A generative framework for ESP courses
The majority of business today is conducted in English (Griffin, 2003:4). Furthermore, research has shown that an "inability to communicate" and "poor communication skills" are frequently stated as reasons by employers as to why certain employees are not hired (Steinberg, 1995:44). This has put pressure on course developers in the field of English for Specific Purposes (ESP) to produce suitable materials that would aid in the acquisition of English as a second language and empower students and employees. However, the rapid development in the field of ESP course design has led to certain concerns and Robinson (1 991:34) states that a "common fear in literature is that course designers are reinventing the wheel". The same concern was raised as early as 1978 by Munby (1978:l-2). The aims of this study were, therefore, to design a generative, user-friendly framework for ESP courses and to apply this framework in the design of two ESP courses. Firstly, a survey of the literature was done and existing frameworks were analysed and their advantages and disadvantages were discussed. This led to the development and description of criteria for a new user friendly, generative framework. A three-dimensional, generative framework was then designed. After two needs analyses have been conducted, the outlines of two ESP courses (an ESP course for pre-service Engineering students as well as an ESP pre-service course for teacher trainees) were then designed in order to test the framework. These course outlines consisted of the following elements: outcomes, tasks, texts, language focus, suggestions for techniques and classroom procedures, and assessment methods. It is hoped that the development of the Generative Framework will contribute to the complicated and tedious process of developing effective ESP courses. The aim of the study was to aid course designers by providing a solid theoretical foundation for each course that is still relevant to the special requirements of communicating through the medium of English within a specific situation. Furthermore, it is hoped that the steps recommended as part of the framework will save the course designer time without overlooking the needs that were identified as part of the needs analysis.
- Humanities