The Enigma of Teaching General Purpose English to Technical Manpower Trainees: A Clash of Sources and Resources
The teaching of English for General Purposes (EGP) to students on various courses aimed at providing technical manpower has left a gaping hole in the efforts at providing discipline specific language skills. This results in situations where students focus on aspects of the English language not relevant to their fields of specialization or disciplines. English for Specific Purposes (ESP), which has been characterized as the approach to the teaching of English that is based on the learners’ needs (aimed at empowering them to carry out their educational, occupational and vocational pursuits) is seen by this paper as a means to rectify the situation through redesigning the curriculum in line with the specified needs of the students. The paper revised the first and second semester English curriculum and course specifications of the National Diploma I educational programmes offered at the Adamawa State Polytechnic, Yola in Nigeria, which represents a regular pattern in all the polytechnics across the country and any institution where this happens. Data was obtained from General Studies Course Specifications for National and Higher Diploma Programmes, a publication of the National Board for Technical Education. The corpus consisted of the English curriculum and course specifications of the programmes under study. The study revealed that the learners/trainees are taught aspects of the English language that have no direct bearings on their areas of specialization. The study recommends, among others, that the curriculum designers or regulatory bodies of such institutions, should adopt an approach to the learning of English that is both learner and learning centred, based on the literature of their disciplines, as well as some more general language enabling learners to engage with the relevant academic and professional communities.
Keywords - Aspect of English, English for Specific Purposes, Enigma of Teaching General Purpose English, Technical Manpower Trainees