February 2014
ESP News

Leadership Updates


Robert Connor

 David Kertzner

Happy New Year ESP Community!

We are rapidly approaching the TESOL 2014 Convention with the motto “ELT for the Next Generation.” The Convention will be in Portland, which has a recent travel motto of “Settling Is Not In Our DNA.” (Another motto is “The City That Works”—but no one knows what the heck that means—but we digress.) We would ask you to reflect on the first two mottos as you peruse this edition of our newsletter and as we approach this year’s convention. How are we moving ESP into the next generation without settling for the old dichotomies, thus allowing us to rediscover the sense of the possible?

In this final issue of ESP News for 2013–2014, Chair Yinghuei Chen’s update leads us from the bustle of Chinese New Year to the mobility of this past year’s ESP conferences in Shanghai, Brazil, and Serbia, among others. Chair-Elect Kristen Ekkens chimes in with a reminder of the benefits of membership as well as a link to a nifty toolkit to justify attendance to your employer. Speaking of employers, our EOS representative Evan Frendo has a provocative article about the need for teaching qualifications and what we truly value at TESOL.

Our feature articles begin with Rhonda Petree and Charlie Lavin’s advice on what ESP is now. Additional examples come from Suzanne Griffin, who discusses its implementation in Afghanistan, and Constance Leonard, who discusses its implementation at the United States Air Force Academy. Finally, Anne Lomperis offers a big-picture concern for ESP, arguing that events in the ESP classroom, especially the EOP classroom, must be considered as a function of critical prior levels of planning and program development. Our newsletter wraps up with a select list of highlights from the conventions, a Call for Papers, and a Call for Participation.

We would also like to direct you to the ESP News Poll that shows up on the right side of the page. Last issue, we offered several choices for what you would prefer to see in future issues of the newsletter. The resounding vote was that the newsletter should continue to be an eclectic mix of articles each issue rather than focusing on a single topic. However, we need more votes to be sure that this is a decision of the people. This month, we are asking what activities you are most interested in when attending TESOL. Please vote—and as they say in Chicago, vote often!

This convention will mark the end of our second year as editors, and we are glad to have brought this resource back to the ESP community. We would like to thank all the contributors over the past two years who have not settled for merely improving their practice and who have been willing to build the next generation through this newsletter. We look forward to serving one more year and to seeing you next month.

Robert Connor is the director of ESL at Tulane University, where he works with the English for Lawyers, English for Business, English for Health Studies, EAP, and ITAP programs. He has been active in making MOOC-Style courses that are open to busy students.

David Kertzner, co-editor of the ESP-IS newsletter, is a past chair of the ESP Interest Section and founder of ProActive English, delivering on-site training in corporate and vocational settings featuring an e-learning tool he developed. Mr. Kertzner holds a master of education degree and has overseen training in Asia, Europe, and the U.S.



Greetings from Asia University.

By the time this newsletter is published, we will have celebrated another Chinese New Year—the Year of the Horse—a time in which you will witness the most spectacular mobility on Earth simply to get together with your families, if you happen to live in China, whereas in Taiwan, a relatively small island, you will find family reunions less intimidating and more relaxing.

In other miracles of time and mobility, it seems we just left Dallas, and yet, TESOL in Portland is already upon us. What an excellent moment to celebrate the past year and highlight our future.

What has happened?

Following Najma Janjua’s transformational leadership last year updating the Governing Rules, we proceeded smoothly this year organizing proposal readers and soliciting proposals, setting up Academic and InterSection Sessions for this year’s conference, sending a representative to IATEFL for the second consecutive year (Incoming Chair Kristin Ekkens), and publishing three issues of ESP News with contributions from 19 ESPers around the world.

As we approach this year’s conference, several ESPers have been nominated for open ESP leadership positions. We will likely welcome to the 2014–2015 Steering Board Jackie Gishbaugher (Chair-Elect), Angelica da Costa (English for Academic Settings rep), and Esther Perez Apple (English for Occupational Settings rep). Come to the ESPIS Open Meeting on Thursday, March 27, 6:45—8:15 pm, Room C126, to meet board members and share your ideas for the ESPIS.

In some ways, the big story this year for our IS was that we had fewer internal conversations and, instead, got out into the world to share our experience and knowledge with others. We attended or heard about ESP conferences in Shanghai, Brazil, Taiwan, Prague (IATEFL), and Serbia, among many locations. ESP, once a confusing term for the ESL community, is now a mainstream concept representing many opportunities for learning and for employment, from community colleges to universities to consultants in the field.

And where we are going?

Conference activities will be exciting, with more professional growth opportunities than any of us can take advantage of. As of this writing, a search on the TESOL planner shows 32 presentations under the ESPIS banner. However, many other sessions address issues we deal with every day as ESP practitioners, so the reality is that several hundred sessions could be ESP sessions, but that’s a discussion for another time.

The highest profile sessions for our IS are our Academic Session and, this year, three ESPIS InterSection Sessions. Don’t forget the other ESP workshops, demonstrations, and presentations (including those that Robert Connor notes in his article this issue), but please try to make room for these in your conference schedule:

ESPIS Academic Session: Exploring the Diversity of ESP and Building an Inclusive Community
Presenters: Kristin Ekkens, Ronna Timpa, Evan Frendo, Ching-Kang Liu, Jigang Cai, Cleve Miller
Time and Location: Convention Center, Room A105, 3/29/2014, 9:30–11:15 am

ESPIS InterSection Session: Two Approaches to ESP Course Design
Presenters: Kristin Ekkens, Jeremy Day
Time and Location: Convention Center, Room D135, 3/27/2014, 1–1:45 pm
Note: This is not formally an InterSection session, but continues our ongoing relationship with IATEFL. Presenter Jeremy Day is a leading presenter at IATEFL.

