ERIC Number: ED366228
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994
Steppe by Step: A Cultural Approach to Language Tasks.
In this University of Hong Kong ESP assignment, an approach to the teaching of English for Special Purposes (ESP) that addresses: (1) the role of language in the target discipline; (2) the socialization of the learner into the disciplinary culture; and (3) the role of the discipline in ESP instruction is presented, and illustrated. In the project described, small groups of first-year computer engineering and computer science students design and construct a crane out of paper and cellophane tape only, with limited but specific guidelines. The cranes are then tested for strength in a laboratory, and the students write reports. The crane project is viewed not as an instructional activity but as a "task," defined as a unit of social action in the process of constructing knowledge as an individual becomes a member of a culture; it is socially determined but individually interpreted. "Task" differs from "activity" by its long-term aims, social (vs. individual) construction, role in the development of cognitive cultural skills, and purpose in producing competent members of society. It is concluded that such a task encourages construction of knowledge through socialization among students, the discipline's teachers, and the ESP teacher, and is therefore a more effective model for ESP instruction. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A