This article considers using the language aspect method in the situation when IT companies introduce their corporate culture. It describes the core features of the language policy of one of the most respectful and largest IT companies Epam Systems Inc. The research article investigates the correlation between the corporate culture of the company and its linguistic environment. Moreover, it tries to give the answer to what extent the language landscape of Epam affects the business policy of the enterprise.
Keywords: linguistic landscape, organizational or corporate culture, language, IT–sphere, company, Bloom words, signs, critical thinking.
Due to the political and social changes of the global world, the business and cultural connections between countries have grown dramatically. It has boosted the development of IT sector and computerization. At the current moment, many companies, concerns, and joint ventures demand high-tech engineering innovations that will have some commercial values and address all requirements of customers from different countries. Consequently, all IT companies change their requirements towards their employees such as developers, supporting engineers, quality assurance servicers, project and resource managers and others.
However, the programmers do not have enough knowledge about the corporate culture that allows them working in a team as well as control the process of creation and development of the product. Therefore, during the professional preparation of such specialists, we can notice significant drawbacks such as weak orientation for team management, an inability of traditional forms of teaching to interact efficiently for better performance. Students of technical universities do not get the entire orientation about all work specifications and details of their professional activities. Young specialists often suffer from the lack of establishing contacts with the workers of other departments.
The modern life demands the modernization of entire preparatory process of IT specialists. As a result, it requires the further theoretical development of the problem of professional preparation of programmers in IT sphere taking into account the results of the research done by the following specialists. Many scientific-pedagogical journals discuss the issues of increasing the quality level of education of professionals in the computer sector, which proves the actuality of our research. There are some models of personality and activities necessary for the future programming engineers that help to define the target professional skills including the managerial capabilities of IT managers. However, there are no research works regarding the realization of the potential of the corporate culture in the working life of any IT specialists.
Linguistic landscape analysis aims to identify both informative and symbolic functions of any linguistic signs in the public space. According to Backhaus (Backhaus, 2006), landscape and its variations such as ‘mediascape,’ and ‘financescape’ started to appear in the scientific literature since the end of XX century. In sociolinguistic research works the term ‘linguistic landscape’ was mentioned by Laundry and Bourhis in 1997 (Laundry, & Bourhis, 1997). Those authors defined the language landscape as a language of traffic signs, billboards, commercial signages and public facade names. All of these things form the linguistic landscape of any particular territory, region or urban agglomerates. Thus, the visual projection of language on objects notes the public space in a given location.
We also need to mention that the there were some attempts of doing the research in this field held earlier as well. However, the researchers never said the term ‘linguistic landscape’ before. In 2015 the journal ‘Linguistic Landscape’ released a new issue edited by Ben-Rafael (Ben-Rafael, 2015). Since those times, the phrase ‘linguistic landscape’ is widely used and included into the thematics of international conferences and congresses.
The central thesis of the research is that linguistic landscape of the company defines its corporate culture and as a result motivate the worker to raise the awareness of the target language to get a timely promotion.
The object of the research is the process of formation of a corporate culture of future and current IT employees.
The subject of the study is the linguistic landscape as a mean of corporate IT culture creation.
The study aims to analyze the connection between the organizational culture and the language landscape, theoretically justify and develop the system of nature of the business culture of Epam employees while teaching Business English for IT.
The following tasks to reach the research purpose are:
to find out how the company motivates its workers;
to analyze the linguistic landscape of the company and its links with the corporate policy;
to do an experiment to define if the increasing awareness of the language landscape of the enterprise will lead to the improvement of the organizational culture and, as a result, to the career promotion;
to develop and introduce the system of making the linguistic landscape friendlier to the employees.
The place of research is the Kazakhstani branch of Epam Systems Enterprise.
Theoretical value of the research
The results of the experiment broaden the representation of the scientific preparation of IT specialists in line with all modern requirements regarding the IT specialty. We introduced the meaning of ‘corporate culture’ and ‘linguistic landscape,’ and created the system of the systematical and efficient process of building the awareness of organizational culture using the language landscape. Taking into account IT professionals needs, we analyzed the most popular words and phrases as well as the tongue functions that allowed us to make the educational, linguistic program much more productive and efficient.
