Review of the CUE ESP Symposium—Kansai 2012

Writer(s): 
Glen Hill, Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine; Matthew Apple, Ritsumeikan University

 

JALT CUE SIG and JACET Kansai ESP SIG co-hosted an English for Specific Purposes (ESP) Symposium on September 8, 2012, at Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST). The symposium began with hour-long presentations by Professors Judy Noguchi (Mukogawa Women’s University, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences) and Laurence Anthony (Waseda University, Faculty of Science and Engineering). Both hold undergraduate degrees in a science field and an advanced degree in TEFL.

Noguchi’s talk Exploring ESP roots and applications covered the long history of ESP and touched on the thoughts that various notable personalities in the field had contributed to its evolution. She spoke of her own involvement, too, and included a synopsis on the approach she has devised: PAIL (purpose, audience, information, language features), the “what” of an ESP genre that students need to recognize, and OCHA (observe, classify, hypothesize, apply), the “how” of strategies to learn English within various ESP fields (Noguchi, 1998, 2003). She concluded by mentioning the use of concordancing software, corpora, and collocations as supplemental devices for the specific needs of the classroom.

This led into Laurence Anthony’s talk on Advances in corpus-informed ESP research and teaching. He described concepts of teaching students the differences between corpora of scientific text versus the General Service List of words (West, 1953). Using the free AntConc concordance software (Anthony, 2005; <www.antlab.sci.waseda.ac.jp/antconc_index.html>), Anthony demonstrated how easily it can be used to show students the usefulness of such tools as they write in an ESP setting. Cautioning against teaching the word lists like GSL, he proposed that teachers use data-driven learning (Boulton, 2009 & 2010) to assist students in learning how to use English.

After these talks, attendees moved to a display of more than a dozen posters by native and non-native English speakers. Topics included teaching research article writing, needs analyses, global education for science and engineering majors, corpus linguistics and discourse analysis for business majors, developing an e-learning program, content-based instructions, and teaching ESP to secondary students.

Following the poster displays, Noguchi and Anthony hosted their own respective workshops in concurrent sessions. Noguchi’s theme was Identifying ESP Issues and Finding Solutions. Most of the discussions centered on using portfolios in ESP courses for high school and college engineering majors. She showed detailed samples of the progression from junior high students. She also mentioned Waseda’s Japanese-English Corpus of Presentations in Science and Engineering (JECPRESE) <www.jecprese.sci.waseda.ac.jp>, which has presentations on file available for analysis with corpora software. She also passed around several reference books, suggested the SRA Reading Laboratory <www.srareadinglabs.com> for non-fiction reading, and said that the website Science News for Kids <www.sciencenewsforkids.org> provides a good springboard for many ESP learners.

In his workshop, A Practical Guide to Teaching ESP Using Data-Driven Learning (DDL) Tools and Techniques, Anthony demonstrated various tools of AntConc, which he uses to help science students at Waseda University understand the language in their respective study fields. A key point was that students themselves should have individual copies of the program to be in control of their own learning. Students bring PDF files to class from journals in their majors; these are then converted into text files that the AntConc program uses to create a miniature corpus. By analyzing lexical items and bundles typically used by researchers, students can determine which words and phrases they should use in their writing.

The entire event concluded with a panel discussion with both speakers fielding questions on the podium and then joining everyone in a group photo. Plenary speech slides, supplemental materials, and posters are available on the JALT CUE SIG website < jaltcue-sig.org/cueesp_poster_presentation>.

The CUE ESP Symposium will be held again at the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST), Kanazawa, on September 7, 2013. Please check the JALT CUE SIG website for updates.

References

  • Anthony, L. (2005). AntConc: Design and Development of a Freeware Corpus Analysis Toolkit for the Technical Writing Classroom. Proceedings of the 2005 IEEE International Professional Communication Conference, Ireland, 25, 729-737. Retrieved from <uibk.ac.at/tuxtrans/docs/antconc.pdf>
  • Boulton, A. (2009). Testing the limits of data-driven learning: Language proficiency and training. ReCALL, 21(1), 37–51.
  • Boulton, A. (2010). Data-driven learning: Taking the computer out of the equation. Language Learning, 60(3), 534-572.
  • Noguchi, J. (1998). “Easifying” ESP texts for EFL science majors. Simplification (Language), 13–19. Retrieved from <esp-world.info/!encyclopaedia/Tomas_Orr.pdf#page=15>
  • Noguchi, J. (2003). Teaching ESP writing: OCHA in a CALL class. Cybermedia Forum, 4. Retrieved from <cmc.osaka-u.ac.jp/j/publication/for-2003/40-45.html>
  • West, M. P. (1953). A general service list of English words, with semantic frequencies and a supplementary word-list for the writing of popular science and technology. London: Longman.
 
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