Designing an Interactive ESP Course: Using a Learning Management: System to Enhance the Four Skills of Language

Israel, ID CLEaR2015-233

The Division of Foreign Languages at Tel Aviv university offers advanced ESP (English for Specific Purposes) courses to freshmen students of social sciences, exact sciences, engineering, nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and other fields. The ESP focal point is that English is not taught as a subject separated from the students' real world; instead, it is taught through a field that is relevant to the students. We believe in content-based instruction which includes theme-based and adjunct learning. Our courses are built around themes of high interest to students and we develop a wide range of supplementary activities related to these themes in order to strengthen all language skills. We use both teacher compiled course booklets and Moodle, a free, open source learning management system (LMS) which offers a malleable online environment that can be “filled” with activities, texts, audio and video. The aim of this paper is to share my experiences of designing an ESP course for occupational therapy students in which all 4 language skills are practiced. The process of selecting appropriate themes and resources, creating supplementary interactive activities and making use of the Moodle platform will be described. This can encourage other ESP teachers to incorporate both receptive (listening and reading) and productive (speaking and writing) skills into the thematic units of their courses. When instructors make use of activities that have been specially designed to incorporate several language skills, they provide their students with situations that allow for well-rounded development and progress in all areas of language learning.

Keywords: ESP, content based instruction, Moodle, four language skills