Practical value of the research
The results of the investigation have been addressed directly to the improving and modification of the professional preparation of IT specialists, building the corporate culture, development, and implementation of the methods of the formation of the business policy of the company. We have also adjusted a new program of Business English language based on the needs and wishes of the employees. Such program was approbated, approved and introduced in the place of the research – Kazakhstani branch of Epam Systems Enterprise.
The methodological foundation became the pedagogical, psychological and philosophical theories as well as the concept of the personality development, various theories of the corporate culture and modern technologies of the professional education.
To solve the planned tasks we used the set of mutually supportive research methods such as analysis of philosophical, pedagogical, sociological and psychological literature. As for the empirical methods, we used the study and summarizing of the existing experience, observation, judging, and evaluation, questioning, tests, content-analysis of the professional and business documentation of the company as well as the material of the oral preparation of the professional employees. We also implemented the declarative and shaping experiments.
The validity of the methodology of the research provided the credibility of the results, the correlation with the target tasks, and theoretical and practical implementation. We applied the set of methods adequate to the subject of the research, possibility to review the experiment, representativeness of the chosen employees (fifty-five workers) and statistical data of the results.
The business culture of future and current IT-specialists as one of the most important personal characteristics – integrity is an inevitable condition for the professional performance because of the ability to manage a team, build the internal relationships in the process of development of the commercial product provides the successful implementation of professional tasks. The formation of the corporate culture of IT specialists becomes possible if:
we define the specification of professional preparation of professionals for IT business;
represent the keywords such as ‘corporate culture,’ ‘corporate culture of the organization,’ ‘corporate culture of personality;’
the core process of formation of an organizational culture of IT specialists is clear;
we can identify the methods of creation of a corporate culture of programmers;
we can develop the efficient system of nature of the business culture by using the linguistic landscape of the IT company.
For the proper functioning of any organizations, the well-structured and sensible set of rules and policies should be developed. Right after that, such a memorandum should be transferred to all employees to help them to build their awareness of the ethical norms and regulations within the company. So well worked over declaration provides an opportunity to set the goals and reach them as well as an ability to define the horizons and organize the work of all departments and employees of different levels.
Each respectful organization has its policy which is mandatory to follow for every employee who wants to grow with the company and bring the profit meeting the organization’s objectives and needs. There are political policies such as classical, neoclassical, the theory of an organizational potential, institutional and evolutionary, entrepreneurial and survival. All these theories have the right to exist and were well explained by their founders.
Epam Systems corporate culture
Speaking about Epam Systems (Epam), this company is well-known for its high ranking in the list of Forbes, where the organizational style is the linear-functional one. They have the supreme boss who is a chief executive and a founder of the company. Below him, there are functional leaders involved in the contingency and strategical planning of our organization. The step below is a group of linear managers who are responsible for the goals implementation. They monitor the whole process of executing any projects and make any changes from the top visible and understood by the entire company’s staff. One more level below is a group of resource managers who are responsible for the staff, hiring and firing people as well as the humans’ professional and personal growth. Moreover, last but not least level is the level of the performers and the implementers.
Since the founder of the company, Arkadiy Dobkin, is from Belarus, the headquarters of the enterprise is located in Minsk. At the same time, Dobkin understands the importance of English language for the entire IT sphere. Thus, the official company’s language is English with all English held official documentation.
At first glance, this big company is like a congress where everyone has his right to express his visions and opinions as well as proposes something to improve the company’s current situation. However, it is only at first sight. Epam Systems has a strict hierarchy where each manager must report to another one who is higher him. All employees’ visions to present and promote is possible if there is an excellent time for them. The company’s authorities are firmly sure that workers must be happy working for the company taking into account the weight and reputation of such a big organization with satisfactory working conditions and opportunities for self-development. Once a year, in March, when one more financial year comes to the end all workers are asked about their desire to leave the company or to continue to stay with it as well as the desirable pay rise and the improvement of working equipment. The head of the resource management department usually holds such a dialog. Based on the results of the dialog and the overall annual working performance, the authorities of the company will either promote of fire each employee.
