The worldwide survey English at Work, carried out jointly by Cambridge English Language Assessment and Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) in September 2016,1 organized its findings according to country. When asked how important English language skills were to their organizations, Italian companies ranked fifth, together with Switzerland and Belgium, where 96% of those interviewed considered English to be essential. In Italy, according to the survey, employers rated speaking as being the most desirable skill, but then also cited dealing with email as the most frequent task that employees perform, together with presentation skills, participating in meetings and reading reports. The levels required for email writing were 74% “advanced to native level” and 17% “basic to intermediate level.”2 This data was interpreted to mean that: “In every industry, there is a gap between the English skills required and the English language skills that employees have. Across all company sizes globally there is at least a 40% skills gap” (Cambridge English Language Assessment and QS – see footnote 1). Professional communication has come to be interpreted in different ways by researchers in published literature as pointed out by Bhatia and Bremner (2017) who define it “broadly” as “all forms of semiotic resources (linguistic as well as multimodal) in and for academic as well as professional contexts, both spoken and written” (2017, xvi) and go on to say that this definition is common in both ESP and business communication literature. Given the high value accorded to email skills in the English at Work survey, however, professional communication in this discussion focuses on the narrower category of the written texts of emails in the context of the world of work, and examines ways in which a genre based approach may help Italian learners of English to improve their writing skills by focusing not solely on the categories commonly assessed by major examination boards but also by developing learner awareness of genre and register aspects. A framework for classroom work that may be applied by ESP teachers is also provided, which has been developed as part of a learner-centred approach designed to help Economics undergraduates at Verona University improve their email writing skills. This was initially based on Bhatia’s work and adapted to meet the needs of the Italian context.
|Titolo:||A Genre Based Approach to teaching B1 level Email writing for the world of work|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2017|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01.01 Articolo in Rivista|