Learning English through workplace communication: An evaluation of existing resources in Hong Kong

Phoenix W Y LAM*, Winnie Cheng, Kenneth C C KONG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The workplace has become increasingly volatile, intercultural and multilingual in the Information Age, presenting greater than ever communication challenges to employees. Accordingly, education reforms which recognise the growing significance of workplace communication competence have been put in place. In Hong Kong, an application-oriented elective module known as "Learning English through workplace communication" has been introduced to the senior secondary English language curriculum. This article surveys and evaluates a number of teaching and learning resources specially designed by relevant government bodies and commercial publishers for this module. Specifically, the professional genres which are covered in such resources are studied in detail, both qualitatively and quantitatively, to investigate the extent to which they parallel the professional discourses in the actual workplace, based on a comparison with findings from relevant research. Some discrepancies are found regarding the most frequently occurring genres and their linguistic realisations in the professional context and the teaching materials. Implications from the study and suggestions for pedagogical improvements are made not only with special reference to the local context, but also to the broader educational domain where workplace communication has increasingly become a key component in the language learning syllabus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-78
Number of pages11
JournalEnglish for Specific Purposes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

User-Defined Keywords

  • ESP
  • Materials design
  • Professional communication
  • Secondary schools
  • Workplace communication
  • Workplace discourse


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