ESPIS InterSection With SPLIS: Exploring Priorities and Possibilities for Integrating Pronunciation Into ESP Lessons
Presenters: Najma Janjua, Ching-Kang Liu, Shelley Staples, Colleen Meyers, Lucy Pickering, Laura Hahn, Lynda Katz-Wilner, Marjorie Feinstein-Whittaker
Time and Location: Convention Center, Room B116, 3/27/2014, 3–4:45 pm

ESPIS InterSection With IEPIS: ESP in the IEP: Addressing a Range of Specific Needs
Presenters: Ethel Swartley, Kay Westerfield, David Kertzner, Caralyn Bushey, Yinghuei Chen
Time and Location: Convention Center, Room D131, 3/28/2014, 4–5:45 pm

Kristin Ekkens takes the reins of the ESPIS for 2014–2015 with all the tools to continue moving us forward. She brings a creative, entrepreneurial spirit to our group, along with excellent people skills, expertise in cross-cultural training, and experience in corporate training. I am excited to see her year unfold.

Finally, I appreciated the focus on Taiwan in our last newsletter addressing ESP activities in my country this year. In 2014, let’s all be responsible for publicizing similar developments around the world in places like Brazil and Egypt, where outgoing TESOL president (and first from the Arab-speaking world) Deena Boraie, dean at the American University in Cairo, maintains determined optimism to move her country forward through her work. Let us bring light to other corners of the world in coming years through our professional efforts and our goodwill.

See you in Portland!

Dr. Yinghuei Chen is the dean of the International College at Asia University, in Taichung, as well as the president of Taiwan ESP Association and TESOL ESPIS chair-elect for 2012. Dr. Chen obtained his doctoral degree in English at the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1991, and has taught ever since at various national and private universities in Taiwan. Dr. Chen’s research area mainly lies in Victorian literature, postcolonial literature, and English for specific purposes. He recently published The Joy of Literature (2010) and English for Hospitality and Tourism (2011).


Kristin Ekkens, C3 Consulting LLC, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

Happy New Year! It's an incredibly busy time of the year. New programs or semesters starting. New projects and assignments land on our desks. New books to be written. It's busy, to say the least. May I encourage you to consider doing something that will rejuvenate you and prepare you for 2014? You've guessed it—TESOL 2014 in Portland, Oregon, March 26–29.

If you're struggling to make your decision—to book or not to book—I get it. The trip is costly just coming from Michigan, in the United States. For those of you coming from Germany, Taiwan, Japan, Brazil, Iraq, and many more places across the globe, it is that much more expensive. Not to mention the energy it takes to plan a convention, or even just for our Interest Section, is expansive!

So why go? Here's what I'm excited for:

  • The networking!
  • Seeing old friends and making new ones
  • Learning about what other people in the field are doing
  • Portland—I've never been there!
  • The ESPIS Open Meeting, Thursday 3/27, 6:45–8:15 pm (Room C126)
  • The invited speakers (you can never see too much of Diane Larsen-Freeman)
  • Presenting (see the list of ESP sessions)
  • The ESP Academic Session, Saturday, 3/29, 9:30–11:15 am. Come join us during this interactive session. A panel of experts from very diverse ESP backgrounds will share their stories and you will have a chance to share yours!
  • The research and best practices
  • The exhibitors (that's how I found English360—life changing!)
  • And of course the social gatherings after hours

Note: When you book your flights, be sure to stay until Sunday! Concurrent sessions run all day on Saturday from 8:30 am to 5:45 pm. One shameless plug—three of your ESP colleagues (including me) will be facilitating a workshop from 2 to 3:45 pm on Saturday. Very hands-on. Very practical. Stick around!

Need to justify TESOL 2014 for your employer? TESOL has created a toolkit just for that purpose!

And finally, I'm looking forward to becoming 2014–2015 ESP chair. Thank you to Yinghuei Chen, our current chair, for his leadership and for the great work he has done to extend ESP’s global influence and visibility, especially in Asia. It's an honor to be a part of this global network.

See you in Portland!

Kristin Ekkens, MA TESOL
2013–2014 ESPIS chair-elect

Kristin Ekkens is founder and CEO of C3 Consulting LLC. She provides learning solutions that help multinational companies achieve their goals by developing a culturally competent workforce. Kristin’s areas of expertise include cross-cultural competence, workplace communication skills, workplace/business English, cultural diversity, and global talent management. Kristin is a speaker, trainer, consultant, and coach. To find out more, visit her website, www.c3-consulting.com.


Evan Frendo, Freelance Business English Trainer, Teacher Trainer, and Author, Berlin, Germany

No teacher left behind?

“I don’t work in a university or language school. I do most of my teaching on site, at my learners’ place of work. Occasionally I meet other similar teachers, but mostly I am on my own. I do not have any formal teaching qualifications, nor do I really need them. My clients are very happy with what I do.”

This article is about teachers like this. There are thousands of them working in companies all over the world. I meet them a lot in my job as a teacher trainer. Sometimes I meet them during teacher training workshops organised by the clients—many corporations run such training for their teachers. Sometimes I meet them at a local teacher association workshop or a teachers conference. Sometimes I meet them on a teacher training course which they are paying for. And sometimes I meet them socially, in contexts that have nothing to do with teaching. Many are native speakers who have somehow “fallen” into teaching and have found that they are quite good at it. Some are doing teaching as a second career. Some are doing it because it is a way to make money. And some are doing it as a way to fill the time while their partner earns the “real” money.

The question that almost always runs through my mind is this: Why hasn’t this person found the time or the energy to get formally qualified?

Over the years I have asked this questions many times. These are the sorts of responses I receive:

It’s too expensive.

I don’t have the time.

I don’t know where to start.

I won’t earn any more money if I do.

It’s too academic.

It’s irrelevant to what I do.

All these responses make sense, but it is the last two that really worry me. A lot of what is out there is too academic and irrelevant to what is happening in classrooms. Of course theory is important, but we all know that teaching is much more than theory; it’s about building relationships, it’s about dealing with the unexpected, and above all it’s about dealing with people. So why is it that most teacher training programs focus almost entirely on the academic side of teaching? Why do we place academic prowess on a pinnacle at our own TESOL conventions? (If you disagree with this, just have another look at the criteria for being accepted as a speaker.) Why is it that so many influential people in the profession look down on the thousands of bloggers reporting on what happens in their classrooms as somehow being less worthy of serious discussion?

My point is simple. Almost every company doing business internationally needs access to language teachers, and many of the teachers doing this teaching have never had much more than an initial training course. Many of them lack the professional skills they need to do the job properly. The irony, of course, is that because they have daily access to their learners’ workplaces, they actually know quite a lot about what their learners actually need, often much more than many so-called experts. Perhaps it is time for the profession as a whole to become more inclusive and not rely on academia as the main arbiter of what makes a qualified teacher. We need to offer what they need, instead of offering what we think they need. We must stop leaving these teachers behind.

