The benefits of using a portfolio-oriented approach in ESP contexts

The benefits of using a portfolio-oriented approach in ESP contexts
Anastasia Sakellaropoulou, Med in TEFL
English for Specific Purposes (ESP) has been known as both a learner- and a learningcentered approach to teaching English as a foreign language. As such, it has always
been trying to meet the needs of mostly adult learners who need to learn the language
for use in their specific fields of interest.
Throughout ESP history, teaching practitioners have been seeking ways to develop
curricula and assessment which balance the demands of the target situations where
their students will be using English on the one hand, and the necessity for developing
such processes and practices which will enable students to respond to these situations
on the other. It could be claimed that, in adopting a portfolio-oriented approach in
such contexts, ESP practitioners have found a valuable tool in advancing these efforts.
Portfolios have generated a lot of interest lately, with practitioners taking the lead in
exploring ways to use them. They can enhance the whole leaning process by
supporting instructional goals, reflecting change over a period of time, encouraging
student-teacher interaction and reflection and providing for continuity in language
learning. Practitioners can use them for a variety of purposes, including the
encouragement of self-directed learning, the promotion of learner autonomy, the
increase in visibility of language learning, the demonstration of progress toward
identified outcomes, the creation of an intersection for instruction and assessment, to
mention but a few.
Thus, this paper aims at discussing how the use of a portfolio-oriented approach in
ESP contexts can enhance and develop language learning. An attempt will be made to
show how this alternative approach can be a helpful means for learner linguistic
development, and how it can open significant avenues for enhancing learning
outcomes in such contexts. It could be claimed that this might be the process of a
sentient being’s ongoing, adopting involvement with the world, a lifelong learning
Key words: ESP, portfolio-oriented approach, self-directed learning, learner
autonomy, visibility of language learning