ESP News

ESP News, Volume 11:2 (October 2003)

by User Not Found | 11/08/2011
ESPIS masthead. In This Issue...

Letter from the ESP-IS Chair
Proposed Changes to the ESP-IS Governing Rules
Technology-Based ESP--From Analyzing Needs to Developing Workplace Communication Systems
English - The Language of Science but Not Always That of Scientists
RESPONSE--an ESP Project in Russia
Discussing Theological English: A Review of the TESOL 2003 ESP Discussion Group
News from the ESPIS-L Manager
TESOL 2003 ESP Networking Session: English for Medical Purposes (EMP)
Submit an Item for the ESP-IS E-Section
Conferences of Interest to ESP Specialists
TESOL ESP Interest Section 2003-2004
About This Member Community

Letter from the ESP-IS Chair

by Mark Freiermuth, Ph.D., ESP-IS Chair,

As I move into the position of Chair, I must say thank you to everyone who has given me a word of encouragement along the way. I want to say a special thanks to Ethel Swartley for redirecting me when it appeared I would walk into a phone pole or two.

At TESOL 2003, I spent quite a lot of my "free" time at the IS booth. I talked to a number of attendees who were in search of the "right fit," which can be difficult in an organization the size of TESOL. Quite a few of these folks discovered that the "right fit" was in the ESP-IS. Eventually, many of these conversations turned into networking queries, which ultimately led to networking sessions with others of like interests.

It was also somewhat astonishing to discover the number of attendees who were completely unfamiliar with the concept of English for Specific Purposes. I guess it doesn't take someone with extra sensory perception to realize that ESP is still mysterious to many folks who are camped under the same TESOL umbrella. I found it quite rewarding to help change weird looks and scrunched up faces to nodding heads that sometimes said, "Hmmm, I think I get it."

The booth is also a good hangout for "locals only." When activity was light at the booth, I had a chance to chat with other volunteers who were giving their time. It is the absolutely best place to get to know other IS members better.

My hope is that next year, our booth will be a hub of activity. Consider this: Despite being a fairly small IS by TESOL standards, our booth was undoubtedly one of the busiest. Why? Because our IS members were at the booth most of the time, and we had information to give them (as well as cool stickers that trumpeted "ESP").

That brings me to 2004 (you knew where I was going with this). If you want to get involved in the ESP-IS, but are a little hesitant to jump in feet first, why not put in a couple of hours at the booth? I think you will get a good feel for what goes on and you will get a chance to chat with a wide variety people. I may make it my pet project, so watch out!!!

Proposed Changes to the ESP-IS Governing Rules

by Ethel C. Swartley, ESP-IS Immediate Past Chair,

For the past several years, there has been increasing discussion of updating obsolete sections of the ESP Interest Section (ESP-IS) and restructuring the ESP-IS Steering Board. Much of this discussion has centered around increasing the participation of international members in ESP-IS leadership, including officers on the Steering Board who accurately reflect the major subfields of ESP as well as the new electronic communication channels, and raising up additional leadership within the interest section in order to address perennial ESP problems such as teacher training and professional pay rates.

In response to these discussions, the following governing rules changes were proposed at the TESOL 2003 convention's ESP-IS Open Meeting. Since these proposed changes must be presented in writing to the membership 30 days prior to voting to accept or reject them, votes for or against each of the changes will be collected via the interest section e-list, ESPIS-L, during December 2003 and by mail (see instructions at bottom of article for mail-in voting instructions).

Proposed Change #1: Members-at-Large

Article VI. E will be amended to read: "At least one member-at-large, but no more than four, will be elected to the Steering Board for staggered 2-year terms. As far as practicable, members-at-large shall be international representatives."

