Free Essay On Stages Of The Development Of ESP

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Language, Students, English, Learning, Strategy, Science, Rhetoric, Skills

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2021/01/16


Since 1960s, ESP has evolved passing through five main development stages. Notably, in development rates in different countries differ significantly. This section draws a general focus on five ESP developmental stages and how they have contributed to the maturity of ESP. EST, which stands for ‘English for Science and Technology’ has been found playing a key role in demonstrating ESP development. It is through EST that the analysis of language and integration of teaching has significantly changed. This book does not only generalize stages of ESP development from EST perspective but also takes into consideration the place of EST in developing ESP. These are fives ESP development stages;
1. Register analysis (from 1960s-1770s)
This stage greatly depends on John Swales, Jack Ewer and Peter Strevens’ work in explaining the idea of special language. For successful language analysis, this book took linguistic features as the primary syllabus that is used to explore specific registers of English. It, therefore, picks Ewer & Latorre’s 1969 book, A Course in Basic Scientific English.’ The idea of special language is basically built on a primary principle that English of, for instance, Biology has a different register from that of Engineering (Casey, Jennifer and Rachel, 29). In the understanding of these specific registers; language analysis majorly focuses on the identification of lexical and grammatical features.
In their book, Ewer & Latorre did a basic register analysis of English. Apart from English forms such as the passive voice, nominal forms, and tenses; there is a thin line differentiating scientific grammar from other registers. In other words, Scientific English does not exhibit unique forms that are not found in General English. Their major difference is similarity. To make mere generalizations that the register of English in different subjects is similar, we might have done an injustice. Since 1960s, there has been a strong academic interest in distinction lexica or grammatical features existing in different subjects.
Conversely, Latorres, and Ewer determined to carry out register analysis that attempts to make ESP program suitable and relevant to students. In particular, they aimed at discovering English forms that students taking Science are able to meet but again overlook those that they cannot meet. It implies that scientific texts possessed different surface forms that common school texts did not have (Casey, Jennifer and Rachel, 22-28). In certifying this, Ewer prompted to do a comparative analysis where they compared the scientific text with other common books used in their school. Results were; common school texts omitted some of the essential forms of passives, compound nouns and anomalous finites which were found in scientific text.
For instance, ESP course develops a curriculum which is tailored towards the needs of students in their particular register. In conjunction, ESP provide training for particular registers for instance computer, engineering, mechanics, medicine and many other fields. An example is when students taking engineering courses are trained specifically on English of engineering that is their register is engineering.
2. Beyond the sentence
Discourse analysis is a phase hypothesized by Allen & Widdowson in 1974 after discovering the shortcomings of the earlier developmental stage. The leaders of this movement primarily came from Britain and US, and they include; Henry Widdoson, Larry Selinker, John and Louis Trimble. Do not forget that register analysis syllabus concentrated on sentence level where linguistics dominated. Indeed, phase two (discourse analysis) emerged due to mistakes identified in the first phase. Here, ESP program goes beyond the boundaries of the sentence and thus introduces new fields which are rhetorical or discourse analysis. In this phases,
The phase attributes difficulties students meet to the unfamiliarity of English forms, and since science uses extra forms of sentences, students find it harder. It there analyzes the different patterns present in texts and show they are signaled by linguistic means. For instance, it involves stating the purpose and problem, description, operation and presenting this information on the experimental method. In addition, it applies specific rhetorical functions like classification, instructions, and description and visual-verbal relationships. It can be seen from the rhetorical chart presented in this stage. This phase deals with text-diagramming exercises in the attempt to make learners understand textual patterns and more so discourse markers.
An example in this stage is when the structure of creative writing is different from that of expository writing or report writing. Students in this stage should be able to notice that different books for different fields have different writing styles. For instance, styles used to write grammar text is different from the writing style of history books.
3. Target Situation analysis
Knowledge on ESP that has been discussed in stage 1 and 2 needs to be presented in a more scientific way. Scientific presentation of this information can be achieved by relating or putting language analysis close to the reasons why students learn. In doing so, ESP course, therefore, enhances the study of language pattern within one’s target situation. It seeks to walk around learner’s needs and hence is called needs analysis which later became target situation analysis under Chambers of 1980.
John Munby (1978), in his book, ‘Communication Syllabus Design’ he laid down a system that explains target situation analysis. He explained the learner’s needs from communicating setting, communication purpose, language skills and function perspective. This system tries to organize and systematize knowledge that was unsystematic in previous stages. In other words, John targeted on setting the information in a systematic way I order to meet learner’s needs. However, this system was found defective as seen in the following developmental stages.
