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Modern Education

Project work in English language as a method for developing the managerial skills of the future managers of service industry

Nikolaeva Natalya Aleksandrovna

Senior Educator, the department of Foreign Languages, Ural State University of Economics

620144, Russia, Yekaterinburg, 8 Marta / Narodnoy Street 62/45

Other publications by this author

Zonova Marina Vasilyevna

Senior Educator, the department of Foreign Languages, Ural State University of Economics

620144, Russia, Yekaterinburg, 8 Marta / Narodnoy Street 62/45

Other publications by this author

Sosnina Natalya Georgievna

Senior Educator, the department of Foreign Languages, Ural State University of Economics

620144, Russia, Yekaterinburg, 8 Marta Street 62, office # 455

Other publications by this author








Abstract:  The object of this research is the formation of managerial skills using the method of project. The subject of this research is the formation of managerial skills of the future managers in the area of service industry with the help of project work in the English language classes. Involvement in projecting of the object of service suggests the students the opportunity for self-realization and professional self-identification, ensures the deeper understanding of the problems in professional sphere, better understanding the existing tools and techniques, and advanced skills in planning and organization of the activity. In the course of this work, the author examines the normative legal documents for the “Service” training program, analyzes the psychological and pedagogical literature regarding the questions of development of the managerial skills alongside the organization of project activity at the foreign language classes. The article describes certain substantially important skills of managerial activity for the future specialists in the area of service industry. Special attention is given to the stages of work aimed at development of such skills and corresponding stages of the project work. The author also demonstrates the practical experience of realization of the project with the students of “Service” specialty at the English language lessons for the purpose of development of the managerial skills, which implies listing of the approaches and methods suitable for the use at various stages of the project and forming of skills.


development of skills, managerial skills, groups of managerial skills, planning, organization of activity, oversight, stages of formation of skills, project in English language, stages of project work , criteria for assesing work

Rationale of Project Work Applying

Modern state policy in the sphere of higher professional education is aimed at training of competent specialists with synergetic thinking, professional mobility, ability to self-organization and desire for self-development and self-perfection [1, 2]. These requirements should be reflected in classwork and self-study work forms. In practice whole class and reproductive forms of teaching still prevail. These forms do not stimulate personal interest and active participation in the process of learning but on the contrary deepen the problems provoked by traditional forms namely passiveness and lack of initiative.

Traditional approach does not help students get managerial skills, skills to plan and put into practice new professional products. The industrial training reports analysis of the third and final year students of the Ural State University of Economics majoring in Service and Tourism showed that 80% of students experienced difficulties when planning and organizing work of a hotel or tour agency. Though the level of theoretical knowledge in this sphere was assessed as high one. As follows from the said above, traditional theoretical methods of presenting materials for study do not encourage forming practical managerial skills.

In foreign literature managerial skills are described on the basis of theoretical behaviour model by Clark Wilson, which includes not only professional knowledge but mostly personal communicative characteristics, ability to cooperate, negotiate and reach agreement, ability to build teams and work in them. [3] Forming of managerial skills in foreign language classes is based on our country and foreign theories of management [4-8]. K. B. Esipovich and M. K. Kolkova look at the process of methodical managing from the position of subject-object relations [5, 9]. V. A. Sitarov, V. G. Maralov, E. G. Krolevetskaya agree that in the process of management learning a student should be an equal partner with the teacher [10, 11]. I. A. Zimnyaya and M. M. Potashnik separate managerial skills in the process of foreign language study [12, 13]. Zh. S. Fritsko describes the process of forming methodical skills of the future teacher in the context of project work [14]. D. A. Starkova proves effectiveness of subject-subject relations formed in group project work and forming of managerial skills when studying foreign language as a result [15].

Thus, analysis of science and methodical literature showed that there is the evidence base of using project methodology in foreign language lessons for forming methodical and managerial skills of the future specialists. Though methodology of using project work in the English language classes for forming managerial skills of the future service industry managers is absent.

Aims, Methods

The purpose of this article is to prove practical importance of project work in the English language classes for forming managerial skills of the future service industry managers. The tasks of the research are:

  1. To search into the essence and contents of managerial skills of the future service industry managers.
  2. To study the stages of forming the named skills.
  3. To study the stages of project work in the English language classes in the system of forming managerial skills of the future service industry managers.
  4. To present the results and the perspectives of using project method in the English language classes.

To achieve these goals we analyzed normative-legal documents in the training direction «Service», programs and curricular for subject «Foreign Language». Psycho-pedagogical and methodological literature on the problem of skills development, on the peculiarities of project activity organization was studied. Theoretical modeling of the process of managerial skills development in the English language classes was used. Russian and foreign experience of managerial skills development was examined. Such methods as students interview, questioning, experimental research, monitoring, testing were used.