Rationale: In the early years of the interest section, members-at-large were appointed by the Steering Board as a way of encouraging international members to initiate special projects that were in the interest of the ESP-IS (such as starting ESP interest sections within international TESOL affiliate organizations). Over the years, members-at-large have been very successful in getting international projects up and running as well as nominating follow-up members-at-large to replace them as they completed their terms on the Steering Board. At the same time, many of these members-at-large have come from the same one or two geographic regions, and several exceptions have been made to allow for multiple members-at-large representing different regions.

Since the ESP-IS would like to encourage even further participation in the interest section by international members who are ESP leaders in their own countries, it is proposed to formally allow for more than one member-at-large on the steering board, but limiting the number to four or fewer in order to prevent the steering board from becoming unwieldy in size. Since members-at-large serve as representatives for international ESP-IS members, it is also proposed that the member-at-large position be nominated and elected by the membership (particularly calling for nominations from international members) rather than being appointed by the Steering Board.

Proposed Change #2: E-list Manager

To Article VI shall be added:

"The e-list manager, who is appointed by the Steering Board, will hold office for two years, serving the first year as an apprentice to the current e-list manager and training an apprentice manager during the second year."

Rationale: With the increasing importance of electronic media as an official medium for communication between TESOL and its membership, the ESPIS-L e-list manager plays an increasingly valuable role in disseminating information about ESP. In many ways, the e-list manager plays a role which is equally valuable to that of the newsletter editor, regulating discussion of ESP issues online and keeping abreast of what is of concern to the interest section and its members. At the same time, the e-list manager requires certain skills in online discussion management and technical interface with TESOL which can easily be developed through apprenticeship under an experienced e-list manager.

Proposed Change #3: Representative Positions

Article VI C will be amended to read:

"It is critical that the membership of the Steering Board represent the range of ESP areas present in the ESP-IS, which can be divided into two major divisions: English in Occupational Settings (EOS) and English in Academic Settings (EAS). Representatives from both of these two major divisions shall be voted into office by the general membership and hold office for two years, with one member elected each year from each division to provide staggered terms and, thus, continuity on the Board. Whenever possible, EOS and EAS representatives on the Steering Board should represent different subfields within their divisions."

Rationale: Under the current governing rules, representatives on the Steering Board represent four subfields: English for Academic Purposes (EAP), English for Occupational Purposes (EOP), English for Professional Purposes (EPP), and English for Vocational Purposes (EVP). However, in recent years, the interest section has had difficulty finding qualified members to run for each of the four representative positions, particularly in smaller fields of ESP such as EVP. Thus, a broader division has been proposed. Within the new divisions, EAP and EVP would be represented by the new position, English in Academic Settings, or teaching and learning which takes place in pre-career educational environments. EPP and EOP would be represented by English in Occupational Settings, or teaching and learning which takes place in on-the-job training environments.

These new divisions will allow for representation from many different ESP sub-fields--as specified that representatives should come from different EAS and EOS fields - but will lessen the chances of positions going unfilled. Two EOS representatives and two EAS representatives will be on the board at all times, with one EOS and one EAS representative rotating off the board each year.

Proposed Change #4: Working Groups

Article VIII B shall be amended to read: "Ad hoc committees, working groups, task forces, and commissions may be established by the Steering Board for a period of one year, which shall be renewable by approval of the Steering Board. Members of such bodies shall be appointed by the Chair or initiated from within the membership upon approval by the Steering Board. The Steering Board shall give such bodies their specific charges for that year. The process for forming such groups will be as follows:

1. A call for participation shall be posted through the ESP-IS communication channels, including the e-list, the newsletter or e-section, and the annual open meeting.

2. A group will be formed from those who express interest in participating.

3. The group will name a group member liaison who will report annually to the membership on the activities of the group via the IS Open Meeting and the e-section or newsletter."

Rationale: A number of long-term ESP problems go unresolved from year to year, including issues of teacher training, professional salary levels, the set-up of international ESP centers, etc. These issues are critical to the credibility and success of ESP worldwide, and they require the attention of the ESP-IS leadership. At the same time, because these issues are hopefully temporary, they do not warrant permanent positions on the ESP-IS Steering Board. A task force or working group model would lend itself to addressing these critical issues and making recommendations for ESP-IS action, while protecting the workload of Steering Board members. The wording of this proposed change will encourage grassroots ESP movements to address critical issues, while specifying an official process for forming groups and making recommendations to the interest section leadership.