Giving an example, target situation analysis poses questions like why? Where? How? What? When? Etc. Take an example of students taking engineering, this stage is concerned with what learners take engineering, how they are learning engineering, who are they, will ESP course be integrated successfully, are there resources and when to incorporate ESP course. In this regard, it meets the situation of learners.
4. Skills and strategies
Unlike stage 1, 2 and 3; phase four has brought in some contributions. It incorporates the thinking processes of students that guide language use. Notably, phases one and two went ahead to discus register and discoursed analysis whilst the third stage did not walk in with something new, it focused on organizing the ideas scientifically (Hutchinson, Tom, and Alan, 56). Strategies and skills stage has received a huge support from different ESP projects such as that on Malaya University, ESP project Brazil and Nelson’s ELT documents. In addition, a number of figures have contributed to this stage, and they are; Christine Nuttall, Francoise Grellet, and Charles Alderson. In accessing and assessing thinking processes in relation to language use, they used mother tongue to teach but again allowed students to read English texts.
Works of these figures and corporations discovered that language use is guided by interpreting processes and common reasoning. It is through common reasoning together with interpreting processes that allow learners have a meaning from the rhetorical analysis. Since common reasoning allows individuals make meaning irrespective of surface forms, there is no need of putting more emphasis on surface forms as suggested in stage 1 and 2. Instead, it is advisable to focus on interpretive strategies which enable students comfortable with different surface forms. This will enable students know the meaning of vocabularies from texts, exploit cognates and understand the type of texts.
In conjunction to this, specific subject concentration is of no use because the underlying strategies are applicable to any surface form. Chitravelu (1980) discovered that many reading skills are not language-specific; instead they are universal. In general, strategies and skills stage emphasizes on listening and reading skills which are applied to all subjects. Learners understand and reflect meaning from both written and spoken discourse. The fourth phase is essential as it cuts across all subject, it brings general strategies to be applied rather than concentrating on surface forms (Hutchinson, Tom, and Alan, 48-50). Indeed, this enables learn understand to properly extract meaning of words and concepts from the texts they are reading. This takes a U turn from cognitive learning theories to thinking skills and strategies.
An example is where students are given a comprehension of a certain topic, they read and later they use skills and strategies they were taught to identify the meanings of vocabularies.
5. A learning-centered Approach
It is clear, stage 1-4 have heavily concentrated on language use forgetting learning strategies. In this book, when we were touching on the origin of ESP, we pinpointed 3 basic forces. They include learner’s need, language use, and learning. These forces are essential for the extraction of meaning from texts or spoken words. Initially stages however rested on language use while the fourth stage introduced skills and strategies for language use. Failure to consider learning, therefore, means the first four stages had mistakes (Coleman, 62-68). They overlooked learning as an art. Although describing on language use helps to understand ESP course, our primary aim does not nest language use; instead it tries to discover the best strategies for language learning. All concepts provided in the initial stages overlook the value of language learning.
Language learning skills cannot be acquired by studying what people do with language. Language use, as in the case of discourse analysis that goes beyond sentence level does not imply that it has made sense for someone who really wants to learn the language. It, therefore, calls for extra efforts rather than extracting meanings from texts or using dictionaries to have their meanings (Coleman, 62-68). Instead, Language learning processes is the best and valid approach to ESP course. It is from this that we acknowledge the fifth stage where the learning-centered approach is applied.
An example is where students in class have communicative events with aim of knowing different communicative functions guided by parent discourse community. For instance, learners have strategies of presenting or writing reports as an effective communicative way to readers.


Casey, Jennifer N, and Rachel E. Upton. Educational Curricula: Development and Evaluation. New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2008. Print.
Coleman, Hywel. Working with Language: A Multidisciplinary Consideration of Language Use in Work Contexts. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1989. Internet resource.
Dudley-Evans, Tony, and John M.-J. St. Developments in Esp: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach. Cambridge, U.K: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Print.
Fortanet-Gómez, Inmaculada, and Christine Räisänen. Esp in European Higher Education: Integrating Language and Content. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Pub. Co, 2008. Print.
Hutchinson, Tom, and Alan Waters. English for Specific Purposes: A Learning-Centred Approach. Cambridge [Cambridgeshire: Cambridge University Press, 1987. Print.
Piqué, Jordi, and David J. Viera. Applied Languages: Theory and Practice in Esp. Valencia: Universitat de València, 1997. Print.

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