types of learners’ competencies (lexical, professional lexical, communicative, linguistic, sociolinguistic, discursive, compensatory, etc.);
5) the proposed algorithm of working with the terminology of the studied communicative situations is aimed at forming professional lexical competence of future specialists, that is seen as the ability to exploit professional terms, methods of logical thinking while solving specialized situational problems and joining professional debate, .
Since terminological units are the core of solving professional communicative tasks, the implementation of the proposed system of methodological techniques is carried out taking into account the main features of such a linguistic phenomenon as a term. The term is regarded as a cognitive phenomenon that is a part of a logical system and is restricted by specific professional scientific knowledge. The term is characterized by independence from the context, stylistic neutrality, systematic nature, clarity etc. . All these linguistic aspects form the basis of the proposed system of methodological techniques designed to train terminology.
Professional vocabulary teaching involves taking into account the peculiarities of lexical skills' formation. In general the analyses of scientific publications has demonstrated the following number of components that are traditionally distinguished as parts of a lexical skill: word building, word usage, call operation and word combination operation, determining the choice adequacy, unit colocation depending on the situation, .
Manifestly, efficient foreign language terminology teaching involves taking into account the communicative nature of speech (and, in particular, the communicative nature of reading as a language activity) as well as careful work on the language component. Hence, the system of methodological techniques designed for the development of the foreign language terminology competence incorporates communicative oriented work with special texts as well as work with a term as a linguistic unit, and is regarded as operating procedures on the terms included in a studied professional communicative situation. The proposed system of methodological techniques incorporates four steps.
Step 1 is aimed at drawing up a terminological grid of a studied communicative situation. Learners’ attention is paid to the content of the term (conceptual aspect). The phase features two consequently applied techniques:
1) brainstorming of the studied communicative situation in Russian and completing the terminological grid with the Russian terms with the view to anticipating the content of the studied communicative situation;
2) filling in the terminological grid with new terms in English while reading the academic text in English through finding and contextual semantization of the terminological units.
The proposed system presupposes moving from a text to the term, studying the given language phenomenon from the functional aspect point of view. A terminology grid used containing the terminological units makes it possible to develop high standard logical structure of the terms, key concept-words of the topic in the learners’ mind. This allows to avoid segmentary perception of the studied units. Also, it leads to retentive memorizing.
Step 2 incorporates making a term cloud (systematic presentation of the studied terminological units, including stratification of the terminological field of a studied communicative situation and analysis of its correlation with the terminological fields of various communicative situations of the professional sphere. This allows to visualize subject-conceptual and structural-semantic relations.) The key (nuclear) terms of the communicative situation are in the centre. Systematization of the lexis by various logical-semantic relations is organized around these words. It requires uncovering relationships between objects and phenomena, existing in reality. The more relations are identified, the better lexis is learned.
Step 3 is aimed at filling in the term card for key terms, chosen in step 2. The term card has such aspects as the part of speech, definition, translation, synonyms / antonyms, word forms, phrase / collocation, context.
Filling in the term card is aimed at the systematic learning of terms in their paradigmatic and syntagmatic relations and therefore facilitates the development of students’ skills to correlate the visual image of a word with its semantics, identify synonyms, antonyms and homonyms, apply word building and contextual guess, differentiate words demonstrating similar forms according to certain features.
Step 4 is represented by the term games aimed at actualizing the key terms, studying the peculiarities of their functioning and translation, developing the lexical skills in general.
The term games can be classified as etymological (aimed at studying the term origin), phonetic (aimed at studying the sound image of a term), lexical and communicative.
The proposed system of methodological techniques designed to train terminology can be characterized as consequent and flexible at the same time. It presupposes that while Step 1 should always be initial, the order of the other steps can be adapted by a teacher depending on the type and objective of a professional communicative situation, the language level and needs of the students. So, the term field can be applied at the stage of the terminology introduction as well as at the final assessment stage. The most reasonable stage to apply the term cards is the final work with the communicative situation, however, they may be of great help at the stage of the term introduction and actualization.
Finally, it should be emphasized that the proposed four stages can be regarded not only as the system of methodological techniques, but as the main steps of the algorithm of presentations and didactic material development, designed to train terminology.