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3: 2, 71-100, 2012
ESP versus EGP: A case study of an ESP program for vocational high school students of Tourism
Yi-Hsuan Gloria Lo National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taiwan
Research on English for Specific Purposes (ESP) has been attracting a great deal of attention in English language education over the past two decades. However, most studies focus on ESP learners at the university or in the workplace, while little attention has been paid to secondary school learners. In Taiwan, vocational high school (VHS) students have long been considered low achievers in English, lacking basic English proficiency and motivation for learning English. This situation suggests that more attention needs to be paid to English for general purposes (EGP), in order to enhance VHS students’ ability in the four language skills. In contrast to this dominant EGP approach, can an ESP program that integrates English with the knowledge and skills of VHS students’ professional field help solve the problem facing VHS English education in Taiwan? Implemented through a school-university partnership, the purpose of this case study was to examine the effectiveness of an ESP program on 33 VHS students of tourism. The results of the study indicate that an ESP program characterized by (1) rich and multiple inputs, (2) need-based content, (3) practical use of English, and (4) meaningful tasks creates excellent opportunities for learning, via both EGP and ESP. Not only can the VHS students consolidate their knowledge and skills through learning ESP, they also increase their overall English proficiency. Most significantly, their motivation for learning English is increased. The study concludes with both theoretical and pedagogical implications for ESP education for VHS students.
Keywords: English for Specific Purposes (ESP), vocational high school (VHS), English for General Purposes (EGP), school-university partnership
Yi-Hsuan Gloria Lo
From the early 1960’s, English for Specific Purposes (ESP) has grown to become one of the most prominent areas of language education today. Its development is reflected in the increasing number of universities offering an MA in ESP and in the number of ESP courses offered for international students in English-speaking countries (Harding, 2007; Hyland, 2006; Orr, 2008). The growth of ESP can also be observed from the publication of international journals (e.g., English for Specific Purposes and The Asian ESP Journal) dedicated to identifying aspects of ESP needing development and areas into which the practice of ESP may be expanded. The interest in ESP is also seen worldwide in the establishment of ESP Special Interest Groups (SIGs) under professional associations (e.g., IATEFL and TESOL). Such groups have been very active at their national conferences. In Taiwan, the growth of ESP in the past five years has been rapid and definite. In 2006, the NCKU Eagle Project, developed and implemented by the Language Center at National Chung Kung University became the first institution in Taiwan dedicated to the development of ESP materials and curricula in place of the more traditional English for General Purposes (EGP) courses offered by most colleges/universities in Taiwan to freshmen and non-English majors (for more, please refer to http://english.ncku.edu. tw/eagle/?q=node/14). The shift of the instructional focus from EGP to ESP aims to increase students’ motivation for English learning and to help students prepare for the demands of English in their future careers. In 2008, with a vision for the future professional development of English language education, the Taiwan ESP Association (TESPA) was established (for more, please refer to http://www.tespa.org.tw/). The goals of TESPA are to promote ESP education in Taiwan, to promote global literacy for Taiwan professionals to communicate with people worldwide, and to provide a learning platform for ESP students. To complete its mission, in December 2009 TESPA published the first academic ESP journal in Taiwan, Taiwan International ESP Journal, marking the beginning of the ESP era in mainstream Taiwan EFL. Since then both local and international scholars have
TIESPJ, Vol. 3: 2, 2011
been able to exchange their ESP research and engage in scholarly discussion through this journal. The rapid ESP development has also caught the attention and gained the support of the Ministry of Education (MOE). With support and approval from the MOE, the Department of Applied Foreign Languages at the National Kaohsiung University of Applied Science has just offered the first ESP-based Master’s Program in Taiwan this academic year. This is considered a very significant move in Taiwanese academia in terms of the ESP movement. Likewise the conference theme of the 2011 International Conference & Workshop on ESP, organized by the Department of Applied English at Hung-Kuang University in Taiwan, is ESP in Taiwan University Settings: Teacher and learner competences. This theme shows that ESP research and education at the college/ university level have gained major attention compared to ESP at other educational levels in Taiwan (e.g., Chien & Hsu, 2010; Huang & Li, 2008; Lo & Sheu, 2008; Tsao, 2011) In particular, Dudley-Evans and St. John’s (1998) theories on the “absolute characteristics” (p. 4) of ESP can help provide a rationale for the rapid growth of ESP worldwide and in Taiwan, particularly at tertiary institutions in Taiwan. By “absolute” characteristics, Dudley-Evans and St. John (1998) refer to three points: (1) ESP is designed to meet the specific needs of the learner; (2) ESP makes use of the underlying methodology and activities of the disciplines it serves; and (3) ESP is centered on the language (grammar, lexis, and register), skills, discourse and genres appropriate to these activities (p. 4-5). The “absolute characteristics” illustrate that an ESP approach concerns not only learners’ language issues, but also the design of the methodology and activities related to students’ disciplines. Most importantly, ESP views students’ needs as the first priority. The result of Tsao’s (2011) survey questionnaire of 351 students in a technological university about their attitudes toward ESP shows that (1) students favored ESP more than EGP, (2) students do not believe their English proficiency is up to a level needed to cope with the ESP course requirements, (3) ESP should focus on the training of language skills while integrating specialized terms and discipline content
