Interfacing Independent Mind and ESP in STEM Education: Exploiting Discovery-Oriented Approach to Learning

Vijay Singh Thakur, Ehsan Elahi


As Mohan (1986) rightly argues, While the need for coordinating the learning of language and subject matter is generally recognized, just how this should be accomplished remains a problem and is one of particular concern for university ESL/EFL programs. In view of this vital pedagogical concern, skills-integrated content courses have been designed and experimented by many universities and individual academicians. In content-based curriculum the basic organizational unit is a theme or topic, rather than the more customary grammatical patterns or language functions. The main goal of this, as Bycina (1982) explains, is to provide meaningful contexts for language learning instead of focusing on language as an object of study. At the foundation of this approach is the Krashen’s (1984) notion that acquisition is best promoted when language is presented in comprehensible and interesting communicative contexts (p. 25). In a more crystalized view of English for STEM education, this paper revisits the concept of thinking and pedagogy of English for Specific Purposes (ESP) and emphasizes on the use of independent mind to promote focused ESP for the students of the Scientific Disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). In the backdrop of the context of STEM education, we have developed a tripartite discussion in the paper focused on the primacy of independent mind and thinking skills; the need to facilitate language development in a contextualized, integrated, interactive framework; and the ways and means to exploit the richness of authentic scientific materials and discussion-led innovative tasks and activities to promote active ESP in STEM education.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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