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ESP Literature Review: Education

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While teaching English to the learners of other languages have become indispensible given the lingua franca status given to English language, the problem that has emerged recently is what form of classroom activity should be included in order to ensure a proper grip over the language. On the one hand, scholars and critics have stated that teaching in the traditional methods, by asking the students to translate passages into English, completing the basic grammar exercises and helping them comprehend the English texts can help in laying the basic foundation that can help a student develop his expertise in the language. On the other hand, other critics have explained the importance of incorporating the ICT based education system in order to facilitate an interactive system of education. Research studies have pointed out that the English language learners learning English as a second language tend to learn the foreign language at a faster rate, with the help of adequate network and internet applications. However, on the other hand, it has also been argued back that providing the vocabulary lists to the students, allowing them to answer the questions of a comprehension process, and letting them translate the languages in class, help the students gain an insight into the language (Kangro and Kangro 2004). Hence, the research issue that the present report intends to analyze and evaluate is – should the use of ICT method be considered to be more effective and beneficial than the traditional method, while teaching English to the second language learners of English.

Literature Review and Critical Analysis:

While the book has replaced the scroll, according to some experts, the digital projector is all set to replace the overhead projector. Although the importance of the ESL textbooks cannot be undermined, the over-reliance of the teachers on the age-old text books may easily hinder the abilities of the students to recall the lessons taught, unless the students are being exposed to the advanced system of education. The use of the ICT tools in education help the Business English students incorporates the linguistic items into the language system itself. The persistent problem here is that the text book writers of the ESL text books focus more on hard and fast rules of teaching that are at once dull, monotonous and ineffective for the young learners, leaving the students unable to use or produce the language in the communicative contexts. The incorporation of the ICT tools help the students go beyond the system of rehearsal of information and achieve communicative competence (Hongye 2004). With the help of effective use of the ICT tools, the students can be introduced to a world of learning, where they can learn from tangible experiences. With the help of audio-visual methods, the students is not only able to gain an insight into the important linguistic rules of English language, but is able to convey his ideas and express the same in well-structured ways to the concerned listener. This helps in improving the inter-communication skills of the readers, who can engage in conversations more independently and illustrate a better understanding of the language (Balula et al. 2014).

However, on the other hand, this kind of overmuch emphasis on the communicative skills of the ESP learner can prove to be highly detrimental to the progress of the learner simply because he might learn the specific terminologies associated with his course of study, but fail to abide by the linguistic rules. This will undoubtedly result in his inability to enunciate correct and appropriate utterances. For an ESP learner, it is highly important to not only develop his knowledge regarding the field-specific vocabulary, but to also ensure adequate understanding of the important linguistic conventions which will help him structure his thoughts in an accurate way (Liton 2015).  The participation in the face-to-face interaction is not the ultimate goal that an ESP learner is required to achieve, but rather he needs a classroom activity focused on language usage usually practice the Passive Voice, modal verbs, conditional sentences, the Simple Present Tense and the Simple Past Tense, the article, Greek and Latin plurals, specific patterns of word formation, etc. This is why according to many critics, facilitative e-tools are not the only options available for the ESP teacher. According to these critics, the ICT tools intend to develop and enhance the existent knowledge of the learner by using an interactive method, that definitely teaches them the short cuts of learning, and yet compels them to disregard grammar altogether (P?durean and Vizental 2015). For example, the ICT tools help a student learn that the comparative degree of a monosyllabic word can be formed by adding an er (small: smaller),  and yet may fail to address the exceptional cases properly such as the comparative form of good cannot be formed by adding an er.

However, on the other hand, others studies have suggested that an ESP learner is distinguished from any ordinary learner of an English language in terms of a simple fact that he is not learning the language as an end in itself, but as a means to an end. The very fact that an ESP learner learns the English language for a distinctly specific purpose makes it absolutely necessary to devise his classroom activities in a way that it can imitate closely, the real life scenario useful and relevant to the concerned student (Chostelidou et al. 2017). The student studying Business English may not always enjoy the opportunity of visiting the business meetings, and communicating with the respective members, to understand the nature and style of communication. Hence, it is imperative that he is being given exposure to the more interactive, student-based learning system that can help him develop his skills in a more effective way. Often the teachers are required to maintain their own blogs, and usually different business meeting videos can be embedded in the blogs, to ensure that the students can participate more actively in the learning process (Zhu and Lan 2016). In case of ESP learning system, it should be noted that the learners like Business English learners will tend to forget the artificiality of the communication task, if the same is not in accordance with their real-life interests. Hence, teaching via textbooks has proved to be irrelevant and inadequate at present times. The learning with digital media have proved to be highly effective and engaging in case of students studying subjects like Business English (Živkovi? 2014). With the help of different audio-visual methods of learning, a student of Business English can be demonstrated and then engaged in role-playing activities, creating an ambience of a proper, real-life business meeting.