Voting Instructions on Proposed Changes

If you are a member of the ESP Interest Section e-list, ESPIS-L, watch the list in January for instructions on voting for acceptance or rejection of these governing rules changes. For members who are unable to access the e-list, mail-in votes will also be accepted between now and February 1st by the Immediate ESP-IS Past Chair at the following address:

Ethel Swartley
550 Snowy Owl Place
Highlands Ranch, CO 80126 USA

For mail-in votes, please include your name (for verification of your ESP-IS membership) and a list or printout of the proposed changes, indicating "accept" or "reject" next to each change.

Technology-Based ESP--From Analyzing Needs to Developing Workplace Communication Systems

by Tim Boswood, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of English and Communication, City University of Hong Kong, Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Phone: (852) 2788-8868, E-mail:

The recent TESOL convention, with its theme of Hearing Every Voice, was a great opportunity to explore intersections and interdisciplinarity. Taking advantage of Mark Freiermuth's kind invitation to speak at the CALL-ESP intersection session, I was interested in considering how new technologies are transforming workplace writing and how we as ESP practitioners should respond. This led me to look at whether recently-developed, media-conscious approaches to discourse analysis can help us to critically examine the impact of these technologies and the role they (and we) play in developing the organizations we service.

These themes came together for me recently during an ESP consultancy for the Hong Kong Jockey Club (see Baxter, Boswood & Peirson-Smith, 2002). I was in a training session with a dozen senior managers who were planning a committee paper based on a corporate case study. In the afternoon session, the managers wrote up their drafts.

During lunch, one manager came up to me and asked if it were okay if he brought his secretary in, because his normal practice was to draft papers by hand for his secretary to type up. I agreed, and after lunch the pair swiftly completed the task and left early while their colleagues laboured late over their word processors.

This incident brought into focus the varying contributions of mediating technologies, and the challenge of incorporating them in our ESP investigative and training methods. Equally importantly, it underlined how workplace writing is frequently a collaborative process, involving several people playing complementary roles and acting through a number of different technologies. IT is merging some roles, creating new ones, making others redundant, and opening up new possibilities for interaction within writing teams. At the same time, this process is bound up with the development of new forms of team-based organization typical of the 'new capitalism'.

Diagnosing the Sociotechnical System

Like many colleagues, I am convinced that ESP needs a theoretical framework that goes beyond the individual writer and relates texts with social structures and relations such as power, profession, ethnicity, and gender, as well as production roles. But we also need a framework that can account for the technologies through which these relations are realised in communicative practices. In short, we need to diagnose not just individual needs and performance, but the whole socio-technical system within which our students are expected to perform.

This focus on system as well as individual competences is in line with current trends towards a performance development approach (see, for example, Hale 1998; Robinson & Robinson, 1989, 1995, 1998) and the quality movement in general. In this approach, training is just one possible strategy for improving performance and by no means the automatically most effective choice.

Performance development consultants encourage us to ask, "Could your people perform the task competently if their lives depended on it?" If the answer is yes, they don't need training! They need a supportive work system, helpful job aids, and above all motivation. Dr. Deming, founder of the Quality Movement, is frequently credited as saying that quality is 90% system, 10% individuals.

Mediated Discourse Analysis

One framework that can help us re-orient our needs analysis methods in the direction of socio-technical systems is Mediated Discourse Analysis (MDA), an approach developed by Professor Ron Scollon of Georgetown University (reference his website at

Like Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), MDA endorses the shift of focus from the cognitive writing processes of the individual (Flower & Hayes, 1981), to analysis of writing as social practice.

