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August 2018 - Year 20 - Issue 4

ISSN 1755-9715

The ESP Manual: Principles of Designing Study Materials

Boryana Ruzhekova-Rogozherova, PhD teaches general and specialized English courses at the Todor Kableshkov University of Transport, Sofia, Bulgaria. Her interests include contrastive and applied linguistics, ELT, FLT, ESP, language awareness, learning motivation and LLS teaching. She has published her studies in scientific magazines and journals in Bulgaria and abroad. She has also authored an ESP manual on English in geotechnics. Email:;



A significant number of ESP research papers, books and course books (or manuals) have been already developed, for different levels and professional branches, within the framework of applied linguistics and ELT (FLT). The objective of the current article will not be though to summarize essential works in this field, but, based on distinguished cognitive and applied linguists’ studies, ESP course books and on author’s research, to consider issues related to the ESP manual and study materials design with respect to cognitive teaching requirements and display leaning strategies exemplification across course books.

The paper layout will be the following. First, the cognitive ESP curriculum, underlying the creation of the cognitive ESP manual and study materials will be presented in terms of its general characteristics and advantages; then, the ESP manual preparation stages, also applicable to study materials design steps, will be mentioned; next, selection, grading and creation of study materials will be treated, emphasis being put on cognitively based activities; exemplifying instances of cognitive activities aimed at language awareness (LA) improvement within skills teaching will be provided. Illustrations will be founded on excerpts from ESP course books in engineering. Conclusions will be finally made as to the efficiency of cognitively designed ESP manuals with respect to skills, knowledge and motivation parameters enhancement. 


The cognitively founded ESP manual: the cognitive curriculum

Based on extensive LA studies, so far conducted by eminent researchers’ (Svalberg 2007, Robinson 1995, Schmidt 1995, 2010, among others), we can justify the overriding importance of cognitive linguistics and cognitive teaching in any type of FL course book creation, not only in ESP manuals design. The cognitive ESP (and EFL, FL) manual is efficient in terms of knowledge acquisition, course books being based on the cognitive curriculum, which has already proved its effectiveness in the development of general and specific language competence due to LA advance through language learning strategies (LLS) teaching (Davidko 2011, Ruzhekova-Rogozherova 2016a). Thus, in that article section as well as throughout the entire study, while referring to ESP manual issues we will bear in mind not any kind of an ESP book, but a cognitive one.

Cognitive curriculum success stems from the fact that knowledge formation “implies active and conscious manipulation, raising awareness procedures, such as providing definitions, explaining definitions, elucidating cause-effect relationships, establishing comparisons, hypothesizing, making inductions and deductions….” and other methods relating to cognitive and metacognitive LLS (Ruzhekova-Rogozherova 2015). Thus, language and linguistic knowledge construction involves individual constructs (Kelly 1955 in Davidko 2011 and in Ruzhekova-Rogozherova 2015) or personal mental representations creation (“basic units of human knowledge”, ibid.), prerequisite to the formation of “logically and coherently organized interrelated cognitive structures used in the purpose of more complicated or elaborated knowledge edification” (Ruzhekova-Rogozherova 2015). Mental representations, being “information-bearing structures” (Paivio 1990 in Davidko 2011 and in Ruzhekova-Rogozherova 2015), carry non-linguistic information, though always tightly connected with language material pertaining to all levels of language description, on the one hand, and with language functions and communicative situations (Evans 2007, Langacker 2007, Ruzhekova-Rogozherova 2015), on the other. Successful language and linguistic (pertaining to LA) knowledge cannot be achieved unless efficient language mental representations are coherently and logically built and taught, which happens through LA rising. The higher understanding of structures and categories, the better construction and further elaboration of concepts is, and vice-versa.

What is the cognitive ESP curriculum like, in its wider acceptation of “the why, how and how well together with the what of the teaching-learning process” (Finney 2002: 70)? How is it organized to best promote different types of mental representations formation, their upgrading and adequate bounding with language material and communication context? The cognitive ESP curriculum features logically predetermine the stages of the cognitive manual preparation as well as the selection, adaptation, creation and implementation of specialized, general study materials and strategies.    