What is worse . 1995. 1996. 1999. Shi & Lin. and (4) ESP is generally designed for intermediate or advanced students. which aims to prepare VHS students for professional fields? In other words. see the ESP approach and materials design model in the Literature Review) for college level students be applied to secondary school learners in Taiwan? In addition to the “absolute” characteristics of ESP. (3) ESP is likely to be designed for adult learners. most ESP courses assume a basic knowledge of the language system. John (1998) identified “variable” characteristics of ESP as follows: (1) ESP may be related to or designed for specific disciplines. their low English proficiency in junior high school. and the lower expectations of society and of the learners’ families. in specific teaching situations. who usually belong to lower socio-economic groups. Yu. but it can be used with beginners (p. 1996. (2) ESP may use. be used for learners at the secondary school level. 2002. either at a tertiary institution or in a professional work situation but could. 2007). and (4) English should be the main medium of instruction. can an ESP program be designed and implemented for VHS students of a specific discipline who are not motivated to learn English and who have a low level of English proficiency? VHS students in Taiwan are usually considered underachievers in English compared to those who enter public senior high schools (Hung.74 Yi-Hsuan Gloria Lo into the course. To what extent can the variable characteristics of ESP be observed in Taiwanese secondary schools. 1996b. Liu. 1996a. Lou. Tsao’s study also reveals that college students perceive a positive relationship between ESP courses and their future careers. Lou. Liu. 1994. The reasons cited for their unsatisfactory English performance focus on the learners’ lack of interest and motivation to learn English prior to entering VHS. however. 5). They believe that the content of ESP courses is practical and helps them meet the growing English demands of the industry when they graduate from college. 2002. 2007). 2000. Dudley-Evans and St. 2000. Chen & Lee. The reasons cited for the low opinion of VHS English education have been English being a neglected subject in the VHS system and insufficient instructional time per week as well as an inappropriate teaching approach (Lin. particularly in the VHS system. a different methodology from that of general English. Can the principles that guide ESP instruction (for more.
2002. Vol. the fundamental question that remains unresolved is whether an ESP approach helps solve the problems facing English education in VHS. 2004). The results of the study provide insight into the EGP-versus-ESP dilemma facing VHS English education in Taiwan and contribute to the ESP case studies on secondary school learners. As a result. 2011 75 is that the English test in the vocational and technological college/university entrance examination (Shi & Lin. 1996) tests only grammar knowledge and reading proficiency. Many VHS English teachers in Hung and Lou’s (1995) study indicated that the aim of English education and the actual practice were in conflict in the VHS system. neglecting speaking and listening skills.TIESPJ. Currently the majority of VHS students continue their studies in colleges/universities of science and technology. Could an ESP approach serve as an alternative for VHS students’ English instruction and improve their learning of English? The purpose of the 6-month research project through a school-university partnership (Tsui & Law. 2009) was to understand whether an ESP program designed and implemented for 33 VHS students of tourism would help improve their learning of ESP as well as their learning of EGP. involving Chinese translation of the text and grammar explanation and exercises (Liu. Almost two decades have passed since the dilemma was raised. Their dilemma was whether to teach the English that students would need in their professional fields (ESP) or to teach the four language skills students would need in college. Lou. What effect did this ESP program have on the participants’ overall English proficiency? . What effect did this ESP program have on the participants’ oral interpretation competence and their overall learning of ESP? 2. 3: 2. so preparing VHS students to succeed in the entrance examination has been the top priority. Edwards & Lopez-Real. However. Tsui. 2007. This study addresses two questions as follows: 1. the most common teaching approach is the grammar translation method.
” (2) a revolution in linguistics. differences which had a critical influence on their motivation and thereby resulted in the need for different approaches for them to achieve maximum effectiveness in their learning (Hutchinson and Waters. and (3) an increased focus on the learner. a historical perspective on ESP is provided followed by important theories and studies related to ESP course design. and finally (4) trends in English for occupational purposes. business.76 Yi-Hsuan Gloria Lo 2. were greatly influenced by developments in education. the growth of English courses tailored to specific needs and language demands shifted the focus away from analyzing the formal structures of language to investigating the ways in which language is actually used in real communication. (3) authenticity of text and authenticity of purpose. 1987). whose . since the end of the Second World War in 1945. learners were seen to have different needs and interests. Hutchinson and Waters (1987) identified three main movements contributing to the emergence of all ESP: (1) the demands of a “brave new world. English has become the accepted international language of technology and commerce. new insights gained from educational psychology also contributed to the development of ESP. English Language Teaching (ELT). Second. and a materials design model. as the authors observed. and ESP from the 1960s to the 1990s. John’s (1998) work on developments in ESP provides another historical perspective. All these factors. Dudley-Evans and St. thus it has created a new generation of learners who must learn English to satisfy the demands of the commercially interconnected modern world. A historical perspective on ESP Tracing the historical background of ESP. the authors traced four factors that contributed to the ESP development: (1) the balance between research and practice. Literature review In this section. and computer technology. By examining closely the interaction between Applied Linguistics. First. Third. materials development. Instead of viewing learners as blank slates to be filled. (2) trends in English for Academic Purposes.