Thinking in terms of practices helps us to link writing with the past -- just as language is a dialect with an army, a practice is an action with a history! In my analyses of corporate writing, I am struck by the weight of tradition. A high-level, strategic document is one in a long line of such papers; its style is identified with the history of the organization, its voice is the voice of the organization, and the process of its creation is a process of fashioning that institutional voice.

For strategic documents, this process is socially complex, involving many practices including initiating, team-forming, team-management, research, problem analysis, drafting, screening, editing, rewriting, authorizing, submitting, commenting, designing and many more. MDA takes us a step beyond CDA by focusing on these actions, and their mediating tools and technologies. This makes the approach highly concrete, with a practicality that counterbalances the abstractions that may make pragmatic business people wary of, say, CDA.

MDA refers to the technologies involved in such activities as mediational means (or sometimes cultural tools). Language, of course, is our primary technology, but other technologies of production include the hardware, the software, the e-mail attachments, the templates, the notepads, the manager's red pen, and even the built environment where writing takes place. If ESP is to remain true to its much-debated claim to 'authenticity' then we must also strive towards an authenticity of tools and relations. Bringing secretaries into management writing training is just the first step!

Further, we have to understand that all significant documents emerge from activities within groups, i.e., they are located within communities of practice. All such groups also involve power relations, created through mediated action, through discourse and discourse control. These too directly impact document quality. How are ESP practitioners to deal with such complexities?

Collaborative Writing in the New Capitalism

Fortunately we have an extensive body of research in collaborative writing going back some thirty years (Paradis et al., 1985; Kleimann, 1991) to guide us. Two recent works strike me as being of special value: Geoffrey Cross's Forming the Collective Mind (2001) and Sandra Gollin's Ph.D. thesis Collaborative Writing in an Organizational Context (2003), partly accessible as Gollin (1999).

Both are studies of extensive workplace collaborative writing projects, and though very different, both emphasise writers' dual management of identity, first vis-a-vis the reader through drafted texts, and secondly through negotiations within the writing team. Gollin's systemic functional linguistic analyses vividly portray the complex dynamics of power and solidarity that eventually result in a final agreed text.

Such studies helpfully demonstrate that workplace writing can be managed in several different ways, following hierarchical 'document screening' or through more egalitarian collaboration. My own work has confirmed that traditional screening approaches can involve significant problems and that a move towards collaborative teams can be beneficial. But the movement from one towards the other is a long and hard process of organizational development and management change.

This development is precisely the challenge faced by the so-called new capitalism, whose rise has flattened hierarchies, stripped out middle management and spawned countless quasi-autonomous teams, as characterised and critiqued in Gee, Hull & Lankshear's The New Work Order (1996).

Like most large organizations, our client, the Hong Kong Jockey Club, was also on this developmental path. Our strategy was to provide writing workshops focused on individual competence complemented by system-building through document design, policy development, and soft skills training in the management of collaborative writing teams. Our ESP was becoming organizational development, and we naturally looked to technical systems as facilitators.

New Technologies and Their Embedded Values

New technologies provide a wide range of tools to support such collaborative interactions. One type is Groupware software designed to facilitate group communication, collaboration and coordination (Allen 1990; Lotus Development Corporation, 1995). Examples include Lotus Notes, MSExchange, Novell GroupWise and GroupSystems.

Typical features of groupware systems include: simultaneous contribution by team members (saving time and increasing productivity); anonymity (resulting in more open expression of opinions, more objective evaluation of ideas); and complete records (all ideas, comments and votes can be distributed after the session). These are all useful features to support collaborative writing.

Other relevant tools are Open Text and Extensible Markup Language (XML) web-based technologies designed to encourage 'single production -- multiple use' of chunks of text. While bringing a new sophistication to 'cut and paste', these also introduce new norms of discourse ownership which notably challenge some deep-seated academic values such as the demand for originality that underlies exhortations to avoid plagiarism!

