What Will I Teach in an English for Specific Purposes Class?

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We already know that there are many different kinds of English as a Foreign Language classrooms, but do you actually know what they entail?

English for Specific Purposes is one class you may be expected to teach when teaching English abroad but it’s quite a broad category so you are forgiven if you don’t know what would be expected from you in such a situation. To help you out, here are explanations of the most common ESP classes:

English for Aviation

English is the international language of aviation. What this means is that pilots and air traffic controllers from all over the world need to learn English. As you can imagine, English for Aviation is highly specialised both in terms of vocabulary and grammar and is quite different from everyday English. Add to that the pressure of the job and you need to be sure you know what you are doing when teaching English for Aviation.

English for Banking and Finance

If you have experience in the financial world, you may very well find yourself teaching English for Banking and Finance at some point when you are teaching English abroad. In fact, even if you have no experience in the field, because the finance sector plays such a big part in international business, there are loads of EFL students looking to learn English for Banking and Finance. With this ESP class, there is a focus on specific language but also particular communication strategies, such as chairing a meeting, giving a presentation and writing formal emails.

English for Nursing

English for Nursing is an ESP class designed for nurses who work with English-speaking colleagues or patients and so need to communicate in English. While there is a lot of specific medical terminology that would need to be covered, so would numerous everyday functional language, such as making an appointment, conducting an interview and dealing with patients.

Legal English

Even if you are a native speaker of English you probably still have no idea what legal English is! Legal English is highly specialised in terms of vocabulary and style, and can be difficult to get to grips with. If you do not have any legal background (as with any ESP course), it is essential that you prepare your lessons well and spend some time looking at the materials yourself.

Business English

Probably the most popular ESP class (along with EAP), teaching Business English is booming. Considering that Business is quite a broad term, it’s no surprise that the focus of any Business English class will differ to any other. Business English classes are often taught in-company and on a one-to-one basis.

English for Academic Purposes

English for Academic Purposes is another huge sector in teaching English abroad. EFL students will take an EAP class if they are preparing to study at an English university or college. EAP classes focus a lot on reading and writing but will also make sure the students’ English level is adequate enough for them to survive in an academic environment.

You may have been introduced to the various ESP courses on your internationally recognised TEFL course, but you probably did not go into much detail. After all, it’s not often that you would be expected to teach an ESP course but, if you do, make sure you are prepared so you know how to tackle these EFL lessons.

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