Oleg B. Tarnopolsky, Svitlana P. Kozhushko

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The article discusses two approaches that are considered to be the most promising ones in today’s teaching of English for Specific Purposes (ESP). The two approaches in question are Kumaravadivelu’s principled pragmatic approach and the experiential learning approach. It is shown that they both help to unify into one single new paradigm the three leading paradigms in modern ESP teaching: content-based instruction, English immersion, and culture-specific target language learning. After defining each of the two approaches in ESP courses at tertiary schools, the paper proceeds to prove the authors’ leading idea that both principled pragmatism and experiential learning are a perfect match embodying two facets of a broader pedagogical approach that is applicable not only when teaching ESP (and teaching foreign languages in general) but also when teaching other disciplines, especially at the tertiary school level. This broader pedagogical approach is constructivism, which provides students with opportunities for ‘constructing’ their own knowledge and skills through practical experience in real-life or modeled activities. In this case, students acquire their knowledge and skills (including skills of communicating in the target language) as a by-product of their real-life or modeled activities, thus internalizing (appropriating) the knowledge and skills and not just learning them. The peculiarities of constructivism in ESP courses are discussed, and the guidelines are given for the practical implementation of the principled pragmatic approach through experiential learning activities in the framework of the fully constructivist ESP course (in what concerns its theoretical and methodological foundations).


tertiary professional education, paradigms in ESP teaching and learning, principled pragmatic approach, experiential learning approach, constructivism in language teaching, content-based instruction, English immersion, culture-specific target language lea

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