Week One: "Sorting out ESP, CBI, and other Cousins"

Margaret van Naerssen is our guest lecturer; (to learn more about her, please go to the Guest Lectureres page).

Margaret van Naerssen will focus on two areas:

  • ESP: Key Features of ESP (English for Specific Purposes): (Click HERE to read the excerpt from her article)
  • Sorting out ESP, CBI, (Content Based Instruction) and other Cousins
    Under this topic she will introduce a topic for ESL2ESP that will also be covered in a colloquium that she, Donna Brinton, and Lyudmila Kuznetsova will be doing at TESOL 2005. Below is the abstract of her ESL2ESP discussion (and also the TESOL colloquium.)

Abstract: English for Specific Purpose (ESP) and Content-based (Language) Instruction (CBI) are examined to determine what is and what isn't ESP. The goal is to reclaim ESP principles and establish the validity of CBI for many "ESP" and "EAP" programs.

During Week One, Margaret van Naerssen and the ESL2ESP audience will examine the goals, contexts, core principles, and tasks of English for Specific Purpose (ESP) and Content-based (Language) Instruction (CBI) to determine what is and what isn't ESP.

The purposes are:

a) to try to halt the world-wide dilution of the principles of ESP, reclaiming the "specificity" principles of ESP and

b) to establish the validity of a CBI model for many programs now referred to as ESP and EAP (English for Academic Purposes). Other "cousin" models and approaches are also examined in this sorting-out process.

The demand has increased for English communication skills in many study and workplace settings. Content- and theme-based language instruction have also spread world-wide to make language learning more relevant. ESP has increasingly become defined locally, very frequently losing its core specificity. EAP frequently is CBI in "EAP clothing." As the goal is to sort out these approaches, audience participation is critical. This online discussion will NOT follow the traditional format of formal papers. The presentations are in stages.

The proposed schedule below includes online discussions by the audience: clarifications, examples and implications, with responses by Margaret van Naerssen and participants.


Evidence from EFL and ESL settings

  • Goals and Common Contexts: ESP, CBI


    1. How does your current or proposed program fit in? Is it more ESP or CBI?
    2. Which would best meet your students/ program's needs?)
  • Principles: ESP, CBI
  • Discussion: what are the principles of ESP and CBI?

  • Common Tasks: ESP, CBI

    Discussion: what tasks are common to both ESP and CBI?

  • Historical Factors: ESP, CBI


    1. How do historical factors influence ESP/CBI? Other "Cousins".
    2. What other fields are related to ESP and CBI?
  • Recommendations & Directions ( comments by Margaret van Naerssen, (Week One threads).

Back to Week One

©2005 EVonline 2005 ESL2ESP session