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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Historical and Theoretical Issues in ESP (Jan. 5)

As mentioned by Dan Douglas (2000), "over the years since its beginings, specific purpose language testing has been criticized on a number of grounds: ... is just general purpose language proficiency with technical vocabulary thrown in" and there is no real theoretical justification for this subject.
These comments are not confined to specific countries, rather a comment often heard in academic circles and in undergraduate seminars. Based on the way,occupational and academic English is being taught in your environment, what are your comments on the matter. What do you see as lacking in our ESP courses?
a)Post your comments on that matter or
b) Look for an article that is related to this weeks' discussion and write a brief reflection on it. Try to relate it to the Malaysian Undergraduates language learning dilemma.

39 comments:

  1. This is for the students who mentioned that they could not post their comments. It seems to be working fine.

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  2. Responding to the criticism posed by Douglas (2000), I would like to quote what Tratnik (2008) has to say about ESP tests:

    ESP tests should be based on direct evaluation of language ability in acts of communication (reading, speaking, writing, and listening) and assessment of content knowledge in situations and activities, which are as engaging and realistic as possible for learners (p. 12).

    In this sense, I would like to recall my experiences while taking ARW. I was assessed not only in different academic genre knowledge (e.g. generic structure and language of an argument) but the evaluation criteria include quoting, paraphrasing and referencing. And I am able to apply these in my writing assignments, especially my thesis.

    What is lacking, perhaps, concerns with the specific test content of ESP courses (Tratnik, 2008). A question to ponder, is there a neutral yet comprehensible content to each student taking the tests?

    Reference:
    Tratnik, A. (2008). Key issues in testing English for Specific Purposes. Scripta Manent, 4(1), 3 – 13.

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  4. Basically in most ESP courses, it is true that numbers of technical vocabulary are put in. I read an article by Yong (2006) in which it is mentioned that “General English language content, grammatical functions and acquisition skills” prevail in ESP course. However, the use of “terminology and specific functions of discipline content” will help the learners to meet their specific needs and achieve the objectives of taking the course. Basically, the content of General English and specific one is interrelated. In ensuring the success of the ESP course itself, learners need to have sufficient mastery in the General English so that it will be more effective when they do ESP. Besides, Yong (2006) also stated that in order to ensure the success of ESP, it is crucial for the ESP course designer to help the learners to identify their needs because sometimes, they themselves are not able to identify on their own.

    In Malaysian context, I think it is important to look at the learners’ point of view in order to guarantee the success of ESP course. Learners should be able to improve their skills in General English first before they start to engage with the specific terminology and content of specific discipline. In relation to this point, I do agree with the CLS effort in which they offer English Preparatory course for the learners with limited mastery in English. This course helps them to improve their English ability before they can really start to take other Generic Course, which is more to specific discipline such as EPP or ARW.

    Article from;
    Yong, C. (2006). From common core to specific. The Asian ESP Journal 1(3). Retrieved from http://www.asian-esp-journal.com/June_2006_yc.php

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  5. I took EPP course when I was in second semester in my first year in UNIMAS. The course was fine and the instructor gave me a lot of knowledge as we shared and exchanged our experience in the teaching and learning process. However, at most part of the lesson, the instructor asked us to focus on memorizing the format of and appropriate phrase/sentences in writing report, formal letter, memo etc in which I think I did not really learn the language but I ‘memorize’ it for the sake of examination. For example, the instructor explicitly stated which phrases or sentences were appropriate to be used to conclude the formal letter. And if I want to pass in the exam, I had no choice. What if I forgot all those phrases/sentences? Of course I was unable to perform well in the exam.

    I think the phrases or sentences stated in the book can be used as the basis or example for the instructor to teach but he/she should also give opportunity to the students to use the target language in constructing their own phrases or sentences as each student has a unique language ability (and it requires less memorization skill). At least, in the exam not all 30 students in the class write the same concluding remarks in their formal letter. I believe, the instructor will get bored to read the same 30 concluding remarks in the students answer booklet. Thus, I think the exam in the course only testing my memorization skill and only a bit on the target language.

