13 May 2013

A Study of an ESP Curriculum for Airline Agents in China

A Study of an ESP Curriculum for Airline Agents in China

Abstract 
English for specific purpose (ESP) has for about 30 years been a separate branchof English language Teaching (ELT). Recent years in China, with the development of international trade and foreign exchange, more and more in-service and pre-service staffs are expected to learn practical al and useful English language inorder to adapt to the new situation. A course design in this case is initiated for a group of service agents from the airline. The aim of this course is to help the airline agents, whose services will inevitably involve communications with foreign guests in English, develop their language skills in air transport profession.

Keywords: ESP, Course Design, Airline Agents

Introduction 
English for specific purpose (ESP) has for about 30 years been a separate branchof English language Teaching (ELT). ESP is an umbrella term embracing a number of sub-divisions and is often divided up into two main sub-branches: English for Academic Purposes (EAP), dealing with the use of English in study settings where the main goal of language learning is the ability to copein the student’s chosen academic specialism; and English for Occupational Purposes (EOP), where the language is needed in the workplace environment of a job or profession. (Johnson & Johnson, 1998, p.106) Another perspective is of English for Science and Technology, English for Business and Economics and English for Social Science, each with an EAP and EOP division. (St John, 1996, p.3) English for Business Purpose (EBP) is currently the area of greatest activity and growth in ESP. (Dudley-Evans & St John, 1998, p.53) This English for Specific Purposes (ESP) course is designed for a group of service agentsfrom the airline. As the domains of air transport are mediated through the use of English as an auxiliary language, English proficiency becomes a necessity to airline personnel since nowadays more and more foreign guests visit China by air for traveling and business purposes. The aim of this course is to help the airline agents, whose services will inevitably involve communications with foreign guests inEnglish, develop their language skills in air transport profession. China Eastern Airline has long been engaged in personnel in-service training programs. According to a joint contract with Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the airline began to send groups of its personnel to Nanjing for their English training in summer, 2007. There will be 24 learners from the airline coming this summer. All the learners are expected to study in Nanjing for one month and all their accommodation and tuition fees are all sponsored by the airline. Therefore, a study of the course design is preferred in this case.

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