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Professional English in the European Context: The EHEA Challenge

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Angeles Linde López and Rosalia Crespo Jiménez

More than ever, professional English is now cruising towards an enormous challenge in the European university context due to the extremely significant moment we are living in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). The European convergence process is demanding immediate reflections, serious analyses, and profound reforms in specialized language teaching that lead to reach Bologna standards by 2010.
This book aims to present an overview of professional English in the current academic landscape in Europe. It intends to shed light on a range of issues, both theoretical and practical, related to ESP, focusing on discourse analysis, corpus analysis, information and communication technologies, methodological approaches, curriculum design, and empirical research into language learning in broad terms. Because teachers need to be researchers and inquirers, this overview thus makes a contribution to the professional English field with the purpose of highlighting several important questions in the entire ESP academic mainstream. Scholars from different European universities explore specialized languages and document ESP teaching methodologies at university levels from a multidimensional perspective.

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Section III ESP Students’ Perceptions, Attitudes and Motivation

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MARTA AGUILAR / CLÀUDIA BARAHONA An analysis of engineering students’ perceptions after developing a collaborative technical writing project 1. Introduction It is well-known that EHEA guidelines promote more active teach- ing and learning methods in order to foster students’ reflection proc- esses; self-monitoring so that students can assess their own strengths and weaknesses; constructivist learning by means of which students construct their own learning from their own experiences and indi- vidual understandings; learning in context from real and authentic situations; and social learning through the interaction with other stu- dents. Within this new methodology, collaborative project-based learn- ing is claimed to be a good method to enhance transversal learning in field-specific writing courses. The present study aims to gather infor- mation about Spanish engineering students’ perceptions to assess the validity of collaborative project writing at tertiary level. The use of small groups and pair work in second language (L2) classrooms has been supported by both theoretical and pedagogical arguments. This model of learning is framed within social constructivist theories based on the work of Vygotsky (1978). According to this perspective, thought is mediated; namely, it is through public or social conversation that reflective thought is created and consciousness raised. Therefore, collaborative learning provides a social context which fosters interaction and joint construction of knowledge. Besides offering a particular context for learning, group work also provides learners with a particular community of status equals: peers (Bruffee, 1984). Work- ing with peers allows students to assume a more active role and...

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