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Salomi Papadima-Sophocleous, Elis Kakoulli Constantinou, Christina Nicole Giannikas (Eds.), ESP Teaching and Teacher Education: Current Theories and practices

Aude Labetoulle
p. 155-160
Référence(s) :

Papadima-Sophocleous, Salomi, Elis Kakoulli Constantinou & Christina Nicole Giannikas (Eds.). 2019. ESP Teaching and Teacher Education: Current Theories and practices. London:, 184 pp. ISBN 978-2-4900-5745-0.

Texte intégral

1As its title indicates, ESP Teaching and Teaching Education: Current Theories and Practices, published in 2019, is a volume which brings together research on ESP teacher education and ESP teaching. Both topics are strongly related as it is argued that ESP teacher training can be supported through exemplary practices.

2The book is composed of ten chapters in English edited by academics Salomi Papadima-Sophocleous, Ellis Kakoulli Constantinou and Christina Nicole Giannikas of Cyprus University of Technology. The articles have an abstract, the editors‘ biographies are given at the end of the introduction and there is an author index (referencing the authors of the chapters only) at the end of the volume.

3The book is international in scope: The authors report on teaching experiences in Cyprus (Chapters 2, 6, 7, 8), Turkey (Chapter 1), the United States (Chapter 4), Romania (Chapter 5), France (9) and Spain (2 & 10), and Chapter 3 presents data gathered from 20 countries. The authors come from a diversity of backgrounds and include practitioners, researchers, directors of language centres, and teacher educators from seven countries, who specialise in ESP teaching in various fields, teacher training, applied linguistics, as well as technology enhanced learning. Besides this shared interest in ESP teaching and training in higher education and further education, the authors display a common understanding of ESP teaching and learning methodologies as most chapters adopt a learner-centred, task-based, communicative, and socio-constructivist perspective. Many articles also report on the use of technological tools to teach ESP: the Google Suite for Education (Chapter 2), a serious game (Chapter 7), an online wiki (Chapter 8) and educational video making (Chapter 9). Chapter 3 and Chapter 6 specifically focus on technological tools, the former to discuss how ESP teachers use technology for professional development, the latter to investigate the users’ use and perceptions of a technology-enhanced curriculum.

4The volume is organised into two sections. The first four chapters deal with ESP teacher education. They are case studies (Chapters 1, 2 and 4) and a survey (Chapter 3) focused on both pre-service teachers (Chapters 1 and 4) and on-service teachers (Chapters 2 and 3). Two chapters offer examples of comprehensive training programmes (Chapters 1 & 2), when the other two deal with specific elements of teacher training, such as the use of digital tools in self-study (Chapter 3) and teacher feedback on lexical proficiency of ESP students (Chapter 4).

5The six other chapters examine ESP teaching practices. The studies are concerned with various specialised domains: aeronautical communications (Chapter 5), Chemical Engineering (Chapter 6), Shipping (Chapter 7), Biomedical Sciences (Chapter 8), Information and Communication (IC) and Language Sciences (Chapter 9) and Engineering (Chapter 10). They either provide examples of general course design (Chapters 5 and 6), or focus on some key components of the course, such as the integration of a serious game into an ESP course in Chapter 7, the use of a collaborative wiki to foster vocabulary development in Chapter 8, the participation in a collaborative video project to promote soft skills in Chapter 9 and explicit rhythm instruction in Chapter 10. Most authors argue, however, that the methodology, the tasks, and/or the tools used could be transferable to other specialised domains and are relevant to ESP teaching education.

6The editors’ introduction (pp. 1-10) presents the two areas that are explored in the rest of the volume and provide a brief summary of each chapter. The first section of this volume, which examines ESP teacher education, opens with a case study by Yasemin Kırkgöz. In Chapter 1 (pp. 13-26), she reports on a general ESP teacher education course taught to sixty pre-service language teachers in Turkey. The course adopts what is termed a “constructivist approach” and is two-fold. The first part is theory-oriented and consists in lectures and small group tasks “to construct epistemological knowledge of basic ESP concepts, such as needs analysis, materials design, and course design” (p. 17). It is followed by a task where the learners are asked to design a mock ESP course, develop a lesson plan and perform micro-teaching in the classroom. The data analysis based on pre- and post-test questionnaires and the learning diaries of the participants tends to suggest that the course had positive effects on the future ESP teachers. Y. Kirkgöz stresses that the approach used in this study could benefit other teacher education programmes.

