backSPT Training Concept

SPT is the acronym for Successful and Practical Talents.
Zhejiang Yuexiu University of Foreign Languages (hereafter referred to as Yuexiu), based on its characteristics, orientation and talents training, is always exploring and functioning its advantages in the process of education reform.
With years of practices, Yuexiu has established an SPT training program that advocates the unique principle of “service first and employment-oriented”. The adoption of SPT training and its execution have effectively improved the quality of talent cultivation in Yuexiu. Around 10,000 graduates of Yuexiu are now working for international business, global economics, joint ventures and foreign affairs’ services.
In Shaoxing County, which is the largest textile market in Asia, there are 1,200 enterprises ranging from medium scale to large scale, and 60 of which have employed the graduates from Yuexiu.
The admission and employment of graduates of Yuexiu have long ranked the best among the non-governmental colleges in Zhejiang Province, bringing about a sustainable situation of both good admission records and good employment prospects for graduates.

1. The Origin and development of SPT Cultivation Program

1.1 The Origin of SPT Cultivation Program

“The Cultivation of Quality Talents is the Fundamental Target and pursuit for any College and University”.
Zhejiang, located in the southeastern seaboard of China, enjoys a developed economy. It needs diversified talents of multi-levels to meet the needs of international trade companies, joint ventures and foreign funded enterprises within its area.
With the quickening pace of economic globalisation, international business is covering a larger percentage in the total GDP of Zhejiang Province. Tens of thousands of related businesses in Zhejiang have a large demand for talents of foreign languages. Only talents with good language application ability rather than examination-oriented language learners can meet such needs.
The development of society needs versatile talents especially skilled in foreign languages, while those who have a command of a foreign language but a poor knowledge in a specific field become less competitive in the market. The stark reality is that most graduates from colleges or universities either have a good command of a foreign language but a poor knowledge of a specific field, or possess a good knowledge of a profession but poor language competence. What the market really needs are graduates who are competent both in foreign languages and specific fields of knowledge.
Under the market economy system, employers are seeking talents who are competent both in foreign languages and specific fields of knowledge. Colleges and universities in China have realised the importance of fostering students’ comprehensive qualities, however, for employers, such comprehensive qualities must be externalized in terms of vocational abilities. Students gradating with such abilities will be most welcomed in the job market.
The development of the vocational abilities of college students is also an effective means for colleges or universities to implement a quality-oriented education, which also shows the quality of their graduates.
There are many colleges and universities in Zhejiang Province. Hence, competition among college graduates would be quite severe when they are hunting for jobs.
How can the graduates of Yuexiu get an edge in spite of its relatively short history as a college operation? And how can the graduates of Yuexiu become the winners in this fierce competition? To address these concerns, Yuexiu has intuitively established and implemented a new talent-training program called SPT (Successful and Practical Talents) that promotes educational and vocational success and further strengthens the students’ awareness to develop their professional skills and give them the edge in the current job market.
1.2 The Development of SPT Training Program
The development of Yuexiu keeps in pace with the opening and reform policy of China. Basically, Yuexiu’s development has leapfrogged in three stages.
In 1981, Yuexiu was initially established as a vocational school. After an 18 year history of vocational school, Yuexiu was upgraded to a vocational college. At this stage, Yuexiu’s features of teaching foreign languages could be summed up as stressing the abilities of listening and speaking, while giving priority to language application in communication.
When Yuexiu successfully upgraded to a vocational college in 1999, it was the first and only foreign language oriented vocational colleges established in Zhejiang Province.
The teaching approach, of “stressing the abilities of listening and speaking, while giving priority to language application in communication” was further explored when a new talent-cultivation mode which combines the development of the students, language competence, and knowledge of a specific field was put into practice.
In 2005, based on the former cultivation mode, an SPT program with the three core abilities as the essence were established.
The Three Core Abilities Refer to:
1. The Communication Ability of a Foreign Language.
2. The Application Ability of the Knowledge of a Specific Field.
3. The Comprehensive Vocational Ability.
This program is the result of the further exploration of the education philosophy of Yuexiu. It is a new summary of the university’s experience in college running.
In 2008, Yuexiu was upgraded into an Undergraduate University. This gave rise to the issue concerning the applicability of the current SPT training system in bachelor education.
Soon, an evaluation process that lasts 12 week was in session. This process included classroom evaluations, 11 keynote speeches, and 32 relevant papers submitted by the university’s directors and teaching staff. However, the Ministry of Education of PRC gave the process a green light, and as a result, the SPT concept was once again implemented into the new education framework for the four-year undergraduates’ education.
Although, Yuexiu has changed from a vocational college to an undergraduate university, the SPT concept still applies to our students. The cultivation objectives, the quality standards and the three core abilities could still be implemented into the undergraduate program without degrading the weight of the bachelors’ degree.
The evaluation process concluded that Yuexiu could still apply the SPT concept in its undergraduate program, and that a consistent application of the program should be adopted. Moreover, it was made quite clear that the SPT concept, which has a reputation amongst vocational colleges, can and should still be implemented as a basis for the university’s undergraduates programs. The two educations programs differ at educational levels, yet still belong to the same category of education programs for application-oriented colleges and universities. Their relationship can be compared to a water source and flowing water, with the later is a new height based on the former.
2. The Connotations of the SPT Training Program
The SPT program fully represents the requirements from the government in terms of the cultivation of college students. Under such requirements, students should develop morally, intellectually, aesthetically and physically. At the same time, as for Yuexiu, such development can be achieved with features distinctive of this university.
The aims and objectives of this program can be summarized as the following:
One Catering