Evan Frendo has been active in business English and ESP since 1993, mostly in the corporate sector. His methodology book for teachers, How to Teach Business English (Longman, 2005), is used in teacher training all over the world. Visit his blog, English for the Workplace http://englishfortheworkplace.blogspot.mx/ to find out more.



Rhonda Petree

Charlie Lavin

At the University of Wisconsin-River Falls (UWRF), we first started thinking about ESP toward the end of the second year (late Spring 2013) of the English Language Transition (ELT) Program. The ELT Program provides academic English courses for international students who have not yet met the university’s language proficiency scores and for those who want to develop specific skills, such as pronunciation or writing. But as it became evident that the majority of the international students attending our university were going on to major in business-related fields, we began to realize the potential benefits of developing business ESL courses.

In addition to recognizing this need for undergraduate business ESL courses, we also saw the need for higher level business ESL courses to support students entering the nascent daytime MBA Program, which is expected to attract even more international students. Just as we were conceptualizing these courses and how the ELT Program could support the MBA Program, we learned of the TESOL Academy on English for Specific Purposes that was to be held in Sao Paulo, Brazil in September 2013. Perfect timing! The College of Business and the College of Arts and Sciences (under whose umbrella the ELT Program falls) cosponsored our attendance, and our collective hopes of gleaning valuable insights from the academy were certainly realized. We became aware of the defining characteristics of ESP, learned about selected best practices in ESP, and confirmed our beliefs that ESP would be a vital component of our fledging ELT Program.

Characteristics of ESP

During the academy, TESOL leaders from all over the world presented and shared their experiences and insight. We learned of four foundational ESP characteristics that have shaped our development and planning. ESP programs and courses are:

  • based on needs assessments;
  • designed for adult learners in workplaces, academic institutions, and technical areas;
  • characterized by elevated levels of accountability (i.e., universities and corporate sponsors expect a high return on their investments);
  • focused on using authentic texts, materials, tasks, and assessments.

As we considered these fundamental ESP characteristics, which were reiterated and expounded on by the presenters throughout the academy, our first priority upon returning to our university was to learn more about the specific classes that future business majors and MBA students would be taking. In order to gain this information that would serve as a guide for the content of our business ESL courses, we worked from the course syllabi of those business courses, met with the professors, and observed the their classes in session.

Selected Best Practices in ESP

At the academy, Kay Westerfield’s session, “Best Practices in ESP Curriculum and Materials Design,” was exceedingly valuable and practical. During the session she shared the Instructional Design System, which is the cyclical process of analyzing, designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating. She stressed that the following best practices for ESP practitioners often overlap, happen simultaneously, or are repeated during the design, delivery, and evaluation of ESP courses. The ESP practitioner

  • has a strategic plan,
  • conducts a research-based needs assessment to determine the needs of the learner and other stakeholders,
  • creates a flexible curriculum design,
  • hires quality program staff and provides appropriate staff support,
  • develops program-specific training materials and activities,
  • delivers instruction that keeps learners engaged and motivated,
  • conducts a summative assessment of learners and evaluation of program that link program outcomes to program goals and provide recommendations for future training.

This information provided a framework for designing our courses and helped us identify gaps in our initial needs analysis. Specifically, we decided to take an integrated skills approach rather than focusing on separate skills, as had been the norm in our ELT Program thus far. For example, we decided to create a Business Communication course that has a cross-cultural focus rather than a stand-alone Business Writing Skills course. Thanks to Westerfield’s session we also have a stronger emphasis on authentic tasks and assessment, such as company industry profiles, international market research, and cultural briefings. Prior to the academy we had not specifically considered incorporating a research methodology component to the courses, but we realized that it is an essential element to fulfill the specific needs of students and prepare them to be more successful in their future endeavors.

Other ESP Developments at UWRF

In addition to developing business ESL courses, the ELT Program is involved with two other distinct programs involving students from China and Brazil, respectively. As a part of a 1+1+2 exchange program, UWRF is currently hosting 23 elementary education majors from Zhejiang International Studies University in China. We also have 50 Brazilian Scientific Mobility Program students who are pursuing their studies in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. To meet the specialized language needs of these two student populations, the ELT Program has created specialized English vocabulary classes for education, engineers, and those studying in the life sciences.

The ESP TESOL academy equipped us with the tools that we needed to design and implement ESP courses to support content courses. With these tools we can continue to customize our language instruction to help students reach their academic and professional goals.

Rhonda Petree is the director of the English Language Transition Program at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. She has been teaching ESL/EFL to learners at many levels since 1999, including ESP for students in a pre–Certified Nursing Assistant program. She was a TEFL Peace Corps volunteer in Kazakhstan. She has an MA in ESL from the University of Minnesota.

Charlie Lavin is an instructor in the English Language Transition Program at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls (UWRF). He has taught EFL in Ecuador, Chile, Colombia, and Saudi Arabia, where he taught ESP for military officers and aviation technicians. He has an MA in TESOL from UWRF.


After years of waiting, Afghan university students are finally getting textbooks, but many of them are written in English. Since competent English language instruction in Afghan high schools is not widely available outside of the major cities of the country, few students arrive at the universities prepared to study their subjects in English. Moreover, most students who have studied English have learned general English through a traditional, grammar-based approach.

The English language instructors of Herat University requested assistance from the English Language Programs Office of the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul in developing ESP textbooks for undergraduate students. The goal of the Herat University ESP Project was for English language instructors in three English Departments of Herat University to have the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to develop ESP materials that would support students in nine faculties of Herat University in which the textbooks and professional materials are in English.