Since Epam has worked in a technological sphere, the company declared that real professionals are the main treasure of the organization. The resource managers understand it pretty well and do their best to keep each employee for the company if such a worker meets the company’s objectives and expectations as well as shares the organizational values. In case a person is highly professional but possesses soft indigent skills the company will fire him very quickly. So, people consider the resource manager as a mother, whereas a project manager reminds them a strict father whose primary goal is to utilize the pool according to the project’s needs. In case the company does not have any projects people immediately stop being considered as a valuable asset and everybody quickly forgets about the previous achievements. Regardless, the overall company policy states for the long-term relationships with the proper people. Despite the strict hierarchy, the company’s administration always tries to make the work conditions much more comfortable and rewarding.
The ones who bother a lot are the administrators of all departments who possess themselves as the leading people in the company and from their birth did not inherit any abilities to say any polite words such as ‘thank you’ or ‘please.' All they ask employees must consider as an order or a strict request. They change each other, but, surprisingly, the next one is even worse than the previous ‘chief’. It seems that it will continue until workers stop recognize any administrator as a member of a department responsible for leading and controlling people. They completely forget that their primary goal is to facilitate the working process of any employee contrary to what they do in fact – bomb the employees with their constant requests to send the numerous reports and bring the documents.
The only one person defines the whole policy of the company – its president and the chief executive. When he wants to introduce his new visions and ideas he organizes the Congress with all level employees and tells them about his new strategical innovations. However, each person interprets the boss’s ideas in their ways. For instance, Dobkin recently declared that Epam is no longer the organization provided an outsourcing for the client. It means that previous customers paid and told the employees what they want as well as defined the strategies and methods how everything should have worked. The new trend is that the company is aiming for the long-term consulting service where the developers describe the way to create the product and provide the solution based on the experience of the professional staff. Right after the Congress the ‘old’ managers claimed that the said by the chief executive was no more, but the new startup and that word made Epam’s president ultimately sad. He responded that all successful companies are startups originally and that he did not see any hassles why not to bring his brilliant idea to its fruition. So, the managers of all levels had no way but to start implementing the new vision into reality. However, it seems that nobody still correctly understands what that means and how to do it more efficiently. Moreover, this is not the only one case. Nevertheless, at least the desire to follow the leader, even if there are some misunderstandings, make working there people sure in the nearest future with this company. They possess an opinion that the head of such a high level always knows better where the company should move farther.
As for coalition, the company’s structure is the linear, so it is hard to bet impossible to see any disagreements between the departments as it often happens in other enterprises. In contrast, the managers of the same level from various departments are happy to see each other and consider each team building event as a celebration. People do not compete if they have the same level of classes. Very often the needs of being substituted arose. Therefore, people consider their opposite numbers as their close friends.
Company authorities consistently care about the positive atmosphere inside the offices. Therefore, the company provides lots of events regarding team building for its employees.
Epam’s corporate culture suffers from its linguistic landscape
What are the methods available for an implementation of an analysis of language landscape of the company and its connection with the business culture? If a majority of western corporations could develop both organizational and language policies, then the companies of the post-Soviet territories did not manage to synchronize two processes, and, therefore, are of interest for the numerous studies. Since globalization came to the countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belorussia, native languages stopped playing such a significant role as it was before. It reflected on the changes of status of mother tongues and revealed the growing interest in the English language as the language of business. The linguistic landscape became the instrument, which allowed establishing the corporate policy in the company, choose the leaders and outsiders, and register any changes in the functioning of the language. There are some categories of the regime of functioning of languages (Pavlenko, 2009).
1) Erasing of language – the process of intentional destruction of one or another language from the public usage. For instance, the countries such as Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia immediately removed all billboards and signs written in the Russian language. In general, the process of deleting of any language can be implementing by the complete substitution of bilingualism by monolingualism, only scrubbing and covering the words as well as modification of separate symbols in the names of related languages as it happened in Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Belarus.
Such erasing has also occurred in the field of our research Epam Systems company where the linguistic landscape became the key factor for the defining of the status of both language and social rights of the employee. In particular, only those who know English can count on the approval from the management of the company.
