English for
Content of the session
1.What is ESP?
2.The origins of ESP.
3.Characteristics of ESP
4.Types of ESP
5.Some features of ESP courses
Content of the session
6.ESP and General English
7.Roles of ESP teachers
8.ESP learner
9.Some ESP organizations and
10. Some samples of ESP courses
taught in Madinah College Of
Technology ( MCT )
What is ESP ?
English for Specific Purposes (ESP) is a
branch of a wider field, Language for
Specific Purposes ( LSP ), which is defined
as :
“…the area of inquiry and practice in the
development of language programs for
people who need a language to meet a
predictable range of communicative needs.”
( Swales, 1992: 300(
What is ESP ? 
English for specific purposes
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English for Specific Purposes (ESP), not to be confused with specialized
English, is a sphere of teaching English language including Business English,
Technical English, Scientific English, English for medical professionals, English for
waiters, English for tourism, English for Art Purposes, etc.[1] Aviation English as
ESP is taught to pilots, air traffic controllers and civil aviation cadets who are
going to use it in radio communications.[2] ESP can be also considered as an
avatar of language for specific purposes.[3]
What is ESP ?
“English for specific purposes is a term that
refers to teaching or studying English
for a particular career (like law, medicine)
or for business in general.“ International
Teacher Training Organization, 2005).
So, we can say there is a specific reason for
learning and teaching English.
What is ESP ?
ESP is defined as “Goal-oriented language
learning” (Robinson and Coleman, 1989 :
398 ) i.e. a specific goal is to be attained.
Hutchinson and Waters ( 1987:19) defined ESP as :
"an approach to language teaching in which all
decisions as to content and method are based on
the learner's reason for learning" .
Strevens (1988) described it as English language
teaching which is designed to meet specified
needs of the learner.
What is ESP ?
ESP is “a major specialization
within the discipline of English language
teaching”. )Chen 1993 : 80)
Still, others specified ESP as the teaching of
English for academic studies, or for vocational
or professional purposes, as opposed
to EGP, (English for general knowledge and
skills). (Brunton 2009; Carver, 1983; Hyland,
What is ESP ?
we have such acronyms as
EAP (English for Academic Purposes)
EOP (English for Occupational Purposes)
EMP (English for Medical Purposes)
EBP (English for Business Purposes)
EST (English for Science and Technology)
All of these are part of the ELT (English
Language Teaching) repertoire.
What is ESP ?
Whatever name it assumes, ESP is now a
term connoting promise for more
effective and more useful English language
instruction (Tsou, 2009;Yogman &
Kaylani, 1996)
)Asian ESP Journal Volume 7(
What is ESP ?
English for Academic Purposes (EAP)
Learners: Studying to enter professions, focusing on the
language of
academic performance in specific discourse communities (and
preparing for near-future identified workplace needs)
Fields: Business, Engineering, Medicine, Information Technology,
Law, etc.
English for Occupational Purposes (EOP)
Learners: Employed in industry sectors, focusing on the
language of job performance (or
preparing for identified employment opportunities)
Fields: Industry sectors, government, United Nations,
The origins & growth of ESP
From the early 1960's, English for Specific
Purposes (ESP) has grown to become one
of the most prominent areas of EFL
teaching today. Its development is
reflected in the increasing number of
universities offering an MA in ESP and in
the number of ESP courses offered to
overseas students in English speaking
The origins & growth of ESP
There is now a well-established
international journal dedicated to ESP
discussion, "English for Specific Purposes:
An International Journal", and the ESP SIG
groups of the IATEFL and TESOL are
always active at their national
The origins & growth of ESP
New developments in educational
psychology also contributed to the rise of
ESP by emphasizing the central
importance of the learners and their
attitudes to learning ( e.g. Rodgers,1969)
The origins & growth of ESP
The origin of ESP and its development is
closely linked with learners´ interest in
various specific disciplines ,e.g. English for
Computing , English for Engineering, English
for Business , etc. Students learn English for
a specific purposes, represented by studying
subject matter, to gain and develop
appropriate knowledge and skills through
The origins & growth of ESP
‘Students study ESP not because they are
interested in the English language as such
but because they have to perform a task
in English. Their command of the English
language must be such that they can
a satisfactory level in their specialist
studies.’ )Robinson , 1989 : 396 ). subject
The origins & growth of ESP
Hutchinson and Waters ( 1992 ) emphasize
ESP to be an approach not product that
means language learning not language use
is highlighted. They draw the attention
to a ´learning-centered approach´
“in which all decisions as to content and
method are based on the learner´s
reason for learning.“ (Hutchinson and
Waters, 1992, : 19).
The origins & growth of ESP
The basic question of ESP is:
Why does this learner need to learn a
foreign language?
