With the gradual perfection of China’s socialist market system and the successfulaccess to WTO, China has fully participated in the international competition, whichhad been presenting China with a new challenge in talent cultivation of vocationaleducation, especially in the cultivation of Business English talents.
An in turn withthe development of vocational education and increasing social demands for BusinessEnglish talents in China, Business English curriculums are offered in nearly most ofthe vocational colleges as the focused disciplined under English program and a greatdeal of efforts have been made to cultivate Business English talents. Although in thepast several decades the development of college English education has achieved greatsuccess, a lot of problems still impose some threats on the business English educationand accordingly business English curriculums under English program should bechanged and improved according to the new situation to fit the needs of society forbusiness English personnel.
English teaching in vocational colleges had alsoaccordingly undergone somewhat improvements in order to meet the requirements ofthe nation’s great strength and emphasize on vocational college in recent years.However, business English majors still find it difficult to find a good job and feel thatthey have learnt in the colleges is not enough for their jobs. On the other hand,employers find the quality of the business English graduates is far from theirexpectations and can not meet the demands of the markets nowadays.
Thisphenomenon reflects that the effect of the vocational education keeps out of the touchwith the needs of the markets. Therefore, it is an important and urgent task forvocational colleges to set up appropriate systematic new curriculums for businessEnglish majors.The author investigates the present business English curriculums for Englishmajors from two vocational colleges in China and the common features are describedas follows:1) The curriculum programs usually include 4 blocks: goals and objectives,requirements for the students’ skills, abilities and qualities, curriculumarrangements and teaching plan, and syllabus.2) The curriculum systems mostly abide by the credit-administration modeand the model of English major and business-oriented curriculumsdivided into compulsory curriculums+ optional curriculums+ training forthree years schooling in general accordance with the package pattern oftheoretical teaching system and practical teaching system.3) The curriculum design focuses on the cultivation of students’ practicaland operational oriented English skills.
According to the survey of the curriculum design in vocational colleges, theauthor finds that there are some problems existing in the present BE curriculumdesign in the aspects of the teaching materials, curriculum arrangement, teachingmethods, etc.In order to solve these problems, students needs for curriculums and theemployer s’ requirements on BE graduates should be analyzed completely as thereference to the business English curriculum design.
Chapter Two Literature Review
2.1 Definitions of Some Important Terms
ESP is the abbreviation of English for Specific Purposes. The definition of ESPwas proposed in the book The Linguistic Sciences and Language Teaching in 1964. Inthis book, the ESP was defined as “English for civil servants; for policeman; forofficials of the law; for dispenses and nurses; for specific in agriculture; for engineersand fitters.” (Halliday, McIntosh and Strevens, 1964:190). From the definition of thisbook, it is easy to conclude that ESP is a variety of English which is used in a certainspecialized occupations. Hutchinson and Waters (1987) deem that ESP is an approachto language teaching in which all decisions as to content and method are based on thelearners’ reason for learning. Meanwhile, the two scholars summarized three mainreasons for the emergence of ESP. Firstly, the expansion of demands for English to fitparticular needs (science, technology and economy). Secondly, the view gainedground that the English needed by a special group of learners could be identified byanalyzing the linguistic of their specialist area of work or study.
The last one is thedevelopment in educational psychology which focuses on the critical importance oflearners and their attitudes toward learning.To find out where business English fits in ESP, it is important to know theclassification of ESP. In fact, there are two main methods to divide ESP .One popularmethod was done by Hutchinson and Waters in 1987. They divide ESP into EST(English for science and technology), EBE (English for business and economy) ESS (English for the social science) according to the general nature of the learners’specialism, and then each variety can be further divided into EAP (English foracademic purpose)EOP (English for occupational purpose).Jordon (1997) divides ESP into EAP and EOP within EAP which can be furtherdivided into ESAP (English for specific academic purpose)EGAP (English forgeneral academic purpose).
Business English is one of the important branches of ESP. But it is different fromother varieties of ESP in that general content and specific content are concerned in it.The general content concerns with the general ability to communicate in the businesscontext, while the specific content is related with a particular job area or industry.Pricket (1989:5) proposes the view that Business English is “a mediatinglanguage between particular business context and daily life and the language ofgeneral public”. Ellis and Johnson (1994:3) perceive that “as with other varieties ofESP, Business English implies the definition of a specific language corpus andemphasizes on particular kinds of communication in a specific context”.