The objectives of the Herat ESP project were as follows:

  • improve the capacity of English language instructors in three departments of Herat University (the English Language and Literature Department, the English Department in the Education Faculty, and the English Language and Computer Learning Center) to deliver relevant ESP instruction of high quality
  • develop quality ESP textbooks in nine target disciplines: computer science, economics, engineering, humanities (Dari and Arabic), journalism, medical English, public administration, sciences, and sociology
  • promote partnerships between English language instructors and instructors in the target disciplines to ensure that ESP instruction and target discipline course content is coordinated

The expected outcomes of the project are as follows:

  • A cadre of Herat University English language instructors who have the knowledge, skills, and expertise to develop English for academic purposes and ESP materials to support students in target disciplines at Herat University whose textbooks and professional materials are written in English
  • an interdepartmental leadership team that has the skills and knowledge to guide and manage the development of the ESP lessons and publication of the ESP textbooks
  • improved effectiveness of ESP instruction at Herat University
  •  four textbooks of 20 lessons each for each target discipline by Spring 2014

Seventeen instructors participated in the two project phases of 6 weeks each in the Spring and Autumn of 2012. The first phase focused on developing English language lesson planning, student learning objectives, and materials development skills. During the second phase, we developed the first 10 lessons of the books and implemented a sustainable process for developing ESP materials. This process was to be guided by a leadership team representing all three departments. Our initial goal was to produce the first ESP textbooks for nine disciplines by summer 2013.

The English proficiency and teaching skills of the English language instructors varied widely. The two most senior instructors posed the biggest challenge. One had minimal English reading and writing skills. The other had excellent English proficiency but insisted that ESP should not be taught until students had excellent command of English grammar and vocabulary. The younger, more junior instructors were proficient English speakers but their teaching was driven by content, not by student learning objectives. Textbooks available or lessons found on the Internet dictated what they taught.

Because of their heavy instructional loads (15–20 hours per week), instructors had little time to prepare lesson plans and only a few had any training in that area. After being introduced to written lesson plans that focused on student learning objectives and integration of language skills, instructors realized that a clear written plan for how a lesson should be taught and how it related to previous and subsequent lessons was fundamental to writing a textbook that other instructors could use. Hence, lesson plans that promoted integration of undergraduate students’ English language skills around topics in their target disciplines were the instructors’ products during the first 6-week phase of the project. In order to develop a common foundation on which instructors could base their ESP lessons, I organized weekly workshops (four of which I led and two of which were led by their peers) around lesson planning, ESP resources, and development of specific language skills (particularly writing, which is rarely taught in Afghan high schools). I met with instructors individually at least 1 hour per week to address their specific needs and writing questions.

At the beginning of the second 6-week period (Autumn 2012), we formed a leadership team that included representatives of each of the three departments. The team was tasked with selecting an overall approach (integrated skills) that the ESP textbooks would use, developing a design for the textbooks and a template for the lessons in the books. Members of the team also took on specific tasks such as editing, design, and oversight of printing and distribution. I led the first and last workshops of the second phase of the project. Four of the workshops were led by the instructors (most of whom were now working in pairs), who shared with their peers examples of the lessons they were developing. At the end of the second phase, most of the teams had submitted for my review and feedback 10 of the 20 lessons required for the first-year textbooks.

A member of the leadership team who had a master’s degree in TESOL from a U.S. university took over the editing of the 10 remaining lessons after I left Herat. An American English Language Fellow who was teaching in the Herat University Education Faculty assisted him in the final editing. ESP textbooks in seven discipline areas (computer science, economics, humanities (Dari and Arabic), journalism, medical English, public administration, and sciences) were printed and distributed to Herat university students between March and August 2013. The ESP books in engineering and sociology were not completed because the instructors who were assigned to those disciplines dropped out of the project.

The target outcome of four books for each discipline area to be produced by Spring 2014 proved to be too ambitious. Neither the human resources to produce additional books nor the funds to print them are available in the current academic year.

The objective of promoting partnerships between English language instructors and instructors in the target disciplines was only partially met. Conflicts in teaching schedules and reluctance among many of the English language instructors to seek out instructors in other disciplines resulted in few partnerships being formed. Moreover, few instructors in the target disciplines were willing to share with the English language instructors the English textbooks in their disciplines. Ultimately, coordination with instructors in the target disciplines and access to the English textbooks and journals they use is essential to the English language instructors’ ability to produce ESP lessons that help undergraduates understand the technical terminology of their academic fields.


The English language instructors relied heavily on discipline-specific materials acquired by searching the Internet to produce ESP textbooks suited to the needs of Afghan students. As a result, the first group of ESP books use more current terminology for the target disciplines than outdated and poorly written ESP textbooks that are available in Afghanistan. However, many of the teachers’ ESP lessons use terminology that is in general interest articles related to the target disciplines. Such lessons give non-English-speaking students some English vocabulary related to their disciplines, but students will ultimately need ESP lessons that help them master technical terminology on a variety of topics in their disciplines in order to prepare them to understand technical journals and write academic papers in their respective disciplines.

The English language instructors had difficulty developing lessons to teach academic writing or ESP writing because few of them received any writing instruction themselves. Although six instructors had attended a summer institute at a U.S. university on how to teach technical writing, only one of them was able to explain and demonstrate the differences between academic writing for social sciences and technical writing.

A long-standing practice of copying and pasting materials from the Internet and available print and illustrated materials made plagiarism an ongoing problem. We had many discussions about this problem in the workshops and the English language instructors received guidance on citations.

The short timeline for producing 10 lessons in semifinal format placed a significant workload on the instructors and the project director. Detailed review, editing, and written feedback on each draft required at least an hour. Most instructors submitted two or three drafts of each lesson before it was in final form.

After 30 years as an ESL instructor, author, teacher trainer, and program administrator in the United States, Suzanne Griffin returned to Afghanistan (where she served in the Peace Corps) in 2002 to help rebuild the education system. She has led teacher training projects and development of the national English Curriculum Framework for Ministry of Higher Education–supported universities.


Overview of Student Population

English for academic purposes (EAP) instructors at the United States Air Force Academy encounter a variety of challenges presented by the diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds of the international cadets. There are currently 57 international cadets from 29 countries who are required to take the EAP course along with their core courses during their freshman year. This past semester, as course director, I redesigned the course to include strictly U.S. authors in order to increase students’ knowledge about our history and culture to assist them in their other courses. Imagine the difficulties of taking subjects such as U.S. history, military and strategic studies, and behavioral science with little culture-specific schemata. Many of the students have never lived or studied outside their country, and for most, this is their first time in the United States. This past term, we had a total of 18 students from Malaysia, Japan, the Philippines, Iraq, the Gambia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Romania, Lithuania, Peru, Thailand, and Taiwan.

