本書第一作者Hugo Yu-Hsiu Lee（李育修）
Issues in general purpose language textbooks that give rise to this textbook
Critics contend that there is empirical evidence that language for general purpose (LGP) instruction is unlikely to meet the needs of today’s foreign or second language learners who have a set of specialized and immediate target language needs for professional communication (Andriani, 2014; Trace, Hudson, & Brown, 2015). I argue in this textbook’s forward that over the past ten years or so teaching and learning Chinese as a foreign or a second language (which refers to the branch of foreign or second language education in which teaching methods are traditionally derived from the general purpose of Chinese language teaching and learning) has been criticized on a number of grounds: general purpose Chinese language teaching has lost touch with learners focusing on the needs of communicative Chinese language ability in a particular subject area or in a professional workplace (own fieldwork, 2009-2018), for instance, Chinese for real-estate agents, Chinese for ground attendants and Chinese for cabin crews. I should also note that the teaching of general knowledge of the Chinese language fail to meet the needs of those learning the Chinese language for occupational purposes (own fieldwork, 2009-2018). Language for specific purposes (henceforth LSP), thus, has emerged from the varying needs and goals of foreign or second language learners (Trace, Hudson, & Brown, 2015).
The problems encountered in LSP are multiple, all of which stem from the question of how the in-class language learning tasks can be transferred to real-world workplace communication. First, the problem one encounters when designing a LSP course is that common communication skills necessary across all industries and professions to meet the needs of all foreign or second language learners may not exist. This results in that foreign or second language teachers conduct needs analysis of respective students and classes, and design tailor made LSP courses, facilitating students to speak and converse efficiently and practically in the in-class language-use tasks as “prescribed by their field of study or work situation” (Bojović, 2006). This gives rise to task-based language teaching (henceforth TBLT).
Second, a related problem is the degree to which foreign or second language teachers are capable of acquiring discipline-specific and extra-linguistic knowledge to teach the respective LGP and TBLT courses, in addition to the linguistic knowledge with respect to the target language. Although LGP and TBLT may have a great deal in common with foreign or second language courses for general purposes (both are essential to take into account, for instance, linguistic development, teaching methodology, classroom management, assessment and evaluation for their students), the former faces more challenges as they need to understand the requirements of professional communication in a specific field rather than the teaching activity itself (Bojović, 2006). Despite the development of LSP and TBLT courses since the 1980s, the curriculum drafting, lesson planning, teaching material development, course design and implementation of language learning tasks that offer learners with real-world opportunities to practice language tasks needed for professional communication and industry-oriented talks remain a challenge for LSP and TBLT teachers (Calvert & Sheen, 2015).
Third, in the contemporary applied linguistics literature and classroom teaching, LSP and TBLT courses are most often associated with English for Specific Purposes (henceforth ESP) instruction (Anthony, 1998; Ahmed, 2014; Trace, Hudson, & Brown, 2015). ESP has grown into a movement (e.g., UK, Japan and elsewhere) since the inception of the early 1960’s (Anthony, 1998). Although Chinese is gaining prominence in foreign or second language teaching and learning, there is scarcity of textbook for Chinese LSP and TBLT courses.
The purpose of the textbook
The aim of this textbook is to propose some ways of curriculum drafting, lesson planning, teaching material development, course design and implementation of language learning tasks (focusing on task selection and sequencing) for a LSP and TBLT course, known as Airline Chinese / Chinese for Cabin Crews (or Chinese for the Cabin Crew).
