“English for Specific Purposes: Emerging Challenges and Possibilities in Higher Education”

Date: Friday, March 5, 13:30-17:15
Venue:Zoom (The Zoom URL will be provided after registration.)
Participation fee:Free of charge (Pre-registration required)


Symposium objectives:

 English education at the tertiary level does not end with students completing general English language courses in their first or second year. In the later years of their university studies, students are expected to continue to learn English in accordance with their future academic or occupational needs. Teachers tasked with supporting such students will require an understanding of the theory and practice of English language teaching that meets the needs of learners in a variety of specialized fields.

This symposium invites experts who will help us understand English for Specific Purposes (ESP) from both theoretical and practical perspectives. Yukie Koyama (Professor Emeritus, Nagoya Institute of Technology) will provide a lecture on needs analysis in ESP, and Ken Urano (Professor, Hokkai-Gakuen University) will then speak on the issues of teaching business English in terms of task-based language teaching. The final talk, given by Walter Davies and Simon Fraser from our institute, will be on English language teaching in the medical field. The symposium will conclude with a question and answer session and a general discussion on the role of ESP in higher education. All the talks will be in English.

Yukie Koyama (Professor Emeritus, Nagoya Institute of Technology)
“Needs Analysis of English for Specific Purposes: Theoretical Aspects”

English for Specific Purposes (ESP) has been considered as an efficient approach in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and English as a Second Language (ESL) settings, when compared with English for General Purposes (EGP).

According to Dudley-Evans and St. John (1998), absolute characteristics of ESP is stated as “to meet specific needs of the learner”. Likewise, Brown (1995) places needs analysis (NA) as the base of the systematic curriculum development. Thus, NA is indispensable to set an appropriate goal of the curriculum, and to develop materials for the courses as well as to decide teaching method.

In this talk, the theoretical framework of NA by Brown (2009), and discussion on methods of NA by West (1994), Brown (1995, 2001, and 2009), and Long (2005) are introduced. Following these theoretical aspects, specific examples of NA conducted at engineering universities are discussed to show the difficulties and benefits of NA.

Ken Urano (Professor, Hokkai-Gakuen University)
“Designing Task-based ESP Syllabi: Two Cases from an English for Business Purposes Program”

Even though the number of people who actually use English in their lives is rather small in Japan, there is a certain demand for training of English for Specific Purposes (ESP) in such fields as engineering, medicine, and business, where communication in English is sometimes unavoidable. An increasing number of universities are offering ESP courses to accommodate the future needs of their students. One way to design an ESP course is to adopt task-based language teaching (TBLT). TBLT is a goal-oriented approach to language teaching, and is therefore compatible with ESP, which is by definition goal-oriented.

In this talk, I will report on an ongoing attempt to design and implement task-based syllabi at my workplace, where students learn English for business purposes. I will first introduce theoretical and empirical bases for task-based syllabus design, and show the actual process of syllabus and material design for two of the business English courses I teach, one for business email writing and the other for business presentation.

Walter Davies (Associate Professor, Hiroshima University) and Simon Fraser (Professor, Hiroshima University)
“English for Medical Purposes (EMP): Materials Design, Development, and Delivery”

In this talk, we will introduce an EMP project designed with the main aim of creating a word list embedded in pedagogical materials. We will discuss (1) the evolution of the project, consider (2) materials design, development, and delivery, including (3) the creation of a glossary for students, then (4) consider the link between general English and EMP.

Regarding (1), we originally planned to use corpus analysis of medical articles to create a word list, from which we would build materials. However, after conducting interviews with senior medical staff, analysis switched to medical reference books. We also decided to run corpus analysis and materials development in parallel, using the analysis to sharpen the materials and ensure the inclusion of key terms. In addition, we strengthened links with medical specialists to obtain advice on content.

In relation to (2), we will look at the actual process of materials development, the use of flipped learning, and how we slowly integrated courses so that a broad EMP syllabus was developed. We will also discuss how current research on case reports will be integrated into the syllabus. Regarding (3), we will describe the glossary being produced to accompany the materials, and discuss how the interlocking nature of the teaching materials is reflected at the level of medical terminology. Finally, in light of the above research, we will (4) discuss the connections between general English and EMP.

13:30Opening address
13:40-14:30Yukie Koyama
“Needs Analysis of English for Specific Purposes: Theoretical Aspects”
14:40-15:30Ken Urano
“Designing Task-based ESP Syllabi: Two Cases from an English for Business Purposes Program”
15:40-16:30Walter Davies and Simon Fraser
“English for Medical Purposes (EMP): Materials Design, Development, and Delivery”
16:40-17:10Questions and answers/Discussion
17:10Closing address


If you would like to participate, please contact us through the “Application Form” below by Sunday, February 28.

Application Form (Closed)

The application form is also for the “FLaRE Educational Report Meeting 2020,” scheduled from 10:30 to 12:00 on the same day.