What is English for Specific Purposes (ESP)?

English for Specific Purposes includes courses of English taught to business people and those involved in a variety of professions that require a certain level of English proficiency in order to perform their jobs successfully. These include pilots, medical workers, engineers, scientists, lawyers and those working in the tourism and hospitality industry, among others.


 

The difference between teaching ESP and teaching general English is that for ESP students you only teach them what they need to know to perform their role effectively. A pilot is not going to need to know how to buy groceries at the local market but is going to need to know how to communicate with other pilots and ground staff all over the world, following international aviation guidelines.

 

Another difference is that ESP students tend to be more advanced in their English language abilities before taking an ESP course than general English students. As such, ESP courses are usually aimed at intermediate to advanced level students and you can expect a higher awareness of English grammar than would normally be the case. Also, as your students are most likely adults whose careers depend upon them succeeding in their English classes, you can expect a high level of motivation and professionalism which is something that they will also expect of their teacher.

 

Teachers working for a language institute should have access to all the relevant course materials they need for the specific area they are required to teach. For those looking to set themselves up as a freelance ESP teacher there is a wealth of resources available from course books on aviation English to websites providing free materials for business English classes.  

 

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