Research article
Issue: № 6 (96), 2020


Научная статья

Грудева Е.А.*

ORCID: 0000-0002-2001-7729,

Ставропольский государственный аграрный университет, Ставрополь, Россия

* Корреспондирующий автор (elena-grdeva[at]


В начале XXI века произошли серьезные изменения в подходах и методах преподавания иностранного языка. Ранее в преподавании преобладал классический подход, при котором большое внимание уделялось грамматике, чтению и переводу текстов. Этот подход работал, но в современных реалиях он оказался недостаточно эффективен. Причиной изменения подходов к обучению иностранному языку послужило интенсивное развитие международных деловых отношений и, как следствие, растущий спрос на иностранные языки вообще и на английский язык специального (профессионального) назначения в частности. Спрос на англоязычных специалистов в настоящее время достаточно высок. В статье рассматриваются четыре наиболее эффективных подхода к изучению английского языка для специальных целей на примере курса английского языка для специалистов в сфере туризма. Каждый из этих подходов имеет свои преимущества и недостатки, поэтому выбор подхода зависит от целей и способностей обучающихся.

Ключевые слова: английский язык, английский язык для специальных целей, высшее образование, коммуникативный подход, системный подход, аудиолингвистический подход, комплексный подход.


Research article

Grudeva E. A.*

ORCID: 0000-0002-2001-7729,

Stavropol State Agrarian University, Stavropol, Russia

* Corresponding author (elena-grdeva[at]


At the beginning of the XXI century, major changes in approaches and methods of teaching a foreign language took place. Previously, the classical approach prevailed in teaching, where much attention was paid to grammar, reading and translating texts. That approach worked, but it was not efficient enough in modern realities. The reason for the changes in approaches to teaching a foreign language is the intensive development of international business relations and, as a result, the growing demand for foreign languages in general, and for English for Specific Purposes in particular. The demand for English-speaking specialists is rather high currently. The article discusses the four most effective approaches to English for Specific Purposes on the example of an English language course for specialists in tourist business. Each of these approaches has its own advantages and disadvantages, so the choice of approach depends on the goals and abilities of students.          

Keywords: English language, English for Specific Purposes, university education, communicative approach, system approach, audio-linguistic approach, complex approach.


In the process of integration of the domestic professional education in the global education system one of the main directions of its further development should be to improve the efficiency of learning foreign languages in which foreign languages are a means of creating a new type of specialist - a professional who owns the tools of professional activity, communicative competence and foreign language culture, capable of implement intercultural communication for effective professional interaction [3].

The subject of the paper is an overview of basic issues connected with teaching English for Specific Purposes (ESP) at high school. The aim of the paper is to discuss methods and techniques of teaching a foreign language taking into account the objective social and professional needs of future specialists in our country. Businesspersons, tradesmen, engineers, scientists all over the world must know English because it is the international means of exchange of information and experience.

Despite the fact that General English has lost its popularity a little now, this method of teaching has its advantages and many language teachers use General English in their practice. General English - is also called grammar-translation method – is based on the systematic study of grammatical material, phonetics (pronunciation), forms the skills of translation and reading. Since the distinctive features of the General English are extensiveness and thoroughness, this method is very useful for those who need language not as a means, but as an end. That is, General English is the best tool for those who want to master the language perfectly - to write, read, translate, and communicate freely in it, because in the process of learning students have to master all types of language activity in a given volume. Naturally, this involves a thorough study of all aspects of the language: grammar, phonetics, vocabulary. English for Specific Purposes (ESP) in contrast to General English, is dedicated to the field of teaching English, including business English, technical English, scientific English, English for medical professionals, English in the service sector, English for tourism, English for the arts, etc [1].

In scientific pedagogical and linguistic literature, as well as on various internet platforms and forums dedicated to the study and teaching of a foreign language, one can find discussions on the question of which method is better - General English or ESP. In our opinion, the basic tools for General English and English for Specific Purpose are the same. That is, the time-specifying components (Tenses), the use of prepositions, the vocabulary for communication - asking for permission, expressing grief or joy, etc. The ESP is more focused, more oriented towards profession. Business English has typical words and the ways to use them, which we do not use in the ordinary, daily manner. An Engineer's needs for communicating special words - professional jargon, and a doctor needs a different range of words to speak about his work. This is ESP, which we do not use in our daily dealings. The words that we use in our ordinary transactions take on a different meaning in Technical English or in Medical English.