This phase is characterized by the English language instruction for academic and occupational purposes that began when large numbers of nonnative speakers of English immigrated to English-speaking countries. and professional events. and Next Generation ESP (NextGen ESP). NextGen ESP. began in the 1990s. after the close of World War II.TIESPJ. Lastly. according to Orr. Swales’ influential work. and therefore needed to learn English in order to obtain opportunities for higher education and better employment. The initial impetus for its development lay in rapid changes in technology. 3: 2. 2011 77 impact can be seen even today. publishing. NextGen ESP is characterized by (1) changes in ESP locations. Orr (2008) refers to the middle of the 20th century. The third factor identified by Dudley-Evans and St. an understanding of the different needs of learners with various degrees of job experience has led to development of a variety of ESP materials to bridge cultural gaps and to help people communicate effectively across borders. Second Generation ESP (SecondGen ESP). and analysis of learning needs – have also influenced the development of ESP. and culture. Authenticity of purpose is as critical as genuineness of text. The SecondGen ESP started in the second half of the 20th century and still exists. Orr (2008) identified three phases of ESP development. areas which formed the basis for more extensive research. purpose-driven English language instruction. Episodes in ESP (1988). trends in English for Academic Purposes – the movements in rhetorical and discourse analysis. Vol. Its features are needs-based. analysis of study skills. and growth in the number of language educators identifying themselves as ESP professionals. The balance between research and practice refers to the relationship between theory and materials/teaching in ESP. which he labeled as First Generation ESP (FirstGen ESP). John (1998) states that authenticity goes hand in hand with genuineness. moving ESP training out of English . By FirstGen ESP. In addition to register analysis. settled in areas where the majority were English-speaking people. economics. prioritized certain areas for teaching and materials production. significant growth in research. Authenticity and genuineness lie in the nature of the interaction between the reader and the text. ESP started its work in the area of register analysis.
78 Yi-Hsuan Gloria Lo departments to locations that can best meet the needs of learners. Language-centered course design draws a direct connection between the analysis of the target situation and the content of the ESP course. (3) changes in ESP content. The learning needs of the students are not accounted for at every stage of the course design process. Dudley-Evans and St. changing from content designed for general language teaching to materials for specialists who need high levels of discipline-specific understanding. A learning-centered approach is based on the principle that learning is totally determined by the learner. This approach focuses more on language use than on language learning. Skills-centered course design tries to build on the positive factors learners bring to the ESP course. (2) changes in ESP staffing. delivering materials not only through human beings but also technology. John (1998) pointed out a number of parameters that need to be considered in approaching ESP course design: (1) Should the course be intensive or extensive? (2) Should the learners’ performance be assessed or non-assessed? (3) Should the course deal with immediate needs or with delayed needs? (4) Should the role of the teacher be the provider of knowledge or should it be as a facilitator? (5) Should the course have a broad or narrow focus? (6) Should the course be pre-study or pre-experience or run parallel with that study or experience? (7) Should the materials be common-core or specific to learners’ study or work? (8) Should the learners be homogeneous or heterogeneous? (9) Should the course design be worked out by the language teacher or should it be subject to a process of negotiation with the learners? . ESP course design Hutchinson and Waters (1987) identified three approaches to ESP course design. This approach concerns not only what competence a learner acquires but also how this particular competence is acquired. including staff with degrees not only in applied linguistics but also other professional fields to fulfill the requirements set by the language company. enabling learners to achieve on their own paths. and (4) changes in ESP delivery. Learning is viewed as a process by which the learners use what knowledge or skills they have in order to make sense of the new information.
Thus. content focus. Input refers to a text. Hutchinson and Waters (1987) introduced an ESP materials design model. 145-146)..TIESPJ. to address the needs a teacher has defined in an analysis of the class. a narrow-angled course may be appropriate. Should there be a specific-purpose language based on and extending from a basic core of general language? Or does language exist as one variety or another with no basic core language? Different types of syllabuses can emerge during the design process. but this textbook was supplemented by in-house materials. Finally. diagram or any piece of communication data. Basturkmen (2006) investigated four important topics: (1) varieties of language. synthetic vs. one existing textbook was used. Specifying and ordering the content of an ESP course involves a number of theoretical stances (e. In a project for training tour guides. . Vol. Lo & Sheu (2008) also indicated that there were no suitable textbooks and thus ESP materials needed to be adapted from existing materials. appropriate materials needed to be created. video-recording. Robertson’s (2005) examination of materials for improving flight attendants’ English skills in Korea showed that the materials lacked principles of English grammar and structure. language focus and tasks (p. in Gao’s (2007) study of Chinese students of business. 3: 2. (2) needs analysis. there are two perspectives. (2) new language items. a wide-angle course may be more suitable. (2) writing materials. consisting of four elements: input. In discussing approaches to ESP course design. and (3) adapting materials. dialogue. For example. and (4) narrative and wide-angle course designs. (3) types of syllabuses. An ESP materials design model Chen (2006) stated three possible ways of obtaining materials for ESP programs: (1) using existing materials. Input may involve (1) stimulus material for activities. 2011 79 (p. 108109). analytic) and reveals the course designer’s beliefs about the nature of teaching and learning.g. In terms of varieties of language. whereas when the needs are more general. the principles of course designs suggest that when needs are specific.