Despite their embedded values, there is still a wide belief that IT is socially neutral. To say "technology is just a tool" (Kapica, 2003) is, however, totally missing the point. All technologies are more or less deliberately designed with ideological content, whether this be the assumption of egalitarianism, a belief in equal rights in team members' voicing of ideas, or a preference for corporate rather than individual ownership of texts and ideas. All tools introduce new potentials for the exercise of power, sometimes distributed, sometimes centralised. "The interfaces to communication tools are strongly influenced by metaphors, and these metaphors are often the basis of social control" (Poltrock & Grudin, 1995).


This all implies that ESP needs a socio-critical analysis of socio-technical systems to take us beyond a contentment with individual training which reproduces existing forms of discourse and organization. ESP practitioners have a role in organizational development, in defining improved systems, but this demands understanding of the technologies that are shaping the world of work.

Like it or not, we are deeply involved in social engineering, in contributing to the new capitalism, and in creating new social and technical structures for the coming century. This is an enterprise that requires vision, responsibility and ultimately an ethical perspective.


Allen, C. (Fall, 1990). Definitions of groupware. Applied Groupware. Retrieved February 26, 2003, from

Baxter, R., Boswood, T., & Peirson-Smith, A. (2002). An ESP program for management in the horse racing business. In T. Orr (Ed.), English for specific purposes: Case studies in TESOL practice (pp. 117-146). Fairfax, VA: TESOL.

Cross, G. (2001). Forming the collective mind: A contextual exploration of large-scale collaborative writing in industry. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

Flower, L., & Hayes, J. (1981). A cognitive process theory of writing. College Composition and Communication, 3, 365-387.

Gee, J., Hull, G., & Lankshear, C. (1996). The new work order: Behind the language of the new capitalism. Boulder, CO: Westview/Harper Collins.

Gollin, S. (1999). 'Why? I thought we'd talked about it before': Collaborative writing in a professional workplace setting. In C. Candlin, & K. Hyland (Eds.),Writing: Texts, processes and practices (pp. 267-290). London: Longman.

Gollin, S. (2003). Collaborative writing in an organizational context: A case study. Ph.D. thesis. School of Linguistics, Macquarie University, Sydney.

Hale, J. (1998). The performance consultant's fieldbook. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Kleimann, S. (1991). The complexity of workplace review. Technical Communication, Fourth Quarter, 520-526.

Lotus Development Corporation. (1995). Groupware: Communication, collaboration and coordination. Intranet Journal. Retrieved February 26, 2003, from

Paradis, J., Dobrin, D., & Miller, R. (1985). Writing at Exxon ITD. In L. Odell, & D. Goswami (Eds.), Writing in non-academic settings (pp. 281-307). New York: The Guilford Press.

Poltrock, S. & Grudin, J. (1995). Groupware and Workflow: A survey of systems and behavioral issues. Conference on Human Factors and Computing Systems 1995 Proceedings. Retrieved March 19, 2003, from

Robinson, D., & Robinson, J. (1989). Training for impact: How to link training to business needs and measure the results. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Robinson, D., & Robinson, J. (1995). Performance consulting: Moving beyond training. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

Robinson, D., & Robinson, J. (1998). Moving from training to performance: A practical guidebook. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

English - The Language of Science but Not Always That of Scientists

by Catherine Histon, Faculty of Science, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy. Address: via Mazzini 4, 21039 Valganna (Va), Italy,


English is now more than ever the language of science. Consequently non-native speaking (NNS) scientists have to cope with a specific literacy not only in their L1, but more importantly in English which may be their L2 or even L3. Much controversy surrounds the training of English teachers for the scientific disciplines and whether specificity is really relevant or not (Hyland, 2002). As a native speaking natural scientist who has been involved in teaching in this sector for many years I thought that a particular method that I use for developing writing skills may be of interest to other ESP teachers.

The attitude towards the English component of a scientific course is often a problem as most students regard it as an easy discipline or of no relevance to their degree course; hence, motivation and participation levels are generally low. Using the methods of science to teach English for the natural sciences may not be original, but may be more familiar to the students who then can refer from the scientific part of their degree course to the linguistic part without feeling disoriented.

