Number one for English language teachers

ESP extra

There is a huge amount of material on onestopenglish for teaching ESP (English for Specific Purposes). A lot of it is obvious as you’ll find it here, within the ESP section of the site. However, as the term ESP covers such a wide range of areas, there is plenty of material elsewhere on onestopenglish that is suitable for using in ESP classes. In this article, Adrian Tennant takes a look at some of the materials available and suggests how they can be integrated into your teaching.

The article looks at materials from the following sections of onestopenglish:

News Lessons | Lesson Share| Skills | Vocabulary | Teacher Support | Methodology | Conclusion

We also include ideas that can be used for students studying the following subjects:

  • Aviation
  • Banking and Finance
  • Catering
  • Health and Safety
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Marketing
  • Media studies
  • Medical English / Healthcare
  • Travel and Tourism

NewsLessons

I’m going to start by looking at the News Lessons. Although not all the lessons will be suitable for your ESP classes, there are lots that will be. Some of the key reasons for checking out the News Lessons are that they are up-to-date, they are topical (meaning your students might even be talking about the same issues and stories that they read in newspapers or seen on TV) and because there are three different levels – elementary, intermediate and advanced – so you won't need to rewrite or edit anything in order to make it suitable for their level of English.

So, in the last twelve months there have been lessons such as the one about the pilot in the USA who crash landed in the Hudson river (good material to generate a discussion if you’re teaching air-traffic controllers or other people working either in aviation or rescue services – i.e. fire, etc., or even health and safety); a lesson on the sale of part of the Innocent Smoothie company to a big US drinks company (really good for students studying marketing and catering, as well as Business students); and one on binge drinking and the associated health risks (suitable for Medical English classes).

Each news lesson is available on onestopenglish for a year in order to keep the topics current and relevant to your students. New news lessons are published every week, so there will be plenty of new lessons throughout the year that are useful and relevant in ESP classes. 

LessonShare

This is useful – but don’t just stick to the lessons clearly marked as ESP! It’s worth checking out the other sections as well because there is material that can be useful. In the ESOL section there’s a fantastic lesson called A is for Alpha – great for a number of different ESP classes and really easy to use. And in the same section there is a lesson on HIV and AIDS awarenesswhich is really good for healthcare classes.

In the Grammar section there’s a lovely lesson to help students practise making comparisons. This works really well for students studying subjects like travel and tourism.

And finally, in the speaking subsection, I found this lesson on answering awkward questions. Although the lesson was written with general English classes in mind, there are lots of situations in which ESP students need the same kinds of skills – such as the ones covered in this lesson.

Skills

Here is some listening material from the Listening skills section that you might want to use. First of all, there’s a lesson on advertising suitable for elementary level students studying media or marketing. Or there’s this lesson about food around the world that you could use with catering students at upper-intermediate level.

If you teach lawyers or legal English, you may want to use a reading and speaking lesson that includes some key vocabulary. If so you could try this British English worksheet called What’s your verdict? or, alternatively, a similar lesson in American English.

There’s also some other great reading material in the Reading skills section. For example, a lesson suitable for people studying banking or finance or a great lesson for students studying tourism. The great thing with both of these lessons is that they come at two different levels, making it easier to find something that will work with your students.

You could follow up the reading lesson on tourism with a speaking lesson from the 'hot topics’ area in the Speaking skills section.

Some speaking lessons can be used in different ESP fields. For example, here’s a lesson on censorship that can be used in media classes or for students studying law.

And what about writing? Well, if you teach the subject of journalism, why not try to get your students to write their own magazine by using the ideas in the ‘One World’ magazine? There are also some great one-off writing lessons like this one for writing a company newsletter or this one on writing statistical reports.

Vocabulary

Within the vocabulary section there are some lessons that immediately strike me as being of relevance and use for ESP students. For example, here’s one that you could use for journalism classes and why not compare the British perspective with newspapers in the countries your students come from?

For students studying banking, finance or business why not try this interesting lesson about money? And finally, for any students studying Medical English why not try this vocabulary lesson?

Materials for the teacher

Onestopenglish is not simply about materials that can be used straight away in the classroom, it also contains articles aimed at helping teachers with their professional development. Looking in the Methodology section you can find a subsection dedicated to ESP teachers which includes articles on aspects of teaching ESP or this one on teaching one-to-one.

Within the Teacher Support section there is a section called Teacher’s tips with a number of really useful articles such as this one on addressing the SP in ESP and another article on teaching one-to-one.

And in the Ask the experts section there’s an article on how to motivate ESP students who miss classes or one on public speaking which is something some ESP students need to practise, especially if they have to give presentations. There’s also this article on using CLIL to teach students studying in a technology college.

Conclusion

As you can see, with a little digging you’ll find even more material that you can use for your ESP classes. Another suggestion would be to check out all the CLIL resources available in the Onestopclil section as many of these might be useful to you. For example, you could this lesson about the human body if you teach medical students, or this lesson on using pie charts to show data if you teach marketing classes.

It’s also important to remember that new content is being added to the site all the time. For example, one of the latest additions to the Business and ESP section is this excellent Hospitality and Tourism series.

Have a good time teaching.

Adrian Tennant

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