Good materials should involve both opportunities for analysis and synthesis. (4) a topic for communication. materials should be designed to lead towards a communicative task in which learners use the content and language knowledge they have built up through the unit. The theories and important studies that underpin the essential principles of ESP course design and materials development have served as an important foundation for the design and implementation of the ESP program for the VHS students of tourism in this study. (5) opportunities for learners to use their information processing skills. Non-linguistic content should be exploited to generate meaningful communication in the classroom. 3. but a means of conveying information and feeling. the materials development process. but giving learners communicative tasks and activities for which they do not have the necessary language knowledge is unfair. Language focus refers to the idea that the teachers’ aim is to enable learners to use language. the ESP approach taken in the program design. The school-university partnership This ESP program took place in a school-university partnership funded by the . Following this reasoning. and (6) opportunities for learners to use their existing knowledge both of the language and the subject matter. In a language focus.80 Yi-Hsuan Gloria Lo (3) correct models of language use. which includes the schooluniversity partnership. study how it works. Tasks reflect the idea that the ultimate purpose of language learning is language use. learners have the opportunity to take the language apart. and various stages of the program implementation. The context of the study This section introduces the context of the study. Content focus addresses the mindset that language is not an end in itself. Historical studies of ESP enable us to understand current ESP developments both in Taiwan and worldwide. and practice putting it back together again.
industry. The materials for the 18 topics can be classified into three categories: (1) for eight topics. the 18 topics covered a range of subjects. The university involved in this project is the only institution in the county that offers a major in English. the county has been striving to attract more tourists. the Department of Applied Foreign Languages aims to train ESP professionals for the tourism industry and TESOL. Training tour guides with English competence for explaining the features and uniqueness of popular tourist spots is critical for boosting tourism. materials were adopted from existing materials . 2011 81 county government of Penghu an off-shore island of Taiwan. the team had an outsider’s perspective and knew what tourists expected to see when they came to visit Penghu. In addition to equipping English major students with essential abilities in the four skills. and breadth of coverage.TIESPJ. both domestic and international. Vol. As the research team was not originally from Penghu. the VHS involved in this study has the only Tourism Management Department on the island. 3: 2. Furthermore. The sources of the materials. The choice of topics was also based on familiarity to the participants. as a result. not only geographical attractions but also human interest topics. The funding of the school-university partnership by the county indicates that the mission and development of these educational institutions are deeply rooted in the needs of the local culture. Materials development of the program Developing materials for the program involved (1) deciding criteria for selecting topics. all the parties involved can benefit from this collaboration. and economy and that. familiarity to the students. and (3) creating alternative materials. With recent interest in Penghu as a tourist destination. which is dedicated to enhancing the knowledge and skills VHS students need for working in the tourism industry of the county. Three criteria were used in choosing 18 topics for developing the VHS tourism students’ competence in introducing tourist spots in English: popularity with outsiders (tourists). (2) finding sources for the materials. Criteria for selecting the topics. Likewise. both on the main island and also on the offshore islets.
group practice and activity. March 11-April 10. Essential components for a two-hour session are outlined in Table 1. the showing of the video clip. and (3) real engagement between people and places in various interactive formats to reach the intended teaching goals. video clips that were removed in the editing process and were not included in the finalized version. introducing vocabulary. a needs analysis was conducted in order to learn about the participants’ English proficiencies in the four skills. The data for the needs analysis was gathered through a survey questionnaire and an English Proficiency Test. demonstration of the text. Instead of using commercially prepared videos or DVDs. However. 2005) were supplemented with self-created conversations. (2) for five topics. (2) real places. 2009): For effective ESP program design and implementation. a typical two-hour lesson plan consists of a warm-up activity. The major instructional activities in the first 50 minutes include a warm-up activity. questions on a given topic. materials were self-created based on books and information published by the Penghu Tourism Bureau and relevant websites. and finally watching edited outtakes.82 Yi-Hsuan Gloria Lo (Lo. introduction of vocabulary. the sequence of course delivery and the time spent on each component might differ from one instructor to another. April 11-August 23. The video clips featured (1) real people. The video-clips were uploaded to YouTube so the participants could watch them easily and as often as they wished. their English learning needs. 2009): Because the 18 topics were taught by different instructors. and (3) for a further five topics. The design and implementation of the program The Tourist Spots Interpretation Program was designed and implemented through four phases: Phase I (Getting to know the participants. Phase II (Building the knowledge and language skills for the chosen topics. and . asking questions related to the topic. existing materials (Lo. the level of difficulty they felt in learning each of the four skills. the research team designed and developed18 on-the-spot video-clips based on the 18 topics. and their expectations for this program. Self-created video clips as alternative materials. 2008).
Table 1 A typical two-hour session Time Slot Instructional Activity Instructional Focus -To focus participants’ attention on the topic 10 minutes -Warm-up activity 10 minutes 10 minutes 20 minutes -Asking questions on the topic -Introducing vocabulary -To activate students’ background knowledge -To equip participants with the essential terms and words -Introducing a theme-based reading -To demonstrate the topic through a PowerPoint presentation or self-created reading materials -Break -To introduce a topic or a tourist spot through video clip presentation -To use the language and practice the skills needed in groups -To assess participants’ learning through games and activities 10-minute 15 minutes -Showing video clips 15 minutes -Group work 15 minutes -Assessment (Games and Tasks) 5 minutes -Watching edited outtakes -To understand the frustrations they may experience in preparing videotapes in English and to avoid the same mistakes when giving English tours . At least two-thirds of the script should be created by themselves and based on authentic experiences. 2011 83 reading the topic. Their scripts were revised based on discussion with their group leader (a college student majoring in English). The second 50-minute section engages students in on-the-spot tourist video clips and group time to master the skills and language needed in games and tasks. their rehearsal was videotaped and the participants and their group leader watched the video clip immediately afterwards in order to make improvements. Their scripts were further proofread based on their discussion with a native English speaker who was invited to participate in the project. The students rehearsed their tour scripts several times in class with their group leader. 3: 2. Phase III (Creating interpretation scripts and tour rehearsals. Each time.TIESPJ. the participants. August 2327. working in groups. and finally. Vol. the whole class watches edited outtakes to end a session. were asked to write at least three hundred words on a given topic. 2009): In order to build their confidence in oral English skills.
