What is ESP?
• ESP in brief is the use of a particular variety of English in
a specific context of use and justified by learners’ needs.
• English for specific purposes (ESP) 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.
What is ESP?
• What distinguishes ESP is learners’ needs.
• ESP requires analysing language that is required in the
• conducting students’ needs analysis
• conducting interviews with subject matter specialists
in the area
• ‘ESP courses are those where the syllabus and materials
are determined in all essentials by the prior analysis of the
communication needs of the learner’
(p.2) Munby. (1978)
• Robinson (1980) has defined it as the teaching of English
to the learners who have specific goals and purposes.
According to him, these goals might be professional,
academic, scientific etc.
• Mackay and Mountford (1978, p. 2) have referred to it as
the teaching of English for “clearly utilitarian purposes”.
These specific purposes are academic, professional or
scientific ones that clearly depend on the learners’ needs.
• ESP is an approach to language teaching in which all
decisions as to content and method are based on the
learners’ reasons for learning.
(Tom Hutchinson and Alan Walters, 1990 - CUP)
• Dudley-Evans, T. & St. John, M.J. (cf. 1998) offer a
modified definition and express their revised view on the
essence of ESP from two perspectives: absolute
characteristics and variable characteristics.
Absolute and Variable Characteristics of
• Absolute Characteristics
• ESP is defined to meet specific needs of the learners
• ESP makes use of underlying methodology and
activities of the discipline it serves
• ESP is centered on the language appropriate to these
activities in terms of grammar, lexis, register, study skills,
• May be related to or designed for specific disciplines
• May use, in specific teaching situations, a different
methodology from that of General English
• Likely to be assigned for adult learners
• Generally designed for intermediate or advanced
ESP vs. EGP
ESP – working adults
EGP – high school students
ESP – to meet the needs of particular
EGP – to improve overall English
competence involving a range of skills
(reading, writing, speaking, listening,
vocab, grammar, pronunciation etc)
Comparison of EGP and ESP
• 1. the focus is often on
• 2. As the learners’ future
needs are impossible to
predict, the course content is
more difficult to select;
• 3. Due to the above point it is
important for the content in the
syllabus to have a high
• 1. the focus is on training;
• 2. As English is intended to be
used in specific vocational
contexts, the selection of the
appropriate content is easier;
• 3. It is important for the
content in the syllabus to have
a high surrender value, most
relevant to the vocational
• 4. The aim may be to create a
restricted English competence.
•EBP English for Business Purposes
•EMP English for Medical Purposes
•ERP English for Recreational
•EEP English for Educational Purposes
•EAP English for Business Purposes
Within ESP, Most courses begin with the
• English for Electronic Engineering
• English for Secretaries
• English for Waiters
• English for Computing scientist
• English for Hotel Staff
• English for Diplomats
• English for Nurses
• English for Airline pilots
• English for Air Hostesses
• English for Technicians
• English for Managers
3 main reasons to the emergence of ESP
1. Demands of the world after WW2
expansion in science and technology
English became the language of tech. and
commerce, and research
This created a demand for a generation of
learners who needed the language for the
specific purposes of tech and commerce
The constraints of time and money created a
need for cost-effective courses
2. A revolution in linguistics
- Shifted of focus from grammar to communication.
- Realization of language variation from context to context: hence,
differences in English for commerce and English for engineering.
- As language varies from situation to situation, it should be
possible to determine the features of specific situations, making
them the basis of the learners’ courses.
- A rise in the expansion of research in English for Science and
Tech and English for Business.
3. Developments in educational psychology
Focus on student-centred learning.
Learners are seen to have different needs and interests, which have
an influence on their motivation to learn and therefore on the
effectiveness of their learning.
The standard way of achieving this was to take texts from the
learners’ specific area of study/work.
The assumption is that the relevance of the English course to their
needs would improve the learners’ motivation and make learning
better and faster.
• The growth of ESP was due to:
• The expansion of demand for English to suit particular
• Developments in the field of linguistics
• Developments in the field educational psychology.
• All three factors pointed to the need for specialization in
• Variables which are community-controlled
• Variables which are teacher-controlled
• Variables which are learner-controlled
Community controlled variables
• Cultural restriction
• Organizational and physical limits and possibilities
• Teaching training standards
• Sociolinguistic attitude and expectations
• Educational framework of TEFL
Teacher controlled variables
• Syllabus design
• Material evaluation and production
• Reason for learning
• Educational level
• A family of procedures for gathering information about
learners and about communication tasks
Profile of Communication Needs:
1.personal: who the employees are, their ages , education; background
2.purpose: the types of communicative skills the clients need to develop
4.Interactional variables: waiter/waitress to customer
5. Medium, mode and channel: whether spoken or written; face to face
6.dialects:formal or casual styles
7.Target level: basic, intermediate.
