Peculiarities of Air Traffic Control Communications as a Base for Designing Exercises in English for Specific Purposes

UT Research Journal. Humanities Research. Humanities


Release:

2016, Vol. 2. №3

Title: 
Peculiarities of Air Traffic Control Communications as a Base for Designing Exercises in English for Specific Purposes


About the author:

Ksenia L. Simantyeva, Post-Graduate Student, Department of Foreign Languages and Linguodidactics, Saint Petersburg State University; xenia-moskovkina@yandex.ru

Abstract:

Initial English language training of air traffic controllers used in pilot-controller communications is carried out in accordance with the documents developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Along with that, the design of exercises in English for Specific Purposes requires consideration of psychophysiological characteristics of radiotelephony communications. These characteristics are not mentioned in the ICAO language proficiency requirements; they have received almost no attention in the methodological literature, as well. Consequently, they are not taken into account in designing radiotelephony exercises for prospective controllers. The present article gives results of research into the peculiarities of ATC communications which should be considered in designing the exercises in English for Specific Purposes course. Interviewing controllers of Saint-Petersburg ATC Center, observing their operational work, and analyzing the scholarly literature covering psychological aspects of air traffic controller activity have allowed to determine the factors influencing radio exchange. They are the following: lack of time and operational information that complicate controller’s decision making; low readability caused by interference and distortions on the operational frequency, or by accents and language errors of different nature; unexpected turn of events related to non-standard development of a situation and/or dialog that makes the communication stressful for the controller involved. It is concluded that the only way to avoid the influence of these negative factors on radio communication is to develop psychophysiological and communicative readiness of the prospective controllers for authentic radio exchange by using exercises that simulate the communication peculiarities. Some types of such exercises are offered, the principles of their design and usage are given.

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