Academic journal article English Language Teaching

The Empirical Assessment of English for Specific Business Purpose (ESBP) among Export Development Bank of Iran (EDBI) Staff

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

The Empirical Assessment of English for Specific Business Purpose (ESBP) among Export Development Bank of Iran (EDBI) Staff

Article excerpt

Abstract

The present study has been conducted with the purpose of exploring the relationship between EDBI staff's General English proficiency and their technical English Writing as well as the way each ESBP and GE courses affect their writing skill. The kind of the study is quasi-experimental with pre-test and post-test, being conducted among EDBI staff in Tehran Branches and Headquarters. In data collection two standard tests were used, namely Preliminary English Test (PET) for homogenous subjects, and also the level of their GE progress at the end of the treatment, and Business English Certificates (BEC) test Level B1, to measure their technical writing skill with appropriate validity and reliability.

The findings indicate that: 1) there was a correlation between subjects' general English proficiency and their business writing proficiency; 2) teaching writing of banking texts significantly improved EDBI staff's General English; 3) teaching writing of banking could significantly improve EDBI staff's Business English proficiency; 4) teaching writing of banking could significantly improve EDBI staff's Business English proficiency more than GE proficiency.

Keywords: ESP (English for Specific Purpose), ESBP (English for Specific Business Purpose), EDBI (Export Development Bank of Iran), ELT (English Language Teaching), assessment

1. Introduction

Despite the fact that ESP has been widely used over the last three decades, recently there have been considerable debates on its meaning. While some scholars like Barnard and Zemach (2003), call it an area of EFL teaching, in which a narrow range of topics are used, and courses are usually more focused in their aims, others like Dudley-Evans and St. Johns (1998), consider it as an 'approach' to teaching. They define some absolute and variable characteristics for ESP, from which one could conclude that ESP is not necessarily concerned with a specific discipline, and is not aimed at a certain ability range. As Lorenzo (2005) states, "ESP concentrates more on language in context than on teaching grammar and language structures", it could be inferred from his words that another important issue in discussing component of ESP is needs analysis.

1.1 Statement of the Problem

With the continuing globalization of markets, widespread recognition of the need for improved General English skills (i.e. writing, reading, listening, speaking) have been growing among banking and finance professionals in Iran. These individuals are finding that general English may not be sufficient to perform job-related communicative functions at a satisfactory level. As a result, the demand for training courses/materials and assessment system tailored to their specific English language needs is growing in Iran's banking and financial sector. One of such organizations is EDBI, whose managers and employees are required to comprehend and easily communicate specific official texts, and even translate them if need arises. Yet, As Yarmohammadi (2005), points out ESP teaching in Iran can be characterized as "language for no specific purposes" since it follows no specific purpose in most of ESP contexts at Iranian Universities. It is being taught through very limited resources to large classes of learners who have no motivation. There is little collaboration between language teachers and content teachers concerning objectives, content and methodology of the course. This can be due to the fact that the content of the ESP textbooks are not designed to address the learning needs and expectations of Iranian students. That is, the ESP teachers have access to few materials, including some basic titles on each level, providing ESP vocabulary and reading development, without developing all the skills equally and with little attention to the learners' needs.

1.2 Research Questions

1. Is there any significant relationship between General English proficiency and the ability at business /banking writing? …

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