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MARITIME ENGLISH INSTRUCTION IN GLOBAL MARITIME CONTEXT

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MARITIME ENGLISH INSTRUCTION IN GLOBAL MARITIME CONTEXT

Сообщение автор ACE в Ср Янв 20, 2016 4:31 pm

Abstract; With more and more multi-lingual and multicultural crews joining the
transnational seafarers’ maritime community, their competence in maritime English
becomes a public concern. There is a need for maritime English lecturers to use some
effective pedagogies. During the process of maritime English teaching in DMU,
teachers found some teaching and learning problems relating to four macro skills in
the English language communications. Regarding proper teaching techniques,
suggestions are made to teach maritime English.

Keywords globalization; maritime English; maritime English approach




Introduction
In the context of global maritime industry, the shortage of seafarers in the world makes it necessary
to muster different nationalities on board. The cross-cultural labor mobility makes many maritime
English instructors aware that getting proper teaching pedagogy will ensure the quality of the cadets in
the global seafarers’ community.

Maritime English, the language of the sea, is needed in today’s shipping industry. The demands
for competent seafarers require their proficiency in understanding and using maritime English.
The mixture of seafarers’ different cultures makes maritime English a compulsory linguistic
medium in aspect of the safety of life at sea, ship property, pollution preventions, etc. People
commonly admit knowledge and skills of maritime English can ensure the effectiveness of
communication between English speaking seafarers and non-English speaking seafarers; and
between seafarers and offshore personnel. To some extent, guarantee of safety at sea relies on
seafarers’ communication in maritime English. Proper command of maritime English is not only
for the essentials of seafarers but also for the appropriate operation of ship.

Although IMO has officially adopted maritime English as the language of maritime industry, there
is a clear necessity for ensuring seafarers to gain maritime English communication skills in the
current globalizing world shipping market. Most of maritime institutes are aware that mastering
communication skills is one of the important components which ensures the safety at sea. In order
to cultivate the high-quality seafarers, maritime English instructors should focus on teaching the
particular terminology and communication skills that include listening, speaking, reading, writing
as required by IMO conventions in the international shipping industry. MET institutions should
perfect the syllabus of teaching maritime English; and maritime English instructors should find
effective ways to teach the language. All these will benefit maritime English education in the
globalization of maritime industry.

Through analysis of the situation of maritime English teaching in China, the paper is aimed at
enriching the teaching approaches in MET institutions. It reveals difficulties in maritime English
teaching, with focus on how to improve four communicative skills in maritime English teaching.
Maritime English lecturers play an essential part in realizing the goal of maritime English teaching.
The quality of ME teaching decides whether the cadets will become competent seafarers to meet
requirements of IMO Conventions, and whether they will be communicating freely in the global
maritime community.


1 Globalization and Maritime English

Globalization is a multilevel phenomenon. It is a process of globalizing all aspects of social life in the
world. As Stromquist (2000: 3) explains, “a contemporary term that entered the consciousness of most
people by now, is a phenomenon that comprises multiple and drastic changes in all areas of social life,
particularly economics and culture.” The globalization in maritime industry is broadening. In the last
decades, with the development of economics and ever-changing world seafarer labor markets, world
seafarers are in serious shortage, multi-lingual and multi-cultural crews have become main composition
of world merchant ships. About two thirds of the world merchant fleet are composed of several
nationalities. The fast-growing global shipping community requires multi-lingual and cross-cultural
cooperation(Horck, 2005). Removing language barriers has become more and more significant in
assisting communication in global community. Maritime English, the language at sea, as well as the
guarantee of the safety of life, property and ship operation, becomes the need of competent seafarers.
The importance of maritime English teaching has become a growing concern. Therefore, MET
institutions should give high priority of maritime English teaching, and have enough preparation of
competent seafarers among internationalisation of working groups in global maritime field.

2 Difficulties in Learning Maritime English

The intensifying need of good knowledge and skills of maritime English is one of characteristics in
global maritime field. Studies have shown that Maritime English instructors and students in DMU
(Dalian Maritime University) have difficulties in the process of teaching and learning maritime English.
The major problem for cadets is that their learning motivation is low. One of the reasons is that some of
them are not aware of the importance of the future use of maritime English which relates with their
opportunities of getting better life and job performance. On the other hand, some of the students lack in
enough courage to speak English publicly, especially when they conduct communication with
foreigners. They always worry about the mistakes they will make during the communication
conversations. As a result, they become silent ones during the learning process; and have barriers in
speaking English psychologically. Hence, these block their way to be a competent seafarer.

The result of MSA (Maritime Safety Administration) evaluation examination every year also reveals
some unsatisfactory results. Some students cannot express clearly, whether in maritime English or
everyday English. Some of them convey the information in long and perplexing Chinglish sentences.
For example, in role-playing the conversation about Making an Appointment, a student spoke: “I will
go to the school gate to meet you at seven o’clock” instead of speaking: “I will be there at seven
o’clock” in a concise and idiomatic way. Another difficulty students met in learning is that they cannot
memorize the maritime vocabularies due to their lack of basic knowledge of vocabularies. For example,
in memorizing the technical terms relating to cargo handling gear, the phrase “standing guy”, if
students do not have enough knowledge of vessel structure and equipment, the confusing homonyms
will make them understand it in a mistaken way.

To make it worse, very few students learn how to listen actively. When some students listened to
materials, they regard the vocabularies in the sentence as separate ones, ignoring stress, rhythm, and
intonation. For example, in listening the following conversation about the PSC inspection, if they
ignore the stressed content words: take, oil sample, oil tank, send, crew, accompany, sure, possible,
fetch samples,
they will not understand what they are required to do.


  • A: I will take an oil sample from your oil tank. Could you send a crew to accompany me?
    B: Sure, I will accompany you. If possible, I will fetch samples for you.


In this way, they cannot take in a language, but only memorize the fixed pattern and could not use it to
communicate freely if they were put in a different environment.
As to the productive skill—writing which requires comprehensive knowledge of English to produce,
the students have some problems in writing due to lack of some knowledge of English.
At the same time, there are pedagogical issues that concern us. The proper selection of text books and
maritime English teching materials is one of the primaries in commanding maritime English. If the
students learn the outdated textbook, they would not keep up with new development in shipping
indurstry, not mention some new technical terms. What is more, the quantity of academic hours
provided by the curriculum for maritime English teaching is not sufficient though we have almost two
year maritme English teaching and learning. Therefore the students do not have enough practise on
board. Consequently, they lost the opportunity to practise what they have learned at school. Another
issue that exists in MET in China is that experienced instructors are in demand due to the increased
recruiments of cadets. Based on these problems, suggestions are made in the following section.

Conclusion

Problems in listening and speaking, vocabulary memorizing and the lack of knowledge of writing
block the cadets from becoming competent seafarers. The lack of updated maritime English
instructors hinders the cadets from becoming competent seafarers in the globalized maritime
community. Suggestions were put forward with a view facilitating maritime English teaching.

_________________


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