Writing Lab Reports

The scientific experiment or project whether field or lab-based forms a central part of the training in any natural science course, and there are specific steps to be followed and rigidly adhered to when reporting on the above. Why not also use this approach for ESP/EAP courses for the natural sciences? Once students have grasped the fundamentals of the present and past simple verb tenses, they may be introduced to writing tasks which follow a format that they will have already encountered and which may encourage them to develop their writing skills not only in L1 but also in L2 by transferring the information from the new literacy they are learning for their chosen discipline. In this way the task (Foster, 1999) has a double function as they are revising methods for their scientific course and gaining a new vocabulary in English. I use this writing task of a lab/field report for creating awareness that English is not just a subject that has been imposed on NNS students, but that by applying it to their own particular area they will benefit in many ways.

The lab report has a set style with four major sections:

Aim: describe the experiment or fieldwork and why it is being done (use of present simple)

Method: describe what was done step by step (use of past simple, adverbs of frequency)

Result: describe the results obtained (use of past simple, adjectives)

Conclusion: discuss the results in relation to the initial aim and give the reasons why the experiment was a success or failure (emphasis argumentative language)

This formula may be applied to any scientific topic and is suitable for students of mixed abilities. Co-operation is of course needed with faculty members in order to identify the level of scientific ability and discourse required. The future scientists will have to constantly write reports, abstracts, research proposals and articles. Therefore a grounding in the lexis and syntax that should be used will be of general use not just for writing but also for reading authentic scientific texts.


Recycling vocabulary (Januleviciene, 2003) from other reading exercises for writing reports is a simple way of providing students with a ready-made vocabulary and of checking comprehension levels. The students themselves choose twenty words from the reading text and then write a report on a completely different topic. For example, chosen vocabulary from an ecology article about measuring levels of pollution could be used to write a field report related to conservation.

Topics must be related to the basic science course which the students are doing in order to remain within the specific style and convention of their discipline. Class discussion of some of these student reports used for reading aloud open up a free use of structures that have been previously covered (Green et al., 1997). Therefore, the lab report writing task has a four-fold use in developing writing, reading, listening and oral abilities and is also useful to other faculty members as their scientific subject is revised through its transfer by the student from L1 to L2.


Students must be provided with motivation to write lab reports. Therefore, if a certain percentage of the final course grade is dedicated to this task the student will be obliged to devote a certain amount of time and effort throughout the course to not only producing texts, but also revising what has been covered to date. It is also a way for the both the teacher and student to evaluate progress and curriculum effectiveness. Course design constantly changes and evolves naturally through student/teacher interaction on course content and evaluation of progress. Therefore, these periodic writing tasks serve more than one purpose.


Using scientific approaches in teaching ESP/EAP may serve not only the English component of a natural science course but may actually also be of use to the other scientific courses in that a recycling of language and procedure is of central importance. This may also lead to more co-operation between faculty members in determining course content and ease relations regarding the scientific and linguistic demands on the student's time.


Foster, P. (1999). Task-based learning and pedagogy. ELT Journal, 53(1), 69-70.

Green, C.F, Christopher, E.R., & Lam, J. (1997). Developing discussion skills in the ESL classroom. ELT Journal, 51(2), 135-143.

Hyland, K. (2002). Specificity revisited: how far should we go now?. English for Specific Purposes, 21, 385-395.

Januleviciene, V. (2003). Recycling in ESP. IATEFL Issues, 171, February-March, 3-4.

RESPONSE--an ESP Project in Russia

by Ludmila Kuznetsova, RESPONSE Coordinator and Associate Professor, St. Petersburg State University, Russia. Address: 199 397, St. Petersburg, Novosmolenskaya nab. 1--486, Phone: 7 - 812--352-3134, E-mail:

The Russian Education Support Project on Specialist English--RESPONSE--is an undertaking, which was launched in 2001 by the British Council, Russia, and the Ministry of Education. Its goal is to improve the quality of teaching English for Special Purposes and English for Professional Communication at Russian universities.

