Recent intensive developments on the labor market and globalization of the engineering society have led to significant changes in Russian educational standards in the last decade. This governmental attempt is aimed at reformation of the national system of higher professional education in view of the newly-defined desired attributes of engineers. In this endeavor the importance of systematic inclusion of foreign languages into curricular in Russian technical universities rises to the top of the list as English is consistently replacing all other languages on the globe and becomes an international language. Taking into account the urgent needs of engineering education in Russia and the proposed place of foreign language courses in engineering curricular the authors apply a modular teaching approach to improve students' ability to attain meta-subject competences. In this paper implementation of the Introduction to Debate course is described to illustrate the proposed approach. The modular approach to teaching ESP allowed focusing on the development of specific speech skills based on a professional context. Therefore, the didactic principles of an academic freedom, interdisciplinarity, professional communication, flexibility and transformation of developed abilities have been translated into practice.