English for engineers

For general discussion between ESL teachers.

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Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 3:14 pm
Status: Teacher

English for engineers

Unread postby mesues » Sat Jun 19, 2010 3:55 pm


I've just started teaching a class of three engineers who need to understand technical documents in English. Globally, they are all at an upper elementary/lower intermediate level. They actually understand quite a bit of the texts they must read, but stumble often on syntax, unable to relate relative clauses to their subjects, for instance.

As they have a need to progress quickly, I'm looking for ideas to help them cope with grammar and structures that, in a traditional classroom, may not come up for another year or more. We meet once weekly for two hours and, this being France, will have a lengthy summer break, so I 'd like to structure the course so that class notes - either handouts or self-written - will provide support between lessons.

My first thought is to work on analysing sentence structure so they can break down sentences into relevant parts and find their meanings. I would work up to skimming exercises so they can recognize the more relevant passages - nothing more frustrating than spending time translating a sentence that's just filler. This would be supported by vocab building with words I'll take from sample documents they've given me.

I'd appreciate any feedback on this approach, tips on other ways to help them progress, and ideas to keep it from getting too dry.

Thanks for any advice you can offer.

Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2010 11:10 am
Status: Teacher

Re: English for engineers

Unread postby Janine » Sat Jul 17, 2010 11:23 am

Hi mesues,

Where are you in France?

Have you thought about the Technical English books by Pearson/Longman and Oxford?

Technical English Book 2 (CEF A2) by David Bonamy (Pearson/Longman)
and TECH TALK (Pre-Int) by John Sydes (OUP)

Hope this helps,

Treat people as if they were what they should be, and you help them become what they are capable of becoming. (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

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