The practical concerns and the contextual constraints of teaching/learning English as a second language should lead to the idea that "English for Special Purposes" (ESP) should be taught in Taiwan. ESP is based on the assumptions that different subjects have their own language, and that scientific and technical texts written in English have their special characteristics. The teaching of ESP, however, should be done only after the learners have achieved an intermediate level of general communication skills. At this stage, it could be relatively easy for them to go further and learn English in a specialized field. Based on my long-term observation of college students in Taiwan and the results of a survey of Taiwanese graduate students at a fairly typical American university (University of Minnesota), I maintain that students will be better motivated by a program which is geared to their needs. Our students need to cope with a dynamic, world-wide economy and need to learn the linguistic features of English--discoursal, functional, structural, lexical--to function effectively in various target situations. Among many others, team-teaching (by a language teacher and a content teacher) seems to be the most realistic and effective approach for teaching ESP. Teaching English related to students' specialized field will motivate students to open up a vista for their careers. ESP is a particularly instrumental teaching method in Taiwan. Given a proper approach such as team-teaching ESP, the English program will further promote our already vigorous international exchange and dynamic economy.
Proceedings of the Second International Symposium on English Teaching=第二屆中華民國英語文教學國際研討會論文集, pp.79-95