    At some point, i think that time constraint is a reason why we need to memorize all those phrases/sentences. Obviously, there is syllabus to be finished in the short time and
    usually students’ performance in learning is measured in the exam. Here, the real learning experience sometimes has to be ignored.

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  6. When reading an article by Thang and Wong (2008), I really like the way UKM organizes their ESP courses. Students there will have to complete their ESP courses in two semesters; first semester is for EAP which are related to their field (eg. law, science, art, et cetera) and second semester for EOP (Public Speaking, Communication Skill, et cetera). The ESP courses offered are more 'field-based' and specific to the needs of students especially on the skills needed in the work field. Compared to us, the courses that are offered have no specified field as everyone and anyone can take it. Even though things seems not right with the courses offered but because it have become mandatory courses especially for undergraduate students in this university, students have no other choice but to go on with it. Some students even take the courses just for the sake of being able to graduate without even think about the benefit of the courses to their current field. This idea basically come from my own experience and even many of my friends. Even though the pressure might be similar for students in UKM and here in our university, especially in term of CGPA, but the long-term benefit for both parties might be different. I don't want to be biased but I think, students in UKM benefit more from their courses especially in the work field compared to our students.

    Reference:
    Thang, S. M. & Wong, F. F. (2008). Developing Academic Competency for Studies in English: The Malaysian ESL Teachers' Perspectives. The ESP World Info Journal 4(20). Retrieved from http://www.esp-world.info/Articles_20/DOC/Academic_competency.pdf

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  9. There are many ESP courses offered at the present time. Take for example one of the generic courses in Unimas which is English for Professional Purposes (EPP) that I had undergo during my first year here. This course benefits me as I gain a lot of knowledge about the profession world however there still lack in it. That is regarding the course book that was provided for the students. The book consists of nearly the same materials in every semester. In my opinion, teaching and learning of ESP should be an ongoing process and should not follow only one course book. Ongoing materials should be used from semester to another and not using the same materials which are not up to date all over.
    Many ESP teachers have become slaves of the published textbooks available, unable to evaluate their suitability based on personal experience, and unwilling to do the necessary analysis of difficult specialist texts to verify their contents (Anthony, n.d.). I ought to agree with this statement because based on my experience taking EPP course, the instructor be likely depends solely on the textbook as the main source of teaching. In my opinion, instead of solely using the textbook, the instructor should provide extra materials from the internet or other sources that is authentic and up-to-date as the complement for the textbooks that were provided.

    Reference:
    Anthony, L. (n.d.). English for Specific Purposes: What does it mean? Why is it different?. Retrieved on January 14, 2009, from http://www.antlab.sci.waseda.ac.jp/abstracts/ESParticle.html

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  10. The ARW course i attented in UNIMAS was my first experience of the ESP kind. The specialty it offered was satisfactory and I could apply to my need at certain point.Perhaps the only weakness is the lack of depth in each of the genre the course introduces (perhaps due to time constraint).
    My opinion is that ESP is worth looking into in the Malaysian context. Generally we are learning English for a purpose; high in the rank is the job purpose. However, if it is to incorperate ESP into the public Edu system, we might face with a lot of issues such as exsperties in subject matter, designing, material dev, etc. Nonetheless,there are help out there if we were to seek; e.g I came across this article on developing a new ESP course from Russia which outline the framework.
    Article title: Developing an English for specific purposes course using the learner centred approach:A Russsian experience by Pavel V. Sysovey.

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  11. In my opinion, ESP courses have given a great impact in Malaysia with such courses being offered in many private (and local) universities. The downside of this matter is it creates a trend which makes learners to believe that they will be a competent speaker in their field after attending the course. Learners might pass the course but the concern is; do they able to accomplish the task given to them in real life?

    Therefore, what I see as lacking in our ESP courses might be the situation in which the lessons/tests take place does not reflect the real situation that the learners will encounter in their job.

