A Case Study of an ESP-integrated EFL Curriculum for Taiwan University Students

By Ching-ning Chien and Margaretha Hsu.

Published by The International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum

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English for Specific Purposes (ESP) has gained increased attention and stirred debate among university English professors in an EFL context for the past several decades. This study aims to investigate the effectiveness of collaborative teaching in a two year ESP-integrated EFL curriculum in a Taiwanese university and to report the opinions of graduating senior students, reflecting upon the English courses that they attended during the first two years of their university days. Two groups of students participated in this experiment: one of which took part in an ESP-integrated program during their freshman year and received general English instruction during their sophomore year, while the other group received the general English instruction in their first year and the ESP-integrated instruction in their second year. When these students became graduating seniors, their opinions were inquired on the appropriate weighting for the ESP instruction in the English course and their preference on the timing for receiving the ESP-integrated instruction. Both group’s English assessment scores were also collected twice a semester throughout the two year period in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the ESP-integrated English curriculum. The study reveals that both groups experienced significant improvement in overall English language skills by the end of the two-year period. However, the group that received ESP during the first year showed bigger improvement in listening, grammar, vocabulary, and reading. In addition, the majority of students believed that university English courses should have at least 50% of course content related to ESP, but there was no preference given as to the timing of ESP instruction in an EFL curriculum.

Keywords: Collaborative Teaching, English as a Foreign Language (EFL), English Proficiency Improvement, ESP-integrated Instruction, University English Course

International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp.91-102. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 308.100KB).

Dr. Ching-ning Chien

Associate Professor, Department of Applied Linguistics and Language Studies, Chung Yuan Christian University, Chung-li, Taiwan

Ching-ning Chien earned her two M.A. degrees in special education from Tennessee Technological University in 1968 and in English education from Ohio State University in 1985, as well as a Ph.D. degree in education from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, England in 1998. Since 1979, she has been a part of the faculty at Chung Yuan Christian University, Taiwan, where she is currently an associate professor in applied linguistics. She is mainly responsible for teaching listening, speaking, and reading to freshman and sophomore students. She was also the chairperson of the Department of Applied Linguistics and Language Studies for five years (2000 - 2005). Her research interests include foreign language learning and teaching, bilingualism, phonological awareness, and second language acquisition.

Prof. Margaretha Hsu

Professor, Department of Supply Chain Management, Shippensburg University, Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, USA

Margaretha Hsu is a professor in the Department of Supply Chain Management at Shippensburg University, Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. She earned an MA degree in mathematics from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan and a PhD in statistics from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. Her research interests include applied statistics and data mining.