Creative Education
2012. Vol.3, No.6, 729-732
Published Online October 2012 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2012 SciR e s . 729
Discussion on Training Mode of “Profession + English”
Inter-Disciplinary Talents
Huiyan Wang, Xiaobing Liu, Ling Li, Shiwei Luo, Xiaoyan Guo, Lihong Yan
Graduate Affairs Offic e, Xihua University, Chengdu, China
Received August 14th, 2012; revised September 18th, 2012; accepted September 30th, 2012
Inter-disciplinary talents with one professional skill and proficient in English are the type of talents most
lacking in the Chinese market and most desired by enterprises. This paper presents a definition for the
“profession + English” inter-disciplinary talents, and analyzes the demand of this type of talents by the
society. On this basis, factors affecting the training of this type of inter-disciplinary talents are analyzed,
and methods to realize this training mode are discussed from five aspects.
Keywords: Inter-Disciplinary Talents; Profession + English; Training Mode; Teaching Effect
The rapid development of science and technology enhances
the integration of different disciplines (Huang, 2009). In the mo d-
ern world, all high level scientific and technological achieve-
ments are the fruits of the integration of different disciplines.
With the increasingly frequent international exchanges and coo-
peration, the requirements for various kinds of specialized tal-
ents are higher and higher. Not only are they required to have
solid basic skills and st rong adaptabilities when facing with fi erc e
market competition, they shall also have high English level.
Many schola rs have discussed the training mode of “English
+ profession” inter-di sciplinary talents (Han, 2007; Zhang, 2008;
Dai, 2008; Huang, 2005), which takes the English major as the
basis and allows students to learn an additional professional
knowledge. This kind of training mode has its limitations. It
only sets for students majoring in English, and these students
can only learn professions of liberal arts, such as economics,
finance, law, and business management. However, the training
mode of “profession + English” inter-disciplinary talents is ori-
ented to students of all majors, such as physics, chemistry, ma-
terial science, computer science and technology, environmental
engineering, automation, and med icine. The professional kn owl-
edge of these majors will be taken as the basis, and English rather
than Chinese will be used to teach. While learning professional
knowledge, their English will be improved. Some scholars be-
lieved that this kind of training mode is impossible to realize,
and their reason is that the learning cycle of English is long,
and learning English is hard when compared with the profes-
sional knowledge (Li, 2008). This point of view is not totally
true. For people in their thirties, they have started to learn Eng-
lish from junior high scho ol; those ten years younger have le arn t
English from elementary school; and those even younger have
started since kindergarten. So the time we learn English is ba-
sically the same as that we go to school, however, the time we
study specialized courses is only two to three y ears. So the tr ain -
ing mode of “profession + English” inter-disciplinary talents
can be achieved.
Definition of Training Mode of “Profession +
English” Inter-Disciplinary Talents and Their
Social Demand
Inter-disciplinary talents refer to the people with certain abili-
ties in various aspects and outstanding abilities in a specific as-
pect. Experts pointed out that inter-disciplinary talent shall not
only have outstanding experience in professional skills, but also
have higher related skills (URL, 2012). Applying the above
definition, the “profession + English” inter-disciplinary talents
are people with outstanding experience in their major and high
English level.
The training of “profession + English” inter-disciplinary tal-
ents shall not be the simple superposition of a major and Eng-
lish major. It shall be the organic integration of both majors,
and it shall achieve the purpose of “1 + 1 > 2”. Therefore, the
goal for the training of “profession + English” inter-disciplinary
talents are taking professional contents as the bases and English
language as the tool, integrating the language teaching with the
teaching of professional theories and skills, cultivating the in-
ter-disciplinary talents with solid foundation, extensive knowl-
edge and specialities, as well as high English level.
The global economic integration is an inevitable trend. More
and more foreign enterprises will invest in China to search for
cooperation and development opportunities. Meanwhile, more
and more domestic enterprises are going towards the world and
striving for a larger market share. For a country, education must
face the world, face the future and face the modernization to
help China going to the world, allow the world to know China,
and to realize the general objective of modernization. Therefore,
popularizing English in the national level and cultivating more
bilingual talents have become a strategic task. For individuals,
the use of second language in studying, living and working is
more and more needed and urgent than any other time. Like
computers, English has become or is becoming the indispensa-
ble part in the living and working of more and more Chinese
(URL, 2012). In the training mode of “profession + English”
talents, the distance between the future job requirements and the
students English knowledge in terms, concepts, contents, pr a c t ic e s
and international codes can be shortened by using English as
the language to teach. While teaching professional knowledge,
students’ English level can be further improved, which has grea t
significance in strengthening the competitiveness of graduates.
