Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 3


There are two important practical ways in which the work of the General English
teacher and the ESP teacher differ. First way is The ESP teacher more like 'ESP practitioner'
rather than 'ESP teacher' in order to reflect this scope. It is likely that in addition to the normal
functions of a classroom teacher, the ESP teacher will have to deal with need analysis, syllabus
design, materials writing or adaption and evaluation. The second way is ESP teaching differ
from General English is that the great majority of ESP teachers have not been trained as such.
They need therefore, to orientate themselves to a new environment for which they have
generally been ill-prepared.
On the orientation ESP teachers are all too reluctant dwellers in a strange ad uncharted land. It
cause the situation in greater detail, focusing on three problems on the following explanation:
1. The lack of the orthodoxy
ESP teachers has undergone a number of major shifts in orientation. One of it was the
use of the authentic text, in the early stages of ESP there was no question of using authentic
texts. However, it is necessary to be clear what the term 'authentic' really means. There is,
therefore, no intrinsic merit in an' authentic' text. What we have to do is once more to see
the text as part of the teaching/learning process. The question should be: 'What role do I
want the text to play in the learning process?' We should be looking the practical concept
of' fimess to the learning purpose'. In this sense, it can easily be seen that different types
of text will be required at different stages of a course, depending on what we want the text
for, for example:
a) To realise how much information can get from a text by the application of certain
b) To generate the best activity.
c) To illustrate a particular sentence pattern or discourse pattern.
d) To illustrate the importance of layout as a clue to reading comprehension.
e) To increase your learners' motivation by emphasising the real world application of the
The importance of a text is not intrinsic to the text, but derives from the role the text
has to play in the teaching/learning process.
2. The new realms of knowledge
ESP teachers may also have to struggle to master language and subject matter beyond
the bounds of their previous experience. Teachers who have been trained for General
English teaching or for the teaching of Literature may suddenly find themselves having to
teach with texts whose content they know little or nothing about. This problem is best
illustrated in the question of specialist knowledge and language. Put briefly, does the ESP
teacher need to understand the subject matter of ESP materials? If we are going to be able
to come up with a reasonable answer. We need to ask ourselves three questions:
a) Does the content of ESP materials need to be highly specialised?
The materials must take proper account of the knowledge and competence of the
teacher and negotiate a workable relationship. The starting point for such negotiation
is the teacher's current state of knowledge. If teachers are unable to operate highly
specialised texts effectively they should not be used. The teachers' competence is an
essential ingredient in the teaching-learning process and must, therefore, be able to
influence such matters as the choice of texts.
b) Why do so many ESP teachers find it difficult to comprehend ESP subjectmatter?
This problem arises from four causes:
1) There is a tradition in education of separating language in the Humanities and
the Sciences
2) Many ESP teachers are reluctant settlers in the new territory that they have to
obliged and they does not engender a great desire to learn about the new area.
3) The ESP revolution it must be admitted that little effort has been made to retrain
teachers or to at least allay their fears.
4) The general attitude in ESP seems to be to expect teachers to
c) What kind of knowledge is required ofthe ESP teacher?
ESP teachers do not need to learn specialist subject knowledge. They require three
things only: (1) a positive attitude towards the ESP content; (2) a knowledge of the
fundamental principles of the subject area; (3) an awareness of how much they
probably already know. In other words, the ESP teacher should not become a teacher
of the subject matter, but rather an interested student of the subject matter.
3. Change in the status of English teaching
To illustrate the dimension that results from the change in the status of English when
we move from the General English to the ESP situation. In some situations ESP teachers
enjoy high status. But, whatever the effect on the teachers' status, the result of a move to
ESP is always to make the ESP teacher more accountable to others. As a result, in addition
to the roles that we have already outlined- materials writer, syllabus designer, analyst etc.-
the ESP practitioner frequently has to be a negotiator, too.
ESP teachers might, for example, find themselves having to work in dosecooperation
with sponsors or subject specialists who are responsible for the learners' work or study
experience outside the ESP classroom. In terms of language content, there is little reason
why having subjecr-specific ESP materials. For example, biology text should be more
useful to a Biologist than, say, a Physics texr. There is no grammatical strucrure, function
or discourse strucrure that can be identified specifically with Biology or any parricular
subject. There are only two ways in which the subject has any kind of influence on the
language content;
a) Vocabulary. We can distinguish four types of vocabulary; (1) structural: e.g. are,
this, only, however; (2) general: e.g. table, run, dog, road, weather, cause; (3) sub
technical; e.g. engine, spring, valve, acid, budget; (4) technical; auricle,
schistosome, fissure, elecrrophoresis
b) Certain subject areas show a higher proportion of particular grammatical or
structural forms.
The reasons for having a subject-specific approach rest almost entirely on two affective
factors generated by the learners themselves: (a) Face validiry. Subject-specific materials
look relevant. (b) Familiariry. If learners have got used to working with a particular kind
of text in the ESP classroom they will be less apprehensive about tackling it in the target
situation. These factors should not be discounted. They are very important to the learners.
But, Having analysed the reason why learners often demand subject-specific texts, we can
try to work out a strategy for dealing with the problem.
a) The first step is to try and establish groupings along broad subject lines.
b) Avoid highly specific materials and try to give everyone's specialism some chance.
c) Look for topics which give access to a number of different specialist areas.
d) Make learners aware of the lack of specificity of their needs.
e) If people are having fun, they are far less likely to complain.