College News

English class learns to communicate through metalworking

05.21.2004Curriculum Programs

Lillington, NC —Students in Dean Roughton’srn English 110 class at Central Carolina Community College’srn (CCCC) Harnett County Campus have been spending time designingrn and crafting small metal objects.  At the same timern the students cut and mold the metal pieces, they are learningrn how to better communicate in the workplace. 

rnThe students are all machining tool and die students who are taking Roughton’srnclass to fulfill their English requirement.   After noticing that allrnof the students on his spring roster were of the same major, Roughton teamedrnup with Edwin Thomas, machining technology instructor, to integrate courseworkrnin the two classes.

rn“rnI began to think of ways to make the English class more interesting for the students,rnespecially since they all share the same major,” said Roughton.  “Byrntailoring the projects to the students, they are learning about both Englishrnand machining technology concepts.”

rnFor the students’ final project, Roughton assigned a process analysis paperrnafter Thomas suggested the students needed work on communication skills.  Thernstudents were to create a small item in the machining technology lab and thenrnwrite a paper on how to build it and why they must stick to the original guidelines.  Studentsrnwill switch the papers and then try to build the object using only the otherrnstudents’ paper.

rnRoughton likens the process analysis paper to writing a description of a church.  “IfrnI ask a room of 30 people to describe a church, we will have 30 different descriptionsrnbased on life experiences. If I accurately describe the church, everyone shouldrnhave the same picture.  In machining technology the work is so precise.  Anrnaccurate description is essential.”

rnAccording to Thomas, good communication is one of the most sought-after skillsrnin employees, especially in a factory setting.  Having good communicationrnskills means employees waste less time and materials.  Employers want employeesrnwho can not only do the job, but can communicate instructions and relate to coworkersrnwell.  These are qualities they seek when looking to promote a worker.

rn“The chief complaint I hear from employers is poor communication skills,” saidrnThomas.  “These students are learning to communicate more effectivelyrnand that is a key skill for anyone who would like a chance at being promoted.”

rnNot only are the students learning effective communication, they’re alsornhaving fun.  I’m making a hitch cover for my project,” saidrnThomas McPhail, a freshman machining technology student from Spivey’s Corner.  “Doingrnthis project using examples from something that interests me makes me more motivatedrnto complete the project.”

rn“I’ve taken other English classes before,” adds Dave Dunn,rna sophomore machining technology student who is crafting drumsticks for thisrnproject.   “Mr.rnRoughton goes out of his way to make our class more interesting.”

rnThe students aren’t the only ones learning through the collaboration.  Roughtonrnhas enjoyed spending time with the students in the machine shop learning aboutrnthe different types of equipment.

rn“I found it simply amazing to see what these guys can do with raw hunksrnof metal,” saidrnRoughton.  “On one machine, the students key in a complex series ofrnthree dimensional coordinates, which the machine translates into some intricaterndesigns in the metal.”

rnEnglish 110 is an introductory writing course that is a basic requirement forrnmany diploma programs.  The course teaches how to develop coherent documentsrnusing standard grammar and proper mechanics.