Hello, ESPers worldwide!
At the IS Leaders’ Workshop at TESOL 2012, a photo was taken of the immediate past chair (Kevin Knight), the chair (Najma Janjua), and the chair-elect (Yinghuei Chen) of the ESP Interest Section of TESOL. Najma aptly referred to the photo as “The past, present, and future of ESP-IS.”
As leaders, we have the opportunity and the challenge to make real a vision in collaboration with others.
My dream was to unite ESPers worldwide, and during the year that I was chair, I was active in creating and launching the following: (1) month-long, online global discussions among ESPers and (2) an ongoing collaboration between the ESP groups of TESOL and IATEFL. Yinghuei, who is the current chair of the TESOL ESP IS, is also a famous leader of ESP in Taiwan and the initiator of an ESP conference for Greater China. In a recent exchange of e-mail, I had the opportunity to obtain some of his views on that ESP conference.
The excerpts listed below are quotes from Yinghuei.
Real Asia ESP
“One good thing about ESP development in Asia is that China ESP, Taiwan ESP, and Hong Kong ESP have decided to organize a joint ESP conference for Greater China, starting its very first in 2014; I was elected as the first Chair for this purpose. Japan ESP is welcome to join, making it a real Asia ESP.”
“This China ESP conference…was an annual conference concentrating on ESP and organized by the China ESP Association along with the sponsorship of the Taiwan ESP Association and Asian ESP (Winnie Cheng from Hong Kong). It was held this year at Fudan University, Shanghai (one of the top 10 universities in China), and is China’s second ESP conference.
“I was invited as its first plenary speaker, addressing the development of ESP in Taiwan, aiming to give the participants (around 300 scholars and language teachers) some idea of the difficulty and challenges that we have encountered here in Taiwan in regards to ESP teaching and research. After me, Winnie Cheng from Hong Kong spoke, and then Laurence Anthony from Waseda University, Japan. The last plenary speaker was Dean Sun, from the Beijing University of Foreign Studies, who is the current chair of China ESP. ESP has become a new focus in China’s higher education sector, which is why, like Taiwan, they established an ESP association for promoting the cause in question.”
Initiating the ESP Conference for Greater China
“During the conference, I took the opportunity to initiate the idea of having a joint ESP conference for Greater China, and to my delight they embraced the idea on the spot. Given my seniority, my role as TESOL ESP IS chair, and what not, they elected me as the first chair to organize this joint ESP conference in 2014. In 2015, it will be China’s turn to organize the event, and then Hong Kong in 2016 (rotating in this order). I’m going to form a five-member standing committee for this event, with two from China, one from Hong Kong and two from Taiwan (including me). You might still remember my remarks when I was announced as the TESOL ESP IS chair that I would strive to extend our global influence and visibility, and this Greater China conference is part of that global dream.”
Hammering Out a Unique Identity
“And the good thing for ESPers in regards to this upcoming joint conference is that Asia, where English is mostly a foreign language, might be able to hammer out its unique identity in terms of ESP pedagogy and research.”
Upcoming ESP Conference in Taiwan
Taiwan’s upcoming ESP Conference is to be held at Asia University, Taiwan, on 1–2 November 2013. David Graddol will be a keynote speaker, and Yinghuei is also very pleased that David will be speaking at TESOL 2014 in Portland, Oregon.
Being based in Japan, I am very interested in ESP developments in Asia, and I look forward to the bridge building in the future that will connect ESP organizations worldwide.
My views on “principled ESP” (a term I first heard used by Margaret van Naerssen) were shared with Yinghuei during an interview for an article published in English Career (2012, Vol. 41). (Please also see the 2012 webinar, Doing “Principled ESP”: Best Practices and Case Studies). It will be interesting to see how ESP is conceptualized in the ESP conference for Greater China in 2014. Keep at least one eye focused on ESP in Asia!
All the best,