On Stages of Developing Skills

Modern theory of management based on the behavior model by Clark Wilson examines a wide range of managerial skills of a manager [3]. These skills can be divided into two large groups: skills to manage people and skills to reach the target. The success of managing largely depends on how perfectly the manager is able to use them in practice. In this research we will limit ourselves to the second group of managerial skills connected with goal achievement. The contents of these skills are caused by peculiarities of the managing process, which is a logical chain of planning, organizing and monitoring activities. Managerial skills discover the essence of «managing paradigm» of the professional sphere [15].

In this work we consider managerial skills to be skills to use effectively tools necessary for performing activities and operations of goal setting and planning, organizing service as well as monitoring and analysis of the results. Continuity, integrity and completeness of managing cycle means effective usage of managerial skills. Managing skills can be divided into five sub-groups. The first sub-group is formed by skills of goal setting and awareness of the importance of the work ahead. The second sub-group is made of skills to draw a plan of actions according to the peculiarity of the professional field. The third sub-group includes creating favourable conditions for realizing alternative ways of reaching the target. We find this one to be the most laborious sub-group of skills necessary for successful managerial cycle. The fourth sub-group consists of skills of monitoring, namely skills to compare the target and the results. The last sub-group is auto-reflective skills [15].

As can be seen from the said above, managerial skills are an integrative characteristic of the future manager abilities to solve tasks of managing professional activities at service industry enterprises. This means that the process of developing managerial skills is a complex multilevel process.

Nowadays there is no common opinion about stages of forming skills and abilities in foreign and Russian literature. Taking into account the essence of the managerial skills, which are under consideration in this article, let us discuss known approaches that can present some interest from the position of subject-to-subject relations built during studying and level of learner autonomy.

In the 80s a foreign concept «Presentation-Practice-Production» for developing skills was actual. The core of the concept was a convenient form of structuring the lesson around the teacher at all stages of practising study materials. The learner’s position, his personal experience and preferences were not taken into account.

Jeremy Harmer’s theory differs from the previous one by the level of learners’ involvement into learning process. He speaks about three stages of forming a skill: engage, study, activate [16]. The learner’s interest and emotional respond are paid attention to in the process of studying.

Further development the theory of forming a skill got in Dave Wilson’s approach based on a task. The peculiar feature of this approach is communicative tasks when learners use new language material in order to reach a certain purpose. The tasks encourage to share opinions and elicit preferences. It should be noted that this approach provides high motivation for using language material and gives opportunity to cope with problems.

The next approach that postulates the level of learner autonomy in study process is Willian Littlewood’s approach [17]. In his theory Littlewood exploits the Harmer’s idea of involvement and adds the level of learner autonomy.

Considering the latter approach and the essence of managerial skills, let us describe the stages of their development.

  1. Full teacher’s control. At this stage teacher gives instructions how to do the task. He can pay attention to certain necessary techniques but does not teach any new material.
  2. Partial teacher’s control. Doing the task learners can have some teacher’s help in structuring their thoughts. Teacher comments on the process of doing the task without correcting mistakes. Tasks are quasi communicative at this stage.
  3. Free speaking. At this stage learners define the problem themselves and solve it using available communicative means.

As we have mentioned before, traditional methods of teaching do not give desired result in developing organizational and managerial skills of future managers. So, the choice of means for developing them should be connected with active involvement of learners into study process with purpose to demonstrate features of the future professional activity. We consider project work to be an effective means in terms of active learner participation in study process and demonstrating completeness of managing process at the same time. Theoretical statements of this methodology covered in works of Dewey, Polat, Alan, Knoll, Starkova let us think that it represents «complete managerial cycle» and allows learners to take an active part in the creative process from the very moment of putting the target of the project till auto-reflexive analysis of the outputs [15-20].

Authentic texts, audio- and video-materials, sites of tour operators and hotels in English become materials for project work. Brochures of hotels and tour agencies, new tourism routes, leaflets, restaurant menus, restaurant and hotels designs, their theme filling become objects of project work.

Developing Managerial Skills on the Example of Group Project

In this article we describe the process of developing managerial skills of future service industry managers on the example of group project in English «Eco-friendly Restaurant».

The first stage of project work is searching. At this stage participants choose the object of study, form a working group. This stage activates learner’s previous experience of solving problems and help develop the first and second sub-groups of managerial skills. These are skills of goal setting and awareness of the importance of the work ahead and skills to draw a plan of actions according to the peculiarity of the professional field. It is necessary to highlight that targeting and planning are essentials skills for designing various objects of service. Awareness of the importance of designing service objects lead to comprehension of professional values, forming personal views and positions to processes of these objects improving.