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  12. the issue of ESP language testing by Dan Douglas (2000)reminded me of how i learned MUET when i was in form 6. i think MUET has specify all the skills (reading, speaking, writing, listening) that the students have to learn before they are able to sit for the exam. for me, the specification in learning the language enable the students to be focus on what they should learn. thus, i think ESP should be given the same opportunity to the learners as they are able to be specific on what they are supposed to learn so that they can use it in a real life especially in the near future as they are going out for work.

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  13. Well, in my opinion, ESP courses such as EPP in UNIMAS does play a role in preparing students for working world. It might not be clear enough to most of us but to me it does. It is true that ‘technical vocabulary’ is thrown to students for them to memorize but aren’t most of us learning that way. Memorize first, which is hard, but at the end of the day, it can be a common thing. To me, exposure is all-important although it does not mean I can instantly be expert in it. Sadly, in my environment it does not work that way. Students are expect to learn fast and required to get good results at the end of the day, which means I had no choice but to be expert within only few months (which I often not especially in mid-sem exam). That is why I agree with Ross, which said, “Obviously, there is syllabus to be finished in the short time and usually students’ performance in learning is measured in the exam”. I think most students face the same thing. They are running 100 miles to learn for short term not thinking of the future benefits, which is why we see people out there looking down and criticize undergraduate as not prepared for working world.
    Regarding Najah’s comment, it suddenly makes me think. Ya, it seems that UNIMAS generic courses have no specified field. EPP might cover but how about the other courses such as ESE? How far does it prepare students for professional world? Hmm…

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  14. From the article that ive read, most definitions of what ESP is based on three key areas: the nature of language to be taught and used, the learners, and the settings in which the other two would occur.These three aspects of ESP are related to each other, and can be combined to establish that ESP is the teaching of specific and unique English (specialized discourse)to adults' learners who will use it in a particular setting (court, finance offices, hospital, etc.) What ESP specialists do not seem to agree on is what type of language should be taught (what i mean is the jargon, register,etc.) and how to teach it(in context with content knowledge, communicatively, collaboratively, etc).

    Of course most of us said that the English courses offered in Unimas (like ESP, ERW, EPP) gives us benefits in terms of mastering the language (i shld say). Yes, the courses offered gain the students' interest in learning English and consequently acquiring new skills they could use in better jobs to improve the quality of their lives. However, what is lack in English courses offered here is the syllabus only covers the use of English correctly (grammar, writing, reading & speaking (as far as im concern))not only general English language needs should be looked into, but also specific English that is needed by the students/learners to be proficiently function in specific language situations. In addition, in an ESP syllabus/module, for example, there should be specific vocabulary or the pronunciation words to be used (in medical/engineering/economic, etc)for those who are undergone the courses.
    what say u? ;)

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  15. i took up EPP course as my generic course during my first yr hoping that i can learn something specific to certain fields in English.we learnt how to make telephone calls, intervirews,public speaking n so on with guidelines from the textbook. we also given practices by using all the phrases or sentences learnt. wat i gained from the course are i only remember a few phrases or sentences that could be used for certain purposes but do not explicitly engaged in real contexts. but we are trained to be a language teacher and yet we are not given opportunity to learn be communicative competence in our fields for eg, how to communicate with behavioral students or thier parents so that no offence since we have practices for telephone call, interviews,writing resume, etc in ESP courses offered.

    students lack the opprtunity to practice wat they learnt in real contexts or wat they learnt are jus from textbook which limited thier communicative skills eventhough what they said in real life might be suitable for that particular situations

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  16. Dan Douglas (2000) mentioned that in under some conditions, background knowledge plays some part in the language test performance. This brings me to 5 years ago where i had undergone MUET during my matriculation. As far as i concern, i don't think my lecturer in my matriculation ever teach us what should we do in MUET. i never knew what to expect in MUET and during the examination i depended solely to my background knowledge of the four skills. Therefore, for me using MUET results to measure the competency of one's ability in doing courses in the university is not a great idea.There are many factors that can influence the candidates during the MUET examination.I believe that if the band 3 students are taught the ESP courses than they also can perform as good as the band 4 and 5 students.Thus, the ESP courses are important to equip the students of the outside world eventhough they do not have a wider language knowledge.

