October 2016
TESOL HOME Convention Jobs Book Store TESOL Community

ARTICLES
VIEWING COCONSTRUCTED CONCEPTUALIZATIONS OF ENGLISH FOR SPECIFIC PURPOSES IN MULTIPLE GENRES
Kevin Knight, Kanda University of International Studies (KUIS), Chiba, Japan

Bhatia’s (in press) focus on genre as “a means to an end” has caused me to reflect on the importance of genre in the approaches used in the TESOL English for Specific Purposes (ESP) Interest Section (IS) to conceptualize ESP. Such conceptualizations of ESP have included those that have been technology-mediated (e.g., online forums, PowerPoint presentations, blog posts). Accordingly, genre has been a factor that has influenced how ESP has been conceptualized. Further, in view of the various genres as means to ends, ESP conceptualizations have been coconstructed by stakeholders for different purposes in connection with the stakeholders’ motivational relevancies. Consider the genres listed below which appear in an account (Knight, 2016a) of my TESOL International Association experiences that address the question: “What is English for specific purposes?”*

1. PowerPoint Presentation

As a newcomer to the ESPIS, I collaborated with three veteran leaders of the interest section—Anne Lomperis, Margaret van Naerssen, and ESPIS cofounder Kay Westerfield. We worked entirely online to create “English for Specific Purposes: An Overview for Practitioners and Clients (Academic & Corporate).” The PowerPoint was eventually published in the TESOL Resource Center in 2010 and presented at two different TESOL conventions.

2. Online Forum

When I was the ESPIS chair from April 2011 to March 2012, the TESOL Community Network had just been launched. It was an ideal time to have month-long professional development discussions about ESP. There were five discussions in the TESOL ESPIS Community Discussions 2011–2012. Discussions were led by David Kertzner, Najma Janjua, and Ethel Swartley and me (coleaders). The fourth discussion was a collaboration between two TESOL ISs: ESPIS and the Intercultural Communication IS. The fifth discussion, which has had more than 19,500 views to date, was the “TESOL ESP IS & IATEFL ESP SIG Joint Online Discussion” (you must be a member of the TESOL Community for access). Further, in “4 Ways to Address the Question: What Is English for Specific Purposes” (Knight, 2016a), I mention the ESP reading group in the TESOL Community Network launched and led by Robin Sulkosky. For more information on that reading group, see the ESP Project Leader Profile of Robin below.

3. Blog

Twenty-two ESP Project Leader Profiles were published from May 2015 to September 2016 on the blog for TESOL International Association. In addition, the profiles have become a reference in TESOL’s ELT Leadership Management Certificate Program Online! If you want to understand the TESOL ESPIS leadership, read the profiles: 19 of the 22 leaders below have been on the ESPIS steering board, and 11 have been chairs.

  1. 5 May 2015: ESP Project Leader Profile: Kristin Ekkens
  2. 2 June 2015: ESP Project Leader Profile: Charles Hall
  3. 14 July 2015: ESP Project Leader Profile: Ronna Timpa
  4. 11 August 2015: ESP Project Leader Profile: Evan Frendo
  5. 8 September 2015: ESP Project Leader Profile: Jaclyn Gishbaugher
  6. 6 October 2015: ESP Project Leader Profile: Anne Lomperis
  7. 20 October 2015: ESP Project Leader Profile: Ethel Swartley
  8. 3 November 2015: ESP Project Leader Profile: David Kertzner
  9. 1 December 2015: ESP Project Leader Profile: Margaret van Naerssen
  10. 15 December 2015: ESP Project Leader Profile: Marvin Hoffland
  11. 12 January 2016: ESP Project Leader Profile: John Butcher
  12. 26 January 2016: ESP Project Leader Profile: Karen Schwelle
  13. 23 February 2016: ESP Project Leader Profile: Esther Perez Apple
  14. 8 March 2016: ESP Project Leader Profile: Kevin Knight
  15. 5 April 2016: ESP Project Leader Profile: Shahid Abrar-ul-Hassan
  16. 3 May 2016: ESP Project Leader Profile: Robert Connor
  17. 17 May 2016: ESP Project Leader Profile: Jigang Cai
  18. 14 June 2016: ESP Project Leader Profile: Ismaeil Fazel
  19. 28 June 2016: ESP Project Leader Profile: Yilin Sun
  20. 26 July 2016: ESP Project Leader Profile: Tarana Patel
  21. 23 August 2016: ESP Project Leader Profile: Prithvi Shrestha
  22. 6 September 2016: ESP Project Leader Profile: Robin Sulkosky