2) Changing a linguistic status of a particular language – the status of any language can be risen or downgraded using changes of its position of the signs or visual representation such as color, size, the quantity of the information in the target language. Such process is vulnerable at Epam Systems. All official documents and technical resources can be found only in the English language at the mentioned above company. Employees have to write all business emails and conduct meetings only in English. The corporate website with its numerous portals such as adaptation, video, and other ones are also only in English. Moreover, the result of the technical interview regarding the assignment to one or another well-paid international project depends on the speaking and comprehensive English skills of the employee no matter how well-qualified he might be.
We analyzed the contracts, official and technical documentation as well as more than four hundred pictures from the official website of Epam taken in the public places during various team building and events. After that, we could clearly see that despite the physical location of the company and following the local legislation officially, de-facto the company’s official linguistic position favors only English speaking people. Even in the Russian videos and during the meetings with Russian representatives, Epam employees used a lot of English words without translation. For example, when the professional set up the conference room, he could say ‘Я забукал конференц рум [Ya za book al conference room].”
Thus, Epam Systems defines the linguistic policy as English-friendly and implements the corporate culture through the language landscape of the corporation.
Weighing up Epam’s organizational policy, we can conclude that any multinational company should build its strict corporate culture with regulations and restrictions to operate successfully. If the enterprise employees’ want to work their way, they should play by the rules the company’s founders and shareholders set.
When Dobkin had come to an idea to run its startup to make it successful, providing new working places and chances to grow for people willing to share the company values, he aimed to provide the working areas for people from the post-Soviet Union territories. There were some reasons for that: cheap workforce and his Belorussian origin. The company became the most successful place with the competitive salaries in American dollars despite the location of Epam's subsidiaries. A company, however, from year to year, suffers from the significant workforce flow and relocation of key players of the enterprise to other nations. An authoritarian style of organizational leadership, where each employee is responsible for contributing his experience and time in the company to bring an additional profit, is not the main reason for such working migration. The company cares about its interests as well as the wellbeing of Epam citizens. Surprisingly, the core reason why people leave the company, which seems the best choice compared to others on the post-Soviet territory, is poor English language knowledge. No matter, how professional the employee might be, he will have to change the working position if his level of English is not sufficient. Moreover, the knowledge of general English is not enough. The company requires being aware of business communication as well as IT and computing terms. There are three main categories of employees: supporters, developers, and testing engineers. Also, as mentioned before, Epam has a lot of project and resource managers who also need to possess excellent English skills. The English language is essential to building a successful career because only people with a B1 level according to Common European Framework Guide (“CERF”) have an opportunity to participate in well-paid long-term foreign projects. Twice a year all programmers participate in Unified Assessment where the select committee from different countries evaluates their professional skills. According to the results of this procedure, people can be either promote or fired. Unified Assessment is an international exam which is held in English so all workers should speak English fluently enough and be able to understand the questions. Another obligatory procedure is English assessment evaluating the employees’ English skills. According to this exam, people either increase or decrease their level of English, and the result immediately appears in their professional portfolio. Hence, all employees are highly motivated and willing to progress. At the same time, all people are under the burden of learning English at their working hours. Epam introduces it as a benefit for the workers. People have an opportunity to attend English classes at the same office three times a week within the working day. Nevertheless, such offer is not a reward as it seems from the very beginning.
If people agree to attend English classes, they are obligatory to do it without missing lessons. In the opposite case, the teachers will include the shirkers into the black list that will cause sanctions and punishment. At the same time, people cannot perform 100% attendance due to their project duties and have to skip the lessons because of some project meetings and other working issues. Only those who have a possibility to hire a private teacher via Skype and train with him in free time can pass assessment successfully. So, the opportunity to learn English within working hours is nothing but fiction. People cannot learn the language efficiently working full-time.
However, the linguistic landscape places a great role in the company. From the moment of hiring an employee till the last day working for the company, all Epam workers have a substantial input into the language. The words such as ‘adaptation portal,’ ‘event,’ ‘team building,’ ‘book,’ ‘manager,’ ‘meeting,’ ‘summer party,’ and ‘conference room’ are never translated despite the Epam location in Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan. The big wave of laying off last autumn proved that English language knowledge is the essential skill that allows people to work without being afraid of any unpleasant things in the nearest future.