Two Types of Talents
Three Core abilities
Four Certificates and Success-Oriented Education.
One Catering refers to that the cultivation objectives of SPT program caters to the demands of the fast development of economy in Zhejiang Province. The program should foster practical talents for joint ventures, foreign affairs services and businesses related to international trade and global economy.
Two Types of Talents means that the talents fostered by Yuexiu can be categorized into two distinct types. The first type of talent is practical foreign language talents that are capable of applying their language competence in the future careers. The second type of talent is business administration talents who can skillfully employ a foreign language in their profession.
Three Core Abilities refer to language application ability, professional DIY ability and the comprehensive vocational ability.
Four Certificates refer to the Diplomas, language competence certificates, professional qualification certificates, and public skills certificates which every successful student will receive upon graduation.
Success-oriented education highlights the success as an education target. When a student is enrolled in Yuexiu, a file which includes the students’ career planning will be established to help them design specific goals in the various stages of their career development. The file encourages the student to make progress and helps monitor every stage of their achievements.
In order to achieve the SPT objectives within the curriculum framework of a foreign language, a specialty that covers comprehensive qualities must be established in accordance with the training requirements of practical foreign language talents.
The business administration curriculum framework contains a specialty and a foreign language. It lays emphasis on the career development in students’ last semester at the university.
The foreign language course module, designed for foreign language students, stresses the overall language competence, and the application ability of students’ listening, speaking, reading, writing and translating skills. The professional course module for these students constructs a stage for them to get to know the knowledge and skills of a profession, which they are expected to master along with the foreign languages.
The foreign language course module for business administration students mainly develops the students’ foreign language communication ability, while their professional course focuses more on the application of their professional knowledge. The module of comprehensive qualities, suitable for both types of students, cultivates students’ comprehensive vocational capabilities, such as honesty, diligence, responsibility, sense of humanity, language competence, writing skills, communication ability, teamwork spirit and imitativeness. These qualities are actually basic and common to any professions the students later want to engage in.
3. The Execution of the Cultivation Program of SPT

