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Exploring English Language instructors and Subject specialists in ESP teaching: Differences and Similarities

Hsiao-Wen Hsu
Ling Tung University, Taichung, Taiwan


Teaching English for Specific Purposes (ESP) has gained considerable importance in various fields to meet students’ future professional needs. Previous ESP studies have focused on the characteristics of the genre, the needs of learners, and the pedagogical implications. However, relatively little attention has been paid to the issue of teacher qualifications, particularly the question of who should be responsible for delivering ESP courses. This study, therefore, represents a comparative examination of the beliefs and practices of 18 EFL teachers and subject specialists regarding the teaching of English for Tourism Purposes (ETP) at the tertiary level. To gain insight from participants, data were collected through questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and selected classroom observations. Despite a significant theoretical difference between the two groups, statistical analysis revealed no significant discrepancy in their perceptions of the practical aspects of teaching ESP. Both groups of teachers placed particular emphasis on motivational factors, such as the relevance of course content to learners' future careers and the use of authentic materials. The finding provides valuable insights into how EFL teachers and Subject specialists interpret their professional roles in teaching ESP to students with tourism backgrounds. In addition, the findings of this study have practical implications for curriculum designers, teacher educators, and educational institutions that aim to optimize ESP instruction and ensure its relevance to learners' future career aspirations.


ESP, ETP, tertiary level, subject specialists, EFL teachers

International Joint Conference of APLX, ETRA40, and TESPA 2023