However, Business English as a subject is being learnt by learners, who already possess minimal expertise, skills and maturity to attain a grip over the language. Hence, it is purposeless to incorporate ICT teaching methods here, to make the class more interesting and grab the attention of the learners. The students are required to have a better understanding of the rules of the specific genre of English language they are studying, and hence the use of textbooks is far more relevant. Being a specialized field, it would require a very unique and tailored instruction on part of the teacher whereby the concerned ESP learners can be exposed to different types of business writing, as in the business context, one is required to possess the oral and written communication skills. Unlike the ELT text books of the earlier times, recent time text books are indeed recognizing the importance of focusing more on functional areas, rather than enriching the vocabulary of the ESP learners (Zhu 2014). Hence, these text books not only help the students learn business vocabulary and phrases, but also provide lessons on giving business advice, showing agreements, and expressing opinions. Besides, the ICT tools being too expensive, are often being considered to be unnecessary for classes, where majority of the students have already got previous business experience, and hence do not require demonstration of the business communication methods, and styles. Hence, offering them basic knowledge about English grammar and technical business meetings are more than enough. However, the traditional approach to learning has been refuted. The scholars have pointed out that the primary goal of the ESP learners getting enrolled in the Business English classes is to improve their job performance, and the language learning goals will be only secondary. Hence, an insight into the text books will only help them speak and write more fluently, that is merely a part of the learning goal (Zhu 2014). The use of ICT tools is highly effective in this context, simply because that allow the students interact, negotiate meaning, self-invest in learning in an independent way and produce the language in real-life situations. Asking a Business English learner complete the transformation of sentences exercise, or learn Relative Clause is useless, and hence should be discarded.

However, although the use of the ICT tools has been penetrating the ESL teaching process, many ESP classrooms do not employ the use of the ICT tools. While the huge expenditure involved in a major factor, the more important reason is that most of the teachers lack the technical expertise needed to effectively incorporate the ICT tools in the teaching process. However, the importance of the ICT tools cannot be undermined. It has been observed that students merely learning technical business terms and case studies fail to communicate effectively  (Enne and Conor 2014). On the other hand, when the same students are being asked to prepare the video-recorded presentations, of two companies such as KFC and McDonald comparing their business strategies, they not only showed knowledge of technical words like CSR ad marketing mix, but also improved communication skills. In case the learners of the ESP classes  are being asked to read and learn Business English chapter by chapter, they tend to lose enthusiasm, simply because they fail to retain interest in a subject they deem to be distantly related to their subject. On the other hand, as part of their video-recorded project, the students are being asked to conduct a brainstorming session on the strategies of company cost reduction in upcoming years, the students respond more positively to the teaching method. While such interactive teaching procedure facilitated by the use of ICT helps in improving the students’ knowledge of the Business English vocabulary, such teaching methods grab the attention and interest of the learners as well. Such a teaching system is more learners centered. The use of ICT tools while teaching ESP English, has been found to be highly beneficial in creating a sense of authentic business context (Claros and Oyanedel 2016). Even while practicing the written English skills,  the students in non-ICT classrooms are being asked to write on imaginary topics, that fail to offer them proper knowledge. On the other hand, in case of an ICT supported classroom, the students were being asked to send CVs, motivation letters, cover letters as well as business letters to the real companies that not only increased their motivation, but also improved their knowledge of business vocabulary.


Keeping into consideration, the fluid needs of the English language learners in an ESP class, the extra-linguistic knowledge of the teachers does prove to be irrelevant and ineffective. On the other hand, it is only through the ICT based education system, the teachers can develop can design the field-oriented course content for the students. With the help of the ICT tools only, is it possible to devise ESP classroom activities which imitate closely real-life communication. There is no denying the fact that ICT enables the English language teacher creates an entirely authentic business context, which helps the learners function productively in the respective workplaces. Research has rightly suggested that the use of technology in Business English classrooms have a measurably positive impact on the performance as well as the improvement of the language and soft skills of the students.


Reference List:

Balula, A., Martins, C. and Marques, F., 2014. Enhancing business English terminology through concept mapping. In Proceedings of 6th annual International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies–EDULEARN14, Barcelona.

Bargiela-Chiappini, F. and Nickerson, C.R., 2014. Writing business: Genres, media and discourses. Routledge.

Cárdenas-Claros, M. and Oyanedel, M., 2016. Teachers’ implicit theories and use of ICTs in the language classroom. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 25(2), pp.207-225.

Chostelidou, D., Griva, E. and Tsakiridou, E., 2017. A Record of the training needs of ESP Practitioners in Vocational Education. Selected papers on theoretical and applied linguistics, 18, pp.131-143.

Ene, E. and Connor, U., 2014. Technological Applications for Language Teaching.

Hongye, L., 2004. Pedagogy versus ICT: Who drives who?-On the teaching methodologies for internet & multimedia-based English teaching mode [J]. Foreign Language World, 4, p.004.

Kangro, A. and Kangro, I., 2004. Integration of ICT in teacher education and different school subjects in Latvia. Educational Media International, 41(1), pp.31-37.

Liton, H.A., 2015. ESP Learners’ Needs Related Learning for the Workplace: A Pragmatic Study for Business School. International Journal of Instruction, 8(2), pp.3-16.

P?durean, A.N. and Vizental, A., 2015. ICT and English for Informatics Students. Faculty of Humanistic and Social Sciences of “Aurel Vlaicu”, Arad, p.57.

P?durean, A.N. and Vizental, A., 2015. ICT and English for Informatics Students. Faculty of Humanistic and Social Sciences of “Aurel Vlaicu”, Arad, p.57.

Stickler, U. and Emke, M., 2015. Part-time and freelance language teachers and their ICT training needs. In Developing Online Language Teaching (pp. 28-44). Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Zhu, H. and Lan, Y., 2016. A Summary of Research on Informatization of Specialized Language in the Framework of Sinoforeign Cooperative Education. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 6(9), p.1863.

Zhu, Y., 2014. Applications of the situation-task approach to business English teaching in vocational technology colleges, based on ESP theories. World Transactions on Engineering and Technology Education, 12(1), pp.89-93.

Živkovi?, S., 2014. Constructivism–an emerging trend in ESP teaching and learning. In LLCE2014: CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS (p. 19).


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