Academic journal article IUP Journal of English Studies

Content-Based Language Learning and Communicative Approach to English Language Teaching for Technology and Management Courses: Integration and Implications

Academic journal article IUP Journal of English Studies

Content-Based Language Learning and Communicative Approach to English Language Teaching for Technology and Management Courses: Integration and Implications

Article excerpt


Due to globalization, it has become mandatory for a professional in any field to communicate or transact business in English. If one wishes to pursue research in one's area of interest or work for any industry, there is no alternative for him/her except to learn English. This necessity calls for English Language Teaching (ELT) in all courses at the higher education level, more so in professional courses. Presaging the necessity of English at the professional level, English that was taught for general purposes (EGP) has been replaced with English for Professional Purposes (EPP) under the sphere of English for Specific Purposes (ESP). The terms "General English" and "Special English" are no longer in vogue and have been replaced with the term "Professional English."

Professional English refers to the use of English for communication in professional or business-related situations. It can be studied at various levels. Firstly, it is a form of communication. Secondly, it involves communication through language, which is only one form of communication. Here, at this level, one needs to understand what language is and how it is used in communication. Thirdly, one needs to approach Professional English as communication through a particular language, i.e., English. Knowledge of some features of English language important for communication is needed here. Unlike the other languages that have unique features, English has universal features which it shares with other languages. Lastly, one needs an understanding of the business or professional world too.

The Role of ELT in Engineering Studies

Language is a tool children use to understand the world around them and become fullfledged members of their social/cultural communities. Moreover, globalization and advancement of science and technology have made it mandatory for every job aspirant to learn English. Globalization has not only made English mandatory but also enriched the scope of science and technology by expanding its larger ranges to other fields too. The demand for acquisition of knowledge in science and technology has brought forth a number of technological universities. As knowledge in science and technology is imparted in English, it has become important for those who take up engineering as their chosen field to hone their language and communicative skills. This demand has given scope for the implementation of many a teaching method in ELT. Old teaching methods such as Grammar Translation Method, Direct Method, Audio-Lingual Method, Community Language Learning, Situational Method, and Suggestopedia have failed to fulfil the requirements ofthe corporate. This has given scope for Communicative Approach to ELT which stresses on the need to teach communicative competence, as opposed to linguistic competence, where functions override the forms. This method enables students to work in small groups with authentic materials on communicative activities, during which they receive practice in negotiating meaning.

Content-Based Instruction

Among the communicative approaches, Content-Based Instruction (CBI) boosts the confidence level ofthe students, where one finds the twin benefits of learning the content along with the language. CBI focuses on the study of both language acquisition and subject matter. Instead of teaching the language in isolation, the target language becomes the medium in which important information is learned. When the students study a content area of interest (i.e., snakes, the Holocaust, immigration, etc.), they are more intrinsically motivated to learn both the content and the language simultaneously. The students are actually able to use their new language. CBI is most appropriate at intermediate and advanced proficiency levels.

Many models of CBI exist. In some schools, two teachers team-teach the content and language. In other schools, the content teacher and the language teacher link their classes and curriculum to complement each other. …

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