English for Specific Purposes is a particularly popular area of English Language Teaching. The explosion in demand can be attributed to the continuously increasing professional demands of our times, as well as to the contemporary trends in linguistics and psychology that put the student at the centre of the learning process, and that explore new ways of knowledge acquirement. According to these, the student is more engaged in the educational process, and attains the desired skills faster and more effectively, when he/she has personal or professional motives.
English for Specific Purposes covers a wide range of academic, professional and social fields, such as medicine, law, touristic professions, arts and human resources management, or may aim more generally at the improvement of accent and intonation. ESP courses aim at the improvement of the linguistic skills of the professionals in a specific field, while the specific lessons cover all four aspects of linguistic skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking). Special emphasis is given to the practice of new skills in realistic settings.
Most ESP material requires learners, who are often adults, to have a good basic level of language. However, depending on the specific needs of the target user, materials for beginners or students of younger ages can be designed.
by Katerina Anastasiou, Production Assistant, hyphen SA