Lessons learnt from embedding and integrating communication skills in two discipline-specific courses
Studies have shown that students in universities, regardless of their language proficiency, are more motivated to learn discipline-specific communication skills compared to general communication skills as they are perceived as more relevant to their immediate environment. Thus, the call to embed communication skills in the curriculum is growing louder. The degree of embedding however, ranges on a continuum where communication skills (CS) staff provide learning support outside the timetabled unit, discipline-specific support outside the timetabled unit, workshops or lectures integrated within the timetabled unit; or where the discipline expert co-develops the skills with CS staff and teaches it. The varying degree of success with the different levels of embedding reflects that there is a need to consolidate best practices on this approach. This paper presents a brief literature review on embedding and integrating communication skills into discipline-specific courses, and proceeds to illustrate how this was done in two courses developed and taught by the author in a public university in Singapore. The lessons learnt from implementing these courses could motivate communication skills teachers to embark on embedding and integrating communication skills into the curriculum, rather than remain in the margins in terms of learning support.