8.Anticpated communicated events: greeting, taking picture
9.key: politely, quietly
• The concept of needs in ESP can be understood in
a. goal-oriented needs (target needs)
b. process oriented needs (learning
• Target needs are “what the learner needs to do in the
target situation”. What the learner has to know in order to
function effectively in the target situation.
Eg: A businessman will need to understand business
letters, communicate at sales conferences, get necessary
info from sales catalogues and so on.
He will presumably need to know linguistic features –
lexical, structural, functional, discoursal – which are
commonly used in the situations identified.
• Learning needs are “what the learner needs to do in order
to learn” and includes affective and cognitive factors.
Approaches to Needs Analysis
• Target Situation Analysis (TSA) seeks to establish what
learners need to know in order to function effectively in
the target situation.
• Learning Situation Analysis (LSA) seeks to establish the
pedagogical and methodological factors which affect
decisions about the language learning course.
• Present Situation Analysis (PSA) seeks to establish what
the students are like at the beginning of their language
course, investigating strengths and weaknesses.
Methods of needs analysis
• Case studies
Theoretical views about the nature of language
1. The structural view (Grammatical)
2. The functional view (semantic)
3. The interactional view (interpersonal, social)
Theoretical views about language learning
• Language structure
1. Ancient Rope-Making(compound noun, passive voice
2. Expansion of Liquids and Gases(on/after….ing; was
seen& infinitive, passive with and without agent)
3. Sources of Energy(which & passive & ’to be’& past
(From beginning scientific English, Royads-Irmark,
• Language function and discourse analysis
1. Properties and shapes
5. Impersonal scientific statements
(From Nucleus: General science, Bates and Dudley
• Language skill
1. Organizing your studies
2. Improving your reading efficiency
3. Taking notes
4. Writing an essay
(From study skills in English, Wallace, 1980)
• Refers to the process of interpreting information about learners
needs for the purpose of producing teaching-learning
experiences such as course objectives, timetabling, materials
and so on.
• Issues in course design
a) How specific should ESP courses be?
b) Should the four skills always be integrated?
c) Are there special methodologies for ESP courses?
• Learning Overall
• Skill covered
• Text choices
• Topic area
• Grading and
Curriculum approach in language teaching
The Focuses on the Curriculum Development:
1. Needs Analysis
2. Situational Analysis
3. Learning Outcome
4. Course Organization
5. Selecting Teaching Material
6. Preparing Teaching Material
7. Providing for Effective Teaching
Techniques and Activities in ESP class
• Simulation: Simulation is the imitation of the operation of
a real-world process or system over time.
• Pairs and small groups
• Requesting assistance from supervisor
• One to one teaching
• Team teaching
ESP practitioner combines with subject specialist
Testing in ESP
• Need for testing in ESP
• To decide for an appropriate grouping at the beginning
• To diagnose learners’ specific linguistic problems
• To evaluate how much has been learnt during an English
• To survey in general terms the language level of a large
group of professionals or academics
• To decide whether a particular individual has sufficient
language for a job, post or study place
Need for testing in ESP
• To measure linguistic proficiency in relation to demand of
the a particular target situation
• To fulfill an institution’s or a company’ examination
requirements and expectations
• To fulfill learners’ expectation
Types of testing
• Direct testing:
• It would be able to assess whether a person has sufficient
English to carry out a job or follow a course of specialist
Types of testing
• Indirect testing
• It would assess the details of performance on an English
language course and achievement of the learner.
The ESP practitioner
• Dudley Evans describes the true ESP teacher or ESP
Practitioner (Swales, 1988) as needing to perform five
different roles. These are:
• Course designer and materials provider,
As a teacher
• The first role as 'teacher' is synonymous with that of the
General English' teacher.
As a collaborator
• In order to meet the specific needs of the learners and
adopt the methodology and activities of the target
discipline, the ESP Practitioner must first work closely with
AS Course designer and materials
• The teacher`s role in planning the course and providing
materials for it.
• Provision of materials does not only mean choosing
materials and making a suitable number of copies for the
• the teacher `s task also includes adapting material when
published materials are unsuitable or writing hisher own
• Non availability of the ready-made material
• It is here that the ESP practitioner's role as 'researcher' is
especially important, with results leading directly to
appropriate materials for the classroom.
• All teachers should be involved in various types of
evaluation and the most popular one is testing students.
• Tests are conducted to evaluate the students 'progress
and teaching effectiveness.
• However, in ESP classes an additional kind of testing
should take place, which is the evaluation of course and
Training of ESP teacher
• Training of the teachers is very important for ESP courses
• they should be trained and well specialized so that they
can meet students` needs.
• Continuing personal education
• General professional training as an educator and teacher
• Special training as a teacher of a foreign or second