Attempt to handle the problem
Having analyzed the technical documentations, we found out that there were a lot of Bloom’s words such as ‘analyze,’ ‘evaluate,’ ‘compare,’ ‘apply,’ and so on, that workers also needed to know. So the critical approach in teaching English could help to make the process of education more efficient and productive. Therefore, we decided to do an experiment to provide the employees with the Business English Course with critical thinking methods to raise the level of motivation and effectiveness.
Thus, we had formed several groups of A1 and A2 levels and started the research. The first stage was working on the program of general business English that was chosen taking into account our students’ needs and expectations because the development of critical thinking (Moore, Parker, 2007) is possible only if there is an appropriate disposition from the side of a student. To ensure we provided a survey where asked the potential students to choose the program of English language as well as to write an essay on the topic of their preference to work in a team or act as a solo player. Also, we asked the workers how they would prefer to be taught either traditionally with the focus on grammar or in a new way with the help of critical thinking strategies. 85% of future learners chose business English course due to the enormous demands of the social English language such as arranging a meeting or participating in the discussion as well as estimating the cost of the future project and managing time and subordinates. Epam employees also required the awareness of handling conflicts at work, searching for the information, and preparing for the procedure of the Unified Assessment. Moreover, future students wrote in their essay that working in a team was much better for them rather than acting alone. So, there were not any hassles for making the focus on the collaborative work in class. 60% chose to participate in our experiment whereas 40% insisted on the traditional way targeting the gaining knowledge of grammar, but not various disputes and debates. According to the results of survey four groups were formed. Each group admitted maximum eleven people. We sorted people out in the groups of A1, and A2 levels of English skills. We created a unique program with several methodologies to develop critical thinking applied to three experimental groups, two of them – A2 and one – A1. There were collaborative techniques such as Six Thinking Hats, Socratic Seminar, Academic Conversation Skills, Project Based Learning, and Service Learning.
Traditionally the teacher talking time takes 85% of the whole lesson that brings the opportunity for a student to speak to a minimum. The techniques mentioned above turned a traditional teacher-centered class into a student-centered one. From that moment, the role of a teacher was to facilitate the educational process, help to access to the material, guide the conversation, contribute to choosing the topics for discussion, model, the form of thinking, set time aside for questions and handle students’ questions. The teacher turned into students’ coach, making a reflection zone from the classroom, organizing peer work and picking up the context based on students’ life. The course took six months after which we came to the third step of the educational process – assessment of English language itself as well as the evaluation of critical thinking skills.
If we include critical thinking methodologies in our lessons, then the assessment of those experiences must be consistent with the methods we use. Thus, we cannot assess critical thinking skills through traditional tools that do not capture what happened in the classroom. Our students learned how to acquire essential for their life skills such as academic conversations skills, visioning, active problem solving, leadership, and respectful disagreement. So we decided to adapt the tools of assessment such as diagnostic, formative and summative into the whole procedure of evaluation that is held twice a year in this company after which all students either raise or decrease their level of English.
As for the Diagnostic Assessment (Fisher, 2008), we chose an Academic Questioning. It included the following steps, such as to find out what students knew about the topic, provide students with lots of questions to guide the conversation and make them create their problems. It also contained students’ wishes and interests, the reasons why they were interested, making notes make notes during the question-answer session to check the learner’s readiness to change his point of view after carefully listening to their colleague and addressing the questions if they needed more elaboration or clarification” (Fisher, 2016). We classified all subjects in line with Bloom’s Taxonomy (Miller, Vandome, McBrewster, Bloom, 2010). Such classification demonstrated the level of possessing of target critical thinking skills of English students. In particular, students did not have any problems asking about certain facts, dates, and names mentioned in the text whereas only a few preferred to ask about other learners’ opinions and viewpoints.
