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Why is confidence more important, for good communication? What is the reason behind the interconnection of confidence and communication “People with effective communication skills are more confident because they know they can tell other people exactly what they need (Ahamad, 2016:479)”.
“As a language, confidence is fundamental to communication, and an important catalyst to the whole process and the enjoyment at every step. Confidence is the most tangible expression of who we are (Reallifeglobal, n.d)”.
By the above quotes, confidence is accepted as the most valuable factor for communication. Without confidence, no one could express their feelings to others, correctly. What is confidence? Confidence is “Knowing what you are good at, the value you provide and acting in a way that conveys that to others” (Lifehacker, n.d). Confidence matters always. If you intend to raise your confidence level, you should have a target, and you should have an aim. To have an aim, you should have self-confidence. You should know about your capabilities, and what aspects you are good at. You should always have good self-assessment. Self-confidence comes from your ability, and that is why you should know about your ability. How do we measure confidence in communication? Many researches about confidence in English communication, is available. By the Marium Jamila research, on Bangladesh students, she reports that when they can be proficient enough, in speaking English, they would naturally be highly motivated and convinced, to face the competitive world, with their aptitudes, and, recommendations have been made to the teachers, as well as the students, to increase confidence, when communicating in English (Jamila, 2014).
As English has become the global language in the world, it has become an essential tool for the military too. English language is an important factor for the success of any military organization, as well as for the military operations all over the world. “English language has also become a major factor affecting the success of military operations all over the globe” (Mustafa ER, 2012:281). In combined operations conducted by forces of two or more nations, English language plays a vital role. According to the Sri Lankan official website, it has been mentioned, that the Sri Lanka Navy is a military organization, consisting of both officers and sailors, ensuring security around the Sri Lankan Seas, by deploying ships and crafts. For easy administration, it is divided into different branches, assigned to different roles. Officers and sailors are enlisted to the Navy under different criteria, with different educational backgrounds, suited to their profession.
It is a fact known to the world that the Sri Lankan military forces had to face a war with the LTTE. The Navy changed the educational qualifications that existed for the enlistment of sailors prior to 2009, due to the war situation. Sri Lanka Navy did not concern much, with the educational background, and focused more, on recruiting heads for the war. As such, the educational qualifications were reduced, to join the Navy (Silumina, 2002). But now the scenario has changed, and the focus is on modernizing, and updating to regular professional standards. The educational background for joining the Navy has been upgraded, and more educated personnel are enlisted now. (Sri Lanka Navy, 2017). There is another scheme for enlistment to the Navy, on special duties. They are not to the uniformed staff, but, as civilian staff, and are attached to various branches, on non-combat duties. Prior to 2009, educational qualifications, for joining the navy, were different (Sri Lanka Navy, 2004). But after the war, amendments have been made, and, educational qualifications to join the navy have been enhanced. (Sri Lanka Navy, 2017). Even though the enlistments are with good educational background now, still they fail to discharge their duties confidently, in relation to the English language. Former Commander of the Navy Admiral RC Wijegunarathna while identifying the value of professional knowledge, had also mentioned that, even though Naval personal had followed local and foreign courses, there by getting opportunities to enhance their professional knowledge, they fail still to get maximum benefit from the courses, due to deficiency in English knowledge. In the Navy, most of the documents are dispatched in English and when interpreting these documents, there would be problems arising, due to the language being English. This would be a hindrance, when the Navy is converting to a more technical format, in the future. Hence, Naval personnel are encouraged to sit for the GCE (O/L) English, as a subject and new criteria introduced in awarding marks, for selection of naval personnel, for local and foreign courses (Sri Lanka Navy, 2016). This letter indicates that, lack of English knowledge, reduces working capacity of the personnel, at their working environments, as well as their educational aspects.
In addition to the GCE (O/L), the Navy has now included the APTIS test, for eligibility to follow foreign courses. The Sri Lanka Navy has been informed by many countries, to evaluate the candidate’s English standard, as per requirements, prior to selection, for the relevant foreign courses. Hence it is mandatory to sit for the APTIS test, which is considered as the scale of the officer’s English capability. (Sri Lanka Navy, 2016).As for the naval officers, a criteria is imposed for naval sailors also, in selection to follow foreign courses. As per a former Commander of the Navy, Admiral DWAS Dissanayake, the selection board should consider, the sailor’s ability, in writing, reading, listening, and speaking English, as per the requirements for the course (Sri Lanka Navy, 2012).As an example, the internal website of the Sri Lanka Navy, indicates the qualifications required, for the foreign course, in the Indian Navy, and it clearly states that selected naval personnel, should be able to follow the course in the English medium. (Navy General 181933, 2017). Admiral JSK Colombage has mentioned that during his tenure, he wished to have a highly professional Navy. (Wijayapala, 2012). To have a highly professional Navy English is the mandatory factor. Australian Navy’s official website has mentioned, that the Sri Lanka Navy, practices multilateral cooperation with other countries, (Australian Naval Institute, 2015). By virtue of enjoying multilateral cooperation with other countries, the Navy sends personnel, for peacekeeping duties to those countries. When selecting naval personnel for the peacekeeping duties, as instructed by the former Commander of the Navy Admiral RC Wijegunarathna, the selection board has to consider the applicant’s English knowledge. (Sri Lanka Navy, 2015). Former Commander of the Navy RC Wijegunarathne also introduced a public speaking competition, to improve the public speaking skills, of Officers of the Navy ,(Sri Lanka Navy, 2016) and he implemented, the Junior Officer Refresher Course ,for junior officers to improve certain skills including speaking and writing . (Sri Lanka Navy, 2016). Quoting Major General Darshana Hettiarachchi, “‘One language sets us in a corridor for life, two languages open every door along the way” and he has also mentioned the importance of English language, during the certificate awarding ceremony of the Basic English language course for NCOs.