The project consists of the following several stages:

Stage I

To determine the focus of the project, a baseline study was conducted at more than 100 universities in twelve Russian cities with the aim to explore the condition of teaching ESP at the tertiary level. Among the 4,682 respondents of the survey there were ESP teachers, students, university graduates, department heads and employers. Apart from that, more than 400 classroom observations were carried out, with records taken and analyzed. The findings were described in a report published in 2002.

The study revealed that the current quality of ESP teaching does not provide adequate skills in English for those who decide to pursue academic careers or seek employment in public or private companies. The two major problem areas are: 1) materials that are outdated, often irrelevant and not motivating; and 2) poor teacher training, which results in teacher-dominated classrooms where the most common activities are reading aloud, translating and completing grammar drills. A decision was taken to make ESP teacher development the focus of the project.

Stage II

The goal set for this stage of the project was to restore (or create) centers for in-service teacher training in eight leading universities across Russia located in Perm, Tomsk, Krasnoyarsk, Omsk, Samara, Rostov-on-Don, Moscow, and St. Petersburg.

To achieve the stated goal, a team of fifteen Russian methodology experts and two British consultants was organized. They first met in February 2002 and since then have worked on training materials for an in-service teacher development course. In August 2002, training sessions for prospective teacher trainers, who would be offering the course in their universities, were held in Tomsk and Samara. More than forty ESP professionals took part in the workshops. The participants were introduced to the materials, tried some of them out in micro-teaching sessions, and received sets of materials for piloting in their universities.

In January 2003, feedback on the piloted materials was collected and the team of materials developers came together to review it. As all the members of the team work full-time at their universities, the process of materials development and revision has not been easy or fast. The plans are to finish the teacher development ESP course this summer.

Stage III

The following steps will be taken in 2003 and 2004:

  1. Teacher trainers will be prepared to run the course at their universities' training centers.
  2. The course materials will be reviewed, edited, and prepared for the trainers to use.
  3. By the end of 2004, approximately 120 ESP teachers from local universities will have conducted the ESP Teacher Development course in several cities.

A more long-term prospect is to supply the teacher training centers of the leading Russian universities with the course materials, prepare trainers to run the course on a regular basis, and, in three years, to conduct an impact study in the areas involved to look for evidence of the changes projected.

Discussing Theological English: A Review of the TESOL 2003 ESP Discussion Group

by Ruth P. Griffith, Ed.D., Assistant Professor, Kean University, 1000 Morris Avenue, Union, NJ 07083, Phone: 908-737-4217,

A group of material designers and educators met at TESOL 2003 to discuss the special needs of theological seminary students who are required to learn English as a second or foreign language. The needs differ depending on whether the students live in English-speaking communities or in their home countries, but the students in both groups have conflicting interests.

Students in seminaries in the United States place greater value on their need to learn Greek and other ancient languages in order to read ancient texts. They put less emphasis on being proficient in academic English. Those students who plan to remain in the United States value English oral proficiency more than those who are international students planning to return to their home countries.

Students in countries where English is not the primary language struggle with their seminaries' needs and their own personal agendas. The seminaries want the students to learn to read in English so that they could read reference material in English. Many of the students, however, also want to learn to speak English, though this is not a requirement of the seminaries. The oral ability is the students' personal desire.

Many students in seminaries, particularly outside the United States, are not prepared for the rigors of academic study. They are accepted into seminaries based on their calling to the ministry rather than on their academic ability. First language literacy varies tremendously from student to student.

The discussion concluded with a recommendation that materials be designed to help theological students at various levels of literacy and language proficiency learn to read more effectively.

