Addressing the Dilemma in ESP Teaching: The English Language Teacher or the Subject-matter Specialist?

Document Type : Original Article


Department of English, Islamic Azad University, Ahar Branch, Ahar, Iran


Teaching English for Specific Purposes (TESP) has been a controversial issue among EFL teachers and others. The question raised by many is whether the English language instructor or the subject-matter specialist should teach ESP courses. The main purpose of the present study was to re-address this issue. To this end, 60 second-year students majoring in Feqh and Islamic Law at Islamic Azad University, South Tehran Branch were randomly selected. Then, they were divided into two classes with 30 members in each. The classes were taught by two lecturers – an EFL instructor and a subject-matter specialist – for an entire semester. At the end of the course, two types of measures were used: an achievement test and an attitude questionnaire. Analysis of the results represented that the EFL instructor's class scored higher than the subject-matter specialist’s class on the achievement test, and that they expressed greater satisfaction with their classes on the attitude questionnaire. Implications of the findings are discussed, accordingly.