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  17. My first thought or definition on ESP is a specific course to teach the students on how to use language appropriately based on different field, tenor and mode.

    When it comes to ESP, there is one question that came out from my mind which is related to the roles of the teacher. At first,i thought the role of teachers in ESP courses is just to teach according to the modules or course outlines that already prepared for them. After the first ESP class, i then realized that there is a need for teachers to develop or design their own ESP course based on their learners' needs, which can be done through needs assessment. However, do all ESL teachers have the adequate expertise or knowledge to design their own ESP courses?

    Correct me if i'm wrong, i think this is one of the major problems that happened among ESL teachers in our schools because there are lack of exposure, workshop or seminar that have been given to them on how they can design or develop their own ESP courses to improve their students' weaknesses in certain area such as grammar and so on. Most of the times teachers were only asked to attend courses or seminar on how they can ensure their students getting A in the subject matter taught. Fortunately, there are many websites or articles that intend to guide teachers on how they can design or develop their own ESP courses such as “Developing an English for Specific Purposes Course Using a Learner Centered Approach: A Russian Experience” by Pavel V. Sysoyev (2000) - which usually start by assessing the students’ needs and end up by evaluating the course. Evaluating the course is important stage because it serves to improve and promote the effectiveness of the course (Sysoyev, 2000)

    Reference:

    Sysoyev, P. V., (2000). Developing an English for Specific Purposes Course Using a Learner Centered Approach: A Russian Experience. The Internet Tesl Journal 4(3). Retrieved on January 15, 2009, from http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Sysoyev-ESP.html

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  18. Basically, the ESP courses that we have here in our country are focussing on the language, sentences and even grammar. At some point there are no certain divider to distinguish ESP and General English.

    What can I say is that, while some provide clear guidelines as to the ESP courses, some are not.As for UNIMAS, I can say we can see clearly that ESP is specifically design to target the needs of the students in acquiring the knowledge.

    Reference:http://www.antlab.sci.waseda.ac.jp/abstracts/ESParticle.html

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  19. Commenting about what is lacking in the ESP course, my answer is I'm not really sure about that, but what can I state here is that in Malaysia, we are more to the writing type of things. What I mean here is that we are more to exam=write, write=exam. I guess, that is my formula for that. And I would like to focus on the evaluation/ testing part of the course. Taking my experience and knowledge from the past semester in my training, I feel that the evaluation should be balanced-cover all the language skills-reading, writing, listening, speaking, eventhough certain field might require more of one of the skills. All the skills are important-we'll never know in our life when we become desperate of something, but it's good to have something in store. It is true that university life prepares us for the world out there,being direct-the occupational life. Therefore, communication skill is very important, and I guess that in Malaysia, especially in the ESP course, speaking should have more emphasis. Meaning to say, it’s not just pen and paper throughout the course, but speaking too. It seems that my comment/ opinion is a paradox, but I hope that we all can reflect on that.

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  20. Background knowledge does influence language tests performance. i remember that when i was in f6, my MUET teacher did not really teach us specificaly on each field or skill. but with the background knowledge on each skill, i manage to fulfil the requirement on each skill(listening, writing, reading and speaking) the ESP courses relate the background knowledge with language knowledge to make laerners be more competence in thier field besides being communicative competence in using english.

