English Language Teaching in Asian Contexts

The ability to use English in professional contexts is a must in academia, business and political situations. However, the use of English does not and should not signify the exclusion or rejection of non-Western ideas and concepts of education. In the 20th century, many language teaching approaches included the concepts of forming an identity in the second language to promote its acquisition, of interactive learning requiring active student participation or of acquiring critical thinking skills as part of a suite of academic literacy skills. As we progress into the 21st century, we are becoming increasingly aware of how diverse societal structures can be and how these differences can impact our notions about education. If we consider that language and content are intricately bound to each other, then the question arises of how professional English language ability can be acquired without the loss or rejection of the individual’s native language and culture. One way that this can be accomplished is by examining how discourse communities maintain their communications by focusing specifically on the genres (communication events) that they use. This English for Specific Purposes (ESP) approach allows the extraction of the specific features of the genres needed for successful communication and their adaptation to the needs of the language learner. Examples of how the ESP approach can be used in the classroom will be presented.

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Posted by IAFOR