In What Ways, If Any, Does the Role of the Esp Teacher Differ from That of a Teacher of ‘General English’? and, to What Extent Is It Necessary for the Teacher of Esp to Have Knowledge of the Student's Subject or Professional Discipline?

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In what ways, if any, does the role of the ESP teacher differ from that of a teacher of ‘general English’? And, to what extent is it necessary for the teacher of ESP to have knowledge of the student’s subject or professional discipline? For reasons of space and focus this essay will concentrate on what has historically been the most important branch of ESP, namely English for Academic purposes.[1] The role of the EAP teacher does have significant areas of overlap with that of a general English teacher, (or with any other kind of teacher) but there are differences and these are pointed out. The question of content knowledge is a thorny issue but a hard line is argued here. I assert that discipline specific knowledge is not necessary for an…show more content…
and Dudley-Evans,T. 91: 304) ) The previous paragraphs have discussed differences in role which were shown to be ones of emphasis rather than approach or exigency. However, and here I wish to move to the EAP context, there are certainly distinct differences between the roles of General English and EAP teachers when it comes to their place in an institution. While it is true to say that in the wider societal scheme of things it is very rare for any teacher to be accorded due respect, it is the case that an EAP teacher will have to strive more strenuously to negotiate a position conducive to effective work. Tim Johns adduces five common complaints : “low priority in timetabling; lack of personal/professional contact with subject teachers; lower status/grade than subject teachers; isolation from other teachers of English doing similar work; lack of respect from students.” (cited in Hutchinson and Waters 87:164) The aforementioned low status and lack of respect presumably stem from the oft thought, if not so oft directly expressed, notion that an English instructor in an academic environment is “just an English teacher” because he or she has no subject specialty. Consequently, to make a point on the subject of roles before moving on to the issue of subject knowledge, this means that the EAP teacher will have to play the role of negotiator and diplomat in order to gain cooperation and recognition from subject teachers, students, and bureaucrats. When tackling

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