Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

GENG0020 Communicating in English

Module Overview

This module looks at how we communicate with a particular emphasis on communication for success in Higher Education. It is designed to support students entering the Foundation Year with SPM or equivalent qualifications.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

This module is designed to increase your awareness of how we communicate. We shall look at the impact of cross cultural factors that influence how we understand and relate to someone from a different culture and understand what makes us communicate the way we do. We shall also look at how ideas are communicated in writing and develop a good understanding of the importance of the paragraph in doing this. This knowledge is important for developing effective reading strategies as well as for being able to write well. You will also be developing your listening skills and be will able to identify the key messages from the speaker as well as reflecting on how well you communicate your own ideas through small presentations. The workshop support sessions will enable you to work through grammatical and other areas you feel you need to improve.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • how cultural behaviour influences how we communicate and work together
  • simple, complex and compound sentences and how they express ideas in a paragraph;
  • principles of academic texts in textbooks and know how to read them effectively;
  • principles of a good lecture and how to use this in note-taking.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • recognise the impact of cross cultural (and personal) differences in communication and know what to look for when working with others;
  • extract data and ideas from a variety of texts;
  • express simple facts and concepts clearly using simple, compound and complex sentences
  • describe and recall what you have read or heard in your own words.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • begin to be aware of how individual/cultural differences can affect how you communicate with others
  • write short coherent texts that describe a simple idea or concept;
  • benefit from basic reading strategies;
  • take notes from texts and mini lectures;
  • write a small paragraph in your own words, based on your notes from a lecture;
  • start to feel confident in handling unfamiliar vocabulary;
  • prepare and deliver oral presentations, both individually and as part of a team;
  • reflect on your developing language ability and where you need to improve.


Topics across Cultures This unit will introduce you to a variety of topics so you can adjust to listening & learning in English. Communicating across cultures - Identifying the hidden assumptions about how we communicate. How does my culture influence how I communicate and the expectations I have. Practicing and developing our awareness in discussion and activities. Famous scientists and engineers - Listen to mini talks, read texts, search web and write /discuss what you find. Conflicts in science and engineering - Listen to mini talks, read texts, search web and write /discuss what you find. Reading and Writing Understanding how texts are structured - Looking at reading strategies for effective reading. Working from topics introduced earlier. • Simple and complex ideas - Working with simple, compound and complex sentence structures – building sentences into paragraphs • Putting ideas in your own words - Paraphrasing – getting the key points – paraphrasing from note taking • Becoming a good writer - Editing your work – are your ideas coherent? All grammar issues relating to these sessions will be dealt with in the support sessions Listening and Speaking Working with topics: Ethics in Engineering, Environmental Engineering • What is the lecturer SAYING? - Topic: Ethics in Engineering. Looking at how a good lecture is structured. Understanding words that link ideas and move on. The function of silences/louder speech/slower speech. • Listening for the gist: Topic: Environmental Engineering. Getting the gist of what was said. Practice listening to mini lectures / discussions /talks and paraphrasing. • How can I structure what I want to say and say it clearly? - Useful discussions on presenting ideas/discussing issues and giving a small presentation. All grammar issues relating to these sessions will be dealt with in the support sessions Using topics from the previous weeks: Students will work in groups and be given a selection of topics (or they can suggest their own) and present this as: An essay/a poster/a presentation - Topics will vary and include: cross cultural communication, engineering ethics, history of science.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Learning activities include • individual work on exercises, supported by tutorial/workshop sessions with tutors; • group presentation; • individual reflective document on own learning. Teaching methods include: • lectures, supported by example exercises; • tutorials/workshops to support grammar; • printed notes available through Blackboard and/or through your module lecturer.

Independent Study90
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Oshima, A. & Hogue, A. (2006). Writing Academic English.. 


Assessment Strategy

There is no pass/fail assessment in this semester. You will be expected to complete all assessment elements. You will be given extensive feedback on your performance to prepare you for the following semesters.


MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment 50%
Weekly exercises / tests and assignments 50%
Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.