The Lecture of Lindsay Miller, a PhD in Department of English, City University of Hong Kong, Rounded Off


At the invitation of School of International Studies (SIS), Lindsay Miller, a PhD in Department of English, City University of Hong Kong, delivered a lecture entitled “English for Specific Purposes (ESP)�Past, Present, Future” to our teachers and graduates who will be English teachers in universities in Classroom 201, East Building 5 on the afternoon of May 12, 2017.


Dr. Miller discussed ESP curriculum from its history, its teaching material development and its future. He believed that ESP teaching materials began to be commercialized in 1960s and underwent several generations of changes under the theories of foreign language teaching. It changed from the first generation in 1960s guided by Grammar-Translation Method, the second generation in 1970s by Notional Functional Approach, the third generation by Communicative Approach, the fourth task-based and strategic generation to the fifth generation supported by technology in twenty-first century which emphasized interpersonal communication.

On the basis of his experience on curriculum development and teaching in City University of Hong Kong, Dr. Miller put forward a new teaching method of ESP, which encourages students’ independent learning on their research topic. Freely choosing the learning topic, students make an oral presentation and submit a final written report on their research findings by collecting materials, reading relevant literature, recording and editing information. This approach enables students to integrate language learning skills with learning goals and combine real-life situations with classroom learning in order to have a disciplinary effect through foreign languages. Students will have the opportunity to use foreign language for analysis, negotiation and discussion in real communication.

Dr. Miller believed that teaching and textbook compilation should be based on an analysis of user needs and keep pace with the times. As for user needs analysis, it is important to answer these questions, such as who is the user?”, why do they learn a foreign language?”, what are their general and specific language goals?” and “which conditions do the leaning take place?”

Finally, Dr. Miller put forward the concept of “diversification ability”, which means that students should be cultivated with comprehensive ability to use a variety of communicative ways, like language, graphics and sound media, in this era of rapidly-developed technology.

Dr. Miller believed that there is board space for the development of ESP and our teaching methods must keep pace with the times and provide guidance on the changing language environment for learners.

The lecture received enthusiastic feedback from the audience. Students and teachers raised questions and had a warm interaction with Dr. Miller in foreign language teaching and teaching material development.


School of International Studies

May 14, 2017

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