What is English for Specific Purposes?
English for Specific Purposes (ESP) is more than simply teaching a subject in English to students whose L1 is not English. ESP includes teaching the cultural aspects of that course and how those aspects affect the language and how it is used. There are an infinite number of areas that are under the umbrella of ESP. One could teach English for Business Purposes, English for Medical Pruposes, English for Academic Purposes, English for Tourism/Hospitality Purposes to name a few. Anything you could possibly teach could be considered for an ESP class.
My introduction to ESP came as a Business English teacher. My background includes a BBA in Marketing and Management, working for Toyota Motor Manufacturing and a Honda dealership as well as interning in the international department of Long John Silvers Seafood Restaurants. I tried to teach my students about business but I ended up spending so much time on the vocabulary that I ended up scaling back my original course goals to the point that they were unrecognizable.
ESP requires that a synergy exists between the teaching of English and the new material. In addition, Western rules of etiquette must be factor into the curiculum. Teaching a hospitality student why to ask "Would you like..?" instead of "Do you want..?" is critical. Teaching a business students proper and improper ways to shake hands also might be included in an English for Business Purposes course.
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