Published: 23rd June 2021
Using language smartly: Learning English for Specific Purposes could help you go a long way
Here’s an exploration of how English for Specific Purposes (ESP) offers customised learning for eager students who are in the pursuit of higher education or are working professionals
Since the dawn of time, humans have moved in one direction to achieve their goals and desires with the help of science and technology. And the same technology has opened up unprecedented opportunities across various disciplines all over the world. This prevalence of technology has enabled people to move out of their cities and countries in order to grab new employment prospects. Such development of cross-border employment widens the scope of English for Specific Purposes (ESP) and its uses.
With reference to this, let’s understand ESP in a wider context. ESP refers to the teaching and learning of English to develop communicative competence. It deals with a specific discipline such as English for business, nurses, hotel staff, tourism employees, technicians, managers or field workers and so on. Indeed, it is an approach rather than a product that is absolutely purpose-oriented and based on the needs of the learners.
Now here, a question might arise in your mind: What is the necessity of ESP? Well, despite different interests and motivation levels, it allows learners to accelerate in their respective careers to satisfy their professional demands. Additionally, it intends to serve a completely utilitarian approach where people can communicate nationally or internationally in this commerce-driven world.
In the last two decades, the field of ESP has boomed massively due to a number of reasons like teaching methods, strategies and skills that are specifically designed keeping in mind the interest of learners and their desired workplace. Apart from this, there is no single specific method to achieve the target as it depends on the attitude, aptitude and self-autonomy to make a difference in respective lives.
Dr Swayam Prabha Satpathy and Isha Sharma | (Pic: SOA)
As a matter of fact, ESP does not concentrate on teaching and mugging up grammar rules like traditional teaching. However, it combines the subject matter with English Language teaching, where the learners can understand and comprehend their respective subject matter through a communicative and flexible environment. Perhaps, one may be confused that ESP is completely different from general English. In ESP, the central focus lies on lexis, discourse, genre and communicative competence. It puts more emphasis on training aspects and aims to develop restricted English proficiency whereas general English courses are taught in school or colleges as a part of education.
The importance of English usage in day-to-day professional life is indispensable. Thus, ESP has also changed the role of English educators, practitioners and educational authorities. In fact, a number of countries have encouraged learning or teaching ESP to achieve desired goals. Referring to this demand, an ESP educator is expected to perform innovatively by adopting numerous techniques and methods to encourage learners to get a hold of the language. Furthermore, an ESP educator needs to lend their shoulders to take multidimensional responsibilities to fulfill the long-term goals of the learners in a specific amount of time.
Needless to say, the momentum of cross-border deals has consolidated the world and English serves as the lingua franca in each field. Hence, without command over the English language, the dreams of the young mind, that of reaching to the top, are restricted. Suffice it is to say that ESP plays a significant role in career building and urges multi-facet dynamic skills in the contemporary context.
Isha Sharma is a PhD Scholar (English) and Dr Swayam Prabha Satpathy is Associate Professor (Communication) at Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan (Deemed-to-be University). Views expressed here are their own