ESP uses a different methodology from GE

ESP is part of the broader professional framework of English language teaching. It
implies the design of syllabi and materials as well as its presentation and then
evaluation. But, English for general purpose (EGP) refers to contexts such as school
where needs cannot be specified. It is usefully considered as providing a broad
foundation rather a thorough and selective specification of goals like ESP.
Consequently, ESP uses, in specific teaching situations, a different methodology
than that of general English; since, the focus is on training, as English is intended to
be used in specific vocational contexts, selection of appropriate content is easier,
and thus, the aim of the syllabus may only be to build a restricted English
The first thing that needs to be said is that the focus is on training. In English for
General Purposes, generally the focus is on education.
The second argument is that in ESP courses the selection of contents is easier.
Learners need to acquire language that they can use in vocational contexts. On the
contrary, Course content is more difficult to select in EGP, since the future English
needs of the learners are hard to predict. The difference between ESP and EGP is, as
Hutchinson et al. (1987:53) explains quite simply: "in theory nothing, in practice a
great deal".
A third point to be raised is that when learning ESP, the aim of the syllabus may
only be to build a restricted English competence. On the other hand in EGP it is
important for the content in the syllabus to be useful and valuable for the student
Finally, Dudley-Evans and St. John (1998) have contended that ESP is not
necessarily but “may be related to or designed for specific disciplines” and different
methodologies “from that of General English” may be employed to cater for the
needs of the specific teaching situations for specific disciplines”.
On the contrary, some people argue that the differences between esp and egp have
become very vague. One argument is that when ESP appeared, teachers of GE
courses rarely worried about what was essential to actually undertake with their
learners who had specific needs. Teachers at the present time, on the contrary,
seem much conscious of the significance of needs analysis, and certainly materials
writers concerned with ESP handbooks design think very carefully about the goals of
learners at all stages of materials production. Probably, this demonstrates the
influence that the ESP approach has had on English teaching in general. Clearly the
line between where GE courses stop and ESP courses start has become very vague.