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  21. vocabulary is undoubtedly one of the main criteria that lies a different between ESP and general English. Lorenzo Fiorito (2005) in his article Teaching English for Specific Purposes (ESP) states that "ESP concentrates more on language in context than on teaching grammar and language structures". although vocabulary is a part of grammar and the focal point in ESP is not grammar, but, the context of the language use determines the grammar or vocabulary to be used within the particular context. Thus, it makes ESP a course where technical vocabulary thrown in.ESP should not be seen as that since there are some absolute and variable characteristics of ESP have been listed out to define what ESP really is. In Malaysia context, the development of ESP has been increased especially in tertiary level in line with higher demand in some profession nowadays. Lots of profession now require their employees to have appropriate communicative competence in their professional context. Yet, what lacking in ESP courses offered our uni is the course is not specific enough and do not really prepare students for professional or occupation field. ESP course should centered on specific field (accounting, business management, economics, computer science or tourism) as stated in one of the variable characteristics by Dudley-Evans which is "ESP is likely to be designed for adult learners, either at a tertiary level institution or in profesional work situation". ESP courses that specify into certain field will be helpfull for students when they leave uni and get into profesional world.

    References:

    Fiorito, L. (2005). Teaching English for Specific Purposes (ESP). Retrieved from http://www.usingenglish.com/teachers/articles/teaching-english-for-specific-purposes-esp.html

    Gatehouse, K. (2001). Key Issues in English for Specific Purposes (ESP) Curriculum Development. Retrieved from http://iteslj.org/Articles/Gatehouse-ESP.html

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  22. I take one of the ESP courses offered in unimas. From the course I learn the appropriate way of answering telephone calls, writing letters for a particular situation and so forth. Therefore, personally I think the course is more to language learning rather than focusing on the field that the learners undergone with. the course did have the role-play assessment which I think is good for the student to test their ability in the specific situation but it is much more meaningful and challenging if the role-play session could be carried out in the real situations with the other person who works in the related field.

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  23. Laimutė Kitkauskienė (2006) on his study stated that there is a link between general and specific English as one must be able to understand the general English to make language a professionally oriented subject. What distinguish between these two types of English is specific English integrates the development of linguistic skills together with the acquisition of specific information (Laimutė Kitkauskienė, 2006).
    ESP helps in increasing specialization in language learning for communication in particular field. As for students, ESP aids in developing and preparing students for work in fields such as law, medicine, engineering etc.
    ESP works effectively when the students are provided with authentic context which helps as a stimulus to prepare them for the real world. I think that what ESP in Malaysia I lacking of is the context which might then hinder the effectiveness of the ESP course itself.
    Based on my experience taking law as one of the course for my diploma, it was very difficult for me to memorize and understand all the law terms when I am not used to it. The lecturer merely bombarded us with the terms and provided explanation on what the terms mean. For the first few months, my classmates and I were struggling to memorize and understand the terms. However, the lecturer then provides us with meaningful context; such as organized a mock trial in a court as well as watch how the trial takes place.
    I believe that such stimulus widens the insights of the students on how the language is use in particular field hence involve students in meaningful learning. I think that is how ESP should be.
    Laimutė Kitkauskienė (2006). General English and English for Specific Purposes (ESP). Retrieved on January 8, 2009. From http://www.coactivity.vgtu.lt/upload/filosof_zurn/l_kitkauskiene_filologija_nr2.pdf.

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  24. I believe we lack the specific content of background knowledge in our ESP courses. As proposed by Douglas (2000), background knowledge is an essential, fundamental part of the idea of specific purpose language ability. The reason for this deficiency in our ESP courses is that, the course designer lack on background knowledge on the field since normally the course designer is a language specialist. Thus, Rea Dickins (as cited in Douglas, 2000) believes that there is a need to collaborate with practitioners in the specialist area in order to develop a specific purpose test.

    Douglas, D. (2000). Assessing languages for Specific Purposes. Eds. Alderson J. C. & Bachman, L. F. Cambridge : CUP.ISBN-0-58543-0

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  25. Great comments. Now this is what I have in mind. Tertiary education involves your ability to synthesize from your various readings and being able to generate your own ideas. That is the real meaning of education. The ability to learn and tell the rest of the world what you know in that area. Lets reach out to everyone who matters.

