Communication workshops are not something most teachers look forward to. But Anna University hopes things will be different this time.

As a precursor to its communication workshop to be held in January 2013, the English department of Anna University has conducted several awareness programmes for teachers.

Officials hope this will improve participation and help them realise the significance of training programmes.

The workshop is part of the University’s efforts to garner recognition from the National Board of Accreditation (NBA), which proposes to introduce Outcome-Based Education (OBE) system in Indian institutions on a par with the Washington Accord, an international accreditation agreement for professional education.

The Washington Accord, set up in 1989, recognizes programmes accredited by countries which are its signatories. Graduates of accredited programmes in any of the signatory countries are recognized by other signatory countries as having met the requirements to practise engineering.

Besides hosting an international conference in March 2013, the University will conduct a series of lectures in English speaking and communication skills for its teachers.

“Many colleges refuse to send teachers to workshops saying they can’t afford to let them off for a week. But there are also some quality conscious institutions that send the same teachers repeatedly. This time, we have restricted admission to just one teacher from each college to ensure participation from all institutions,” said S.P. Dhanavel, head, department of English, Anna University.

The focus of the communication workshop is to ensure that the sessions, beginning in January, are not theory based. “For instance, the student should be able to communicate effectively, make presentations and articulate his opinions at least for three minutes. The point of outcome based education is to be able to measure skills, and we are devising specifications for that,” said Prof. Dhanavel.

The teachers will be trained in fourteen areas that include listening, speaking, interpersonal skills and presentation-making among others.

“We will begin with faculty members who teach third-year students as that is the time when preparations for campus interviews begin,” said Prof. Dhanavel.

The effort in this conference is to grapple with the ideas and concepts underlying OBE particularly with reference to teaching and learning of English and communication skills and to come up with ideas on how to make English language learning outcome based and effective.

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