3.1. Formulate Scientifically an Execution plan for training the SPT Program
Zhejiang Yuexiu University of Foreign Languages has worked out Regulations on the Formulation of Talent Training Plan:
1. Confirm competency-based talents as its cultivation objective
2. Intensify the training of students’ language application ability.
3. Strengthen the Professional DIY ability and the comprehensive vocational ability of the students.
4. Balance the instruction between textbook theories and practical application
Our Language teaching must be
1. based on the all-round development of language skills
2. based on the training of listening and speaking skills
3. based on the needs of language application by International Business and the Global Economy.
Each step is specified in defining the training objectives and their standards are:
1. Analyzing students’ required vocational abilities.
2. Designing the curriculum framework.
3. Tailoring courses and planning a teaching syllabus.
The training plan of every major in Yuexiu is required to define clearly the periodical targets in every academic stage. For example, the periodic targets for practical English majors are defined as following:
A. Meet the curriculum requirements and pass the required tests in every semester.
B. Reach the CET-3 (College English Test) level in the 1st semester: reach the CET-4 level before the 3rd semester; reach the CET-6 level by the 5th semester.
C. Reach Computer Proficiency Certificate Level 1 before the 3rd semester.
D. Get Qualification Certificates for Custom Declarer, Documentary Staff or Export Sales Staff before the 5th semester.
3.2. Intensify their Training of Language Application Ability.
“The Aim of Language Learning Lies in its Application”.
In accordance with the training program, Yuexiu has a language teaching approach made up by the following:
1. Stress the practice of listening and speaking abilities
2. Give priority to language application in communication
3. Emphasize the application skills of language with intensified and all round training which is achieved by:
1. Developing a teaching mode that focuses on teachers’ guidance.
2. Giving students the passive roles in the classroom
3. Giving student practice the paramount importance while targeting at student’s capability development.
In the classroom, a teacher is not just concerned with imparting knowledge, but also responsible for organising the students to participate in intensified language training by giving them guidance and advice .
Take the course of oral English as an example: a teacher usually devotes 30 of the classroom hours to lecturing, whilst the remaining 70 should be focused on oral English practice. The teacher should create various language environments and takes different approaches, such as speech-making, dialogue, debate, interview, news review, class discussion and seminar to increase the students’ interest in language learning and improve their abilities in English listening and speaking.
In addition to teachers’ guidance in developing their language abilities, students here in Yuexiu are also provided with a language broadcasting system with 24-hour operation, a satellite TV system offering eight foreign language programs, and a network learning system designed to create an environment for language learning.
Campus cultural activities play a big part in helping the students develop their understanding of foreign languages and the cultures behind. These festivals consist of the following:
1. The English Cultural Festival
2. Cultural Festivals of Oriental Languages
3. Festival of European languages
So as to help the students learn the authentic languages and increase their chances to communicate with native speakers of foreign languages, Yuexiu has employed 40 foreign teachers from 14 countries as a part of its teaching staff. They are from UK, the U.S.A, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Japan and the South Korean Republic.
3.3 Emphasize the Training of Professional DIY Ability.
One of the core components of SPT is the job placement that the student undertakes in their final semester. By working in the companies that cooperate with Yuexiu in terms of the SPT training system, the student will acquire an understanding of their profession, which when combined their theoretical knowledge will improve students’ abilities in the practices.
The training of such ability is connected with the qualification tests of students’ related majors. The academic study is integrated with the acquisition of the certificates for professional qualifications.
Another unique feature of Yuexiu is its onsite training bases.
SPT Street has been built specifically to help the students develop their DIY ability. Built onsite, SPT Street has:
1. The International Business company.
2. Translation Company.
3. Salons of Foreign Languages.
4. Pavilion of Japanese Tea Ceremony.
5. Korean Corner, Tae Kwon Do and Yoga room.
These companies and organizations give students the opportunities to practice their DIY ability and experience foreign cultures.
3.4 Stress the Development of Comprehensive Vocational Ability.

To improve the vocational abilities of the students, Yuexiu offers not only the basic courses of ideology and politics, information technology, etc. but also courses of general education. The university offers such courses as feminine psychology, female and the society, etiquette for the female, and female and the law, considering the fact that 80 of our students are female.
Students are encouraged to:
1. Join clubs.
2. Participate actively in the social practice and the community.
3. Engage in Volunteer services.
4. Participate in Discipline competitions.
5. Participate in Sport Events.
6. Participate in Cultural and recreational activities.
All of these aim to help the students develop their character and accelerate their self development. Besides, elements such as self-learning, self-education and self-service are also implemented in Yuexiu, so that students can monitor and assess their progress by themselves.
3.5 Construct an Environment to help Students Succeed
In the SPT program, success refers to the student’s success in education, job employment, and the initiation of their own careers.
'Employment Success Justifies the Academic Success”
In another words, employment success means that the student has met the requirements of this university.
The first step to successful education is to help students design the specific goals in different stages in their career development. It encourages the student to make progress and monitors every stage of their achievements, thus guiding them step by step on their paths to success.
The second step to successful education involves students’ participation in social activities and volunteer services, which allow them to work together to build SPT classes & SPT dorms, and finally become an SPT student. In this way, the requirements of talent training are well combined with the ideological and political education.
The third step to successful education is the implementation of the “self-management of three levels” which is made up by self-learning, self-education and self-service. It helps students explore their potentials.
4. Achievements of the SPT Program
The execution of SPT program has greatly improved the education quality of this university. As a result, the employment rate of our graduates has been as high as 99 in the recent three years. Also, worth mentioning is the fact Yuexiu is the only private college in Zhejiang Province to win the award of the Model College in Graduates’ Employment.

 

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