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  26. Kimberley Lau said...
    Douglas (2000) defined specific purpose language ability in LSP testing as follows:
    Specific purpose language ability results from the interaction between specific purpose background knowledge and language ability, by means of strategic competence engaged by specific purpose input in the form of test method characteristics. (pg 40)

    I really appreciate the effort of CLS to offer preparatory courses for students who got below Band 3 in their MUET before they are qualified to take up other generic courses offered in the centre. This is because students need to have the general language ability to enable them to take up other generic courses, especially the ESP courses. Only after they are equipped with the general language ability, they can use it to interact with their background knowledge.
    I witnessed the importance of general language ability during my teaching practice. I find it relative difficult to teach some of the students especially those from the weaker class due to their limited understanding of English language. This is really difficult when I have to explain some of the difficult vocabulary to them. I try to explain the words to them in English but they seem do not understand me or just do not want to understand me. Instead, they asked me to explain to them in Mandarin as their teachers always do that. Therefore, even though very basic and simple English are used with them, they still tell me that they do not understand me. So, sometimes, I find myself explaining the term to them by either using pictures or mandarin and they understand me.
    From that I found out that if students do not have the general mastery of English language, how are we going to teach them the specific language ability? I think that is why some students face problems in EST as they find it really difficult to understand the language and terms in the subject due to their poor mastery of English.
    Back to the topic about the generic courses offered in CLS, in my opinion, students are able to benefit from them, regardless of their level as the weak students have polish up their skills in the preparatory classes. Therefore, they should be able to understand the language used and find no difficulties in understanding the course. For example, the Academic Reading and Writing and EPP courses enable students to benefit from it, either for now or in the future. Take the EPP course as an example, students are required to write cover letter, resume, learn effective presentation skills and how to respond in interviews. These skills prepare them in their future undertakings especially the working world so that they will know what and how to do when they are applying for a job. At least, they will know how to express themselves by writing a resume and cover letter to the company that they want to apply. The simulated interview test that they had will prepare them to for their future interview.

    Reference:
    Douglas, D. (2000). Specific Purpose language ability.

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  27. “ESP students … are learning the language in order to communicate a set of professional skills and to perform particular job-related functions” (Fiorito, 2005). I had attended the grammar course in my second semester in UNIMAS. I hoped that after I attended this course I will able to perform excellent in grammar either in spoken or in written language. However, the course did not work for me. It seemed that the course only taught what I knew already. So, I suggest before entering the grammar course(no more offered), the test should be given to the students to determine students’ proficiency level and the same proficiency level of students should be put together and work from there. I think that is what ESP courses should be.

    Fiorito, L (2005). How is English for Specific Purposes (ESP) different from English as a Second Language (ESL), also known as general English?

    Chieng Yen Yong 13871

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  28. I agree with Dan Douglas(2000). CLS has done a good effort in providing prep and generic courses for us. However, I felt that the courses provided was cater to the needs of the students generally. I think we also need ESP courses that cater to more specific disciplines for example, AW for Engineering students, AW for medical students, English for Business Communication for business students & etc. We need to find out what are the expectation and demands of the employers so that we can match the needs of the students and employers in specific fields to cater to the demand of the job market too.

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  29. I do agree with Kimberly.In my opinion, when we learn General English (GE), we are hope to master the R, W, L, S skills and others knowledge regard English that is necessary to be used in our daily life. However, when we enter to ESP, it seems that we still apply the basic skills we learn through G.E, but with addition of specified vocabulary and purposed related with academic and occupation as mentioned by Dan Dauglas (2000). Thus, proficiency in the language is the most important thing to be considered before we can focuses on the ESP. Clapham (1996) in her study mentioned that the test takers’ performance was influenced by their language ability rather than their background knowledge. Therefore, no matter how good an ESP courses is designed, there are still a problem when their learners are poor at their English. It seems to me that the successfulness of ESP depends on the learners’ language abilities. Hutchinson et al. (1987:19) stated ESP is an approach to language teaching in which all decisions as to content and method are based on the learner's reason for learning. When I enrolled myself in EPP course, I realized that the course really prepared me for the future job. We are thought to write resume, interview and etcetera. However, i feel like they miss something important, which is their learners’ ability in English. The learners might have enrolled the preparatory courses before entering the EPP, but it doesn’t mean that the students will be able to be proficient in all the G.E important’ skills (R, W, L, S). So, ESP seems to be held for those who need to learn English with certain purpose and focusing with learners needs with the perception that all of them are well in English. The question is, do we have to integrate G.E lesson in ESP?