(Civil-military coordination, 2017).The above statement shows that not only the Navy is concerned, about enhancing English knowledge in their men, the sister services are also concerned, about the English knowledge of their personnel. In June 2004 the British High Commission funded the project to enhance the Military Communication Skills as requested by the military. The purpose of the project, was to improve the quality of language and communication skills, of the military forces of Sri Lanka (Tribble, 2007). The Kotelawala Defence University of Sri Lanka, is a University, set up to train officer cadets of the tri-forces, as well as civil students. It has recognized the value of English language, and uses English, as a medium of instruction (Jayasinghe, Wijethunga 2015). As per above statements, it shows that the Navy, as well as the Kotelawala Defence University, has made a lot of efforts, to enhance the English knowledge of personnel under training. A journal has also to be submitted by officers under training, as it would enhance, their linguistic skills, in writing, comprehension and presentation. (Sri Lanka Navy, 2009) Additionally the, Naval and Maritime Academy, conducts a three months English training program, for the newly joined cadets, and the 56th Intake cadets, demonstrated their acquired proficiency on stage, by presenting, a drama and entertainment programme on 05th November 2015. (NMA official website) .A Separate English school was established on 3rd June 2011, at the Naval and Maritime Academy, to teach English ,and to develop English language competency of naval personnel, to comprehend and communicate in English, and a English language Teaching School also was established on 12th April 2013 and upgraded with ISO certification in 2013 (NMA official website). The official website of the Naval and Maritime Academy, shows how much, the Navy is concerned about the English knowledge of naval personnel, and that precautions are being taken, to avoid English language deficiency, among the personnel. Not only in the NMA, the other naval bases are also conducting courses for English, particularly for Sailors who have failed in English language at the GCE (O/L). (Comsouth General 311523, 2017).Not only within the Navy, chances for collaboration with outside English teaching institutes, are also permitted, to enhance the English knowledge of officers, as well as the sailors. The Navy is also providing opportunities to follow the English language course for officers, at the Kotelawala Defence University (Navy General 142032, 2017). Not only the officers, naval sailors also have been granted access, to the English language course, at the Kotelawala Defence University (Navy General 142029, 2017).
Apart from the Sri Lankan armed forces concern about English language, the US Navy also has recruited Hispanics, and has identified the value of English skills of naval recruits who speak English as a second language, especially Hispanics. The US Navy has conducted an English program for them, and evaluated them, after the program (Copeland, Kincaid ; Swope 1982) So, the US Army also, conducts a pilot training program, for the new recruits, who speak English as a second language (Carpenter, Harman ; Redish 1983).The US Army considers it mandatory, to have English language programs ,for the newly joined recruits, who speak English, as a second language and conducts English training programs for recruits, who speak English as a second language. Three-week, 6-week, and 6 month programs are held, and finally evaluated. (Carpenter, Harman ; Redish 1983). Not only many years ago, recently also, US Navy conducted English training programs for new recruits, who speak English as a second language (Abalos, 1990).
“The English language is the essential tool for success in the field of trade and English is the major factor affecting for the success military operations all over the globe (Mustafa, 2012:281)”.
According to Manjola Likaj, after joining NATO in 2009, Albanian armed forces realized the importance of English, and they started a training program for the Albanian armed forces. At present Albanian troops operate in accordance, with Alliance needs (Likaj, 2013). It appears that foreign armed forces, are also very much concerned about English knowledge, especially American armed forces, focus much, on the English knowledge, of personnel, who speak English as a second language. They have arranged English language training programs, for them to enhance their knowledge.
It is accepted that English is a worldwide language, and that all should improve their English, to communicate with global society. Improving English knowledge is not sufficient, to communicate with others. Good confidence is also required. When the naval working environment is considered, confident communication in English, is of paramount importance. It is confirmed that the Navy is providing English language courses for naval personnel, and trying to promote their English knowledge. But still problems remain, with English communication, as per Navy standards. From the Navy’s point of view, though English courses are provided, naval personnel are not sufficiently interested, to follow those courses. But on the other hand, as providing courses alone, appears to be insufficient, the Navy should encourage the personnel, to apply and follow the courses. When we consider naval personnel, especially sailors, they do not display sufficient interest, to apply and follow the courses. Many reasons, such as insufficient self-confidence, to follow English courses, personal disregard for English, family and economic problems, could be some of them. But the Navy also does not seem sufficiently concerned, to change their attitudes, or encourage self-confidence, while naval personnel, are also not displaying a serious interest, in upgrading their English. When we assess the Navy’s attitude, and the point of view of naval personnel, we could see the differences, while inaction by both sides and prevail over the situation. The issue and problems remain, without solutions determined, making way for a big drawback for the Navy, in the near future .The Navy has a greater responsibility, to view the situation, and take suitable action in this regard. It is understood, that to find solutions for each and every problem, that arises regarding communication in English, within a short time period is not simple. Specially, it is hard to gauge as mentioned by me previously, regarding their family problems, and to study their attitudes, towards English communication. Hence, I intend to link, English communication, and confidence, together, in the research. The form of research may involve, a systematic review of literature, where patterns of existing research, are examined and summed up, in order to establish a total knowledge on a particular study, or to examine the application of existing research, to a specified problem. Based as above, I would strive to interconnect confidence, of the naval personnel displayed, within and outside the naval organization, when communicating in English.

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