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Dealing with practical problems in ESP (English for special purposes) classroom

Two weeks ago, somebody invited me to teach ESP (English for special purposes), English for Accountancy to be more exact. Since I am an accountant I accepted the challenge although I have no experience in teaching English for Accountancy. But, everything has a beginning.

I was thinking that the class will be pretty much similar to a normal ESL/EFL class. Actually, it isn’t it is quite different. Below are five challenges that I had to deal with in my ESP class and I believe most of the English teachers face the same problems.

Teachers need to find and use proper strategies to manage these areas. Some of the challenges listed above are very common in many ESL classes and are relatively easy to manage. However, one key point is to make sure the material and activities used in the class are relevant, interesting, and motivating.

Although the students in an ESP class are united by a common specialty and have the same end goal, the difference between them is often greater than in other classes. It is very important for the teacher to be aware of these differences. These differences manifest themselves in classroom activities and tasks. They are relatively easy to spot. Once the differences are identified, the teacher can take action to manage them and if that is possible, to use them to the benefit of all the class.

Here are some ideas for action related to pair work and vocabulary. These ideas can be applied in any ESL classroom.

Teachers shouldn’t forget that ESP learners are real people and it is very important to know what they are interested in and how they communicate in their real lives.


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