    p/s: please correct me if I wrong or out of topic. Really appreciate for comments. At least can help me to understand ESP more.

    Reference: Hutchinson, Tom & Waters, Alan (1987). English for Specific Purposes: A learner-centered approach. Cambridge University Press.

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  30. b) ESP has been critisized as a 'mere teaching methods with some specifics added' is justifiable as there is a lot of confusion on what it really is. But, based on Evans description on the matter (Taken from Anthony 2009),ESP can be in a form, different from the methodology of General English. Meaning that the specific needs of the students shape the learning cocurriculum and not the other way around. Even in Malaysia, lets take for example, A University in Sarawak, they develop their genric English programs to meet the needs of the students. Knowing that the students would face a few years of working with academic paper, they provide a course in that specific area. Thus enabling two things, first, obviously, it help the students in their academic writing and secondly, for second or foreign language learners, it enforces their learning of the English language. Not a bad trade, if you ask me. So, I think the ESp program being taught in the undergraduate scene is improving in a good and positive pace. (Mohd Azril Bin Adnan, 14534)

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  31. I do agree with Soong’s comment. Nowadays, it is undeniable that a number of ESP courses have been offered overtime in Malaysia. Nevertheless, the courses offered were specifically designed for students in a particular domain. For example, it is quite common to see English for business / marketing students, English for engineering students, English for secretaries, English for hospitality industry to be advertised in the newspapers. On the contrary, English for other professions such as English for road sweepers, English for taxi drivers and English for store owners are ignored completely. This gives us the idea that the courses provided are developed just for the sake of fulfilling the needs of a particular group of profession (sounds like there’s a matter of stereotyping! Wahahaha!!). But why is it so?
    Besides, the generic courses offered in UNIMAS do not play a substantial role in preparing students for their future workplace needs respectively. For instance, one of the generic courses (EPP course) is more concerned with getting students on how to answer calls, preparing letters, reports, memos and so on. To me, this course is implemented to provide training for those who wish to become a secretary! (this is just my point of view, hehe…) Apart from that, there is also no restriction for anybody to enter the EPP course until the quota is reached. A question to ponder, can students transfer what they have learned in their workplace properly? Furthermore, there are also a limited number of up-to-date and appropriate specific textbooks that closely relate to the specified needs of the students. Therefore, it is the time for us to design our own specific curriculum so as to satisfy the specific needs of students who specializing in a specific field.

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  32. There appears to be a biasness towards general English in this class. While I understand that most of you plan to retire as teachers, please realize that ESP emerged out of the concern that there is more to language learning than TENOR (Teaching English for No Obvious Reason). So, ESP classes should not be treated as GE classes.
    Well, ESP does have a legitimate place in academic institutions. However, I am not sure about the commercialisation aspect because when money and short term gains become the major concerns, good teaching practices sometimes take a back seat. So,this is where ESP courses play the role of the Devil's advocate. You need it but who is teaching it and is it any better than what you have been learning in GE classes?

    So, at one instance ESP courses aim to get students over a particular threshold to reach greater heights. On the other hand, when language teaching comes in pre packaged course modules with a three month shelf life, students get short changed. Some institutions are not able to handle large groups of students because not all their instructors have the necessary knowledge. Others are too comfortable with their previous teaching styles and do not want to change. So, it is difficult to say whether it works until you initiate the difference yourself. Then you will realize its merits. So,to make a long story short, it is all in your hands as future teachers or English. So, that probably will be the direction of our next class discussion.