The optimized ESP syllabus, study materials, tasks and methods should combine particular features of three outlined by Richards 2013 curriculum types (Richards 2013, Ruzhekova-Rogozherova 2015), these characteristics preconditioning the implementation of materials and methodology, matching cognitive ESP teaching objectives. In Richard’s 2013 view, curricula are basically subdivided into forward design curriculum (a), central design curriculum (b) and backward design curriculum (c), displaying respectively three different inceptions, (a), beginning from course content determination and thus, emphasizing on materials selection, going through methodology and arriving at expected results; (b), stressing on types of activities and teaching methods adapted to learners’ needs, and (c), highlighting course objectives, study materials, teaching procedures and their derivatives, strictly depending on a specific course anticipated effects.

Though backward design curriculum turns out to be rather suitable for the ESP programme construction due to the fact that “resources can be committed to needs analysis, planning, and materials development” (Richards 2013: 29), linguistic and applied linguistics considerations, along with teaching experience, make us conclude that the ESP curriculum, hence, the ESP manual as a whole, along with its study materials, needs to be based on backward curriculum principles in compliance with features of forward and central design curricula relevant to the ESP course objectives (Ruzhekova-Rogozherova 2015). Thus, the most essential characteristics of the ESP programme and manual should be (Richards (2013: 30)): focusing on needs, objectives, real-life situations practice, accuracy, correctness awareness, mastery of taught patterns (backward programme type), key elements content division, linear progression, explicitness in rule presentation, improving understanding (forward curriculum type), taking into account learning process, learner-centeredness, active communication, learning strategies development, self-evaluation capacity (some central design cognitive features).


Stages of the ESP manual and study materials preparation

Stages of the ESP manual, and of study materials creation, repeating more or less similar steps, though on a smaller scale, include, in compliance with the ESP cognitive curriculum characteristics: needs analysis; objectives setting; selection; grading; adaptation and creation of study materials (specialized texts; activities corroborating and enhancing skills and respective communicative competence components through LA improvement; specialized glossary, comprising essential terminological items along with their most relevant and frequently implemented word-formation derivatives, and grammar reference, presenting, in specific context mainly, studied categories in terms of form, semantics and use); teaching methods implementation planning and, finally, evaluation in terms of layout; user-friendliness; compatibility with determined goals and learner needs; quality of main body and annexes presentation; texts and activities effectiveness and relevance to corresponding units; LLS implementation; enhancement of communicative competence components and learning motivation; knowledge transferability and LLS skills transferability (Danaye Tous, M. & Haghighi, S. 2014 as to ESP course books evaluation criteria).

The above enumerated creation steps of the ESP manual and study materials are conform to Brown’s 1995 view of curriculum (Brown 1995 in Umera-Okeke et al. (2011: 79)), namely, “a systematic process during which language teaching and language programme development are a ‘dynamic system of interrelated elements’ (…).  The elements include needs analysis, goals and objectives, language testing, materials development, language teaching, and programme evaluation.” We deem relevant to stress that dynamic interaction of the above listed curriculum and manual construction components preconditions the interface between the types of study materials in terms of adequacy and compatibility, with respect to subject content, language level, corresponding language functions, relevant terminology and grammar, and related LLS matching cognitive teaching procedures.

The current article does not aim at considering in detail all design stages of the ESP manual study materials, needs analysis, texts creation and cognitively founded activities development, corroborated by ESP course books exemplification excerpts, being predominantly treated.


