Global Resources and Leadership Development in ESP: Teach a Man to Fish!

Hello ESPers worldwide!  I am sure that many of you have heard the famous quote that goes something like, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

In the field of leadership communication, Gail T. Fairhurst has created a way to “teach a man to fish.” Many of you may already know the title of her book: The Power of Framing: Creating the Language of Leadership (2011, Jossey-Bass).

If you are involved in training leaders, you might find this textbook to be a powerful resource.  As Fairhurst writes, “A better way to view communication is to emphasize the way it creates a shared reality”  (p. xiv).  She adds that the book is intended to help those practicing or learning about leadership to develop the ability to “manage meaning.”

In addition, you might be interested in reading an article that Alan Jones of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, recommended to me: Gill Musson & Laurie Cohen, “Understanding Language Processes: A Neglected Skill in the Management Curriculum,” Management Learning, 30, 27-42 (Available for purchase here).  The authors argue that “students of management” should be made aware of “how language functions to create particular meanings and serve particular purposes” (abstract).

As ESPers, I agree that we should understand the relationship between language and the organization in view of curriculum development. How we employ that knowledge really depends upon the situation and our creativity, of course.  As for me, I believe that we should be “teaching our learners to fish!”

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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One Response to Global Resources and Leadership Development in ESP: Teach a Man to Fish!

  1. Arie Vellema says:

    Dear Kevin

    The reason for my response to your blog is because I am currently doing a Masters course focusing on Teaching English to Language Learners. The course I am busy with now is Teacher Leadership. Your heading to this blog post captured my attention and therefore I decided to respond. In choosing the Leadership approach that most closely relates to me I would say it is the Servant Leadership style, I have always had the kind of personality who wants to help people succeed and or become better in anything they attempt…this closely relates to “Teach a man to fish” . If I teach my collleagues and students to fish rather than giving them fish I empower them to become leaders themselves, who can do their own fishing and leading.

    I looked into the resources you posted and it is worth investigating some more. Thanks for your Blog post it is very informative.

    Arie Vellema
    MSc. Education
    South Korea

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