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  33. For me there are no real ESP courses out there apart from university are offered. To get into this ESP is not just on throwing technical terms in an English class but also to understand about what you are going to throw. It is easy to say but can it really can be make. in approching ESP in the classroom or to set up that courses the deveoper should know the area first and make sure the teachers understand and convey the message to the learners. that is what i think. the collaboration must be there so ESP will not be looked just as anther course that i must learnt in order to be excell. ESP can be a weapon for the learners to be excell in their field as Bosher and Smalkoski in helping the nurses in improving the speaking and understanding of the English Language.
    17627

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  34. EPP course which is offreD by CLS is one of the example of ESP. so far the course had teach me how to write a proper letter for a company, resume, answering phone calls etc. i think that kind of course is leading to a language learning rather than teach the students to be who they are in their discipline. other thing that lacking for EPP is the textbook. the textbook remain the same every semester, which make the teacher depend on it very much.other materials should be used in the class.

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  35. Based on the article that i read which is ESP Course Design in East Asia by Andrew G P Nowlan, there are several factors that influenced the lacking of the ESP courses.the factors are, the qualification of the instructor, learners' need analysis, and the goal for taking that course. Based on the article,the writer did mentioned that to ensure the successful of ESP courses,the instructor should have some qualification and ability not only in language but also in the subject-matter.besides, it is extremely important to recognize the common needs of a class and teach a curriculum that will benefit students in the future.furthermore, the ESP course should has a clear goal that it want the students or learners to achieve at the end of the course.in my opinion,clear stated goal will make students know on their path in learning such courses that designed. this situation also can promoted students' motivation to learn better in order to achieve that goal.

    suzanni 15275

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  36. Well analyzed. Yes, the teacher needs both language knowedge and some level of subject matter knowledge in order to remain relevant in the ESP classroom. We will talk about carrier content in one of the class.

    Nevertheless, good job class and I hope to hear from more of you.

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  37. What lack in the ESP course(S)?
    as repeated for many times, ESP courses should be based on the three absolute characteristics as mentioned by Dudley Evans, Tony and Maggie St John (1998). The focused are given too much onto three elements, yet, sometimes, the instructors forget to create the environment for learning English which is going to be used in a specific setting.

    Example:
    After all the consideration are made by the instructor or the course designer, they stepped in the class and begin the syllabus. Do they consider the environment of the real setting where the language is used. For the example, when the course purposely designed to meet the tourist guide in explaining interesting places to the visitors? Some of the instructors just take the materials given and teach to the students without know what should be specified.
    What happen to the lesson then..
    honestly, a "bookish ESP class".

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  38. The Esp courses that offered mostly focusing merely more about the language itself but not specifically serve the need of the students.I found out the content of Esp courses offered is not much different with the general englsih.In my opinion, the esp course training should be someone who is expert in a particular field and have good command in english and not the language teacher.

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  39. What do you see as lacking in our ESP courses?
    a) Instructor - Basically, ESP course place a great demand on the instructor role since this is the person who has to deal with the processes from the beginning to the end; eg. design the syllabus to evalution stage. Thus, s/he must be experienced, has appropriate lvl of academic in teaching, and generally knows the learners' subject matter.
    b) Learners - 'What do they expect & want from the course', hence, instructors must clearly identify Lr language needs appropriate to their discipline (can be done through discussion or interview between instructors & Lrs).
    c) English language learning info - instructor need to know the Lrs' Eng lg lvl that could assist instructor in preparing the teaching materials and so forth.
    d) Goal - set an achievable goal for Lrs' learning.
    e) Evaluation - Commonly the evaluation prepared is Lrs to measure their performance. Course evaluation is another matter that should be considered; in order to find out the effectiveness of the course. This will help them to improve, change or develop any necessarily to come out with better course in the future.

    References
    Sarjit Kaur. ESP Course Design: Matching Learner Needs to Aims, USM
    Gao Jiajing, (2007). Designing an ESP course for Chinese University Students of Business.

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