Needs analysis

As a result of ESP programmes essence, in terms of theory and practice, involving teaching predominantly specific language competence (and also general language and linguistic knowledge intersecting with it, preconditioning and stimulating it) with respect to vocabulary, grammar, functions, situational communication, interaction, receptive and productive skills, the ESP manual and study materials first preparation stage is supposed to be needs analysis. This is also where backward design type starts from. How should needs analysis stage be performed and what criteria do really matter? To conform to course and materials objectives, the ESP manual author must take into consideration “the functions for which the students will use English” (Schleppegrell & Bowman (1986: 7)) or topics and subject matter within which learners will have to be able to use their language knowledge. Quite obviously, research must be done into the most relevant spheres of professional knowledge learners need to be good at, and, consequently, language materials and tasks should be designed accordingly. To efficiently carry out needs analysis it is recommendable to get in touch with students’ teachers and lecturers in specialized fields, content-area instructors, programme administrators (Schleppegrell & Bowman (1986: 8)), learners’ future employers (Umera-Okeke et al. (2011: 36)) to extract course and study materials specifics. Student interviews (Schleppegrell & Bowman (1986: 9)) can be really precious in needs assessment with respect to professional requirements learners will have to face as well as with their language background evaluation (NL, English and other FLs mastery levels, language interference and transfer) and language skills learners will be most likely to use later on in their careers (Songhori 2008 on needs analysis parameters, among which language background). Ideas related to the appraisal of learners’ language study experiences (Schleppegrell & Bowman (1986: 9)) and learning strategies are equally valuable in getting acquainted with students’ needs in terms of  teaching and / or in corroborating LLS, an essential cognitive methodology component (Ruzhekova-Rogozherova 2014a). Needs analysis corollaries not to be underestimated are deficiency analysis, strategy analysis, and means analysis (Umera-Okeke et al. (2011: 37)). Deficiency analysis considers learners’ concepts about their “lacks and wants” along with “objective” learners’ needs (Allwright 1982 in Umera-Okeke et al. (2011: 37)); strategy analysis allows a concept formation of how learners would like to learn; and means analysis (Swales 1989 in Umera-Okeke et al. (2011: 37)) refers to “the educational environment” (ibid.) of the course. The better and the more exhaustively needs analysis is implemented in its phases and related sectors, the more successful the ESP manual, as a whole, and its study materials are supposed to be, as long as analysis findings have turned out to be adequately taken in consideration in materials design, respectively, in their selection, creation, grading, adaptation and implementation.


Design of texts and materials related to them

Texts and materials related to them (e.g. drawings, tables, diagrams, charts and photographs), frequently containing explicitly and/or implicitly an explanatory text, have to be selected with respect to subject matters considered in the course. Authenticity of materials is recommendable as it enhances learner motivation, bringing students into contact with ‘real’ language (Guariento & Morley (2001:347) in Umera-Okeke et al. (2011: 183)); though, we should always bear in mind that at lower levels ESP manual authors frequently practise grading. Materials can be also adapted with respect to taught specific and general communicative competence components, to achieve, to a feasible extent, maximum learning results. Grading must be really carefully performed (Schleppegrell & Bowman (1986: 85)) not to break text coherence, alter message/s or violate textual material original structure. Successful adaptation of texts and related materials in terms of vocabulary, grammar and skills teaching, is likewise incompatible with materials distortion. 

Design of ESP texts and materials related to them (in engineering, engineering ESP manuals being considered in the current article) should be also instructive in functions taught, such as, descriptions of equipment, tools, procedures, safety measures, giving and following directions, checking information, explaining, elucidating, measurement and calculations implementation (Schleppegrell & Bowman (1986: 16-17)). Thus, for example, Puderbach & Giesa 2012 teach relevant to mechanical engineering ESP  functions, describing workshop tools, cutting process analyzing, explaining measuring and common units, reading mathematical formulae, among others. Štrovs-Gagič 2009 presents functions related to meeting and introducing people in terms of professional duties and requirements, writing application forms and letters, CVs, giving professional directions, comparing, describing shapes. Glendinning 1987 introduces learners, for instance, to functions relevant to describing and reporting experiments, diagrams and graphs interpreting, describing cause and effect, making predictions, building definitions, generalizing, in electrical engineering context. Kavanagh 2007 makes students acquainted with functions, within the framework of automobile engineering topics, among which, opinion expressing, recommending, describing in terms of advantages and disadvantages, approximating.  Ibbotson 2008 treats stressing technical advantages, simplifying specialized explanations, materials categorizing, assessing technical problems, talking about maintenance, putting forward solutions and ideas, evaluating feasibility, in general engineering ESP. Ruzhekova-Rogozherova 2016b teaches description, retelling, analysis performing, commenting, statement formulation, opinion justification, revealing advantages and disadvantages within an ESP in geotechnics course. 