Factors Affecting the Implementation of
Training Mode of “Profession + English”
Inter-Disciplinary Talents
To achieve the goals of training “profession + English” in-
ter-disciplinary talents, the integration of professional contents
teaching with language teaching shall be realized. And this has
always been a challenge. If not handled properly, a series of
problems will be generated. For example, students’ understand-
ings of professional contents may not be enough; the improve-
ment of language learning may be limited; the pre ssures of te ach-
ers and students may be increased; and both teachers and stu-
dents have to invest in a lot of time and energy.
There are many factors affecting the implementation of this
kind of training mode, which can be mainly divided into auxil-
iary factors and decisive factors. The auxiliary factors mainly
include the training program and curriculum, the teaching meth-
ods, and the availability of teaching materials. The decisive fac-
tors mainly include the inter-disciplinary teachers and the Eng-
lish level of students. These factors affect and restrain each other.
They all play crucial roles in the implementation of this training
Methods of Achieving the Training of
“Profession + English” Inter-Disciplinary
Improving the Training Program and Optimizing the
For a training mode, the preparation of the training program
and curriculum is very important (Studying team, 2002). The
training program of “profession + English” shall meet the train-
ing goals of both majors, as well as the requirements of inter-
disciplinary talents. Therefore, the selecting and cohesion of
course s from bo th majo rs, the compl ementary of the oretical te ach -
ing and practical ability’s cultivating, the progression from b asic
knowledge to professional knowledge, and other relations shall
be properly handled. The adaptation to the requirements of eco-
nomic globalization and social development shall be taken as
the orientation, the realistic basis of the school shall be taken as
the start point, and the prospects of economic development, as
well as the changes of industrial structure and employment
market shall be fully considered. Courses reflecting the frontier
and helping to cultivate the students’ practical abilities shall be
offered. In the curriculum, the strengthening of practical ability
and language capabilities shall be given the first priority. While
reducing the theoretical courses, applied courses related to the
discipline shall be added. In addition, the training program shall
reflect the flexibility of the credit system, and students shall be
allowed to select courses according to their bases, special skills
and interests within certain scope.
For the curriculum of this training mode, English listening,
speaking, reading and writing courses shall be strengthened in
lower grades. English shall be used as a “language tool” for
students to acquire. For professional courses in senior grades,
teaching materials in English shall be used as much as possible,
and English shall be used as the language of teaching. In this
way, students’ English proficiency will be further improved dur-
ing the process of learning professional knowledge.
Improving the Teaching Met hod
During the implementation of the training mode of “profes-
sion + English” talents, the teaching methods shall be improved
and the teaching means shall be enriched.
The emphases for the training of inter-disciplinary talents are
the comprehensive quality and the application ability of stude nt s.
Therefore, students shall be viewed as the main body, and the
interactive, heuristic and discussion type teaching methods shall
be used as much as possible. In these teaching methods, stu-
dents can participate in the teaching process. Teachers are still
in the dominant position, but they are equal to the students, and
debates are allowed in the class. This relationship orientation
makes the class atmosphere active. During the communication
process, teachers can find out the needs and problems of students,
and thus find ways to solve these problems, and continuously
improve the teaching quality.
The Several Opinions on Improving the Teaching Quality of
Undergraduate Education in Colleges and Universities issued
by the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China
(document No.[2001]4) clearly states that teaching by English
shall be actively promoted. The Ministry of Education issued
another document in 200 5 to further strengthe n the teaching qu al -
ity of undergraduate education, which requires the improvement
of the quality of bilingual educati on courses, the further incr eas-
ing of bilingual courses, and the promoting of international com-
munication and cooperation among colleges and universities in
undergraduate education. The education of graduates shall also
promote the teaching by English, improve the quality of bilin-
gual courses and increase their number.
The use of bilingual immersion teaching method (Wang, 2007)
can improve the teaching quality of bilingual courses. The first
modern language immersion programs appeared in Canada in
the 1960s (Baker, 2006), and it has been proved to be very suc-
cessful. We shall reference their experience. According to the
class time, it can be divided into four types of immer sion, wh ich
are complete immersion, partial immersion, content-based for-
eign language learning, and foreign language experience program
(URL, 2012). The bilingual immersion teaching method is the
partial immersion, about half of the class time is spent learning
subject matter in the foreign language. The goals are to become
functionally proficient in the second language, to master subject
content taught in the foreign languages, and to acquire an un-
derstanding of and appreciation for other cultures. By using this
teaching method, these goals can be achieved.
Selecting or Preparing Suitable Teaching Materials
Teaching materials reflect the teaching outline and the teach-
ing contents. They will directly affect the teaching effect. Origi-
nal English textbooks can allow students to experience the orig i-
nal staff, including the use of professional vocabularies, the ex-
pression of professional contents, the western professional teach-
ing ideas, and the cognitive process of knowledge. Furthermore,
the knowledge in the original English textbooks is new, which
can reflect the frontier. So the proper original English textbooks
are a good choice for this training mode.