7Elis Kakoulli Constantinou, Salomi Papadima Sophocleous, and Nicos Souleles also describe an ESP teacher education course, but in this chapter (pp. 27-46) the focus is on on-service Spanish and Cypriot ESP teachers. The authors report on the initial stages of an action research, which first consisted in a needs analysis conducted with ESP practitioners (it is not detailed here). The results informed a 3-week, free and online programme named Online Reflective Teacher Education in ESP. Details are given as regards the content of the course (needs analysis, lesson planning, material design, reflection on the teaching process …), which teaching methodologies were selected to teach the online course (social constructivism, connectivism, a “practice what you preach” approach) and the tools used (Google Suite for Education). If only six participants took part in the pilot implementation of the action research, the data gathered with an online questionnaire, the participants’ reflective diaries, and field notes to name but a few, enable the researchers to draw a convincing conclusion as to which aspects of the course were the most satisfactory regarding the content, the tools used and the teaching methodologies, and what should be improved on for the final implementation of the course.

8In Chapter 3 (pp. 47-63), Irena Aleksić-Hajduković, Danka Sinadinović and Stevan Mijomanović investigate how ESP teachers use technology (e.g. MOOCs, apps, webinars, online platforms, professional websites) to improve their teaching. The analysis is structured around the idea that technology can serve as a source of pedagogical tools, as well as a means of self-study to support professional development. To classify the tools, the strategies and the opportunities available, the authors introduce the concepts of “e(lectronic)-scaffolding,” “self-scaffolding” and “reciprocal scaffolding.” Their study is based on fifty responses to an online survey, with respondents from twenty countries mostly teaching at tertiary level. The results reveal that the participants use various technological resources to a rather great extent, and for various purposes, ranging from gaining knowledge in the ESP domain, improving ESP linguistic competence, and honing technological skills amongst others. The researchers suggest that ESP teacher education offer up-to-date models which includes concepts such as “e-scaffolding,” and fosters digital literacy and technological savviness in teachers-to-be.

9Alla Zareva is also interested in ESP teacher training in Chapter 4 (pp. 63-78), but she focuses on a specific area of expertise. In an exploratory study, she wonders how to prepare future ESP teachers to give evidence-based feedback on the lexical component of academic presentations made by ESP students. First, the author presents her framework to describe lexical features in ESP speech, which draws from the Assessment for Learning and models of lexical richness and complexity. This framework is used for the design of a course taught to twenty ESP teachers-to-be, who were asked to transcribe a student’s ESP presentation, analyse it, and provide written mock feedback with a focus on vocabulary. A detailed description of the course is provided (i.e. readings and instructions given to the trainees and tools used such as the Compleat Lexical Tutor). Based on an analysis of the participants’ mock feedback, the author identifies their areas of achievement and the ones that require improvement. The limitations of the study are also discussed.

10Neil Bullock introduces the second section of this book, which presents analyses of ESP teaching programmes, methodologies and activities. In Chapter 5 (pp. 79-94), the author proposes a study conducted with ESP students in the field of aeronautical communications. The researcher describes how he set up a two-week ESP course for thirty-three Romanian Air Traffic Controllers students, based on what he terms “a learning-based continuum for LSP,” which focuses on meaningful learning, intrinsic motivation and communicative competence. The objective of the course was to improve students’ real-world communication needs, and the study aims to assess the relevancy of the framework regarding the methodology and materials used and the students’ learning objectives. With this end in view, an online questionnaire was submitted to the learners after the course. The results reveal that they declared being very satisfied with the methodology and materials of the course, and most students indicated having increased awareness and knowledge of the language and subject matter. In his conclusion, the author suggests this research could feed into teacher training courses.

