University of Applied Sciences, FH JOANNEUM Graz (AUSTRIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2017 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Page: 7324 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-697-6957-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.1969
Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain
I would like to present the outline of an English for Specific Purposes course for students of Information Design drawing upon John Maeda’s book "The Laws of Simplicity", illustrating how a text can be used in a threefold manner, as a source for information and ideas, as an example of language usage, and as the basis for developing and/or selecting teaching materials.

John Maeda's book "The Laws of Simplicity" is ideally suited to be read with design students in the setting of a Design English course in as its author, a graphic designer and computer scientist, proposes ten laws for simplifying complex systems in business, life and product design. Not only is the subject matter of interest to students, it is also the unique correspondence of content and style of presentation that is appealing and also invites further investigation.

I designed the syllabus as follows: my students were required to read the book as homework, namely 2 chapters from one lesson to the next, and during lessons we discussed the content and the language used. Concerning the tasks I concentrated on oral work, vocabulary and grammar as well as autonomous learning by having students do internet research on certain topics. The exercises methodologically also varied between different teaching and learning styles as with this method I was able to reach all students independent of their language level, interests, or preferred learning styles. The variability in the approach is then supposed to contrast with the topic of the course.

I want to focus on the benefits the methodology I used offers for English as a Foreign Language since the use of varying tuition methods fosters learner autonomy and motivation through interactivity and multimedia. Using subject-specific authentic texts clearly raised the learners’ motivation which was further increased through fun in the activities, curiosity as the subject matter was of interest to students, multimedial learning material and social interaction. The learners were automatically involved in making choices and in modifying and adapting their learning goals which is typical of Content and Language Integrated Learning. This constructivist approach to learning where the learners are offered content dependent possibilities promote learner autonomy and therefore guarantee a better outcome, as was obviously not only noticed but also highly valued by the students themselves in their anonymous course evaluation at the end of term.
ESP (English for Specific Purposes), CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning), University Learning and Teaching Methodology, English for Designers.