September: Hard Pressed to Succeed without Soft Skills

Sarah Louisa Bircheley

Title: Hard Pressed to Succeed without Soft Skills

Date: Saturday, September 28

Time: 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Place: Joinus

Summary: This workshop explores the professional skills necessary for success in international business with a particular focus on Soft Skills and how we can approach these in the classroom. The presenter will begin by defining Professional Skills and how they are taught in universities in Japan, before arguing for the cautious introduction of a Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) approach for business students. The content of a Professional Skills course – a key feature of which is the awareness-raising of soft skills – is explained and defined. This includes a Professional Skills for International Business (PSIB) can-do framework that has been developed to assess such skills. She will then share the results of a pilot qualitative analysis of students’ perceptions of the necessity of soft skills for international business in Japan.

The second half of the workshop asks participants to engage in a selection of practical activities that have proved useful in raising awareness of soft skills among Japanese learners.   The session concludes with a discussion about professional skills, soft skills and CLIL in the Japanese university context.

Bio: Sarah Louisa Birchley is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Business Administration, Toyo Gakuen University, Tokyo (Business Communication, Organizational Behavior, Professional Skills) and part-time faculty at the University of Tokyo (Academic English) and New York University ALI, Tokyo (Marketing).  Sarah undertook her MA and doctorate at the University of Bath, UK.  Her doctoral research explored Sensemaking in Higher Education.  Achieving a better understanding of how people communicate, particularly in workplace settings, and how this is connected to management and education is what motives Sarah in her research.  She presents often on Higher Education Management, the Marketing of HE and various aspects of Business Communication.  Sarah is an active member of JALT and the Association for Business Communication.

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