Course Overview

This EAP course is an introduction to academic communication focusing on reading and writing in English as a second language. We primarily used The Oxford Book of Short Stories (Oates, 2013) and Writing Matters: A Handbook for Writing and Research (Howard, 2013), although these texts were supplemented by poems and essays. The short stories exposed students to American authors from the 18th century to the present exemplifying a broad range of linguistic and cultural diversity. The international cadets also need to develop an understanding of the U.S. university system in a military setting, instructor expectations, and study skills for college success. Research skills focused on developing Internet and library skills and documentation styles. There were three required papers for the course: a narrative essay, a literary analysis, and a research paper along with an oral presentation of their research.

Course Outcomes

  • Develop and write college essays relevant to English 111 and other core courses.
  • Identify characteristics of a variety of standard college essays in the United States.
  • Recognize cultural variation in writing.
  • Compose grammatically accurate sentences with few errors.
  •  Develop concise, varied sentence structure appropriate for academic audiences.
  • Conduct effective oral presentations.
  • Enhance critical thinking skills.
  • Learn effective study skills to ensure college success.
  • Use a variety of sources for research and document sources appropriately.

The Research Paper Assignment

This course culminated in a final research paper and oral presentation, which was by far the most popular assignment among the students as they had free rein to choose their topic. Most selected topics related to their countries that were of personal significance. MLA format was required along with a tutorial in the Writing Center, which was documented. In order to prepare, students wrote in their journals, discussed their interests with the class and in small groups, wrote thesis statements, summarized articles, and participated in two seminars delivered by research librarians. These preparatory activities support a social constructionist approach to teaching.

Vygotsky (1978) argues "that language is the main tool that promotes thinking, develops reasoning, and supports cultural activities like reading and writing.”<page #?> He further asserts that learning is a social activity and learning takes place through dialogue. In the same vein, although noting the usefulness of both the product and process approaches to teaching writing, Dudley-Evans and St John (2003) favor the social constructionist approach, which synthesizes these methods. This approach takes into account the background knowledge of the student and places an emphasis on the social nature of learning:

Writing is a social act in which writers have to be aware of the context in which they are writing. That context places certain constraints on what writers can write and on the ways in which they can express ideas. We favour an approach to the teaching of writing in which writers are shown how to take on board the expectations and norms of the community to which they belong. (Dudley-Evans & St John, 2003, p. 117)

Dudley-Evans and St John (2003) suggest several focus areas in the teaching of writing: linguistic and rhetorical awareness, genre features, extensive writing, peer review, and rewriting. The class viewed Writing Across Borders, a film written and directed by Wayne Robertson (2005). The film contains interviews with both students and instructors discussing the challenges of writing in a second language. It focuses on linguistic and rhetorical awareness by comparing the style of writing in many different languages and the use of the correct register. We viewed the film over two class periods, giving students ample time to discuss the conventions of writing in their own language(s) and English. Journals gave students an opportunity to write extensively about their experiences of reading and writing and served as a place to interact with me on a more personal level. Students shared their work with each other in different pairs after each draft. Because students were excited about their topics, they worked very hard to polish their writing and prepare for their oral presentations.

Oral Presentations/Guest Speakers

Having an audience proved to be an incredible motivator for the students. From the research papers, they developed oral presentations that were so interesting that almost all of them went over time during the question-and-answer period. Because of the quality of the presentations, next semester, a group of these students will be guest speakers in content area classes. These students are prepared to present to disciplines such as history, political science, foreign area studies, and foreign languages. There has been a tremendous response from faculty. International students are an invaluable resource and can share an intimate perspective of their country as well as historical facts that may surprise many U.S. students. The following are some of the proposed topics for our student guest speakers:

The Soviet and Nazi Occupations of Lithuania: This talk includes information about the deportations to Siberia and the experience of this cadet’s family during these two occupations.

The Shia/Sunni Divide in Iraq: After giving a brief history of the Shia and Sunni, and how their differences have affected the political and social situation in Iraq, this cadet explains how he has been affected in both his personal and professional life. Offered in both English and Arabic.

Nepotism and Political Dynasties in the Philippines: In this co-presentation, cadets analyze the U.S. occupation of the Philippines and the political situation that ensued, highlighting not only the complexities of these issues, but also their consequences as witnessed in the recent electoral violence.

Machu Picchu in Peru: The amazing architecture and history of the Inca are explored in this talk. Offered in both English and Spanish.

Governmental Corruption and Environmental Exploitation of the Rosia Montana Gold Corporation: This controversial project is adamantly opposed by the majority of citizens in Romania. This is an in-depth look at the potential destruction of a city in Romania for monetary gain.


The social constructivist approach to teaching the research paper validated students’ work and allowed them to represent their country in a meaningful way to the larger community of the U.S. Air Force Academy. During the process, students augmented their cultural-specific schemata, learned the conventions of academic writing and documenting resources, became familiar with the library resources, and, most important, discovered the social aspects of learning, which pushed them to achieve.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Air Force, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.


Burton, V., & Ede, L. (Producers) & Robertson, W. (Director). (2005). Writing across borders [Documentary]. United States: Oregon State University.

Howard, R. M. (2011). Writing matters: A handbook for writing and research . New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Dudley-Evans, T., & St John, M. J. (2003). Developments in English for specific purposes. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Oates, J. C. (2013). The Oxford book of American short stories. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Constance A. Leonard teaches English for academic purposes, reading enhancement, and study skills courses for international students at the U.S. Air Force Academy. She has held administrative and training positions for educational institutions in the fields of English language teaching, teacher training and development in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Yemen, the United States, and Greece.


Looking through the Precis Abstract Management System is a useful way to plan your TESOL itinerary. Even though I personally love to page through the hard copy the first night at the hotel, I still use the Precis system to find relevant sessions and special topics that I would miss in my old-fashioned browsing. In this article, I share my perusal of the ESP sections, with what I consider to be some highlights in the program that might go undiscovered otherwise.

