Teaching English for Specific Purposes (ESP)


What is the course about?

This stimulating and informative teacher training course provides a learner- centred approach to Teaching English for Specific Purposes (ESP), with a focus on developing communicative competence in a specific business or professional area, such as finance, management, engineering and human resources. Starting with key fundamentals such as how to conduct a needs analysis and establish SMART objectives, the course also looks at designing and organising a programme and creating relevant and meaningful materials. The course is fast-moving, highly interactive and full of practical and user-friendly tips, techniques and materials from experienced ESP professionals.

Frequently Asked Questions

This course is for teachers who probably already have experience in teaching English as a foreign language and would like to adapt their teaching skills for the teaching of English for Specific Purposes. Participants need to be at a minimum B1 level of English.

After registration, participants on this course programme will receive:

  1. a pre-course questionnaire that will help your trainers find out more about your learning needs
  2. a recommended reading list to prepare yourself for various aspects of the course
  3. information about York to prepare yourself for your cultural experience
  4. information about the Europass Mobility Certificate

At the end of the course, you will:

  • understand what is meant by ESP and how it differs from ESL
  • be able to conduct a effective needs analysis and set objectives for short, intensive and longer courses
  • use a learner-centred approach to language learning
  • use the principles of language in context to generate practical, relevant materials and practice activities
  • have developed a sound understanding of the language for common business situations: socialising, presentations, meetings, telephoning and correspondence
  • be able to respond to specialised content requirements
  • understand the importance of confidence-building and motivation
  • enable learners to think strategically and create realistic action plans

An interactive communicative approach is used throughout, which lets participants experience first-hand the activities and methodologies that they can then go on to use in their own teaching contexts.

Key theories and practical ideas are discussed and explored thoroughly in hands-on input sessions, with participants playing an active role in all sessions to maximise their learning.

All input sessions involve brainstorming, case study analysis, problem-solving, and role-play tasks, both in pair- and group-work scenarios.

Participants are asked to reflect on the tasks carried out in each session, inviting discussion with regard to their own pedagogical knowledge and teaching contexts.

Participants are also introduced to key websites and other resources related to the further development of their teaching skills and personal professional development.

Language skills are also developed and feedback given where appropriate.

The course ends with an evaluation session, in which you will be asked to reflect upon the knowledge you have gained during the course.

You will also be encouraged in this session to create a Personal Development Action Plan, and select activities that you would like to try out in your own classes.

You will also be invited to join the York Associates Community, which allows networking and contact with the trainers and fellow participants from the programme, as well as learners from York Associates’ other courses.

There is also the opportunity for follow-up online training sessions to further consolidate your learning and reflect on how you are implementing what you learnt on the course into your own contexts.

If you are from a country outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you will need a visa. Students from certain countries do not need to apply for a visa before arriving in the UK. You can check if you need to apply for a visa on the UK Visas and Immigration website.
We can recommend a few accommodation options. Find out about them on our accommodation page.
If you need to cancel or defer your course:
  • We understand that your plans may change quickly during this unprecedented time. If you need to defer your course, we will not charge any fees on tuition, as long as you notify us by 16:00hrs on the Friday before your course begins. We will defer your course and any fees paid for up to 12 months from your original start date.  If you need to cancel your course and are unable to defer to a later date, we regret we will not be able to refund your fees unless you have given us a minimum of 4 weeks’ notice of cancellation.
  • If we have arranged homestay accommodation for you, we will not charge any cancellation fees if you notify us at least 48 hours before you are due to arrive. If you notify us with less than 48 hours’ notice, you will need to pay for three nights’ accommodation
  • If we have arranged hotel or self-catering accommodation for you, the cancellation conditions will vary according to the type and location of the accommodation, and we will confirm them to you individually when we send your accommodation details
  • If you need to leave your course early for any reason, we may be able to offer the following options:
    • You may continue your course online using a combination of virtual lessons with your trainer and self-study
    • In some cases, particularly where the total course duration exceeds four weeks, we may decide to cancel your programme and refund your course fees for any unused weeks
    • In other cases, we will issue a voucher for any unused complete weeks, for you to return to York Associates at a later date
  • If you need to leave your accommodation early, we will require a minimum of 3 days’ notice. After this, all accommodation fees will be refunded to you

Do you have any more questions?

Fast Facts

Start date(s)
April 10th 2023 / July 31st 2023 / August 14th 2023
Max. group size
Min. age
Minimum CEF level
Starting from B1
Course materials
In York Course Formats
21 hours
Booking fee


Meet the trainers

Please note that these trainers might not be the actual trainers delivering your course.

Sample Course Programme

TIMESession OneSession TwoSession Three
Introduction to the course: objectives and methodology
Key principles of ESP

Combining subject matter and language learning

Language in context
Having a clear direction:
purpose for learning
needs analysis
setting SMART objectives
trainer/learner contract

TUESDAYOne-to-one training:
learner as a resource
creating the right environment
Course contents
the ‘need to know’ approach
combining professional skills with language
identifying which language skills
EQ in intensive training

Responsibility of teacher in guiding directing / supporting

Work pressures The ‘older’ learner
WEDNESDAYSelecting, designing and organising relevant and meaningful course materials

Managing longer programmes
Contextualised language training

Generic business situations: socialising, presentations, meetings, telephoning and correspondence

Importance of functional language
Dealing with specialised content

Combining learner/trainer knowledge and competencies

Useful resources
being strategic and selecting what to learn
gap analysis through output
Recycling language
Providing the right output:
with stated objectives

Feedback and correction – what, why, when, how .....?


Reappraising objectives
FRIDAYEquipping the learner:
strategies for learning
personalised recommendations
action plans
Professional skills practiceConclusion and

Week Review
and Evaluation
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