Formative Assessment (Davis, 2015) can be used at any stage of the lesson to assess students’ ongoing progress, rather than the final result. It allows the teacher to adapt the lesson plan based on students’ actual progress. Formative assessment is “embedded in the strategies the teacher uses to deliver an experience. It can be challenging to assess several parts of an experience simultaneously, and that is when tools like rubrics or learning maps are useful” (Davis, 2015). Such rubrics should be created and worked on by the students themselves due to the collaborative learning. We set such task, and students with their teacher developed four criteria to evaluate critical thinking skills taking students’ participation as a key point. There were four criteria: outstanding, excellent, satisfactory and non-satisfactory. Right after standards were developed we made an agreement to try to avoid the ‘non-satisfactory’ criteria not to decrease the level of students’ motivation. Outstanding level of participation requires from a participant to offer enough reliable analysis, without prompting. He also needs to move the conversation forward and to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the text and the question, Students usually come to the seminar with notes and a marked/annotated text, to listen actively to his/her colleagues and ask for clarification. Excellent level of participation requires the same options as for outstanding with the only difference – no moving the conversation forward – that tells us about the inability of the participant to create something new. Satisfactory level requires a member to offer some analysis but needs prompting from the seminar leader and/or others. According to this level, the student can demonstrate a general knowledge of the text and the question, be less-prepared with only a few notes and no marked text as well as to listen carefully but not to ask for clarification and to rely more on his/her opinion. Finally, non-satisfactory level requires a participant to offer little commentary, to come to the seminar understanding the text a little without any marked text and homework, not to listen to others and not to comment on his/her work.
For this type of assessment, we chose the strategies such as Socratic seminar (“Socratic Seminars – ReadWriteThink”) and Six Thinking Hats (Bono, 1985). This stage mostly happened throughout the entire course almost every English class where we considered some interesting topics based on some real texts. This stage was our students’ favorite because it provided them with many chances to speak. All documents were given students to read at home as homework with the task to make as many questions as possible, analyze the text, identify the main idea and raise a problem based on the facts written in the book. There were some problems at the beginning of our experiment. Firstly, any seminar turned into debates, and we applied much effort the conflict not to emerge. Secondly, almost all of our students had a problem to listen to others. It took the time they started to respect the opinion of their colleagues and stopped criticizing alternative viewpoints. Moreover, last but not least, busy programmers did not want to complete their homework at home claimed that they did not have any free time for that. However, starting to participate in such seminars they became willing to bring the class more contribution, so the problem of homework disappeared. At the same time, in a traditional group, people chose to read in class that significantly limited their student talking time. Furthermore, traditional students did not like to participate in various disputes based on the information from the texts as well as be involved in role-play activities and writing reflective essays.
Summative Assessment (“Strategic Goals: Formative Summative = Rigor,” 2011) requires the promotion of critical thinking as a way to create a portfolio with all students’ works and projects. According to Paulson and Meyer, “Portfolios offer a way of assessing student learning that is different from traditional methods. Portfolio assessment let the teacher observe students’ ongoing and overall progress as well as their ability to take risks, develop creative solutions, and judge their performance” (Paulson, Meyer). The portfolio includes thoughtfulness, in particular, evidence of students’ comprehension monitoring, metacognitive reflection, and productive habits of mind. It also contains growth and development in relationship to key curriculum expectancies and indicators as well as understanding, and application of critical processes, their completeness, correctness, and comprehension (“Project-Based Learning”). Reflection is what students need to make constant progress. Every month students filled feedback forms where they evaluated not only themselves but their teachers summarizing all that had been done and expressed a desire to continue to work with their teacher or refusing to do that giving the reasons why. Every lesson students were asked to provide their feedback and recommendations what to improve, change or remove from the teaching to enhance the process of gaining knowledge. At the same time, students have plenty opportunities to write reflexive essays after reading texts or working on different dialogs. They wrote articles from various characters’ perspective, expressing the opinions of the heroes. It was too difficult at the beginning because creative programmers got stuck starting to deal with the way of uttering their viewpoints and attitudes to the current situation. Again, Bloom’s Taxonomy (2010) was called to assist understanding how to structure written and oral answers.
Project-based learning (“Project-Based Learning”) was not forgotten, and our students took part in the contest of presentations on a future invention that could be useful for the humanity. People were given certain tasks to invent a magic device such as a Tablet PC that could be rolled out in the pocket and fit the pockets of different sizes. The students created the presentations, and after that presented their mental and creative products publically in front of the audience of their colleagues who were evaluating the implementation from a row idea to its fruition due to some certain criteria. In the end, the class chose the best presentation by voting where each person explained and justified his/her choice.