I would like to start with the Poster Sessions. These are a great way to have one-on-one conversations that Workshops and Presentations often lack, and I would like to highlight two specialized posters with wider implications. Peggy Garza explores “Writing for Government Purposes,” which I find an intriguing construct especially due to her work with NATO in Europe. Mahmoud Debabeche, Abdallah Farhi, and Tayeb Bouhitem explore how mastering hydraulics can be improved through mastering English. Though specialized on the surface, both of these presentations make me think about how I categorize types of English and how extensively English reaches into other disciplines.

This idea of English pervading disciplines makes me think of Mark Andrew James’s research presentation on how and when learning transfers in various settings, especially EAP. Now, you have to stay until 4 pm Saturday to view it, but his presentation is sure to make you rethink progression through language levels. His session is followed at 5 pm by Jonathon Green’s look at learning transfer in Thailand.

That leaves the bread-and-butter teaching-oriented Workshops and practice-oriented Presentations. Rita Czipczer-DiFiore, Lynn D’Angelo-Bello, and Mary Newbegin help bridge the gap between academics and the workplace Friday at 10:30 am, while Rachel Wood and Jenny Dodson start us off right on Thursday by remembering that formative assessment are one of the foundations of our discipline.

Well, this is just one person’s journey through the maze of TESOL 2014. I wish I could have highlighted more. But remember, it is not the number of presentations that counts; it is the quality of the connections that you make with your colleagues.

Robert Connor is the director of ESL at Tulane University, where he works with the English for Lawyers, English for Business, English for Health Studies, EAP, and ITAP programs. He has been active in making MOOC-style courses that are open to busy students.


It is a concern that many in the field of TESOL focus only on what transpires at the classroom level. While this may be the ultimate goal, what happens in an effective classroom must be the end result of many prior levels of sound planning. This is especially the case in ESP overall and is particularly incumbent upon those in English for occupational purposes (EOP).

Considering the best practices for EOP, they help take into account the corporate context or the corporate level. In fact, in the list below (taken from the more itemized, prepublication version of 11 best practices [Friedenberg, Lomperis, Martin, Van Naerssen, & Westerfield, 2000], modified with headings in 2010), the classroom level of “Deliver training” is tenth, or second to last. Nine best practices, which address business development, planning and administrative matters, and the development of training, precede the delivery of training.

Best Practices: Process Standards for Workplace Language Training

Business Development—For Language Training Providers

  1. Develop a strategic plan.
  2. Conduct effective marketing.

Initial Planning and Preprogram Administrative Matters

  1. Assess the client organization’s need. (Conduct an organizational needs assessment.)
  2. Determine an appropriate program design.
  3. Develop a proposal and negotiate a contract.
  4. Identify and arrange program administration and staffing.

Direct Training-Related Activities (Development and Delivery)

  1. Conduct an instructional needs assessment.
  2. Create an instructional design/curriculum.
  3. Select and develop appropriate training materials.
  4. Deliver training.

Concurrent and Postprogram Administrative Matters

  1. Evaluate course(s) and program, and apply recommendations.

Yet as expanded as the best practices may seem, they extend only to the level of the individual company—or the corporate level. In the context of language planning and language policy for the labor force in developing countries, EOP needs to operate at even higher levels, for a total of six levels of society (see Lomperis, 2010). These levels are illustrated briefly below in a case study from aviation English.

Aviation English Case—Six Levels of Interaction Required

Economic Context

1. International, regional

  • United Nations: International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)


2. National governmental, national ministries

  • Ministry of Transportation
  • U.S. Federal Aviation Administration


3. Industry sector

  • Civil aviation: pilots, air traffic controllers, airport administrators


4. Corporation (or other occupational organization)

  • Airlines (that fly international routes)
  • Airport authorities (that serve international routes)


Education/Training Context

5. Education/training

  • Flight schools
    • Private: Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU [U.S.])
    • Governmental: Civil Aviation Flight University of China (CAFUC)


6.Language training

  • Aviation English programs: Integrated with technical training (within ERAU, CAFUC)
  • Aviation English programs: Separate contracted programs
  • Networked with related professional associations (international Civil Aviation English Association)


The summary message about this framework is that all levels need to inform and cooperate with each other. To refer to the example above, ICAO has developed an English proficiency standard based on input from the industry (use formulaic terminology) as well as input from language training (also include “common English” for exceptional circumstances that arise beyond standard operating procedures, such as during emergencies). The proficiency standard would not serve the safety needs of the flying public without including the perspectives of all these levels.

Afghanistan Case—Lack of Openness at High Levels

In another case, the World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization (under the United Nations) are engaged in infrastructure development in Afghanistan to build 22 dams for agricultural and hydroelectric purposes. The Ministry of Energy and Water (MEW), in particular, has received funding for an irrigation restoration and development project. Tributary channels are even to be extended to villages of war widows so they can start family vegetable plots for eventual small farming entrepreneurial income. International experts are being brought in to present technical training in 6-day sessions on topics such as water and the environment, reforms in water resources management, and local water cooperatives. English is used as the common language for this training. To date, translators have provided support to MEW participants. However, with the draw-down of translators, MEW management has decided their staff need to develop independent English capability. An English training model has been designed for a corresponding 6-day program to precede each technical topic. The instructor is to be a native-speaking “foreign expert.” This foreign expert researched and proposed that a U.S. university–sponsored MATEFL program at a university in Kabul provide candidates to receive EOP training, to serve as internship teachers, and eventually to become the teachers of a long-term English training program for MEW staff.

The primary challenges here were (1) the short duration of training, (2) insistence on the original instructor model (the mindset could not be changed to use Afghan English teachers, despite their sustainability), and (3) a high-level decision maker in MEW who apparently blocked the whole English program when it reached his level. This, despite the World Bank being the funding source; they have tried to reintroduce the English program in association with subsequent evaluation cycles.

Morocco/Middle Eastern Case–Lack of Input to High Levels

In a case in Morocco, this regime, as others in the Middle East, is concerned about unemployment, particularly of youth. High-level national and corporate sponsors initiated an employability program, with language support. However, the program design confused reasonable requirements for the two different purposes. Timelines; space, facilities, and specialized equipment; proximity to targeted participants and therefore transportation; and qualifications of trainers were among the factors not soundly planned or well coordinated. Further, the training level did not fully share these issues with high-level decision makers so that changes and improvements could be made.