Design of cognitively founded learning activities

Cognitively founded learning activities, or such, based on the above referred to mental representations formation, have already proved to be highly efficient in ESP teaching in a number of studies. LA enhancement procedures through LLS teaching (predominantly cognitive and metacognitive ones) within the English in geotechnics course were highly evaluated by MS learners (Ruzhekova-Rogozherova 2016a) in terms of cognitive procedures usefulness with respect to language knowledge acquisition. About 93% of surveyed learners ranked various cognitive teaching parameters (table 2, ibid.) with excellent or very good scores. MS students’ further ESP studying motivation was logically established really high (table 1, ibid.) as a result of already revealed in applied linguistics literature tight connection between FL learning motivation and improvement of language, linguistic knowledge through LA development and LA components teaching.    

Any FL learning (general and specific) aims at building various levels and components of general and / or specific competence and related skills. Receptive (listening and reading) and productive (speaking and writing) skills, along with their sub skills, though not usually implemented to an equal extent with respect to the ESP course type and its learners’ characteristics and background, are greatly interwoven and mutually influencing and stimulating their enhancement. The better a learner becomes in a skill, reading, for example, the more advanced, he /she is supposed to be in writing, listening and speaking, and in other directions; a more enhanced competence in receptive skills preconditions a more elaborate competence in productive ones, though productive activities also promote receptive ones, reception (decoding) and production (encoding) always functioning together in compatibility (Ruzhekova-Rogozherova 2013).

Here below we will focus the attention on essential ESP cognitive procedures within the framework of mainly cognitive and metacognitive LLS, aimed at the more efficient teaching / learning process of vocabulary, grammar, structures, word-formation mechanisms, language functions in all skills development. Variety in procedures application across activities though is supposed to lead to different emphasis in skills learning. Exemplification of some approaches implementation within ESP cognitive study activities will be next provided based on the above mentioned ESP authors’ course books.


Essential cognitive procedures implemented in study activities across skills

Some procedures are partly in compliance with Schleppegrell & Bowman 1986, while some others stem from author’s research and practice. Hereby are included:

  • Predicting grammar / vocabulary from content;
  • Predicting the use of grammar categories forms based on context;
  • Differentiating, based on context, between similar in form categories, e.g. past simple forms / passives / -ed adjectives; present participles, adjectives, gerunds;
  • Differentiating between the functions of vocabulary items based on word formation indices (e.g. negation prefixes, agent suffixes, noun-, adjective- or verb-formation suffixes);
  • Consolidating vocabulary meaning and functions through providing definitions, synonyms and antonyms;
  • Predicting and formulating ideas (and clothing them into words) from titles, pictures, drawings, formulae and diagrams;
  • Carrying out information transfer based on tables, diagrams and drawings in filling in structured activities, thus consolidating understanding and use of language categories and functions;  
  • Building questions from headlines;
  • Answering formulated questions by prediction and through researching concerned text sections;
  • Finding out the author’s point of view on an issue;
  • Formulating learners’ individual perspective on the same issue;
  • Discovering general text information and specific details through answering comprehension questions;
  • Concluding and summarizing;
  • Paraphrasing; carrying out grammar transformations; joining sentences by pronouns or conjunctions;
  • Marking statements as “true” or “false” and justifying it based on materials;
  • Dividing text materials into sections with respect to content and functions;
  • Looking for patterns in terms of text building, categories and structures use; 
  • Investigating and recognizing text organizational patterns based on corresponding material functions: retelling (involving consecutive past simple events and processes), describing (associated with past continuous details along with past simple story events), describing a process (characterized by stages enumeration, sequencing adverbs), characterizing inventions, instruments, equipment (use of prevailing passives), requiring information (implementation of general, specific questions), speaking about responsibilities (application of modality), etc.;
  • Reordering jumbled sentences or paragraphs into a coherent text;
  • Looking for specific categories in texts and underlining them;
  • Analyzing patterns and underlined forms, making conclusions as to form / meaning / use;
  • Contrastive teaching (CT) procedures as follows:
  1. Translating some patterns and underlined forms into NL and / or FL1 and comparing originals and equivalents in terms of form / meaning / use;
  2. Making conclusions concerning contrasted forms based on carried out comparisons, e.g. as to form / meaning / use degree of overlapping; making conclusions as to the implementation of knowledge about semantic / formal overlaps in semantically / formally identical or similar categories in ESP translation;
  3. Exploring ESP materials for similar (form / semantics) language structures and analyzing them in terms of similarities / differences or conducting comparative teaching (CpT) (Ruzhekova-Rogozherova 2014b); carrying out analysis, based on contrasts between established convergent forms and  their NL /FL1 equivalents through EN ↔ NL /FL1 translation;
  • Helping learners realize through appropriate questions and activities the types of learning problems they experience and the groups of language categories involving understanding and implementation hardships, thus facilitating students’ decision making with respect to the parameters of individual and/or teacher-guided remedial work (Ruzhekova-Rogozherova 2016b);
  • Self-correction and peer correction; correction justification.


