Boost Your Career Chances: The Benefits of Practicing Skills in an English Classroom


If one takes a close look at the social environment, one will be able to see that living a successful life is closely connected to securing a stable source of income. That is why young people try to increase their chances of finding a decent job by investing into their education. Nevertheless, a recent study shows that there is a significant gap between how the students evaluate themselves and how the employers evaluate them. This paper will argue that practicing is more important than learning skills as this can help bridge the gap between applicant’s and employer’s perception.

In order to prove this point, the paper will carefully examine the following topics. First of all, it will review the key areas that the employers identified as those where the potential applicants are the weakest. Secondly, the discussion will focus on the role of specific and general skills. Finally, it will deal with the proposed areas of improvement.

Key areas

Oral communication

According to Jaschik, a recent study on the topic revealed that “in a number of key areas (oral communication, written communication, critical thinking, being creative), students are more than twice as likely as employers to think that students are being well-prepared” (par. 4). That is why it is logical to examine each of the areas. Thus, oral communication is something that the student can practice during their English classes. To be more specific, it is one of the learning objectives of the latter.

Written communication

It goes without saying that the best way to boost student’s writing communication skills is to have them practice them during the English call. Indeed, writing is something that is not limited to a classroom, quite the opposite: it is what the students will face on a daily basis at their place of work (Jaschik par. 5). That is why it may be useful to start writing a business letter, memos, and learn how to answer them properly while still studying. As a result, a student will have far more experience in written communication which will make one more appealing candidate.

Critical thinking

Critical thinking is one of the key areas that were mentioned by the employers. There is no wonder in the fact that they wound like the employees to be able to process information and come up with new ideas that would help the business develop. Pu and Pawan insist that English classes are capable of helping students embrace the idea of critical thinking and practice it while writing papers (p. 81). That is why every new assignment will not be yet another paper that is irrelevant to one’s future career development, but a useful opportunity that provides one with a chance to practice one’s critical thinking beforehand.

Being creative

It goes without saying that employees are interested in hiring people who are creative since they will contribute their unique perspective on business and move it forward. English classes offer numerous opportunities for the student to practice this trait of their character: they can participate in discussions, making insightful comments, or write an unusual paper. Moreover, there is an activity called “creative writing” which will help students unleash their creative potential. In any case, every single class may be seen as a small step toward developing one’s creativity and turning it into a competitive advantage that will be most helpful while looking for a job. Therefore, the earlier the students will start practicing, the better.

Specific versus general

Specific skills

Jaschik reports that in the course of the study “employers were asked whether it was more important for new hires to have training in specific skills for a job, a ‘range of knowledge’… ‘Both’ was the clear winner at 60 percent” (par. 7). It goes without saying that when a person is hired, one is expected to be capable of carrying out the professional duties. That is why it may be useful for a student to focus on one’s major so that one could show great performance once he or she is hired. Therefore, the significance of what one might call “specific skills” should not be underestimated.

Range of knowledge

Nevertheless, it also seems that the employers want their employees to be able to transcend the boundaries of their professional competence as well. Clearly, a broad outlook and awareness of numerous aspects of the academic world is something that companies seek in their applicants (Wray and Medwell 84). This means that a student should be ready for this kind of communication and work systematically on one’s range of knowledge. Since the latter is not about cramming facts, it is clear that one’s range of knowledge should be gradually widened over the years. As a result, the students are expected to do this in a number of away, paying attention to every single subject that they take as well as other sources of knowledge, constantly practicing it.

Areas of improvement

Handling the opposing view

The study in question showed that “large majorities of employers at least somewhat agree with statements that suggest support for general education and a curriculum that extends beyond job training” (Jaschik par.8). The text also featured a list of areas where the students can improve. The majority of the employers put emphasis on the need for a successful candidate to be able to handle problems with those who have a different opinion. Clearly, this is a rather difficult task and there is no easy way to learn it quickly. That is why the students are expected to practice and master it gradually.

Awareness of democratic institution and values

Since companies do not exist in a vacuum, it is clear that both employers and the employee should be aware of the peculiarities of the environment in which they work. Given the widely spread appreciation of democracy, one would assume that applications should be confident in explaining and understanding what it is. This can be achieved with the help of writing relevant texts in the English class. Obviously, democracy, as well as each of its aspects, can become a great topic for a discussion and the more practices exploring it, the more proficient one will before in the eyes of the employers.

Intercultural skills

“Diversity” has become one of the buzz words of the contemporary business world. Indeed, as individuals and goods are able to cross borders easier, the entire planet becomes a platform for business. There is no doubt that the candidates should not only be aware of this trend but also be capable of operating within this framework. There are numerous opportunities for students to develop one’s intercultural skills. For example, one may start conversations with foreigners, teaching them English and learning their own culture as well. The more foreign friends or pen friends one has, the more valuable one will become as a candidate. Obviously, this aspect of social capital cannot be gathered overnight; so, constant practice is needed.

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Having examined all the points that were mentioned in the paragraphs above, it becomes obvious that practicing a certain skill is far more beneficial for a student than purely theoretical learning. The evidence shows that there is a significant gap that exists in the perceptions of the employers and their potential employees. It can be breached in a number of ways, one of which is active participation in English class. Indeed, it can help a student develop useful skills in all key areas, it will reinforce one’s range of knowledge, and it will help one address different areas of improvement.

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  1. Jaschik, Scott. “Study finds big gaps between student and employer perceptions.” Inside higher ed. N.p., 2015. Web. 24 Jan. 2017. <>.
  2. Pu, Hong, and Faridah Pawan. The pedagogy and practice of Western-trained Chinese English language teachers: foreign education, Chinese meanings. New York, NY: Routledge, 2014. Print.
  3. Wray, David, and Jane Medwell. Primary English: extending knowledge in practice. Exeter: Learning Matters, 2008. Print.
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