Basic Features of English for Specific Purposes (ESP)

There are five basic features of ESP. These are the following:

  1. ESP is goal-oriented. Because students study English for a specific purpose, i.e. to survive in an academic setting or in a workplace, topics and activities are specified on the goal of the student. Hence, the program should not be geared towards a general approach to teaching the English language.
  2. ESP is based on needs analysis. Relevant to the first criteria, the topics and activities embedded within an ESP course are based on the analysis of students’ needs, i.e. initial needs, learning needs, and target or end-of-course requirements.
  3. ESP is time-bound. Because students study English for a specific purpose, they do not intend to spend too much time engaging in indirect learning activities and exercises. Each session aims to contribute to the end goal, which should be met at a specified time or duration.
  4. ESP is for adults. Although there may be some people taking up ESP courses, most often the students are adults, simply because they are the ones who are opting to learn English as a preparation for higher learning or for the workplace.
  5. ESP is discipline-specific. Most often than not, ESP courses are written to fit a particular group of students who belong to the same field of study. If you’re a nurse, you would not enroll in an English for Engineers course, would you?