English for Specific Purposes (ESP) in contrast to General English, is dedicated to the field of teaching English, including business English, technical English, scientific English, English for medical professionals, English in the service sector, English for tourism, English for the arts, etc [1].

ESP has some characteristics [2] that can be called absolute and is defined according to the specific needs of students (the Maslow hierarchy of needs). The hierarchy is based on the methodology of the disciplines it serves. It also focuses on the language appropriate to each activity in terms of grammar, vocabulary, register, learning skills, discourse, and genre.

Along with absolute characteristics, there are variable characteristics. They include relationships to specific disciplines or use in specific learning situations, different methodologies that differ from General English. ESP is intended for adult students and one of the important features of ESP is its purpose for intermediate or advanced level students, because most ESP courses assume some basic knowledge of the language system.

Nowadays, ESP is taught in almost all universities in the world. The reason for this is the globalization of trade and the economy and the continuing boom in international relations in various fields. The need for ESP is particularly high in countries where English is taught as a foreign language.

It has become vital to create ESP courses that will help better prepare students for future professional activities. According to the ESP program, the student is well prepared and can focus on the subject. In ESP, it is not possible to learn a language in isolation from actual use. On the contrary, the English language must be presented in a true context so that students can understand how the language they will need to use in the relevant field functions.

Results and discussion

Nowadays English is the language of international communication, trade, and cooperation. English firmly entrenched in our daily life through television, internet, music, chats, etc. English is a native language for about 370-400 million, it is the second language for about 400 million and as a foreign language for 600–700 million. English is an official language of more countries than any other language (Figure 1).

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Fig. 1 – Top of the most popular languages


English received wide popularity in Russia in the 1990s, when a business cooperation roughly developed with other countries. English learning in Russian Federation usually begins at school and then at university. There are many language programs for students abroad to improve communication skills of a foreign language (English), these are usually European countries (for example the UK, Germany, Malta, the US and others.).

Some large and prestigious companies require knowledge of English language (including ESP) and conduct job interviews in a foreign language.

ESP for tourism is designed for students who are needed in developing English language skills for working, a professional internship or a career in the tourism industry. The course focuses on developing English language skills through topics of general interest as well as through themes related specifically to the tourism industry.

The knowledge of the English language is needed for international tourism (outgoing and incoming). It is related to a variety of factors that determine the importance of foreign language knowledge.

Firstly, tour operator has to conclude a contract with service providers (airlines, hotels, transport companies, consulates etc.) for organization of a tourist travel. This contract may be in English language.

Secondly, to get a latest information about tourist travel (for example, time of departure, send request for rooms in the hotels). Also, more than half of the technical and scientific periodicals are published in English.

Thirdly, he have to work using software in English. 80% of the computer data in the world is in English.

For practical English proficiency in a professional environment, learning English for Specific Purposes is necessary, because the General English language will not be enough to understand professional terms.

English for Specific Purposes is needed for tourism specialist for the most effective cooperation with business partners and better understanding provided of the information, particularly in the case of international tourism.

Knowledge of English is needed to specialists in tourism sphere at different levels – whether it is a travel agent, tour operator or service provider (hotel staff, the host companies, etc.).

When designing of English language course for special purposes is necessary to identify the tasks facing the course:

  1. students have to know how keep the conversation about tourism and general business topics;
  2. to learn independently participate in business meetings, negotiations, presentations in English and take responsibility for the success of linguistic communication;
  3. to conduct business correspondence in English;
  4. to participate in professional trainings and seminars about tourism in English;
  5. to read professionally and understand the documents, articles, information materials on a legal and economics topic.

It is important to note that it is necessary to identify a number of factors that hinder the improvement of the quality of teaching foreign languages:

  • abstract nature of foreign language teaching;
  • high quality standards meanwhile the reduction of classroom hours allocated for the study of foreign language;
  • a low level of foreign language preparation of school graduates (test for freshman in a foreign language shows that just about 25% confirm their assessment of school leaving certificate in a foreign language);
  • there is no pragmatic approach to the problem of foreign language teaching, the inability to clearly set the goals and objectives of a particular course;
  • contradictions between traditional and new modern theories, methods and requirements of how to teach;
  • the problem of teaching materials - what to teach;
  • to focus on the learning a foreign language and ignoring the native language (learning language should also be accompanied by the study of the culture of speech in their native language).