and uploaded on YouTube. invited guests. data collection. gave a tourist spot interpretation tour in English on the final day of this project. edited. Each of the English interpretation tours was videotaped. and Writing were . They shared their experience with the tourist attractions on the island from the target audience’s perspective. Participants From the VHS. a total of 33 mixed-grade (first year and second year) VHS students and one English teacher from the same VHS participated in the study. The video clips were then assessed and evaluated by their peers. ranging from two to four members. 4. student-researchers in the TESOL track who participated in order to complete their graduation research projects. the administrators. These students served as group leaders developed tourist spots video clips for the class. four college students. Three native-speaking English teachers participated in the study. and the research team. English Proficiency Tests based on the Elementary General English Proficiency Test (GEPT) in Listening.84 Yi-Hsuan Gloria Lo Phase IV (A tourist spot interpretation tour. 2009): Informed by Lave and Wenger’s situated learning (1991). Instruments The primary instruments used in this study were English proficiency tests and questionnaires triangulated with observations and written scripts. Reading. instruments. played multiple roles. and analysis procedures followed in this case study. August 28. and also shot and edited the tourist spot video clips of the English tours conducted by VHS students. From the university. Method This section discusses the participants. and one of the teachers proofread and edited drafts of the students’ scripts at different stages. English Proficiency Tests. each group of participants.
This instrument had two parts. On the final day. This information was used in getting to know the participants and in designing the ESP program. and second. participants took English proficiency tests in four skills.TIESPJ. to investigate the effects of the program on the participants’ self-perception of their general English language proficiency in different skills and overall English learning. which was developed to test the spoken proficiency level of secondary students in Hong Kong. The first type was intended to obtain background information concerning the participants’ experience and difficulty in learning English. 3: 2. A total of eight group scripts on four tourist spots were completed by VHS participants. For testing the participants’ oral proficiency. This test is a far more sensitive measure of oral proficiency than the spoken part of the GEPT and thus more accurately measured each student’s progress in speaking. Observational notes were based on in-class and field trip observations. to understand the effects the program had on the participants’ ESP competence and their learning of ESP. Two types of questionnaires were developed. A total of 64 hours of lesson plans were implemented during the weekends and summer vacation. Questionnaires. 2011 85 administered at the beginning and at the end of the program. and later uploaded to YouTube along with their video clips. In the beginning. our research team used the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE) English Oral test. 2009). the participants took the same English proficiency tests as on the first day and also . to serve two purposes: first. the design of this test was considered more appropriate as it required the test takers to engage in group discussion and social interaction and to give short speeches in English. Observations . Vol. tasks that mimicked the speaking skills we were trying to foster. Written scripts. Furthermore. An example of the written scripts can be seen in the Appendix. Data collection procedures the project lasted 6 months (from March 11 to August 28. The second questionnaire was administered as students exited the program. The major focus of the observations was to document the participants’ language level and their skills at the beginning and the end of the project.
English proficiency tests. On the questionnaires. To fulfill the expected outcome – to interpret a tourist spot in . mean scores. At the beginning of the program. In addition. written scripts. Data analysis A paired t-test was applied to compute quantitative data from the results of the pre. 5. The final written scripts and the video clips of the participants’ English tours were also collected. nor did they have the oral skills to deliver the contents in a professional manner. did not have the specific English language to introduce a given tourist spot or topic. Descriptive statistics (percentages. no matter their language proficiency. Findings The first research question seeks to determine the effectiveness of the program on the participants’ English interpretation competence and their overall learning of ESP. and standard deviations) were generated using the SPSS statistics package. What effect did this ESP program have on the participants’ English oral interpretation competence and their overall ESP learning? Effects on oral interpretation competence “Oral interpretation competence” in this study refers to being able to apply the knowledge and skills introduced in the program in presenting a tourist attraction on the spot in oral English. the participants. and final video clips regarding participants’ use of language and oral skills were also conducted to describe participants’ oral interpretation competence.86 Yi-Hsuan Gloria Lo completed the Exit Questionnaires. qualitative analyses based on the observational notes.and post. participants responded on a five-point Likert Scale (with 5 “strongly agree” and 1 “strongly disagree”). The positive responses on the questionnaires reveal the overall effectiveness of the program in their learning of ESP. 1.
