ESP Training for Student Consulting Purposes

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

I was reflecting on my ELT program development recently, and I recognized that my leadership development programs are often connected to consulting. For such consulting activities, there may be a need for ESP training. In this TESOL Blog post, I would like to focus on a few programs that are listed on my website – The Leadership Connection Project.

The Introduction to the website states:

The Leadership Connection Project website was created for the purpose of recording the various leadership development activities that I have conducted with my students in the Career Education Center and in the Department of International Communication (International Business Career major) at Kanda University of International Studies (KUIS) in Chiba, Japan.

In our profession, it is important to share accomplishments with stakeholders, so on the website I have identified the departments of my university together with the relevant programs:

KUIS Career Education Center

KUIS Department of International Communication (International Business Career Major)

KUIS Self-Access Learning Center

KUIS International Affairs Division

I consider the six programs above  to be related to the development of leaders because I conceptualize leadership as involving communication to create and to achieve visions. In each of the six programs, the students communicate to create visions and to achieve those visions.

Four of the six programs include consulting activities:

  • Kevin’s Company
  • Leadership seminars
  • Global Leadership Competition in the SALC
  • Inaugural Global Challenge Program

As consultants, the students work in teams (or alone) to create visions for organizations (i.e., the clients) through the following activities:

  • interacting (through email and/or face to face) with leaders of the organizations
  • conducting research about the organizations online and onsite
  • analyzing the internal and external environments to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, etc.
  • delivering recommendations (to the leaders of the organizations) in PowerPoint presentations

When the students deliver their recommendations in PowerPoint presentations, they are creating visions.

The ESP strands of each program are connected with the students’ needs for English as a communication tool in their roles as consultants. For example, the instructor may need to help the students to do the following in English:

  • conduct research online and/or onsite (and accordingly participate in interviews, meetings, discussions, etc.)
  • write email to various stakeholders (including leaders of the organizations as well as mentors/coaches)
  • create and deliver presentations

The students’ needs to use English as a communication tool are immediate needs.

In connection with such immediate needs for communication in English, the students may need to learn specific content. The content is related to the consulting project. Consider the following examples:

  • In Kevin’s Company, the students recommend how to improve the business operations of British Hills, a resort and educational training facility in Japan.
  • In the leadership seminars and in the Global Leadership Competition in the SALC, the students provide consulting services for the KUIS SALC.
  • In the Global Challenge Program, the students needed to understand the food industry in Japan and the business operations of the retail outlets of a food company.

The teacher may not be an expert in such content but may be able to teach the students how to find what they need on their own (i.e., self-access learning). In addition, in some cases, the students may have content available in Japanese and need to learn how to communicate the Japanese content in the English language.

In summary, in the four programs that include consulting activities, the instructor is a leader of consulting teams. The members of these teams are themselves acting as leaders when they provide their recommendations (i.e., visions) to their respective clients. The need for ESP training depends on the immediate needs of the students for English communication skills in their roles as consultants.

Good luck with your ESP and leadership development activities!

All the best,

About Kevin Knight

Kevin Knight
Kevin Knight (PhD in Linguistics, MBA, MPIA) is an associate professor in the Department of International Communication (International Business Career major) and has also been working in the Career Education Center of Kanda University of International Studies in Chiba, Japan. In the TESOL ESP Interest Section (ESPIS), he has served as chair and English in occupational settings (EOS) representative, and he is currently the ESPIS community manager. He was also a member of the Governance Review Task Force (GRTF) appointed by the board of directors. In addition, he has been a TESOL blogger in the area of English for Specific Purposes (ESP). He has more than 30 years of professional experience working for private, public, and academic sector institutions including Sony and the Japan Patent Office. His doctoral research on leadership communication (i.e., discourse) as a basis for leadership development was under the supervision of Emeritus Professor Christopher Candlin and Dr. Alan Jones.
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