At training the English language it is necessary to follow a number of principles and rules:

  1. Systemness for provided material and coverage of all the base sections of the language;
  2. Compactness of the material. If the information will be too volumetric — important information will not be accepted by listeners;
  3. Uses a very clear and simple diagram-images that let student to quickly understand the many difficult areas of grammar that hard to explain by words (prepositions, times etc.);
  4. The flow rate of the information.

For achieving success in teaching English for specific purposes, there are a number of different approaches, consider four the most popular and effective of them.

Communicative approach is based on the interaction between the participants in the communication process, tries to explain your point of view, also expanding competence of participant communications through communication with other participants. Unlike the traditional forms of teaching in this approach attention is paid to communication more than the study of grammar, literary translation and memorization of the English text. This approach focuses on the practice of the learning language, which is the development of speech skills [2].


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Fig. 2 – Exercises and tasks communicative approach to English for specific purposes


Next approach is systematic. Systematic approach to the study of English for Specific Purposes implies three stages:

  • the first stage (1-2 course) – the primary goal – mastering by students the European level B1;
  • the second stage (3-4 year) – perfection professional communication in the framework of tourism sphere and English for special purposes;
  • third stage (Master) – consolidation of previously got knowledge of English for Specific Purposes for the specialty “Tourism”.

Audio-linguistic approach – is suitable for people having a pronounced auditory perception. It is based on memorizing phrases by their regular repetition. The purpose of audio-linguistic approach is perfection diction, vocabulary enrichment by special terms.

Complex approach for the study of a foreign language — course consist of reading foreign literature, translation and interpretation and lively conversations and games that will help overcome the language barrier and to open a new ability.

Earlier this topic was described by Alex Case in his article “The ESP approach - Theory and reality of needs analysis and course design” [9]. He analyzed this problem and marked expectation and reality to course ESP. He made a list of unexpected things that interfere to teaching like was planned:

  • Things taking more or less time than planned;
  • Students missing classes, arriving late, leaving early, having questions that take a long time to answer (e.g. bringing in something to proofread together), and not doing homework;
  • The mix of the class changing, e.g. a student leaving;
  • The students being too tired, bored or unmotivated to cover or take in the work-related materials that have been prepared [9].

Alan Waters has suggested in the article “Trends and Issues in ELT Methods and Methodology” [6] the teaching English through activities such as: posters and fly swatter, video clips, role play, teacher presentation, interview, group work, debate, corpora, giving advice, dialogues.


Summing up, it may be said that there is a great need in designing a full ESP course for students of tourism covering the part of professional communication by selecting language and speech patterns and constructing a teaching ESP complex based on the modern methods and techniques of teaching a foreign language. The primary object of the ESP course is to train professional communicative competence that is to train the ability to communicate in English according to the situation, purpose and specific roles of the participants. The ESP course builds on and extends the foundations for accurate communication.

The ESP course must be based on and extend the foundations for proper communication. It must extend the learner’s grammatical, lexical and functional skills and cover the public, educational and professional skills. 

Конфликт интересов Не указан. Conflict of Interest None declared.

Список литературы / References

  1. Flowerdew J. Discourse in Language education. London and New York. Rutledge. 2001, 245 p.
  2. Hutchinson T., Waters A. English for Specific Purposes: A learning-centered approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1987, pp. 42-52.
  3. McKay S.L. The cultural basis of teaching English as an International language. TESOL Matters, 2003, 13 (4), pp. 1-6
  4. Paltridge B., Starfield S. The Handbook of English of Specific Purposes, USA. 2012, pp. 127-135.
  5. Stern H. H. Fundamental concepts of language teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009
  6. Waters A. Trends and Issues in ELT Methods and Methodology. English Language Teaching Journal, 2012, vol. 66, issue 4, pp. 440-449.
  7. Widodo H.P., Pusporini R. Materials design: English for specific purposes. (ESP). Muenchen, 2010, pp.147-160.
  8. Yalden, J. Principles of Course Design for Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1996
  9. Case A. The ESP approach - Theory and reality of needs analysis and course design. Available at: (accessed 20.04.2020)
  10. Electronic resource “Using English” [Collection articles] Available at: (accessed 20.04.2020)