English for Specific Purposes
English for Specific (or Special) Purposes (ESP) refers to courses aimed at learners with specific needs regarding the use of language and often, but not always, in specific settings.
Beyond the special interest areas of English language teaching, such as Business, Legal, Medical or Scientific Englishes, etc., many of which have, over time, developed into their own acronyms and abbreviations, ESP refers more to the tailor-made course designed for a student or group of students, usually adults, and often applied to a specific short-term project or goal.
ESP therefore relies heavily, possibly more so than other courses, on the needs analysis to ensure that relevant language and communicative skills are adequately addressed, as ESP students are learning the language in order to communicate in very specific job-related situations.
Methodology-wise, ESP courses will probably also be more eclectic than standard courses and will apply a variety of different methodologies, and teachers will often adapt supplementary material as the course progresses while following the original core design.
ESP courses also tend to be more intensive as they often have a fixed goal and/or deadline.
While some of the functions, such as negotiating, and notions, such as marketing, included in an ESP course will necessarily coincide in content with other courses, the ESP course will probably go more deeply into these aspects as students are likely to be profesionals in their respective fields. Depending on the requirements of the course, use of role plays and simulations will probably also be to a higher level of exigence in terms of both accuracy and fluency.
ESP courses can include the following:
- English for meetings
- English for giving presentations
- English for negotiating
- English for crisis management
- English for translators
- English for web design
- English for ornithologists
- English for Airport Ground Staff