Such cases lead to recognizing new skills that EOP professionals must develop, including the following:

  • Identifying and engaging in wider networks
  • Finding all possible, relevant documents (e.g., requests for information, requests for proposals/tenders, white papers, business plans, policy statements, news releases, articles, reports [on previous and current projects, economic trends, financials], recommendations) and analyzing them for key insights and data
  • Identifying goals, from high level to various implementation levels
  • Researching all players, including sponsors/funding sources, targeted decision makers, new partners that may need to be brought in, and hidden or far-downstream beneficiaries
  • Determining operating models and program designs—and the mindsets behind them
  • Discerning movable and immovable obstacles
  • Identifying who can and who will not address obstacles—and their motivations, incentives, hot buttons, points of appeal
  • Developing advocacy plans and strategies for EOP
  • Developing support materials and providing formal or informal training for nonlinguist, content specialists or top management/officials to speak on behalf of EOP to higher levels not yet accessible
  • Following up, in incremental steps over time, if necessary, to gain a seat at the table of high-level decision makers
  • Researching and developing more sound, professional EOP approaches, models, recruitment, intake testing, space and facilities, instructional equipment and supplies, program designs, curricula, materials, use of technology, meaningful formative and summative testing, qualified teachers or teacher training programs to meet qualifications, evaluation procedures and instruments, and management buy-in from operational to policy levels
  • Introducing any of the elements above in ways that given audiences can hear, receive, and act on new information and recommendations (e.g., lots of tea drinking with some; stories and examples with others; no-fluff, bullet points with yet others; some respond best to cost-benefit analysis and return-on-investment data; Martin & Lomperis, 2002)
  • Implementing the above, making judgment calls about where compromise or accommodation can and cannot be made
  • Pursuing constant updates on political, economic, security, environmental, social, health, and other impacts, and making creative and timely adjustments, as necessary
  • And even determining acceptable and unacceptable terms of consulting contracts themselves


This new skill development becomes the imperative for expanded EOP teacher training programs. The precious few even ESP teacher training programs worldwide or in the United States (Holden, 1997; Westerfield, 1994) are largely oriented to English for academic purposes or only get to the corporate level of EOP. It is time to start thinking of the realities of learners beyond the classroom. What are the needs of their future employers, as well as of the industry sectors of these employing companies, and ultimately the economic development goals of given countries at national, regional, and global levels? These stakeholders at higher levels of society need a labor force with competitive communication capabilities. Before effective language training at the classroom level can be delivered, sound planning for such higher level needs must be carried out. Such higher level critical factors cannot be ignored. Classrooms cannot be isolated from larger realities. The success and well-being of clients ultimately served by those learners sent to English language classrooms from industry and government are at stake. EOP teachers need to be trained to “think of such things in the first place.” A war widow in Afghanistan—or youth in the Tahrir Squares of the world—is depending on it.


Friedenberg, J. E., Lomperis, A. E., Martin, W. M., Van Naerssen, M., & Westerfield, K. (2000). Standards for workplace language training, Volume 1: Guidelines for workplace language trainers. Alexandria, VA: TESOL.

Holden, B. (1997). Degrees, diplomas and certificates in English for specific purposes worldwide. ESP News, 6(1), 9–10.

Jameson, J. H. (1997). Programs in the U.S. to prepare workplace ESPers. ESP News, 6(1), 11–12.

Lomperis, A. E. (2010). Issues in language policy for the labor force in developing countries. In M. Gueldry (Ed.), Consistent incorporation of professional terminologies into the world’s languages: The linguistic engine of a global culture (pp. 311–341). Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press.

Martin, W. M., &. Lomperis, A. E. (2002). Determining the cost benefit, the return on investment, and the intangible impacts of language programs for development. TESOL Quarterly, 36, 399–429.

Westerfield, K. (1994). TESOL 1994 Academic Session: ESP teacher training around the world. ESP News, 3(2), 1, 9–11.

Anne Lomperis specializes in language planning and language policy for the labor force in developing countries. She served as the first EOP representative to the Steering Board after the ESP Interest Section was founded and has been instrumental in furthering EOP agendas within the IS, including best practices, a PowerPoint resource for those unfamiliar with ESP (both internal English language teaching colleagues and external corporate clients), and numerous presentations. She is currently the English language consultant to a project in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to train high school graduates to become elastomer (synthetic rubber) technicians in the manufacture of tires and eventual automobiles, as the Kingdom pursues diversification of its oil sector into petrochemicals.




2014 Cross-Straits International Conference on English for Specific Purposes

Conference Theme: Uniqueness and Diversity in ESP Research and Pedagogy

Organizers: Asia University; Taiwan ESP Association

Co-organizer: Chinese Association for ESP, China; Asia-Pacific Association of LSP and Professional Communication

Venue: Asia University, Taichung, Taiwan

Plenary Speakers:

Sue Starfield, Director, Learning Centre, University of New South Wales; Co-editor of the Journal English for Specific Purposes

Kay Westerfield, Director, International Business Communication Program, Linguistics Department, University of Oregon

Winnie Cheng, Professor/Director, Research Centre for Professional Communication in English, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Jigang Cai, Professor, College of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Fudan University

Betty Samraj, Assistant Professor, Department of Linguistics and Oriental Languages, San Diego State University

Related Topics

1. Cross-Cultural Communication in ESP Teaching

2. Critical Reflection on Needs Analysis in ESP

3. Corpus-Based Study in ESP

4. English for Professional Purposes/English for Occupational Purposes

5. Workplace Communication and Literacy

6. English for Academic Purposes

7. ESP Teacher Professional Development

8. Collaborative Projects With Industries

9. New Trends in ESP Research and Pedagogy

10. Asian ESP: Localization vs. Globalization

11. Other Issues Related to ESP Research and Pedagogy

Important Dates

April 15, 2014

Due date for abstract submission

May 15, 2014

Notification of abstract acceptance

August 10, 2014

Due date for early bird registration

August 15, 2014

Due date for full paper submission

September 10, 2014

Due date for registration

October 3–5, 2014

Workshop and conference

Types of Presentation

Oral presentation: Three papers in each session and each paper will be allocated 15 minutes of presentation followed by a discussion period of 5 minutes.

Poster presentation (mainly for graduate students): Poster presenters will need to prepare a poster (150 cm x 90 cm) to display summary of their work.

