The role of materials in ESP


The core materials are usually paper-based, however; teachers use videos related to learning goals and learners’ needs, projectors, smart board, computer/internet and real objects. Dudley-Evans and St John (1998) say that there are four reasons for using materials.

  1. as a source of language
  2. as learning support
  3. for motivation and stimulation
  4. for reference

in ESP, the teacher is mainly a provider of materials from selecting that which is available to adapting it as necessary and supplementing it where it does not quite meet the learners’ needs. In some situations, using authentic materials is more appropriate that learners can provide.

Offord-Gray and Aldred (1998) suggest that “the course materials need to go beyond making the language explicit but provide a means by which learners can engage in a process of reconstruction.” For my group, I used ‘English for the Energy Industries.’ some of the texts didn’t match with the learners’ specialised field. This coursebook was only used as a guide during the course. Much adaptation was done from other books, manuals or other authentic materials.

McDonough and Shaw frame how the considerations on which the principle of adaptation is based for together in figure 1. They say that learners with whom they are in day-today contact. Teacher adapt the materials by deleting, adding, modifying, reordering, simplifying because they identify such areas as:002

  • Reading passages which contain too much unknown vocabulary
  • Material not related to the learner’s needs
  • Reading comprehension questions which are too easy
  • Subject matter inappropriate for learners of this age and intellectual level
  • Material needs too much time
  • Activities are not suitable for ESP
  • Grammar is not clear in the text

Materials are important in teaching. Offord-Gray and Aldred (1998) say that the methodology and the content of the teaching and learning materials need to be sensitive to learners’ previous learning experience. For many of the learners, the methodology of the course materials represented a shift from an essentially product-focused approach to a more process orientation.

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