The purpose of learning English became the
The origins & growth of ESP
Core Principles of ESP
Kevin Knight for TESOL ESP-IS
The origins & growth of ESP
Swales (1985) uses the development of EST
( English for Science and Technology ) to
illustrate the development of ESP in
general ‘ with one or two exceptions ........
English for Science and Technology has
always set and continues to set a trend in
theoretical discussion, in ways of analyzing
language and in the variety of teaching
Characteristics of ESP
Tony Dudley-Evans and Maggie Jo St John
(1998) divided characteristic features of
ESP in two groups :
1.absolute characteristics
2.variable characteristics.
Absolute characteristics
-ESP is defined to meet specific needs of
the learner
-ESP makes use of the underlying methodology and activities of the
discipline it serves
-ESP is centered on the language (grammar,
lexis, register), skills, discourse and
genres appropriate to these activities
Variable characteristics
· ESP may be related to or designed for specific
· ESP may use, in specific teaching situations, a different
methodology from that of general English
· ESP is likely to be designed for adult learners, either at
a tertiary level institution or in a professional work
· ESP is generally designed for intermediate or advanced
· Most ESP courses assume some basic knowledge of
the language system, but it can be used with
(Dudley-Evans, 1998).
Characteristics of ESP
This classification of ESP characteristics into
absolute and variable is, as I think, very useful
as it does not include any limitations of
learners’ age , ability or any other disciplines.
So, ESP is an open ‘approach’ to teaching
depending on learners’ needs.
"ESP is an approach to language teaching in
which all decisions as to content and
method are based on the learner's reason
learning“. (Hutchinson 1987 : 19) for
4.Types of ESP
According to when they take place
1.EAP ( English for Academic Purposes )
2. EOP ( English for Occupational Purposes)
4.Types of ESP
The classification of when and where to use
ESP is of argumentative nature. However,
trying to capture this ‘fluid nature’ of ESP
courses classification, (Duddly-Evans and
St.John ,1988) suggest that (ELT) should be
a continuum that runs from General
English courses to very specific ESP
courses as illustrated in table 1 below
6.Some features of ESP courses
1.Organzing course
2. Selecting material
3. Types of activities with text
1.Organzing course
To achieve a satisfactory goal, ESP course is
to be effectively and consequently
organized considering the following
factors according to (Hutchinson and
Waters, 1992 : 19- 23)
1.The answer to the following questions is
a crucial aspect to get ‘language
description’ :
1.Organzing course
1-What topic areas will need to be covered?
2-What does the student need to learn?
3-What aspects of language will be needed
and how will they be described?......etc.
1.Organzing course
2.The way learning is achieved
it is natural that learning strategies vary and
corresponds with learners´ groups, their age, level
or reason they study.
The way adults acquire language is different from
children, the group of advanced expects different
attitude from beginners and teachers determine
which aspects of ESP learning will be focused on
to meet learners´ needs and expectations
1.Organzing course
3.’Needs analysis’
It relates to learner´s surrounding and
discusses the questions of ´who´, ´why´,
´where´ and ´when´ connected with the
nature of particular target and learning
2. Selecting material
Good materials should help the teacher in
organizing the course. Materials also are a
kind of teacher reflection, ‘they should
truly reflect what you think and feel about
the learning process’
(Hutchinson and Waters, 1992, : 107).
2. Selecting material
Good material should be based on various
interesting texts and activities providing a
wide range of skills.
‘Teaching materials are tools that can be
figuratively cut up into component pieces
and then rearranged to suite the needs,
abilities, and interests of the students in the
course.’ (Graves, 1999, : 27).
2. Selecting material
Materials should also function as a link
between already learnt ‘existing knowledge’
and new information.
(Hutchinson and Waters, 1992).
2. Selecting material
Wallace (1992, :91) suggests those main
acriteria : ( which can be applied
selecting (EGP( ): on
Adequacy - should be at the appropriate
language, age level.
Motivation - should present content which is
interesting and motivating for students
2. Selecting material
Sequence - it is important if there is some
relation to previous texts, activities, topics
not to miss the sense of a lesson.
Diversity - should lead to a range of
classroom activities, be a vehicle for
teaching specific language structure and
vocabulary and promote reading
2. Selecting material
Acceptability - it should accept different
cultural customs or taboos.
‘Materials provide a stimulus to learning.
Good materials do not teach : they
encourage learners to learn.’
(Hutchinson and Waters,1992 : 107 ).
3. Types of activities with text
In ESP, text can be a source of new
vocabulary or reading skills.
Text should be consistent with studying
subject matter.
Some activities are also suggested to
achieve the learning goals( Harmer, 1991:
188 ) like.....
