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Topic 2:

ESP teaching is an operation that sets out to help nonnative


speakers of English cope with language demands in their
target environments.

ESP1 is an approach to language learning which is based on the


learners needs. ESP teaching combines both teachers knowledge of the
course content and learners specific targets. Hutchinson and Waters view
of ESP remains as a reference or an authority in ESP. A learner has to know
what he or she needs English for in order to be provided with the adequate
English he or she wants. Learners are at the center of the teaching
operation so as to cope with language demands. Because ESP is likely to
be

designed

for

adult

learners

and

usually

for

pre-intermediate,

intermediate, or advanced learners, learners have certain targets or


objectives to accomplish. That is to say, non-native speakers of English are
far away from LENOR, learning English for no obvious reasons. This is why
ESP seeks to respond to learners aims in their target environments. The
teaching of ESP has to do with meeting learners needs in good ways. The
ESP teacher, for example, has to identify the materials that go hand in
hand with learners levels. Materials, according to Tomlinson, can be:
Anything which is used to help to teach language
learners. Materials can be found in the form of a
textbook, a workbook, a cassette, a CD-Rom, a video, a
photocopied

handout,

newspaper,

1 ESP stands for English for specific/special purposes

paragraph

written on a whiteboard: anything which presents or


informs about the language being learned.2
Having these materials at hand can help both ESP teachers and learners
achieve the ESP goals that teachers and learners put their sight on.
When teaching ESP to non-native speakers of English, one has to
fully understand the discipline he or she is teaching. The ESP teacher
should also show an interest in the disciplines or professional activities
the students are involved in3. This interest in the field of ESP can help
learners meet the reasons behind ESP establishment. These reasons can
be educational, economic, or linguistic ones. So ESP is characterized by a
strong concern with the immediate learning needs of students or
professionals as well as their perceptions of the relevance of the
experience of learning English on their future working life.
The needs analysis in terms of necessities, lacks, and wants can
determine the way ESP teaching sets out to help non-native speakers of
English reach their goals. Since ESP is learner centered, needs analysis has
to be done to serve learners needs and ultimate goals. Therefore, the ESP
teacher has to negotiate the course contents with the learners in order to
come up with the content that helps both learners and teachers to achieve
the course objectives. That is to say, there should be shared interests and
expectations between ESP teachers and learners. An ESP teacher can
adapt the program and use appropriate and adequate materials wherever
2 (Tomlinson, 1998, p. xi, Cited in Ana Bocanegra-Valle, 2010, p. 142)
3 (Dudley-Evans and St John, 1998, p. 14; cited in Ana Bocanegra-Valle, 2010, p.
143)

possible. In coping with learners language demands, ESP teachers can


think of the features of ESP course that Carver (1988) has defined, namely
authentic material, purpose related orientation, and self-direction. If
learners do not learn the way teachers teach them, teachers have to teach
them the way they learn. The ESP teachers skills for the discipline
determine how well the learners cope with the environment. The more
skillful the teacher is, the better the learners will probably be.
To conclude, ESP teaching has as a goal to respond to the learners
needs, especially in their language demands. In other words, learners
needs are of paramount importance when it comes to designing programs
that are designed first and for most to help learners attain their goals in
ESP.