Learners are given the task to comment on the statement of “Sunflower Restaurant”, a famous American restaurant: “We are committed to help ensure our continuing personal and global health and happiness” [21]. Depending on the stage of skill development the task can be «paraphrasing» or «eliciting personal opinion». The task activates learner’s vocabulary, checks their ability to see the problem and define the target of the project, plan their work and also helps realize professional responsibility in terms of protecting environment with available means. If it is the first stage of forming the skill, learners get the following task: “You are going to evaluate the eco-policy of the restaurants in your area”. If it is one of the further stages, learners define the task by themselves.

As for the teaching types of activities, at the first stage we use «asking and answering questions», «stimulating giving personal opinion», «questionaries», «quizes», «ranking», «true-false statements». At the second stage, partially controlled by teacher, we use «finding differences and similarities», «comparing», «transformation», «supposition», «defining preferences». At the third stage, free speaking, we use «assosiations», «grouping», «making lists», «mind map», «suggestions».

The second stage of project work is technological, it forms skills to realize alternative ways of reaching the target. At this stage learners study and analyse normative documents for service objects, analyse existing tools for service activities, search for optimal solution of the problem and design separate elements of service processes. It should be noted, that choice possibility of tools and self-actualization in study process increase motivation and assurance of successful realization of the project.

This stage is connected with reading and analyzing original materials on the topic (texts, information on restaurant sites), with studying foreign and Russian normative documents. On the base of the text analysis learners develop criterion for assessing eco-policy of a restaurant and then monitor performance of the chosen restaurant against the criterion. While doing this learners use such learning activities as «making lists», «making notes», «grouping».

The development of the skills can be supported by such activities as «asking and answering questions», «correcting mistakes», «finding differences and similarities», «filling in gaps», «naming», «multiple choice» (for the first stage); «grouping», «adding», «quizes», «ordering» (for the second stage); «information transfer», «information gap», «making lists», «comparing», making notes», «making up texts plans», «paragraphing» (for the third stage of free speaking).

The third stage of project work is presentation. Making presentations of their projects, commenting on the contents and importance for service industry, learners perform such operations as control and self-control. For doing this effectively learners should know certain norms against which they can compare their results with really operating service objects. At this stage managerial skills of monitoring and self-control are developed.

In the described in this article project learners get the following task: «Bring together everything you have learned so far about eco-policies of restaurants in your area. Offer some environmental solutions». Learners present their projects in English and assess their own outputs and results of other learners. To ensure learners assess properly they are given criterion. According to the criterion they give points (from 1 to 3 for each criterion and comment on the points they assign. Completeness, effectiveness and practical value of the project reflect how well managerial skills are developed. We offer such criterion for project assessment as follows:

  1. Defining the target of the project.
  2. Planning the ways in which the target can be reached and searching for alternative ways.
  3. How thoroughly the topic is covered.
  4. Variety of studied resources.
  5. Adequacy of chosen methods to target and content of the project.
  6. Proven conclusions and usability of the project.
  7. Quality of the service product.
  8. Personal involvement of the project author and awareness of the importance of the project.
  9. Quality of oral presentation of the project results.

The number of criterion can be changed depending on the stage of skills development.

At this stage such activities can be used as «asking questions», «adding», «expanding», «information gap», «information transfer», «matching objects of service and tools of service» (controlled stage); «making decisions», «describing», «filling in gaps», «functional dialogue», «expressing preferences» (partially controlled stage); «communicative games», «discussion», «drama», «interviewing», «ranking», «making up ratings», «reviews» (free speaking stage).

The final stage of project work is analytical reflective, group of auto-reflective skills is developed. Learners perform critical self-analysis of their results and correct them on the basis of control and self-control. This process enables developing responsibility for veracity of the presented results and for project suitability to be put into practice. We consider auto-reflective skills an integrative part of the whole process of education. After Bakirov we believe that unable to perform self-analysis specialist can not control his staff work as well [22].

The system of forming managerial skills at this stage may include such activities as «correcting mistakes», «expanding», «answering questions» (at the first stage); «guessing», «filling in tables» (at the second stage); «disputes», «simulations» and «drama» (at the third stage).


The described experience of project work in English proves that this form of organizing learning process enables better understanding of professional sphere problems and comprehension of the results got, it contributes to developing of planning and organizing skills and more conscious usage of professional tools and techniques. Thus, we can say that taking part in project work help form and develop managerial skills since it illustrates paradigm of integrity and completeness of managerial cycle.

Taking part in designing service objects in English learners get possibility for self-actualization and professional self-identification. At the same time they master their foreign language knowledge for professional purposes. The developed system of forming managerial skills of the future manager can be applied in the English language classes and as a separate course «In My Competence».

Theoretical and methodological statements about autonomous management of project work in English and defining conditions for forming the first group managerial skills can be aimed at in further research.

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