ESP: Personal Philosophy In Language Education

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The term ESP, formerly standing for English for Special Purposes, is now used for English for Specific Purposes. The former is thought to suggest special languages, that is, restricted languages, which for many people is only a small part of ESP, whereas the latter focuses attention on the purpose of the learner and refers to the whole range of language resources (Robinson, 1984). ESP should properly be seen not as any particular language product but as an approach to language teaching which is directed by specific and apparent reasons for learning (Hutchinson-Waters, 1987). Mackay (1973), as cited in Robinson (1984), believes that ESP is generally used to refer to the teaching/learning of a foreign language for a clearly utilitarian purpose of which there is no doubt. This utilitarian purpose is generally conceived of as successful performance in work. Therefore, ESP means the teaching of English, not as an end itself, but as an essential means to a clearly identifiable goal. Thus, the general with which the specific of ESP is contrasted is that of general, education-for-life, culture and literature orientated language course, in which language itself is the subject matter and the purpose of the course. The student of ESP, however, is learning English en route to the acquisition of some quite different body of knowledge or set of skills. Widdowson (1983) suggests that ESP is essentially a training operation which seeks to provide the learners

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