3. Types of activities with text
Warm up activities
Receptive activates
Productive activates
Follow-up activities
6.Some features of ESP courses
Carver (1983) states that there are
three characteristics common to ESP
1.Authentic materials
2.Purpose-related orientation
1.Authentic materials
-The use of authentic learning materials is
possible if we accept the claim that ESP
courses should be offered at an intermediate
or advanced level.
-The use of such materials, modified by
teachers or unmodified, is common in ESP,
especially in self-directed studies or
research tasks.
1.Authentic materials
The students are usually encouraged to
conduct research using a variety of
different resources including the Internet
2.Purpose-related orientation
-Refers to the simulation of communicative
tasks required by the target situation.
-The teacher can give students different
tasks - to simulate the conference
preparation, involving the preparation of
papers, reading, note-taking and
-It means that ESP is concerned with
turning learners into users.
-For self - direction, it is necessary that
teacher encourages students to have a
certain degree of autonomy – freedom to
decide when, what, and how they will study.
-For high-ability learners it is essential to
learn how to access information in a new
9.ESP and General English
Question: ‘What is the difference between the ESP
and General English approach?’
Answer: ‘In theory nothing, in practice a great deal’.
(Hutchinson,1987: 53)
In 1987, the last statement might be quite
true but teachers nowadays, however, are much
more aware of the importance of needs analysis,
and published textbooks have improved
dramatically allowing the teacher to select materials
which closely match the goals of the learner.
7.Roles of ESP teachers
1.To meet the learners’ specific needs in the
field of particular discipline .
2.To provide satisfying learning background
(designing course, setting goals and
objectives, selecting material etc.)
‘ESP teacher should not become a teacher of
the subject matter, but rather an interested
student of the subject of the subject matter’
(Hutchinson and Waters, 1992 : 163).
7.Roles of ESP teachers
Hutchinson and Waters (1992) stress two
roles differ between ´ESP´ and
´General English´ teacher. Beside the typical
duties of classroom teacher, ESP teacher
“deals with needs analysis, syllabus design,
materials writing or adaption[sic] and
evaluation,“ they see “ESP teacher´s role in
one of many parts.“ (Hutchinson and
Waters, 1992: 157).
7.Roles of ESP teachers
teachers of ESP have to “orientate
themselves to a new environment.”
(Hutchinson & Waters, 1992 : 157 ).
7.Roles of ESP teachers
ESP professionals, due to their industrial
/communication expertise, often have
multiple roles in the public, private and
academic sectors on a local, regional, or
global scale including:
− Teaching or training (onsite and/or online)
− Teacher or trainer development (onsite
and/or online)
− Curriculum design
− Consulting
7.Roles of ESP teachers
− Materials development
− Program administration
− Policy analysis and development
− Public speaking
− Research
Kevin Knight for TESOL ESP-IS
7.Roles of ESP teachers
Dudley Evans theory of ESP practitioner:
Tony Dudley Evans and St John (1998)
define five key roles:
2. collaborator
3. course designer and materials provider
4. researcher
5. evaluator
ESP learners
ESP learners can be divided according to
their need for English communication
1.Language learners who are in the process
of developing expertise in their fields
need English communication skills as tools
in their training.
ESP learners
2.Language learners who are already experts
in their fields need English communication
skills as tools in their work.
Adapted from © Lomperis and van Naerssen, 1992
Some ESP organizations
ESP organizations/communities exist at
local, regional, and global levels. The
websites of these organizations may
provide links to other organizations,
journals/periodicals, examinations, and
online resources
Some ESP organizations
ESP organizations include
− TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of
Other Languages) ESP-IS (Interest Section )
− IATEFL (International Association of
Teachers of English as a Foreign Language)
ESP SIG (Special Interest Group)
− IATEFL BE (Business English) SIG
− Asia-Pacific LSP (Language for Specific
Purposes) and Professional Communication
− (TESPA) Taiwan ESP Association
Some ESP organizations
ESP professionals are also active in many other
professional organizations including :
− ASTD (American Society for Training and
− EASE (European Association of Science
− IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic
− IFTDO (International Federation of Training
and Development Organizations)
Some ESP organizations
-The British Association of Lecturers in English for
Academic Purposes
-The British Association of Applied Linguistics
-ESP Interest Section of TESOL US
Some ESP organizations
ESP SIG of Michigan Teachers of ESOL
)Journal of ESP (Elsevier Publications
Journal of EAP (Elsevier
Some ESP organizations
Asian ESP Journal
Sample of ESP courses in MCT
More details will be presented in PDF files
Thank you for listening
Khalid B. Aljohani
English Language Instructor
Colloge of Technology
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Madinah Munawarah
[email protected]
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