If there are no suitable original English textbooks, teachers
Copyright © 2012 SciRe s .
can prepare their own teaching materials according to the prac-
tical situations. Attentions have to be paid to two matters during
the preparation of teaching materials. One is the organization of
the teaching materials. The compromise type organization mode
shall be used. The requirements and situations of the discipline
and students shall be considered. Meanwhile, different empha-
ses shall be placed on for different disciplines and for students
in different stages of learning. The other is the arrangement of
teaching materials. The spiral arrangement shall be adopted. In
view of the acceptance ability of students and according to the
complexity, depth and difficulty degrees, some basic principles
shall be repeated in the teaching materials, and the contents
shall be gradually extended and risen in a spiral shape. This
type of arrangement can strengthen students’ understanding of a
principle, and help them master corresponding expressions in
Enhancing the Construction and Integration of
Inter-Disciplinary Teaching Team
The construction of teaching team is the key in implementing
the training of “profession + English” inter-disciplinary talents.
Teachers must be familiar with the professional contents and
proficient in English. Only in this way, the training goals of
“profession + English” inter-di sciplinary talents can be ac h ie ve d.
However, the lack of inter-disciplinary teachers is a problem
faced by many colleges and uni versitie s. Some profe ssional t e ac h -
ers are good at their profession, but poor at English, on the con-
trary, language teachers are not familiar with the professional
contents. To establish the inter-disciplinary teaching team, the
cooperation between professional teachers and language teach-
ers shall be strengthened, and the colleges and universities shall
provide systematic aid to help these teachers overcome their
shortcomings, and improve their English level or professional
The methods to solve this problem include: 1) Strengthen the
communication and cooperation between professional teachers
and language teachers; 2) Give full play to the leading role of
teachers studying abroad, doctors, masters, and others with high
English level; 3) Regularly send young teachers for short-term
further study or intensive training at abroad, and establish the
communication and cooperation between domestic and foreign
universities; 4) Introduce talents with high English level and
doctorate degree in relevant professions, such as computer sci-
ence, construction, machinery, and materials; 5) Employ for-
eign experts and guest professors to participate in full English
teaching and scientific research works; 6) Invite experts with
experience in bilingual teaching to share their teaching experi-
Aiming at Students with Good English Level
Teaching and learning are two inseparable processes. The
object of teaching is the subject of learning, and the best teach-
ing effect can be achieved only when they adapt to each other.
Therefore, the selection of students for the training of “profes-
sion + English” inter-disciplinary talents is the prerequisite and
foundation. It cannot be denied that the English levels of stu-
dents at colleges and universities in China are intermingled.
The training mode of “profession + English” int er - d i sc i p l i na ry
talents has certain requirements for the English level of students.
It is not suitable for all students. For students with poor English
level, it is unrealistic and unwise to implement this mode of
training. In view of this situation, the English level of students
shall be tested after their enrollment, and classes can be rear-
ranged according to the test. Different classes shall apply dif-
ferent training modes, and the training mode of “profession +
English” inter-disciplinary talents shall only be oriented to stu-
dents with relatively good English level. In addition, the num-
ber of students in each class shall not be too many for this
training mode. This will facilitate the implementation of inter-
active teaching, and the best teaching effect can be achieved.
All factors affecting the implementation of the training mode
of “profession + English” inter-disciplinary talents mutually re-
strict each other, and not a single one can be neglected. Among
these factors, the students’ English level and the inter - di s ci pl i na r y
teachers are decisive factors. Good source of students can im-
prove the training efficiency. Furthermore, the good English level
and self-learning ability of students can make up the tension of
teaching hours in a certain degree. Certain quantity of qualified
inter-disciplinary teachers largely determines the quality and e ffec t
for the training of “profession + English” inter-disciplinary tal-
ents. The training program and curriculum, teaching methods
and teaching materials are auxiliary factors. Suitable training
program and curriculum can standardize the training of “pro-
fession + English” inter-disciplinary talents; proper teaching
methods can improve the teaching quality and help to achieve
the training goals; and the good teaching materials can reduce
the burden on teachers, and facilitate the self-learning of stu-
dents, and improve the teachi ng effect.
The training mode of “profession + English” inter-discipli-
nary talents is still in exploratory stage in China. In order to
improve the English level of students while learning the profes-
sional knowledge, we have to integrate the training goal s of bo th
majors. During the implementation process of this training mo d e,
we shall optimize the training program, improve the teaching
methods, and select or prepare suitable teaching materials. Mean-
while, this training mode can only be implemented for students
with relatively good English level, and excellent inter-discipli-
nary teachers shall be provided to support this training mode.
This work was supported by the Education Reform Project of
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