How are Dialog's English for Specific Purposes (ESP) courses different from our General and Business English programs?
The most important difference lies in the learners and their purposes for learning English. ESP students are usually individuals who already have some acquaintance with English and are learning the language in order to communicate a set of professional skills and to perform particular job-related functions. Dialog's ESP programs are therefore built on an assessment of purposes and needs and the functions for which English is required.
Dialog ESP concentrates more on language in context than on teaching grammar and language structures. It covers subjects varying from accounting or computer science to tourism and business management. The ESP focal point is that English is not taught as a subject separated from the students' real world (or wishes); instead, it is integrated into a subject matter area important to the learners.
However, Dialog ESP diverges not only in the nature of the learner, but also in the aim of instruction. In fact, as a general rule, while in ESL all four language skills; listening, reading, speaking, and writing, are stressed equally, in ESP it is a needs analysis that determines which language skills are most needed by the students, and the syllabus is designed accordingly. A Dialog ESP program, might, for example, emphasize the development of reading skills in students who are financial analysts; or it might promote the development of spoken skills in students who are studying English in order to become more effective marketing professionals.
As a matter of fact, Dialog ESP combines subject matter and English language teaching. Such a combination is highly motivating because students are able to apply what they learn in their English classes to their main field of study, whether it be accounting, business management, economics, computer science or tourism. Being able to use the vocabulary and structures that they learn in a meaningful context reinforces what is taught and increases their motivation.