Background and context for the textbook
China has poised itself to become the world’s largest market for both tourist travel and business travel. According to the CIW Team’s post in the China Internet Watch, it has been three consecutive years (2012-2015) for China to supply “the largest outbound tourism market in the world” and the estimated growth of the number of Chinese outbound tourists is increasing (2013: 98 million vs. 2014: 109 million). It is also of importance to note by The Economist (The dragon takes flight, 2016) that since the first quarter of 2016 China has overtaken the US to become the world’s largest market for business travel. As reported by Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) (as cited in the dragon takes flight, 2016), it is estimated that Chinese business travelers spent $291.2 billion in 2015 contrasted with $290.2 billion by American counterparts from the US. In response to China’s fast growth of outbound tourists and business air travelers, the air travel industry, particularly the airline companies, has recruited Chinese-speaking ground / flight attendants to provide services on-the-ground (airport’s service desk) and on-board (cabin) for the rising number of Chinese air travelers. In fact the airline industry in the Southeast Asia expects the number of Chinese-speaking flight attendants to increase over the next decades, as many airline companies (Bangkok-based and Manilabased airlines) highlighted Chinese speaking flight attendant candidates wanted in their recruitment advertisements.
Literature that inform the design of the textbook
The design of the Airline Chinese / Chinese for Cabin Crews textbook is informed and framed by LSP, TBLT and ESP, due largely to that, as stated earlier, general purpose language course fails to meet the needs of foreign or second language learners for fieldspecific communication. In recent years, there has been a growing prominence and considerable interest of LSP and TBLT courses by foreign or second language teachers, educators and researchers (Benson, 2015; Calvert & Sheen, 2015). Some common courses of LSP and TBLT concentrating on the specifics (of terms, vocabularies, phrases and conversations) of certain industries and professions may include Academic English Writing for EFL/ESL or International Students (British Council, 1978), Business English, Business Chinese (offered, for example, at the Assumption University), English for Airtraffic Controllers, English for Technical Writing for Civil Engineers (offered, for instance, at the Asian Institute of Technology), English for Medical Purpose (An example cited by Andriani, 2014), English for Occupational Purpose (An example cited by Andriani, 2014) and Spanish for Tourism. There are some “key distinguishing characteristics” between LSP courses and general foreign or second language courses (Bojović, 2006). Take the ESP for example, Carver (1983) listed three main characters shared across ESP courses (as cited Bojović, 2006): 1) authentic materials, 2) purpose-related orientation, and 3) selfdirection. The design of this textbook is thus informed by above-mentioned literature.
1. Ahmed, M. K. (2014). Issues in ESP (English for specific purposes). ‘ELT Voices – India’International Journal for Teachers of English, Vol. 4 (No. 1). Retrieved from //eltvoices.in/category/volume-4/volume-4-issue-1/
2. Andriani, G. (2014). Problems in teaching English for specific purposes in higher education. Nobel Journal of Literature, Language, and Language Teaching, Vol. 5 (No. 1), pp. 30-40.
3. Anthony, L. (1998). Defining English for specific purposes and the role of the ESP practitioner. Center for Language Research 1997 Annual Review, pp. 115-120.
4. Benson, S. D. (2016). Task-based language teaching: An empirical study of task transfer. Language Teaching Research, Vol. 20 (No. 3), pp. 341–365.
5. Bojovic, M. (2006). Teaching foreign language for specific purposes: Teacher development. 31st Annual ATEE Conference, At Portoroz, Slovenia.
6. Calvert, M., & Sheen, Y. (2015). Task-based language learning and teaching: An action research study. Language Teaching Research, Vol. 19 (No. 2), pp. 226–244.
7. Carver, D. (1983). Some propositions about ESP. The ESP Journal, Vol. 2, pp. 131-137.
8. CIW Team (n.d.). China, the largest outbound tourism market in 3 consecutive years. China
9. Internet Watch. Retrieved from https://www.chinainternetwatch.com/13152/thelargestoutbound-tourism-market-3-consecutive-years/
10. The dragon takes flight (2016, May). The Economist, Retrieved from //www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2016/05/dragon-takes-flight
11. Trace, J., Hudson, T., & Brown, J. D. (2015). An overview of language for specific purposes. In J. Trace, T. Hudson, & J. D. Brown, Developing Courses in Languages for Specific Purposes (pp. 1–23) Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i.
National Taiwan Normal University
Professor, Dept. of Chinese as a Second Language