Role of Soft Skills in Weeding Out Students' Fear of Oral Communication in Group Discussion

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Role of Soft Skills in Weeding out Students’ Fear of Oral communication in Group Discussion

M.Madhu Sudhan Rao (Ph.D)
Assistant professor of English,
MVR College of Engineering & Technology
Paritala, Vijayawada

This paper focuses on the issues encountered by the students of MVR College of Engineering & Technology, affiliated to Acarya Nagarjuna Univesity. They are pursuing 2/4 B.Tech in CSE branch. They are predominantly from rural background. Initially, they were inadequate in expression, presentation, confidence and speaking in English at the end of 2nd year I semester. They were very shy and felt guilty to speak in English. They had always feared in the mind that they would commit mistakes and friends would laugh at them. This problem was identified and many JAM rounds were arranged to them. They were asked to give paper presentations on the topics they liked. However the result was very negligible by the semester ending.

Keeping in view the 2nd year II semester Soft Skills syllabus in mind, a schedule was sorted out for their progress. In the end the 50 students who belong to CSE branch could fare better. However they still need improvement. The time span that this experiment covered was four months.

There are six modules prescribed for 2/4 B.Tech II semester CSE students. Nonverbal Communication, Written Communication, Emotional Intelligence and Self Esteem, Employability, Life Skills and People Skills are the modules. Fifty students were divided into two batches, each batch consisting of 25 students. Every week, three hours were allotted to train them. The schedule went for 15 weeks. They were trained in seventeen aspects like Nonverbal Communication, Confidence Building, Self Awareness, Stress Management, Empathy etc.

As most of the students possess fairly poor receptive skills, it took much time to improve them. In January, concentration was laid on improving their Confidence, Motivation Levels, Desire to Learn, Self Awareness, and Self Control. They were showed a few videos that were downloaded from They were given tips on how to know their strengths and limitations. In confidence building presentation, guidelines on planning in advance and thinking positively were given. It was followed by a video to inspire them and motivate them; they were trained to set up short term goals and long term goals in motivation classes. Further they were trained on methods finishing what they begin. While training them in improving their Desire to learn, they were told that they should learn round the clock as change is the law of life.

You cannot change your father,

You cannot change your mother,

You cannot change your brother,

You cannot change your sister,

You cannot change your wife/husband,

You cannot change your friend,


You can change yourselves.

( “Arnindam Chowdary’s “Count Your Chickens before they Hatch”)

These lines made them to think of. They were trained in improving their Self Awareness and Self Control. They were asked to sleep well, play energetic music, move around or start an interesting conversation; they were trained in Self Control through Self Awareness. They were told that Self Control means not being immune to temptation and further advised to be aware of where their resistance is low and asked them not to put themselves in those situations. They were asked to discover some of the causes of their temptations and to deal with them.

By the end of January, a majority of the students started coming to Soft Skills classes regularly without absenteeism. They displayed a keen interest. The slow learners in the class, who sleep in the class rooms usually, started paying attention which inspired me a lot.

In February, Empathy, Relationship skills, Competence, Mastery, Responsibility and Integrity were introduced. Without teaching what...
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