2009). August 28.42) and 96. 96. Lastly. and 92. Based on the principles for assessing language for specific purposes (Douglas.1% of them believed that their ability to interpret in English was enhanced (M=4. not only in a professional manner but also interactively (see Appendix). Through the ESP program. .62) thought the program helped them understand the local culture (M=4.1%. such as completing task-based activities in class. presenting their written scripts to a native speaking instructor. At the end of their English Tour Trip. More importantly.1% indicated that their interest in using English to interpret information about tourist spots on Penghu Island was increased (M=4.62) through English. M= 4. and ability. many of them (96. 2000). the VHS students acquired the essential oral skills to effectively deliver the content.50).TIESPJ. Vol.2% (M=4.2% believed this ESP program helped them read articles about Penghu in English (M=4.62). 96. interest. Although the VHS participants were all locals from the island. Table 2 summarizes the effects of the program on the participants’ ESP learning.65) believed that this program helped them understand better the tourist spots in Penghu.69). and finally. rehearsing their written scripts many times with the college participants.3% indicated that the program helped them understand more about Penghu (M=4. one of the VHS students said to me proudly and excitedly: “I have never spoken so much English within one day!” (Observational field notes. the VHS participants were able to make good use of the knowledge and vocabulary introduced to interpret a given tourist spot. The accumulated oral practice had a positive effect on VHS students’ oral interpretation competence. perfecting their English tour at the tourist spot locations until they were satisfied with their performance. 3: 2. Even though oral competence was emphasized. 2011 87 oral English – the VHS students practiced their oral skills in various ways. 88. 96.49). Effects on ESP learning The data suggest that this ESP program had an extremely positive effect on the participants’ overall ESP learning. “ESP learning” refers to three elements: understanding.4% of them reported an increased motivation to engage in related interpretation activities (M=4.
571 69. 5.583 53. 6. 0% (0) 0.2% (18) 23.637 73.9% (7) 15.703 2.0% (0) 0. 2.0% (0) Mean SD 1.8% (1) 0. The ESP program motivated me to engage in related oral interpretation activities in the future.0% (0) 0.7% (2) 0. 0% (0) 4. The ESP program helped me understand the local culture of Penghu.1% (6) 7.42 .5% (3) 0.7% (15) 26.8% (8) 3. 0% (0) 0.9% (7) 4.62 .0% (0) 4.8% (1) 0. .65 .6% (9) 11. The ESP program helped me read articles about Penghu in English.4% (17) 30.69 .758 53. 7.62 .1% (6) 3.0% (0) 0. The ESP program helped me understand the tourist spots in Penghu.88 Yi-Hsuan Gloria Lo Table 2 Perceived effects of the program on the participants’ ESP learning N= 26 1 5 Strongly agree % (No) 69.50 . 3. 0% (0) 4.8 % (1) 0. and on their overall English learning.1% (19) 23.8% (14) 34.2% (18) 4 Agree % (No) 3 2 1 Neutral % Disagree % Strongly (No) (No) disagree % (No) 3.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 4.42 .0% (0) 4.4% (4) 0.0% (0) 4. 4.0% (0) 0. What effect did this ESP program have on the participants’ overall English proficiency and their general English learning? The second research question in this study concerned the effects of this ESP program on the participants’ English proficiencies. The ESP program increased my interest in introducing Penghu Island in English.562 65. 26.8% (1) 0.549 57. The ESP program enhanced my ability to introduce Penghu tourist spots in oral English.3% (11) 3. The ESP program helped me understand more about Penghu. on their perceived improvement in four skills.8% (14) 42.
70 3.042 -1.46). More than 90% believed that participating in the ESP camp enhanced their listening ability (M=4. the majority of the participants believed that the ESP program had a positive effect on their general English ability in the four skills (see Table 4).00 3.01) were found in the results on the speaking tests and overall English proficiency.000** .052 -1. Vol.79 316. Table 3 Paired t-Test of mean scores on listening.303 . P** <. Nearly 85% thought their reading ability was improved (M=4. and writing.17). More than 70% indicated that their writing ability was enhanced (M=4. and writing proficiency. More than 85% indicated feeling that their speaking ability was enhanced (M=4.6 55.12). 3: 2. reading.353 -7.16 10. reading. reading.50).189 .98 3.and post-test scores on listening.193 . speaking.573 . No significant difference was found between pre.342 -4.6679 M 93. Listening Speaking Reading Writing Overall -1.34 2.000** P* < .9979 SD 3. writing.22 70. reading.3750 Post-test SD 2. speaking. Nearly 90% believed that the learning .60 90.05.08 73.58 9. and overall English proficiency.1749 3. However.1064 t-value Sig. writing and overall English proficiency in the pre-test and post-test N= 25 Pre-test M 89.75 292. significant differences (p < .6 42.01 Effects on perceived improvements in four skills Although the program might not have lasted long enough for the participants to make a statistical difference in their listening.36 87.5820 2. 2011 89 Effects on participants’ proficiencies Table 3 shows the results of a paired t-test of mean scores on tests of listening.TIESPJ.
0% (0) 4.2% (12) 7.5% (10) 46.46). Participating in this ESP program enhanced my listening ability. 0% (0) Mean SD 34. Finally. 3.801 42. 0% (0) 0.6% (9) 46. 0% (0) 0.0% (13) 4 Agree % (No) 3 2 Neutral % Disagree % (No) (No) 1 Strongly disagree % (No) 0. 4.7% (15) 61.1% (6) 11. 8% (1) 0. 0% (0) 0. 0% (0) 0.5% (3) 3.90 Yi-Hsuan Gloria Lo experience gained from participating in the ESP program was helpful for learning English in the future (M=4. 0% (0) 0. more than 85% of the participants indicated that the learning experience in this program increased their motivation to learn English (Mean=4. 6.50). The ESP program was helpful for my English learning in the future.5% (3) 11. 5% (3) 3. Participating in this ESP program enhanced my speaking ability. 8% (1) 0. 0% (0) 0.46 .12 .50 . 7% (2) 3.9% (7) 23.706 4.5% (16) 30. 57.3% (11) 57.46 .2% (12) 11. such as .648 4.707 6. 8% (1) 0. 2. 0% (0) 4. 5. This ESP program increased my motivation to learn English. Participating in this ESP program enhanced my writing ability.8% (8) 30.8% (8) 26. Participating in this ESP program enhanced my reading ability.7% (15) 50. The impact of this ESP program.50 .19 .909 4. Discussion The Taiwanese VHS students of tourism entered the program without the necessary language and oral skills for interpretation but left the ESP program being able to interpret a tourist attraction in English. Table 4 Participants’ perceived improvement in four skills and perceived effect on their learning motivation 5 Perceived Improvement in Strongly English Ability agree % N= 26 (No) 1. 0% (0) 4.582 38.