11In a pilot study in Chapter 6 (pp. 95-110), Christina Nicole Giannikas dwells on an ESP course in chemical engineering with twenty first-year students in Cyprus. The curriculum aimed to enhance the students’ ability to communicate in English within their occupational and academic context. The areas explored in the course included academic writing, lab communication, presentations and responding to questions. The course heavily relied on digital tools (e.g. a Facebook group, YouTube, Google Docs/Drive, Google Slides, Canvas and Press), in a learner-centred, constructivist and collaborative approach to learning. To evaluate the course, Giannikas explored the students’ weekly learning diaries and a questionnaire submitted at the end of the course. This led her to provide a detailed analysis of each technological tool to assess how it was used by the students, whether they deemed it relevant and user-friendly. The results reveal that the majority of students appear to have become more autonomous, that they enjoyed the use of technology in class, and found it relevant for language learning. When concluding, the author invites fellow ESP teachers “to […] embrace a constructivist approach in a digitally rich ESP curriculum” so as to “encourage students to develop as autonomous learners and embrace a wider variety of content and resources in a student-centred environment” (p. 109).

12Giouli Pappa and Salomi Papadima-Sophocleous are also interested in digital tools. They provide a methodology to evaluate how relevant integrating a ready-made serious game (SG) would be for an ESP course. In their case study in Chapter 7 (pp. 111-130), they analyse a SG which was originally designed to train seafarers, and investigate whether it could be adopted for an English for shipping purposes course at the Cyprus University of Technology. The methodology is two-fold and combines various assessment methods. First, to assess how appropriate the SG is to learn English for shipping, they use a modified version of the RETAIN model framework. Then, to inform the way the SG could be embedded within the specific ESP curriculum, the researchers employ a four-dimensional framework. It guides them through the characterisation of the context of ESP the course, the learner specifications, pedagogical considerations and tools to be used. These analyses lead them to conclude that indeed, the “Escape From Desolo COTS SG could be applied in the English for shipping curriculum” (p. 126). Further steps to this study include the implementation of the serious game which will be provided in a future paper.

13In Chapter 8 (pp. 131-146), Eleni Nikiforou also centres on a specific component of an ESP programme as she proposes activities to help ESP learners foster vocabulary development. In an English for biomedical sciences course, twenty-nine undergraduate students of the University of Cyprus filled in an online collaborative wiki to create their own biomedical dictionary. They were asked to add three items per week with a definition and an example sentence taken from the material of the course. Based on the wiki history page, student questionnaires and semi-structured interviews, E. Nikiforou underlines that the learners managed to collaborate successfully, and that they found the task “motivati[ng]”, “easy” and “interesting.” The key characteristics of the task which made it effective are said to be ownership, scaffolding, autonomous learning, a safe environment, and the task rationale. The author calls for the transfer of this activity to other contexts so as to confirm the results of this study.

14Dana Di Pardo Léon-Henri investigates another set of skills useful to ESP learners. She asserts that ESP courses have a role to play in the development of lifelong learning skills in the context of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.” In Chapter 9 (pp. 147-162), she proposes teachers adopt a “student-centred learning” (SCL) approach, characterised by student empowerment and autonomy, group work and the principles of the flipped classroom, in order to develop soft skills such as verbal and non-verbal communication and transversal metacognitive skills. This approach is exemplified with a task that consists in groups of students producing a one-minute film over the course of a semester. The study was conducted for two years with more than 260 students from two majors (information and communication and language sciences). The rationale, the syllabus, the instructions for the task and the evaluation grid are detailed; the author provides the reader with very useful appendices, such as the questionnaire used to investigate the students’ impressions on the activity. The results tend to indicate that the majority of the learners enjoyed working on the project, which they deemed interesting and challenging, and said it encouraged creativity, critical thinking and the development of collaboration skills. The researcher stresses that if the film task was particularly relevant for students studying languages and communication, the pedagogical approach used here (SCL) could be adapted to any language class.