Another project required developing the interactive test of critical thinking skills to simplify the work of busy teachers to process data and arrange the results. The Epam programmers wrote this console application in Java Programming language (Farrel, 2002). To facilitate the understanding how to use and modify it as needed, they implemented the application in the simplest way. At the same time, they made the program very functional to process the data of students’ answers and counting the final result of the degree of developing critical thinking skills.
Results of the experiment
The results of English assessment at the end of the course demonstrated the improvement of speaking skills of employees in controlled groups. Almost all A2 level students raised their level to B1. People claimed that their active vocabulary increased a lot, and the fear of public speaking disappeared as well as they stopped being afraid of all forms of writing having acquired the structure and the way to express their personal thoughts. People from the grammar-oriented group could not demonstrate such a result as they all faced with a problem of an instant idea what to speak or write about after the introduction of the topic. According to the company’s rules, they will have to take the same course one more time until they raise their level.
For General Business English course the examination material was created. We designed Speaking and Writing tasks according to the parameters of critical thinking. English assessment became more focused and oriented to the evaluation of the level of creativity, evaluation and analyzing.
We can consider our experiment successful and make a conclusion that critical thinking removed an obligatory memorization entirely from the educational process bringing new technologies that allow improving various skills in an entertaining and friendly-environmental form. All profits and benefits of interfering Critical Thinking (Moore, Parker, 2007) with the Educational Process have been apparent. All stages of the lesson should deal with these effective ways and methods of collaborative learning that will inevitably lead to the future progress of the whole generation.
As a result of the investigation upon the corporate culture through the linguistic landscape within the company, we can conclude that the process is rather painful for the employees of different levels of expertise and age. Moreover, there is still a deep gap between the company’s way of formation of corporate culture through the linguistic landscape and people’s possibilities to meet the business’s requirements.
The corporation should provide an efficient system of teaching its workers, taking into account their project needs and responsibilities. The education aiming for increasing the IT programmers awareness of linguistic landscape is not sufficient in case the workers have to split their working hours and distract from work. At the same time, it is possible if the system of teaching orients on the critical thinking approach to English language learning.
While doing the research, we also could conclude that no benefits and merits from the company’s side will prevent the professional's resignations due to the inconveniences regarding the poor linguistic skills. The language landscape is important, no doubt. However, it should not be the core condition for successful career and promotion. Unless the expertise and professionalism of people are not the key factors of their fruitful cooperation with the corporation, Epam Systems, undoubtedly the best IT company regarding its approach in the human resource sphere, will suffer from the lack of well-qualified workforce as it is happening at the current moment.
In general, the corporate culture of Epam Systems is an open system, which affects all company members. At the same time, we can resume that each professional, as well as the outer environment, also influence the corporate culture of the enterprise.
Evaluating the business culture of Epam using linguistic landscape, we understand that such organizational leadership affects the primary activity of the company and the achieving of all company targets directly. However, the creation of the appearance of the atmosphere of democracy and creativity is just a fake and cannot hide the authoritarian style of leadership and aggressive linguistic promotion. We tried to change the system of teaching English within the company. In case, the tendency will continue, Epam will take the highest position of fruitful and well-balanced corporate style where everyone feels happy and highly demanded. Unfortunately, for the current moment, the employees of Epam’s subsidiaries in the post-Soviet territories have been discriminating regarding their language skills.
Analysis of the requirements for the IT specialists demonstrates that the knowledge of English language as well as the awareness of the social, linguistic functions and intercultural communication is the core standard of the corporate culture of any organization. We have tried to combine the education of the basic corporate culture skills with the teaching of the Business English language. However, the research revealed the necessity to educate the management of the company regarding the combination of meeting the business objectives with the establishing good rapport with the employees of the organization. We suggest the formula which integrates IT sphere and its corporate culture with effective English language teaching using the approach of critical thinking. So, the further investigations and experiments, as well as publications and research works, are desperately needed to find the answer for the primary issue if it is possible to provide comfortable working and learning conditions and prevent the workflow, building the long-term working relationships and outfit the linguistic landscape of the organization.
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