Practical use of the language . Because the majority of the participants lacked the language and oral skills required by the ultimate task. the program (divided into four phases) was primarily designed to bridge the gap. The materials on the18 topics were adapted. This section first addresses the learning conditions contributing to the effectiveness of the ESP program in this school-university partnership. EGP dilemma. “Here and now” vocabulary and photos as well as the self-created. modified. to allow the participants to interact with materials in different genres. The native-speaking English teachers provided the learners with key words for expressing ideas in English. but also of the local county government. and (4) meaningful tasks. Vol. and/or self-created. based on the results of the study. The contents fulfilled the needs not only of participants in their professional field.TIESPJ. introducing a local tourist attraction in oral English. Practical application of the language learned was the first concern. Rich and multiple inputs. followed by a response to the ESP vs. particularly in speaking. The participants did not study the English language for later . Needs-based contents . In addition. The contents of the program were needs-centered. 2011 91 the perceived impact on the participants’ interest and ability in ESP interpretation. Learning conditions created through this school-university partnership The materials design model proposed by Hutchinson and Waters (1987) is the analytical framework we use for examining the learning outcomes co-constructed by the school-university partnership. 3: 2. was profound. this ESP program had positive effects on participants’ overall English proficiency. (3) practical use of English. Four interconnected learning conditions contributed to the positive learning outcomes: (1) rich and multiple inputs. (2) needs-based contents. This ESP program offered rich input from multiple sources. namely. The college English instructor and VHS English teacher provided the participants with the critical background information in both Chinese and English. both professionally and locally. on-the-spot video clips not only helped students make better sense of the topics. but also set a solid knowledge foundation for accomplishing their assigned tasks.
92 Yi-Hsuan Gloria Lo use. The ambivalent response toward the ESP vs. participants left the program with a positive attitude towards ESP programs.01). rather. The features of immediacy and simplicity could be found in the materials for the 18 topics. but also in the expertise demonstrated in the ultimate task required by the participants’ professional field and by the strategic plans for internationalization set up by the county government. 1996a. in the language used by the instructors. The tasks reflected the idea that the ultimate purpose of language learning is language use (Hutchinson and Waters. The ESP program led to improvements in participants’ language skills. as well as their knowledge of local tourist spots. Moreover. Hung & Lou. including oral English competence. The results of this study showed a different outcome. 1996. The “side effect” of this ESP program was that participants’ overall English proficiency increased (p <. Meaningful tasks . 1987). thereby denying them the opportunity to study at a college or university. What is worth mentioning is that the participants (M=4. Complex sentence patterns that did not fit the oral mode or were too difficult for the participants were avoided. 1994. EGP dilemma Conversations and interviews with the VHS English teachers and administrators over the course of this project (Personal communication. EGP dilemma suggests that ESP curricula might take away from students’ time spent studying general English. The ESP vs. the new words introduced in the program were immediately applied in games and activities. and in the self-created video-clips. March-December 2009) coupled with findings from previous studies (Hung. The sense of meaningfulness lay not only in a communicative task in which the participants were able to use the content and the language knowledge they had built up through a series of in-class-tasks.46) stated that the positive experience with this ESP program was helpful for their learning . 1999. 1995) suggest that most VHS English teachers believe they have to choose between ESP and EGP learning. and result in poor performance on entrance examinations. indicating that they would be more willing to engage in English interpretation in the future.
the participants reported that their motivation to learn English was enhanced (M=4.TIESPJ. Four interconnected learning conditions through a school and university partnership and their impact on learning ESP and EGP . 3: 2.50) as the result of participating in this program. these positive experiences with ESP and EGP will contribute to participants’ fundamental and long-term motivation to learn EGP as well as ESP. indicating they would carry over the positive learning experience to their EGP learning. School University Rich and multiple inputs Needs-based contents Practical language Meaningful tasks ESP Competence and Learning EGP (Listening) EGP (Reading) English Proficiency and Learning EGP (Speaking) EGP (Writing) Motivation for Learning English (EGP and ESP) Figure 1. Consequently. (2) EGP overall proficiency and EGP learning. as indicated by the dotted lines of Figure 1. can have an immediate and permeating impact on overall English proficiency and self-reported improvements in four skills. as well as (3) their motivation for learning English (EGP and ESP). Unlike Chen (2006). Figure 1 presents the discursive relationships among the four interconnected learning conditions and their impact on participants in terms of (1) ESP competence and learning. who proposes a one-way direction from a common core (EGP) to specific (ESP) instruction. Additionally. 2011 93 English in the future. Figure 1 shows that an effective schooluniversity partnership can create positive learning conditions for building participants’ ESP competence and learning of ESP and that these positive learning outcomes. Based on the findings of the study. Vol.
