Teaching foreign languages, namely English has always been one of the most important issues of education. Much attention has been paid to teaching different aspects of English for general and specific purpose, and the latter will be discussed in this article. English for specific purpose (ESP) is one of the main trends in teaching English nowadays. This type of teaching deals with only certain field of socio-political life such as economy, policy, judiciary (jurisprudence), medicine and (technical) engineering, i.e. deals with special vocabulary.
Before dealing with the ways of teaching vocabulary, let us clarify the notions “term” and “terminology”. The problem of terms and terminology is one of the most important and disputable problems of modern linguistics and foreign language teaching. The word “term” is usually defined as a word (or word combination) accepted by a certain field of science (or production) to express a certain notion in the given discipline. Terminology is a set of terms belonging to a certain branch or discipline (2:3).
Teaching terminology, namely technical terminology, is closely connected with teaching vocabulary. Vocabulary can be defined as lexical units taught in the foreign language. According to L.T. Ahmedova and B.I. Normuratova (1:18), scientific principles of selecting vocabulary are as follows:
- frequently used in the language (the frequency of the word may be determined mathematically by means of statistic data);
- easily combined (nice roam, nice weather);
- unlimited from the point of view of style (oral, written);
- included in the topics the syllabus sets;
- valuable from the point of view of word building (use, used, useful, useless, usefully, user, usage).
There are many different ways and techniques for teaching vocabulary such as brainstorming, drills, matching, filling in the gaps and many other activities.
Vocabulary presentation of technical terms can be performed by brainstorming where a teacher names a certain technical device, let us say a part of engine and each student tells a word, phrase or a word combination related to the given device. For instance, a spark plug — a cover, a sacked, a gauge, a gap, a plug etc.
The next sage of presenting vocabulary may deal with the definition of the given word as matching exercises where a teacher prepares certain words and their definitions from monolingual dictionaries of English and dividing the chosen words and their definitions into two separate columns, e.g. a) spanner b) screwdriver
- a tool used for turning screws, usually having a handle of wood, plastic, etc, and a steel shank with a flattened square-cut that fits into a slot in the head of the screw… (screwdriver);
- a steel hand tool with a handle carrying jaws or a hole of particular shape designed to grip a nut or bolt head…(spanner).
While doing this exercise a teacher may ask students to write certain parts of speech such as verbs, adjectives, adverbs, nouns connected to the given word or words which will be very effective in improving and consolidation of learned word or words.
After reading tasks another method of teaching –discussion (which involves the exchange of ideas between students on the given topic) can be used. Discussion is an effective teaching technique which supplies sharing information among students. If different types of engines or other technical equipment devices are taken as a topic of the debate, they can invigorate the public speaking and can be very effective. For instance, types of engines may be those working on petrol, gas and diesel. Here the class can be divided into two subgroups and each group should argue over the advantages and disadvantages of diesel and petrol engines (for instance, diesel engines are stronger, petrol –faster; etc).
Filling in the gaps, true false and using multiple choice tests are usually used to consolidate the teaching material. Here we can use a text where the technical terms should be placed. e.g. Remove the …. . Place the… over the…. Rotate the… anti clockwise until it is…. (words: cover, spanner, spark plug, plug, loose);
- Turn the plug anti-clockwise, and tighten it;
- Tighten the plug with your hand;
- Place the spanner over the plug.
Another effective way of teaching the technical material is the use of visual aids such as pictures, tables, charts and diagrams. More over, audio lingual method is also effective where the script read by native speaker, or video materials concerned with the use of certain technical topic from which learners can draw the real-life situation.
The most important points of teaching technical terms should be included to the syllabus for technician students which may have a) the topics such as names of tools, electricity, pumps, materials, construction and b) tasks such as expressing use and purpose, understanding safety instructions, describing a system, reporting experiments, describing measurements, etc.
Teaching technical terms can involve definition, description, examples, synonyms, antonyms, collocations, derivations and translation.
Thus, summarizing all above mentioned, it is possible to draw a conclusion that using different interactive methods in teaching technical vocabulary plays an essential role in the improvement of ESP efficiency.