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January 22, 2007

Teacher Development- ESP

Hello Readers,

When you hear the acronym ESP, you might think of telepathy, clairvoyance, or precognition. However, in the ESL world, ESP does not refer to extra-sensory perception, but to English for Specific Purposes. ESP is often divided into two categories: EAP (English for Academic Purposes) and...

... EOP (English for Occupational Purposes). EOP includes English for Business Purposes, English for Medical Purposes, etc.

Characteristics of ESP include:

* designed to meet specific needs of the learner
* makes use of the underlying methodology and activities of the disciplines it serves
* centered on the language (grammar, lexis, register), skills, discourse and genres appropriate to these activities

As ESP courses are designed for specific groups of students with specific needs, even well-written textbooks are often not enough. In most ESP courses, teachers will need to find supplementary material for their students based on collaborating with the students to find out what they would like/need to learn, research on what works, and evaluations on what has worked in the past with other students. As a teacher of ESP, you might then have to fulfill a variety of different roles:

* teacher
* course designer
* collaborator
* researcher
* evaluator

Many private English schools offer individual classes for students who have specific needs. If you find yourself in a situation like this, I recommend consulting the following two sources to find out more about ESP:

"Developments in English for Specific Purposes" by Tony Dudley-Evans and Maggie Jo St John (1998).
English for Specific Purposes Journal, edited by D. Belcher and B. Paltridge (for information about the journal, go here: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/682/description#description)

If you have experience teaching ESP, feel free to share your stories here.

Good luck!

Carol Rueckert
Writer, ESL Lesson Plan
E-mail: crueckert@eslemployment.com
Blog: www.esl-lesson-plan.com

"I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand." - Chinese Proverb

*Looking for more articles that spotlight Teacher Development in the ESL industry? Click HERE!

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About the author of this entry:
Carol, a native English-speaker who hails from the small town of St. Joseph in Minnesota, USA, and lived and worked in China for more than 7 years. During that time, she worked with students that range in age from three to more than sixty years old. She worked in universities, private language schools, grade schools, international schools, as well as private tutoring. Besides teaching, she also worked as a head teacher, an education manager, and a material development manager. In addition to working on this newsletter, she currently writes a monthly column for Time Out Beijing. Carol is also currently working on her MA in TESOL at the Oxford Brookes University in England. Look for her posts on the ESL-Jobs-Forum discussion boards!

Posted by crueckert at January 22, 2007 04:30 AM

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