In connection with the creation and contents of the first 20 profiles above, I gave a presentation at the Joint International Conference, ESP in Asia: Frontier and Advancement, The 8th International Conference on ESP in Asia & The 3rd International Symposium on Innovative Teaching and Research in ESP in Japan (Knight, 2016b). In between the publication of the profiles on the TESOL Blog, I have also considered the conceptualization of ESP. For example, consider how ESP (i.e., EOP) is framed as leadership in “ESP Best Practices in View of Leadership Conceptualization” (Knight, 2015).

4. Webinar

I have been involved in two TESOL webinars that have addressed ESP. The first, which was coled by David Kertzner, Ethel Swartley and me, focused on “principled ESP.” The second was a collaboration between the TESOL ESPIS and the IATEFL ESP SIG titled TESOL-IATEFL Online Discussion About How ESP Projects Can Create Positive Social Change. The discussion leaders included Andy Gillett, Kristin Ekkens, Ronna Timpa, Jaclyn Gishbaugher, Anne Lomperis, and Margaret van Naerssen. I was the organizer and moderator.

5. Newsletter

ESP News is another place where conceptualizations of ESP are presented. As you read the articles in this newsletter of the ESPIS, please keep in mind how this genre is a means to an end; in other words, what is the purpose or function of a newsletter in TESOL International Association? You might also ask yourself guiding questions about the following: stakeholders, why an article is being written, and the discourses. Your analysis of the professional communication in ESP News (and in the other genres above) may help you in your role as an ESP practitioner or researcher.

In the light of the above, it is clear that TESOL International Association has provided the opportunity for ESP practitioners and researchers to share our stories. In this connection, the ESP PowerPoint listed above was informed by another TESOL-related genre: a book published by TESOL (Friedenberg, Kennedy, Lomperis, Martin, & Westerfield, 2003/2014). From a reflective stance, the conceptualization of ESP that has been promoted in the TESOL ESPIS has been the one in the ESP PowerPoint. (Can you see the connections over time?) In the future, as I enjoy learning about ESP in various genres, I will be asking myself, “What is actually going on here?”

*Note: The content of this article is adapted from Knight (2016a).

References

Bhatia, V. K. (In press). Critical genre analysis: Investigating interdiscursive performance in professional practice. London, England: Routledge.

Friedenberg, J., Kennedy, D., Lomperis, A., Martin, W., & Westerfield, K. (with van Naerssen, M.). (2014). Effective practices in workplace language training: Guidelines for providers of workplace English language training services. Alexandria, VA: TESOL Press. (Original work published 2003)

Knight, K. (2015). ESP best practices in view of leadership conceptualization. The TESOL Blog. Alexandria, VA: TESOL International Association. Retrieved from http://blog.tesol.org/esp-best-practices-in-view
-of-leadership-conceptualization/

Knight, K. (2016a). 4 ways to address the question: What Is English for specific purposes? The TESOL Blog. Alexandria, VA: TESOL International Association. Retrieved from http://blog.tesol.org/4-ways-to-
address-the-question-what-is-english-for-specific-purposes/

Knight, K. (2016b). TESOL ESP project leader profiles for professional development of ESP practitioners worldwide [Featured presentation]. Joint International Conference, ESP in Asia: Frontier and Advancement, The 8th International Conference on ESP in Asia & The 3rd International Symposium on Innovative Teaching and Research in ESP in Japan. Tokyo, Japan: UEC.


Kevin Knight (PhD in linguistics, MBA, MPIA) is associate professor in the Department of International Communication of Kanda University of International Studies in Chiba, Japan. His research interests include leadership conceptualization and development, English for specific purposes, and professional communication. (See The Leadership Connection Project.)

« Previous Newsletter Home Print Article Next »
Post a CommentView Comments
 Rate This Article
Share LinkedIn Twitter Facebook
In This Issue
LEADERSHIP UPDATES
ARTICLES
ABOUT THIS COMMUNITY
Tools
Search Back Issues
Forward to a Friend
Print Issue
RSS Feed
Like What You See? Want to Share Your Story?
Please consider submitting an article for the next newsletter. We want to know what is going on in your corner of the world! Submit your idea to Co-Editor, Kevin Knight.