Exemplification of ESP cognitive procedures application in study activities design

This article section is aimed at illustrating the implementation of some presented cognitive procedures in study activities through materials extracted from the above referred to course books. For the purpose of conciseness, the number of excerpts is limited to the most representative ones; exemplifying instances order will not comply with the one of the above cognitive procedures. It must be also taken into consideration that often one and the same activity, or series of activities can allow various cognitive procedures use due to cognitive procedures (LLS techniques) connectedness, thus attaining more teaching goals. 

Thus, for instance, Ibbotson (2008: 8, 9) in a unit section entitled Explaining how technology works implements a multifunctional study text for checking predicted ideas from a picture in ex. 6a (“ln pairs, look at the picture and discuss the following questions.”), matching the underlined verbs in ex. 6c (connecting, raise, transported, support, attached, ascend, descend, powered, controlled) with their definitions and, this way, focusing not only on verbal lexical meaning, but also on contextual and grammar functioning. Depending on the specifics of the teaching circumstances, this exercise may involve either a very simple or a more detailed presentation of active / passive structures in terms of form and semantics, along with –ing words form / essence elucidation, these categories being really typical in scientific literature and, thus, frequently consolidated within technical / scientific ESP books or manuals. This presentation will inherently include other cognitive techniques, among which, pattern recognition and ensuing conclusion making. The following ex. 7a, a gap filling activity, builds upon through completing a paragraph (a talk on space elevators) using the above mentioned verbs correct forms; the exercise is evidently related to prompting the learners, based on the previous activity, to think in terms of examined verbs meaning and functions, and, hence, consolidate them at least to some extent. Students, having filled in the gaps, proceed with ex. 7b where they are required to listen to a recorded material partly coinciding with the filled in paragraph and compare texts.

Another course book section, on emphasizing technical advantages (ib.:10, 11), implements similar cognitive procedures, along with underlining (choosing) the correct word from two options (ex. 12c), e.g. “Another advantage of the new profile is that it’s considerably/entirely lighter.”; “So compared with our previous range, it’s highly/totally efficient.”; learners listen to a text to make the right choice and then (ex. 12d) they are asked to match emphasizing vocabulary to synonyms. This way they are prompted into consolidating lexical meaning and also into conclusion making based on considered instances.

A course book feature to be also mentioned, refers to the schemes used in locative prepositions illustration, in the section on components and assemblies (ibid.:28, ex. 14a), implementing the cognitive technique of matching drawings with language categories.     

The ESP book, authored by Puderbach & Giesa 2012, is characterized with a variety of cognitive procedures, among which, we shall refer to grammar transformation approach, implemented in choosing between similar in lexical terms vocabulary (e.g., ibid.:16, ex.2) where learners are required to read a text “and decide whether the adjective or adverb form is the correct one”. They need to compare patterns and perform grammar / semantics analysis to deal with the task: “Working in a construction department is an (1) extreme/extremely (2) interesting/interestingly job. The engineers have a lot of (3) interesting/interestingly tasks to fulfill. (…) If a machine has already been sold to a company (9) quick/quickly, production is necessary as the machine is often (10) urgent/urgently awaited by the company” (italics are ours).

