Why Focusing Only on Vocabulary and Jargon in LSP Courses Is Ineffective in Developing Overall Communicative Competence in Workplaces.
Vocabulary development was approached as some kind of auxiliary activity and, often through memorizing decontextualised word lists. The relatively minor importance attached to lexical knowledge and context was visible in the scant attention paid to it by second language researchers and teachers in the last decade.
The most important aspect in the review of related literature of syllabus designing is learning needs. There is a plethora of research that has been carried out internationally in Needs Analysis. All these studies confirmed the importance of identifying learners’ needs and showed the risk and dangers of ignoring needs analysis in designing ESP courses. Two key historical periods breathed life into ESP. First, the end of the Second World War brought with it an “age of enormous and unprecedented expansion in scientific, technical activity on an international scale for various reasons, most notably the economic power of the United States in the post-war world, the role (of international language) fell to English.” Second, the oil crisis of the early 1970s resulted in Western money and knowledge flowing into the oil-rich countries. The language of this knowledge became English. As a result, English came out of English classrooms to fulfill the wishes, needs and demands of the elite around the world.
According to Kalantzis and Cope (2000), the formal systems of command with written memos, formal letters and supervisors' orders have been replaced by multi-discipline or multi-function teams, which is much more dependent on informal, oral and interpersonally sensitive written forms, such as email messages. As a result, the demands on people, such as ESL interns, are greater than they ever have been in the past. Newcomers may not be entirely comfortable with the culture and discourses of the mainstream, which imply collaboration, shared values and a "discourse of familiarity" (p. 144). These workplace exchanges are formidable challenges for all engineering students, but more so to ESL workers who are not only adapting to the micro-culture of the new workplace, but also to the macro-culture of their new environment requiring them to crossover into, what Kalantzis and Cope (2000) refer to as a different lifeworld.
As shown above, vocabulary is the most required skill when learning a foreign language. It is on vocabulary that all the other skills, reading, writing, speaking, and listening are based and developed. This chapter has shown why it is important to learn new words and why English vocabulary is difficult to memorize. Moreover, it dealt with two main reasons for which most of the students permanently forget the words acquired.
Kalantzis, M., & Cope, B. (2000). Changing the role of schools. In B. Cope and M. Kalantzis (Eds.), Multiliteracies: Literacy learning and the design of social futures (pp. 121-148). London and New York: Routledge.
Kasper, L. (2000). Content-based college ESL instruction. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Laroche, L. (2003). Managing cultural diversity in technical professions. New York: Butterworth Heinemann.
Lippi-Green, R. (1997). English with an accent: Language, ideology and discrimination in the United States. London and New York: Routledge.
Mason, J. (2000). Ethnography in cyberspace: Data collection via email and instant messaging. Inkshed 18(1), 7-9.