Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Students Perspective of Using Content-Based Approach in ESP Class

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Students Perspective of Using Content-Based Approach in ESP Class

Article excerpt


The purpose of this study is to understand the perspectives of using content-based approach on college students in International Trade Business English (ITBE) Class. Content-based Approach (CBA) viewed as language learning with contents for academic subject matter. It provides a cognitive and motivational basis of language learning. CBA approach gave the academic or language instructors a guideline for designing the contents and activities. Concurrent triangulation research conducted with quantitative method was designed to understand the learners improve their knowledge of business English through the CBA. 115 participants who majored in the Department of Applied English completed questionnaires at both the beginning and the end of the course. To obtain qualitative data, ten participants were randomly selected for specific purpose. Participants received the semi- interview to obtain the detailed information. Findings are listed as followings: (1) CBA increase the level of students' satisfaction toward the well-designed ITBE materials, (2) CBA has positive effects on ITBE course contents, (3) CBA in ITBE classrooms motivate students' learning needs, and (4) CBA helps the academic teacher and language teachers work well in designing the course activities and materials. Results indicate that CBA enriched experience of ESP learners and provided practical opportunities for ITBE learning.

Keywords: content-based approach, English for specific purposes, International Trade Business English

1. Introduction

With the rapid development of science, technology, information and economic globalization, International Trade has also developed over the past few years (Creese, 2005). Because International Trade serves as an important bridge between international business, cultural exchange, and information interaction, it exerts an important influence on human life and social progress among all countries. In order to understand the latest development within the field of International Trade, students have become competent in English so that they can communicate proficiently in international business and its settings. Researchers have applied many teaching methods to International Trade Business English courses, such as the translation method, the cognitive method, the situational approach, and the task-based approach (Adamson, 1993). However, since these approaches are stillbased onEnglish for General Purposes (EGP) teaching theories, they can only solve superficial problems.EGP teaching stresses basic language skills including listening, speaking, reading and writing. In practice, EGP teaching uses daily life situations asmaterials and emphasizes repeated practice of grammar and vocabulary. The class structureis always teacher-centered and the evaluation of EGP often takes the form of the College English Test (Stryker & Leaver, 1997). Although this teaching method is efficientin helping students lay a solid foundation of language, it is insufficient to meet the needs ofstudents' specific vocational qualifications.

Since EGP teaching does not address vocational college students' specialties, many researchers and teachers have considered additional teaching methods. In the case of International Trade English, the English for specific purposes (ESP) theories focus on specific applications."ESP is an exciting movement in English language education that is opening up rich opportunities for English teachers and researchers in new professional domains" (Ohta, 2001).

1.1 Statement of Problem

English for Specific Purposes (ESP) theories are favored by both teachers and learners because they focus on the language used in specific disciplines or professions. To apply ESP theories, teachers use five phases: needs analysis, syllabus design, material selection, course teaching and evaluation. In the case of International Trade Business English, teachers use this guided teaching method to develop a clear picture of the qualifications that students need in the international business industry. …

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