‘English and Communication Skills for Students of Science and Engineering’ by Dr.S.P.Dhanavel. Chennai: Orient BlackSwan, 2009, pp.228.
Reviewed by Dr.S.Kumaran, Assistant Professor of English, University College of Engineering Tindivanam, Saram-604 307. Tamilnadu – India.
English and Communication Skills for Students of Science and Engineering, written by Dr S P Dhanavel, Professor and Head, Department of English, Anna University Chennai, has carved a niche for itself in the current scenario of English Language text books. It differs from the rest of the books on English language teaching by its innovative design of content and thought provoking sections that help learners achieve overall language competence. This book is divided into ten units and each unit has five sub-sections to enhance understanding of various language skills and functions. Further, the book facilitates participatory learning and encourages students to experience the joys of learning English language in the classroom. They can also use the book on their own as it has been in the self-instructional mode.
The contemporary topics chosen in the book provide an insight into the crucial issues of the present day world. Some of the topics like, Nanotechnology, Water: The Elixir of Life, and E-Waste Contamination in India create an awareness of environment and necessitate the importance of preserving natural resources. These topics are quite modern and relevant and they also hold scope for the moral development of the students.
The sections that are dealt in this book are very useful for the development of the learners’ LSRW skills. Listening is a skill that needs constant practice. Listening section of this book helps learners have hands-on experience through the audio CD attached with the book. Language learners could identify the complexities involved in interpreting messages while listening and learn the ways to counteract the stumbling blocks in the process of listening. Thinking and Interaction creates an opportunity for students to participate in group activities. Through active participation in group activities, they can develop soft skills and get motivated. Moreover, the activities are aimed at identifying their ability and developing their communication skills.
Grammar is a component that cannot be neglected in the process of language learning. Grammatical items chosen by the author in this book are highly useful to understand the basics of language in a simple and learner-friendly manner.
Reading Comprehension is the hallmark of this book. It ascertains the importance of precision and necessity of interpretation and trains the learners to hone their thinking skills. Paragraph Writing teaches coherence and cohesion and aids the learners to practice writing with clarity. It also makes the learners to delve on a particular topic and to identify the need for exactitude and brevity. Word Power is one of the best ways to master vocabulary and this book enhances it by offering relevant and core words. Homograph fulfills the scientific study of words by providing basic knowledge about sound and Word Origin imparts knowledge of words to learners. They inspire the learners to learn new words and to use them exactly and aptly. Noun Making Suffixes assists the students to realize how vocabulary can be increased and further, motivates them to heighten their vocabulary. Role play is a wonderful method to develop communication skills and moreover, it is a painless and promising process that enables the participants to achieve overall proficiency in communication skills. It improves their soft skills too.
In the book, Food for Thought stimulates the interest towards the wisdom of the ages and the knowledge of the past. Domain Names and E-mail Writing prove to be a novel attempt to club technology and language. They support the tech-savvy students to experience the transforming power of language. Most L2 learners have difficulty in sequencing sentences that are not in order. Sequence Words section of this book offers scope for practice and directs through clues. Pie-Chart and Flowchart nurture thinking and train the wards to interpret the data provided as code. Understanding Letter to the Editor and Writing Memos instruct the students to correspond better and Understanding Checklists prepares them to be meticulous while carrying out tasks. Finally, Group Discussion aims at placement and prepares the students to court success in Job interviews.
Thus the book provides scope for successful language learning through the multifarious sections and activities. No doubt learners can achieve command over the English language in both oral and written form with the help of Prof. Dhanavel’s unique book English and Communication Skills for Students of Science and Engineering. It is in fact useful to all learners of English in both technical colleges and arts and science colleges.