Global Resources and Leadership Development in ESP: Your Students are an Important Resource!

Hello ESPers worldwide!

One of the main types of “principled ESP” training that I have done in Japan is with very small classes (of one or two students).  The students are of a very high level (e.g., attended graduate school in the United States) and are preparing for their new assignments overseas.

In regard to the content of the class, the students are the experts.  (I discovered a long time ago that I should learn from such students rather than to try to teach them the content in which they are already specialists.)

What kind of material can I provide to such students?  I can give you one example.  I was working with two students from the public sector who were being transferred to the United States and Canada, respectively, immediately after the completion of the three-month program.  They had already completed MA degrees in their fields of expertise in different educational institutions in the United States and had acquired extensive international experience in their professional roles using English (i.e., international conferences, presentations, etc.).

The weekly class was two hours in length, and the following approach was very successful:

  1. Each student was given 45 minutes of presentation time during which the student gave a professional presentation of his/her choice and fielded questions.
  2. Each student was also given 15 minutes of presentation time during which the student gave a presentation of his/her choice on the area where the student was to be relocated.

My role was to actively participate as an audience member and to provide feedback to each student.  In addition, the students were encouraged to record the sessions for review and self-evaluation.

Needless the say, the students were the most important resource of the class!

I’ll see you next week!


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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