Effectiveness of ESP communication skills in improving learner communicative performance during training
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Prior to 1985 the communication skills syllabi of Zambia's Department of Technical Education and Vocational Training (D.T.E.WT.) were biased towards general English as taught at secondary school. This was so despite the long standing policy of the Department to teach language skills aimed at meeting student academic and occupational requirements in their fields of specialisation. Because of this shortcoming, complaints abounded from employers, students themselves and teachers. In order to redress the situation, D.T.E.V.T. authorities in 1980 recruited a Key English Language (KELT) advisor to among other things design syllabi which would reflect specific learner needs in terms of study skills and language of work in their fields of specialisation, and to establish a staff development programme to enable communication skills to teachers to comprehend the new syllabi and effectively function in using ESP methodology. This marked the birth of ESP communication skills in Zambia. The ESP communication skills syllabi were finally implemented in 1985. Given the fact that the syllabi have been in use for over nine years and that no one has yet sought empirical evidence to establish their viability, this study therefore intends to find out if the syllabi are achieving what they are meant to achieve in terms of equipping trainees with necessary language skills in order to function effectively during training. Such a study is important because it throws some light on the strengths or weaknesses of the syllabi and hence leads to suggestions how they could be improved. The work is divided into four chapters. Chapter one is more of an introductory chapter giving the back ground of the communication skills programme in Zambia and finally condenses into a specific statement of the problem to be explored. Chapter two surveys some of the literature available on ESP communication skills. The third chapter elucidates the methodology employed during the study noting its strengths and. limitations. The final chapter discusses and summarises the findings and makes recommendations.