Growing Demand for English for Specific Purposes-Business

English for Specific Purposes-Business (ESP-Business, also referred to as English for Business Purposes, or EBP) is a dynamic, growing field in the world of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). With the globalization of trade, companies, universities, and individuals are increasingly turning to educational specialists from the field of ESP-Business to develop and provide high quality learning opportunities in language and communication skills.

At the same time, the need for technological competence in business is expanding. Far-reaching innovations in technology and telecommunications have rendered the global marketplace of today's "Information Age" an ever-expanding world of networked businesses, stock market ups and downs, news agencies, trade associations, and country/regional information. Knowing how to tap the wealth of information resources on the Internet and how to analyze and communicate that information effectively are critical skills in today's competitive world of international business.

Best Practices in English for Specific Purposes

The Internet can be a valuable source of authentic texts and tasks, especially in low-resource teaching contexts where access to appropriate materials in English is limited. However, before turning to the Internet as a tool for business language training, it is critical for the Business English teacher or trainer to consider the basic ESP principles of needs assessment and authenticity of tasks and texts. What do your learners need to be able to do in the target language? And what actual business texts and tasks should you use to teach it?

Needs assessment and authenticity lie at the very heart of Best Practices for effective and accountable ESP course design. For more information and a list of references on designing, implementing, and evaluating high quality language training programs, turn to:

Friedenberg, Joan, Deborah Kennedy, Anne Lomperis, William Martin, and Kay Westerfield. Effective Practices in Workplace Language Training: Guidelines for Providers of Workplace English Language Training Services. Alexandria, VA: TESOL International Association, (2003).

What's Available on this Web Site

While this web site is intended primarily for educators working in the area of ESP-Business with secondary or tertiary level learners, the projects can easily be adapted to the real world communication needs of business people in the workplace. The web site presents authentic, motivating, integrated-skills tasks and projects that develop high-frequency business communication skills, intercultural awareness, technology skills, and business research strategies. Through the tasks, learners will:

A master resource list of business and English language learning web sites that are linked to the projects are also available on this web site.


©1997-2013: Kay Westerfield, University of Oregon's American English Institute in Eugene, Oregon (U.S.A.). Thank you to Leslie Opp-Beckman for site design and content contributions. Permission to distribute and use for educational purposes provided the author's name is left intact. This site may not be mirrored. Links to other sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein. Last updated: 14 July 2013.

CV for Kay Westerfield, kwesterf@uoregon.edu
5212 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-5212 USA