VHS students can engage in learning ESP during the regular academic year. 7. but they will also improve their overall language proficiency. Conclusions The study delineates what is involved in ESP materials development and program design and implementation for VHS students of tourism through a school-university partnership. Rather. participating in ESP programs will not compete with Taiwanese VHS students’ time for learning EGP. not only in learners’ ESP competence but also their overall English proficiency. program design. motivation for learning both ESP and EGP will be cultivated. If this is done. An ESP program that matches the nature of students’ majors and their professional needs can create a win-win situation. as well as their motivation for further ESP and EGP learning. which will reduce the .94 Yi-Hsuan Gloria Lo In sum. 8. (3) use of practical language. (2) needs-based content. an ESP program that takes learners’ needs as its first priority can nurture students’ internal motivation to learn English rather than as a response to outside forces. and implementation are characterized by (1) rich and multiple inputs. It is found that effective ESP materials development. as this study demonstrates. Essentially. The results of the study suggest that VHS English teachers should not be caught in the either-ESP-or-EGP dichotomy. These positively interconnected learning conditions can contribute to effective outcomes. Not only will the VHS students gain ESP competence. and (4) meaningful tasks. learning ESP will both help increase the knowledge and the skills that match their professional field and consolidate basic language skills required by the entrance examination. Suggestions Several suggestions are made based on the results of the study. More importantly. The positive outcomes of this ESP program suggest that ESP courses should be included as part of the English curricula in the Taiwanese VHS system.
As this ESP project took place over the weekends and the summer time. N=25) might not be the same because some participants had other time commitments on weekends and the summer break. Sava. Vol. this study would not have been possible without the multiple roles played by the college students majoring in English. this study would not have been possible. 2007) from high school to offer an ESP course in interpretation in the VHS system.. Jason Liu. Case studies on VHS students in other professional fields should be conducted in order to seek other potential forms of ESP materials development. Acknowledgement I would like to thank the four college participants in this study: Laura Liu.g. 2011 95 problem of attendance. 2010) for secondary school students. the number of participants who filled out the questionnaires (Table 2. and implementation. Without their commitment and dedication. Lastly.and post. program design. 2005. Although a total of 33 VHS students of tourism voluntarily participated in this study. Note 1. More case studies can fill in the gap in ESP research on secondary learners. For example. N=26) and who took the pre. a college English instructor could collaborate with a subject area specialist (Perry & Stewart.GEPT tests (Table 3. 3: 2. The results of the study are based on VHS students of tourism. Studies should also be conducted to investigate the effects of ESP programs through different forms of school-university partnerships. Yu. some students were not able to participate in the program due to other commitments. More studies should be conducted to address the roles that college English-major students can play in creating ESP programs (e. . Anita Wang and Ricky Chen.TIESPJ.
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We are your tour guides: I’m Benjamin. I’m Karen. . Benjamin Scripts on the English Tour Hello everyone. 2011 99 Appendix: A Videotaped English Tour Given by the VHS Tourism Students http://www. As the government plans to protect this village the village’s traditional culture and history has been well protected. Chris.TIESPJ. 3: 2. Look. 2009 Location: Urkan Village. But do you know that Penghu is also a place full of traditional culture? Right! That is Urkan village. There are about three or four main narrow streets. I’m Chris and I’m Chichi. Vol.youtube. this is Ursing temple. Xiyu Township Cast: Karen. Now we are at Urkan village. Chichi. Urkan village is located in Siyu Township.com/watch?v=skP5JusSIk0 Title: Urkan Village Date: August 28th. You can see a lot of natural scenery in Penghu. There are almost twenty to thirty families in the whole village.
the door of the Chen family house is of a South Sea like style. ALL: Bye Bye! . You must visit Urkan. I love legends. R: Hi B: こんにちは、どうしだの [Hello! What’s the matter?] R: Oh. Now. But my English is not good. Good bye. Oh! Sorry what is your name? B: My English name is Benjamin. Japan is a famous country and. Let’s go talk to them. When I first came here I had a very good Chinese interpreter. Look! There are many tourists visiting Urkan village. R: It’s all right. Wow. Can you speak English? B: Sure. Let’s go visit Urkan village. He was very friendly and passionate. sorry. I can’t understand what you say. R: Great! Why do you like here so much? B: You want to know? Let me tell you. That was one year ago. it has four hundred years of history. He spent one hour showing Urkan to me. what a beautiful scenery! This is Urkan village. You must have a good memory.100 Yi-Hsuan Gloria Lo When you walk along the ancient streets of Urkan village. I also remember he told me some legends. Why did you come here? B: I came here for tourism. The Chen family house is the main historic attraction. B: Good bye! さようなら [Good Bye!] K: See! How beautiful! B: See! How ancient! C: See! How traditional! R: If you come to Penghu. So where are you from? B: I’m from Japan. R: That’s a special experience. Do you know where Japan is? R: Of course. R: Nice to meet you! Benjamin. I hope you have a nice trip today. it is like taking a trip back into the past. Urkan village has the biggest historic house in Penghu. U Can TV. R: And what do you think about Urkan village? B: Urkan village is a beautiful village. My name is Chris. Since the Chen family used to do a lot of business in the South Seas. I’m reporter Chris. Welcome to watch Yes.
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