News from the ESPIS-L Manager

by Susan M. Barone, Vanderbilt University, Phone: 615-322-2277, E-mail:

As many of you are aware, the ESPIS-L e-list has been moved over to a different server with the new address The current list of subscribers has been contacted to reconfirm their intent to subscribe. If you are a member and have not received a message from TESOL to this regard or if you are interested in becoming a member, please go to to [re]subscribe or contact me at

Also, future changes for the ESP-IS website are in the works. Your ideas and comments regarding resources to make available through this online environment are critical for its usefulness to the membership. I look forward to hearing from you.

TESOL 2003 ESP Networking Session: English for Medical Purposes (EMP)

by Christine Parkhurst, EMP Networking Session Moderator, E-mail:

The English for Medical Purposes (EMP) networking session was an excellent opportunity for people working in this area to meet and exchange information and e-mail addresses. The majority of the EMP professionals were working with nurses, although there were also some other health care areas represented, such as pharmacy.

Much of the conversation focused on the lack of published materials for EMP in general, and what people are doing to adapt or create materials for their student populations. Other topics included the issue of assessment in this field. For example, the standards of intelligibility are higher than usual for people working in this area, since communication breakdown can have dire consequences. Later e-mail exchanges included teaching materials for nurses provided by a nurse educator from Japan.

Submit an Item for the ESP-IS E-Section

The editors welcome your submissions about the field of ESP. These submissions can take the following forms:

  • Articles (800-1500 words)
  • Book, website or software reviews (300-500 words)
  • Conference reports (200-300 words)
  • Announcements related to ESP issues (100-200 words)

For submission guidelines, inquire to:

Bonnie Juul
Juul Institute of International Communication
3405 Calle Cuervo NW #1226
Albuquerque, NM 87114, USA*
Phone: 505-250-0438

*Please note that this address will be changing as of February 1, 2003. A new address will be posted on the ESPIS-L e-list.

Conferences of Interest to ESP Specialists

The following conferences are devoted in whole or in part to English for Specific Purposes:

February 6 - 7, 2004: The IATEFL English for Specific Purposes (ESP) SIG National Conference; Donetsk State University of Economics and Trade, Donetsk, Ukraine; Contact: Igor Gizhko, Donestsk IATEFL Ukraine Regional Coordinator, PO Box 400, Donetsk, 83059, Ukraine. Phone. 380-62-305-22-28;

March 31 - April 3, 2004: TESOL 2004: Soaring Far, Catching Dreams, Long Beach, California, USA;

TESOL ESP Interest Section 2003-2004 Executive Board Officers

Chair (2003-2004): Mark R. Freiermuth,
Chair-Elect (2003-2004): Debra Lee,
Immediate Past Chair (2003-2004): Ethel C. Swartley,

Executive Board Representatives

ESP E-Section Newsletter Editors: (2003-2006) Bonnie Juul, and Elizabeth Hurst,
Secretary/Archivist (2002-2005): Jodi Nooyen,
ESPIS-L E-List Manager (2003-2006): Susan Barone,
English for Academic Purposes (EAP) (2003-2005): Li-Shih Huang,
English for Occupational Purposes (EOP) (2003-2005): Barbara Franceschini,
English for Professional Purposes (EPP) (2002-2004): Kathleen Miranda,
English for Vocational Purposes (EVP) (2003-2005): Thea Sierak,
Member-at-Large (2001-2003): Amany Sakr,

About This Member Community English for Specific Purposes (ESP) Interest Section

The English for Specific Purposes interest section (ESP IS) is open to TESOL members who are interested in research and instruction designed to meet the unique English language needs of students and working adults in specific areas of study and employment by providing special training beyond that which is normally acquired by the average English speaker. The IS fosters the sharing of ideas, expertise, and specialized curricula among ESP practitioners to promote quality research, education, professional-development in ESP.


Chair: Mark R. Freiermuth,
Chair-Elect: Debra S. Lee,
Editor: Debra S. Lee,
Web site:
Discussion e-list: Visit to subscribe to ESPIS-L, or if already subscribed.