The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Increasing Student Engagement by Investigating the ESP Needs of Students of Economics and Political Studies

Albena Stefanova, University of National and World Economy, Sofia (Bulgaria)


In Bulgaria, academic courses in English for specific purposes (ESP) reflect global trends in foreign language teaching, good teaching and educational practices, and lecturers’ observations. However, learners’ specific features should also be taken into account in order to provide maximised course effectiveness. Course effectiveness, in turn, is achieved if students are motivated and their engagement is high.

The new generations of learners are different because they grow up with modern technologies and media. They spend more time in the virtual reality and tend to communicate and learn better if they are involved in an interactive educational process. In addition, their needs differ as well for new learners, for instance, do not have diffculty overcoming the language bareer. They are faced with challenges such as register, advanced vocabulary or critical thinking. Furthermore, globalisation and internationalisation emphasise the importance of student functional communicative competence because it means more opportunities for a successful career and enhanced competitivenes on the labour market.

Students are more interested in seeing the benefits of their education and language training in particular. The awareness of the relation between educational content, the knowledge and skills taught and student engagement, prompted the study of the needs of the students of economics and political studies. The study included surveys of both students and lecturers and involved students from five Bulgarian universities and from universities in Albania, Cyprus, Portugal, Macedonia, China, Latvia, Romania and Spain as well as lecturers in language and subject matter from Bulgaria. The survey results are presented and considered along with some recommendations for increased student engagement leading to enhanced performance and course optimisation.


Keywords: Student Engagement



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