The need for English
Recent world events have underscored the need to increase understanding and to improve communication among all citizens. An international exchange of ideas is essential in areas ranging from the environment-global warming and the thinning ozone layer-to medical research-genetic engineering and equitable distributions of modern drug therapies-to the political challenges of a global economy. To meet these communication needs, more and more individuals are choosing to study English. A growing number of them have highly specific academic and professional reasons for seeking to improve their language skills: for theses students, courses that fall under the heading “English for Special Purposes” (ESP) hold particular appeal. ESP programs focus in a specific field, such as aviation, business or technology. Some courses prepare students for various academic programs: English for Science and Technology and Pre-MBA English.
The courses make use of vocabulary and tasks related to the field such as negotiation skills and effective techniques for oral presentations. ESP programs use printed and audio-visual materials that address the needs of this well-defined group of learners. Typical ESP textbooks are English for Corporate Communications and English for Information Systems.
Many courses now focus on the Internet, how to use its vast web of information for academic or professional purposes, and what ethics and conventions govern use of that information.
Generally, older, more advanced students should consider ESP instead of a more general English language course. Students should note, however, that most courses assume a strong English language background. Many require that applicants be at a High Intermediate or Advanced level of skill.