Paper Submission Guidelines

Abstracts should be about 250–300 words; full papers should be single-spaced and a maximum of 15 pages.
Paper Size: A4 with margins of 2.50 cm on each side.
Headings: Times New Roman, font size 14. Main text: Times New Roman, font size 12.
Prepared as Microsoft Word document based on APA 6th edition format.
Paper submission to: dfll@asia.edu.tw
Email Subject: 2014 Cross-Straits International Conference on English for Specific Purposes (ESP)—Name, Title of Paper
2014 Cross-Straits International Conference on English for Specific Purposes (ESP) Proposal Form (page 3)
Abstract template (page 4)

Contact Information:

TEL : 886-4-2332-3456 ext.6291,5701
Contact persons: Fang-ying Lo (ext. 6291) and Canny Hon (ext. 5701).
Email: dfll@asia.edu.tw

2014 Cross-Straits International Conference on English for Specific Purposes Proposal Form

Submission date

Submission number

(Only for the organizer)

Total number of pages

Types of Presentation

cOral Presentation

cPoster Presentation

Title of paper

Writer’ s file

1st writer

Family name, First name:



TEL:(O) (H)

Cell Phone:


Correspondence Author:cYes cNo


2nd writer

Family name, First name:



TEL:(O) (H)

Cell Phone:


Correspondence Author:cYes cNo


3rd writer

Family name, First name:



TEL:(O) (H)

Cell Phone:


Correspondence Author:cYes cNo


Title: Put the title of your abstract here

Your name

Your affiliation


Please write your abstract in English, with a maximum of 300 words. Font size should be set in 12-point, Times New Roman.

From Nellie Deutsch's Post on the TESOL Community Web site (December 13, 2013)



It is my pleasure to announce the Call for Participation for the Electronic Village Online (EVO) 2014. A project of TESOL's Computer-Assisted Language Learning Interest Section (CALL-IS), the EVO has been offering free, open professional development sessions and workshops to teachers of English around the globe since 2001. This year, we are pleased to offer 19 fabulous 5-week sessions on a variety of topics, including drama, mentoring, peacebuilding, podcasting, mobile apps, vocabulary, multiliteracies, and many more. For a complete listing, visit the Call for Participation.

Please note that registration for the sessions will take place January 6–January 12, 2014. The sessions begin January 13 and continue until February 16. To register for a session, follow the instructions on that session's page. (Session pages are linked to Sessions2014 on the CfP page.) EVO sessions can be time-consuming, so for your own good, we encourage you to sign up for no more than two sessions!

As always, EVO sessions are free (you need only a computer with Internet access and a desire to learn) and open to all, whether or not you are a TESOL member. They carry no academic credit, and participants may choose the level of involvement that works for them.

Mark your calendars now for EVO registration, January 6–12. And get ready for an unforgettable experience!

Please share this invitation with your colleagues and e-lists, and thank you for helping us spread the word!

Nina Liakos, EVO Lead Coordinator

On behalf of the EVO Coordination Team



Statement of Purpose/Goals

The English for Specific Purposes Interest Section (ESPIS) is open to TESOL members who are interested in research and instruction designed to meet the unique English language needs of students and working adults in specific areas of study and employment by providing special training beyond that which is normally acquired by the average English speaker. The ESPIS fosters the sharing of ideas, expertise, and specialized curricula among ESP practitioners to promote quality research, education, and professional development in ESP. Our motto is "Working together to address global ESP needs.”


ESP has long been an international movement with great strengths in research and teaching in many parts of the world, including developing countries. Establishing the ESPIS both indicates and validates TESOL's commitment to its international responsibilities. Daphne Mackey, Kay Westerfield, and Adrian Pilbeam initiated the work to establish an ESPIS at the 1990 TESOL convention in New York. Meetings were well attended by participants interested in promoting the international sharing of ESP experience and expertise.

The proposed IS was given proposals to review for the 1992 TESOL convention in Vancouver and was allotted slots for presentations and discussion groups. The petition to recognize the ESPIS was overwhelmingly approved by the Interest Section Council in Vancouver and was ratified by the Executive Board shortly thereafter.

Kay Westerfield was appointed chair (1992–1993), with Laraine Kaminsky as chair-elect. Mary McSwain and Roberta Rettner became the first editors of TESOL ESP News, and Peter Master, the first editor of the TESOL Matters ESP column. In fall 1992, the IS was also awarded its first TESOL Special Projects Grant, submitted by Angela Castro with IS support, to establish the Directory of ESP Professional Services. Today, the ESPIS enjoys active participation from its increasingly global membership and continually explores better ways to serve ESP professionals in more efficient and effective ways.

2013-2014 ESPIS Steering Board Members

Yinghuei Chen (Elected 2012)
International College, Asia University (Taiwan)

Kristin Ekkens (Elected 2013)
Executive Director, National CRC (Career Readiness Certificate) Advocates (USA)

Immediate Past Chair
Najma Janjua (Elected 2011)
Kagawa Prefectural University of Health Sciences (Japan)

Ethel C. Swartley (Reappointed 2013; Term ends 2015)
University of Denver English Language Center (USA)

ESP in Academic Settings (EAS) Representatives
Marvin Hoffland (Elected 2012; Term ends 2014)
Carinthia University of Applied Sciences (Austria)

Kagnarith Chea (Elected 2013; Term ends 2015)
Australian Centre for Education (Cambodia)

ESP in Occupational Settings (EOS) Representatives
Evan Frendo (Elected 2012; Term ends 2014)
Freelance Business English Trainer, Author, Consultant (Germany)

Ronna Timpa (Elected 2013; Term ends 2015)
Owner/Consultant, Workplace ESL (USA)

Community Manager
Debra S. Lee (Reappointed 2013; Term ends 2015)
E-Learn Concepts (USA)

Newsletter Editors
David Kertzner (Appointed 2012; Term ends 2015)
ProActive English (USA)

Robert Connor (Appointed 2012; Term ends 2015)
Tulane University (USA)
, Robert@languagenetwork.info

Mark Krzanowski (Appointed 2013; Term ends 2015)
Representing IATEFL (UK)

Mei-Ling Tsai (Appointed 2013; Term ends 2015)
Representing Taiwan and East Asia