Štrovs-Gagič 2009 successfully implements matching, multiple choice exercises, information transfer and paraphrasing (transformation) activities, all of them involving cognitive procedures such as form / semantics analysis at various levels of language description, carrying out comparisons between vocabulary items, similar with respect to lexical / grammar meaning, to adequately discriminate between similar items, and, consequently, correctly accomplish the task. Some texts, after being filled in with the missing words or phrases, may be also paraphrased or summarized, this way focusing the attention on taught material specifics. In addition, all so far presented activities may, in compliance with the teaching circumstances, be accompanied by CT involving practical, learner-friendly contrastive analysis, CT greatly contributing to LA enhancement (Ruzhekova-Rogozherova 2014b) and motivation. Here below are partly displayed some exemplifying learning activities extracted from the above course book.

E.g. matching: “Match these jobs to their description: a development engineer, a product planner, a geologist, a quality controller … a civil engineer, a chemical engineer”

“Works for an IT company, writes codes, updates and debugs programmes. a software programmer” (Similar sentences providing the above professions definitions are displayed.) (Štrovs-Gagič 2009: 13, 14).

E.g. information transfer: Learners are required to read a report, complete safety rules, based on the text and then answer questions related to the material (ibid.: 57, 58). The text, entitled “Accident with a ladder” presents a sequence of events in the past simple and a background process partly predetermining the story outcome. Learners are supposed to make conclusions from the material allowing them to find out the appropriate vocabulary and grammar forms to deal with safety rules task, e.g. “Wet or oily floors must be cleaned before a ladder is put up.” This activity implementation may involve more cognitive procedures focusing on passive / active structures comparisons in terms of form and semantics, passive periphrasis components and formation, modality of obligation and imperatives.  

E.g. transformation: Students are asked to “rewrite” utterances, such as: “I learnt about this programme because you helped me” (ibid.: 83), in conditional forms. Transformations or paraphrasing of this type are supposed to prompt, again with respect to the teaching circumstances, cognitive procedures and activities aimed at LA consolidation of form, use, temporal, aspectual, modal and transpositional values of categories.

Efficient cognitive transformation activities worth referring to are prepared by Glendinning 1987, e.g. connecting sentence pairs in the purpose of building relative clauses or conveying a cause or effect relationship (ibid.: 34, 35). We consider such exercises, along with the opposite direction transformation activities, rather useful in terms of LA due to the fact that they involve grasping of semantic relationship types within a simple sentence and a relative or cause / effect clause.

In the first activity type learners are asked to explain the type of relative sentences formed, (non)-defining, along with semantic differences stemming from formal changes based on the initial examples: “The rotor contains a commutator. The commutator acts as a switch”.

The second activity type focuses on “reason connectives” and on making learners aware of the fact that reason connectives “are almost always used to link ideas into one sentence”, e.g. “Ultrasonic welding is better than heat welding. The materials are not distorted”.

A highly functional cognitive activity variation sets the goal of linking sentence groups through introducing “whatever changes” the students may consider needed in “the word order or punctuation of the sentences”, e.g. “The cell is sealed with a cap. The cap is made of metal or plastic. The cap is to prevent the paste coming out” (ibid.: 37).

Word formation transformation activities in Kavanah (2007: 29) are intensely cognitive, establishing and consolidating the connectedness between affixation and semantics. In the referred to activity learners are required to complete a table including items, such as “explode, explosion, explosive”, “rotate, rotation”, “transmit, transmission” and then fill in sentences with the appropriate item.