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15Leticia Quesada Vázquez focuses on the effectiveness of rhythm instruction to improve students’ prosody in Chapter 10 (pp. 163-176). The author argues rhythm is one of the most relevant aspect of pronunciation that can be taught, and presents a case study with data gathered from forty-two first-year undergraduate engineering students, native speakers of Catalan and Spanish. A 30-minute pronunciation module was embedded in the regular ESP classes for ten weeks. The module consisted of a description of the aspect to be taught and activities on podcasts to get familiar with the feature, followed by controlled practice, guided practice and communicative practice. The analyses of this study are based on the comparison between the performance of experimental and control groups in pre- and post-tests, as well as with six natives serving as a reference point, and a statistical analysis was carried out using PRAAT software.1 If the author acknowledges that further research is needed to reach statistical significance, she stresses that explicit rhythm instruction did enhance students’ acquisition of the rhythm of English and that the experimental group got closer to the native equivalents, when control groups showed inconsistent behaviour.

16This book is a particularly relevant read for ESP teacher educators and ESP teachers alike; each chapter proposes frameworks, methodologies and tools that could be used in other ESP teaching contexts. As regards ESP teaching education in particular, it is indeed undisputable that “issues related to ESP teacher education have not been thoroughly investigated yet” (p. 1) by the ESP research community, and the first four chapters of this volume clearly step in to fill in the gap. For example, the constructivist approach in Chapter 1 used to teach ESP basics to future ESP teachers echoes the maxim of “practice what you preach” presented in Chapter 2, the idea being that the theoretical and methodological approaches that are recommended to trainees to apply in the ESP classroom be also those used by ESP teacher trainers. The concepts presented in Chapter 3 of “electronic self” and “reciprocal” scaffolding in teacher self-education and the revised version of the Assessment for Learning Framework in Chapter 4 could also be fruitfully used and investigated in other ESP teacher training contexts. Even though the second section of the book is concerned with the more common field of ESP teaching practices, the argument is made by several authors that ESP teaching practices can provide examples that can inform current ESP practitioners, ESP trainers and ESP teachers-to-be.

17As regards the second section of the book, the learning-based continuum for LSP in Chapter 5 and the “student-centred learning” approach to the development of soft skills in ESP courses in Chapter 9 could both be relevant frameworks to design ESP courses. Chapter 10 provides examples of useful activities to develop a skill that is not often investigated in ESP research, pronunciation. The experiments, analyses and evaluations of digital tools, which are key to this volume, could also prove very useful to trainers and ESP teachers alike. The review of the ways six digital tools were used and evaluated by the students and the teacher in an ESP classroom in Chapter 6 is likely to generate ideas. The specific focus on serious games in Chapter 7, and the frameworks that are utilised to assess how relevant a SG is for a specific ESP course can also prove useful for replication. The same can be said of the use of a collaborative wiki to foster ESP lexical development in Chapter 8, and the “One-Minute Film Project” in Chapter 9.

18However, when one of the purposes of this volume is precisely to provide exemplary practices, frameworks, methodologies and activities for potential replication, it is unfortunate that some elements which could be very useful to fellow researchers and practitioners are not always provided in some studies, such as the questionnaires, the pre- and post-tests, and more concrete details about the course content and activities. Moreover, if biographical statements are provided for the editors, they were not provided for all the authors in this volume.

19To conclude, it is clear that one of the strengths of this volume is that it exemplifies how diverse and international research on ESP training can be, and how practitioners and researchers could be inspired by classroom practices from a wide range of specialist domains and from all over the world. The various professional backgrounds and interests of the authors of this volume also help highlight how diverse the ESP teaching community is.

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Aude Labetoulle, « Salomi Papadima-Sophocleous, Elis Kakoulli Constantinou, Christina Nicole Giannikas (Eds.), ESP Teaching and Teacher Education: Current Theories and practices »ASp, 78 | 2020, 155-160.

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Aude Labetoulle, « Salomi Papadima-Sophocleous, Elis Kakoulli Constantinou, Christina Nicole Giannikas (Eds.), ESP Teaching and Teacher Education: Current Theories and practices »ASp [En ligne], 78 | 2020, mis en ligne le 21 octobre 2020, consulté le 28 novembre 2020. URL : ; DOI :

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Aude Labetoulle

CNAM Paris, Laboratoire FOAP,

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