Why does science seem so distant when you are looking for learning English?

Being someone who's graduated at an university, I'm constantly looking for English activities and videos related with my profession. This task involves wasting lots of time searching and reading pages that doesn't fit with scientific subjects. I mean, it is extremely hard to come across websites that inform, or simply introduce, to the daily vocabulary used in my field. In spite of being scientific reports everywhere, oral lessons about specific rutines are hardly found on the Internet.

Would it be Italki a website that can bridge the gap? Is somebody in the crew who's facing the same issue?

Apr 19, 2017 10:31 PM
Comments · 5

It might help if you said what your profession is. Your profile mentions chemistry. I'm not sure I understand your question, exactly, but I have two suggestions.

1) For reading, I suggest trying Wikipedia articles. They are on virtually every topic. In most cases, if you "drill down" from overview articles to more and more detailed articles you will get to fairly technical material. For example, the article on "Chemical bond" has a section on "Covalent bonds," which in turn directs to an entire article on them, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covalent_bond -- which then contains links to "Chemical bonding models" which then contains a link to "Valence bond theories" and so forth.

2) I just completed a course (given in Spanish) on the EdX.org website. EdX.org and coursera.org are websites that offer college-level course material, mostly in English. You can listen to the videos and take the quizzes for free.



For example, there are current EdX courses in "Quantum Mechanics of Molecular Structure," "Medicinal Chemistry: The Molecular Basis of Drug Discovery," etc.

April 19, 2017
Wow, that title was really effective! and it was answered very fast.

Thanks Phil for the website, very useful I must say.

Dan: I'm a Chemist graduated of a 5-year-long degree and my current work involves nanoparticles synthesis and analytical determination of various pollutants. My question strives to highlight a lack of scientific content, which directs not only to general audience but professional people. Websites like wikipedia, sciencedirect, etc., are on my basic research, when I need to review something. Although, I know some of those course you've mentioned and I agree that they offer useful and interesting material. I'm logging in "Quantum Mechanics of Molecular Structure", so thank for that!

Gordon: I assume that both agree in that there's no better way to learn than facing anyone's knowable on the field. I was participating on a MOOCs course but, in my case, I felt that everyone went far faster than me. There always were million of comment after any update and nobody answered as if it were happened years before!

Summarizing, you can be tought many skills on different websites, for example formal writing or essay structure, but which Internet source accurately explain how to managed on a conference or congress? and I know that is complex. My point hopefully is that there's plenty of Grammar and anything about writing abilities but few of whatever you need to communicate with others.

April 20, 2017

The more specialized your field, the less likely you are to find a lot of material, let alone for free. It's simply not relevant for enough people.

Regarding oral vs written material: the terminology relevant to your field stays largely the same, so you should definitely be able to pick up a lot reading specialist literature or journals. You can check youtube for conferences, talks and lectures about your field for oral material, but again, the more specialized your field, the less likely are you to find a lot. Personally I do find MOOCs to be a good resource.

PBLL seems to be a good approach to me, too. So you could search for a tutor willing to try that, but you probably won't find someone who is a specialist in your field; they'll be language professionals who can do some research into your field. But perhaps you could also look for English speakers at your university or check if your university has partner universities in English speaking countries which could help you find a person to talk to online.

I'm sorry but I don't understand what you mean by "how to managed on a conference or congress".

In general it's true that there is not a lot of specialized subject literature for language learners. If there is demand, there will be some things, for example, there are books for nurses learning German. But for most subjects you'll have to learn the basics and standard language skills first before diving into specialized literature intended not for learners but for professionals in that field and use a specialized dictionary.

April 21, 2017

Some of my students have mentioned this podcast:


April 19, 2017

I agree! I had the same issue with Spanish and Japanese. Then I discovered Project Based Language Learning (PBLL)! I was tired of the usual textbook and communication course. They didn't answer my language learning needs. I couldn't choose what I wanted and needed to learn and say. 

The MOOCs on Coursera.com, futurelearn.com, and EdX.com can be a good start but, you don't get any feedback. You also don't get help understanding the material. They don't utilize all your knowledge, skills, and abilities. They don't fully teach you 21st-Century Skills. You are just another number talking to a bot.

If you are interested in learning more about how I use Project Based Language Learning, message me! I'd love to talk to you about how it can answer your language learning needs.

April 19, 2017