Cognitive activities we shall also put forward (Ruzhekova-Rogozherova 2016b) are based on componential analysis significantly elucidating form / semantics relationships; meaning / use prediction and contextual verification; guided learning purpose translation (EN ↔ NL /and, or FL1) leading to explanatory procedures in terms of CT and CpT and greatly contributing to learners’ understanding of EN / NL (FL1) convergences (overlaps) and divergences with respect to form / semantics / use, hence, to consolidating good usage, improving overall and specialized language competence and promoting conscious (LA founded) error correction.

Thus, for example, categories such as the present simple / the present progressive; the past simple / the present perfect, within the specialized context of geotechnics, are taught in mutual comparison and in comparison with similar English categories, in terms of form and semantics, as well as contrastively with Bulgarian (and/or French) equivalents, taking into account intra- and interlingual interference stemming from some values overlaps between Bulgarian (and French) aorist and perfect (French counterparts of English categories are mentioned to French FL1 learners). Learners are asked to pay attention to the underlined grammar forms within a text on soil mechanics and geotechnical engineering, analyze the examples they consider the most relevant by means of studying general and immediate context, examining lexical and grammatical markers (ibid.: 5). To corroborate understanding, students have to put themselves in the position of specialists carrying out sieve analysis and transform a passage from the present simple into the present continuous, elucidating differences between both, original and transformed materials (ibid). Learners are also given the opportunity to compare their ideas with the grammar supplement equipping them with appropriately contextualized knowledge and examples, e.g. “Geotechnical engineering is crucial in civil engineering, but it can be also implemented in many other engineering disciplines” which contrasts with “Engineers are implementing the CPT to characterize soil properties of the site” (ibid.: 85, 86).

Prediction of grammar values and understanding of types of hardships are prompted by questions, such as: “Is the process described in “A multitude of methods … were developed for the analysis of …” finished or not?”, “Do we know exactly when the landslide referred to in the third material occurred?”, “Justify the past simple use of “collapsed”, “sent”, “engulfed”, “covered” and “were killed” in the passage “On Saturday, March 22, 2014, at 10:37 a.m. local time, a major landslide occurred … were killed”” (ibid.: 11).

CT and CpT approaches in ESP can be also illustrated through presenting the gerund (a category typical in scientific and technical English) not only by means of displaying similarities and differences between –ing words (participle, adjective and gerund), but also through exemplifying distinctive features of frequently confused –ing words with –ed words (-ed words conveying passivity and resultativity, –ing words referring to activeness and progressiveness), and by concisely referring to relevant contrastive English / Bulgarian deverbal nouns explanation (ibid.: 91). Questions are designed to promote –ing words values discrimination and stimulate learner conclusion making in this perspective, e.g. “What grammar role does ‘engineering’ perform in ‘engineering seismology’, ‘engineering importance’, ‘engineering design’ and why?”, “Is the status of ‘creating’ different in ‘There is a divergent mechanism creating new plates along ocean ridges’ and ‘A convergent mechanism is responsible for creating mountain ranges’ and to what extent?”, “Can you think of sentences exemplifying the differences between ‘building’, functioning in a progressive periphrasis, as a typical present participle, as an adjective and a gerund?”, “Why, do you think, does the progressive involve a present participle and the verb to be?”, “Is ‘spring’ in ‘a spring-mass system’ a gerund and why or why not?” (ibid.: 36, 37)



Research, along with practice, testifies to the success of cognitively designed ESP course books or manuals and of respective study materials (texts, materials related to texts and activities), based on LLS teaching principles. Cognitively created ESP study materials boost language skills parallel development and greatly contribute to general and specific communicative competence improvement, due to stimulated learner LA through the construction, elaboration and consolidation of linguistically and contextually adequate mental representations. Thus, the use of cognitive study materials corroborates learner motivation and, consequently, promotes independent studying, self-assessment and learner responsibility.



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Please check the Teaching Advanced Students course at Pilgrims website.

  • The Official Letter as a Junction of Three Genres
    Bat-Zion Yemini, Israel

  • The ESP Manual: Principles of Designing Study Materials
    Boryana T. Ruzhekova-Rogozherova, Bulgaria

  • Changes in Self-Efficacy Beliefs of International Student-Writers on the EAP Foundation Programme
    Diana Mazgutova, United Kingdom