ESP collecting materials, designing courses or the syllabuses
ESP ‘Course design is the process by which the raw data about a learning need is interpreted to produce an integrated series of teaching-learning experiences, whose ultimate aim is to lead the learners to a particular state of knowledge’ (Hutchinson and Waters 1987) Discuss the ways in which data is collected prior to an ESP course and prepare a needs analysis instrument for a specific group of learners’ Introduction: In today’s world, English has become a widespread language and it is spoken in almost all over the world. Even from kindergartens to the universities, there are English courses all age groups.Over 17/12/09-07:57:20 decades, there have been many debates about General English and English for Specific Purposes (ESP). In almost all fields of jobs, English has started to become a necessity rather than an option. In job applications, one of the top questions that companies and the government ask is whether the applicant knows another language, preferably English.
Raisanen and Fortanet-gomez (2008:13) has mentioned that research studies about ESP started in 1960s and have been growing potentially. The pioneers of this field are mainly John Swales, Larry Selinker and John Lackstorm.ESP is one of the main areas of EFL teaching and there is an increasing demand for the courses on specialised subject areas. ESP courses are designed for specific needs of the learners, who sometimes already have knowledge about English but need some special knowledge for their jobs. Teachers need to give some special interest on their students’ needs.
For instance, while teaching English to mechanical engineers or computer engineers teaching methodology is different from the methods teachers use in teaching General English.Practically there are wide range of differences between teaching General English and teaching for Specific purposes. What Alan Waters and Tom Hutchinson mention is that what distinguishes ESP from General English is not the existence of the need, but rather an awareness of the need (1987:53). In addition to that, collecting materials, designing courses or the syllabuses are all different from General English.
Teachers need to collect some information about their learners in order to know their specific needs especially to design the most effective course type for them. The aim of this paper is to discuss the ways n which data is collected prior to an ESP course and prepare a needs analysis instrument for a specific group of learners. Needs analysis instrument will be designed for a local organisation in Cyprus.
Twelve senior managers are the students for learning Business English. In the last part, reasons of choosing this type of instrument and the importance of needs analysis will be mentioned. 1 ESP Definition of Needs Analysis, why do teachers need it and some critiques about it: In ESP, the key stage of teaching is to have a needs analysis in order to know the learners’ language backgrounds and the specific needs.Tony Dudley-Evans and Maggie-Jo St. John (1998) described the needs analysis as ‘needs analysis is the process of establishing the ‘what’ and’ how’ of a course; evaluation is the process of establishing the effectiveness’ (1998: 121). In other words, needs analysis is the data collection that helps teacher to know their students’ needs to create a helpful course design and provide essential materials for them.
For instance, if a teacher needs to work with police 17/12/09-07:57:20 orces and has no idea about how these groups operate and how they use the target language, they will not be able to teach effectively. Instead of asking so many questions about their works and how they operate, teachers can share their experiences within each other or it is better to make some groundwork such as checking the relevant articles and looking for ESP teaching materials. Teachers always need to be as knowledgeable as possible while teaching ESP.
Teachers need information to help them in a classroom and to prioritise.They should know what to teach first and what to teach last. Moreover, as the needs of the learners are their priority, without making students bored and making lessons pointless, they need to know what kind of materials they will use before designing a timetable. In addition, it is always better to know each other’s backgrounds at least a little bit before they start learning English. In contrast, there are some criticisms about using needs analysis. Auerbach (1995) stated that the information in needs analysis too often comes from the institution itself.There are already definite expectations about what the students should be able to do; therefore, needs analysis serves the interests of the institutions instead of the needs of the students (cited in Basturkmen, 2006: 19).
What is more, Long (1996) has pointed out that some learners might not have reliable sources of information about their own needs; especially if they are relatively unfamiliar to perform or subject they are to study (cited in Basturkmen, 2006: 19). Different Types of Needs Analysis Instruments and my Needs Analysis: There are mainly three pre-course needs analysis instruments.Before mentioning all of them, it is important to mention that these instruments depend on the teaching strategies and the purpose of the lesson.
Questionnaires are one of the most widely used instruments to collect data. The main advantage of holding a questionnaire is the objectivity. That means, learners do not feel any pressure while answering questions, where some people might not like face-to-face interviews or observations. In addition, they have enough space to mention their needs and ideas. 2 ESP On the other hand, questionnaires sometimes do not provide clear questions, so may be very misleading.Another type of instrument is interviews. The good point of having an interview with someone is that for some people it might be easier for learners to describe themselves face-to-face instead of writing long sentences.
However, people are not all same. Some people may be shy to talk, therefore may not be able to express themselves, or might not have enough skills to talk in English. So that, teachers cannot use the advantage of interviewing if students cannot express themselves enough. Thirdly, some tests 17/12/09-07:57:20 take place to see the background knowledge of students.Instead of asking questions, teachers might choose to prepare a test, which includes listening, speaking, reading and writing. This might not be very useful sometimes, because teachers can not be sure whether the learners feel under pressure or not, so that the results might not be consistent. The needs analysis instrument, questionnaire, below was designed for senior managers of a local company who already have some knowledge about General English, but need to specialise their English into Business.
Managers are second language learners. 3ESP QUESTIONNAIRE FOR ESP COURSE 2009/2010 Please answer 8 questions according to your own personal experiences. Feel free to add any comments. Your answers will help us to design the best course outline for your needs. Your Name: Age: Gender: Male Female E-mail address and Telephone: @ / 05 1. How long have you been learning/ hearing English around you? 17/12/09-07:57:20 2.
How often can you say you use English in the company or in meetings? ( tick (v) where appropriate) nearly every day a few times times a week a few times a month never 3.In which topics do you hink you need to use English the most? (e. g. Technology, bargaing, Maths, Science..
. ) (Please specify as much as you want) 4. What are your expectations about this course and from the teacher? 5. What can you say about your proficiency level of the following skills? Describe in few words. Reading Writing Listening Speaking 4 ESP 6. How comfortable are you when you work; (v please) Individually: feel comfortable In pairs: OK do not feel comfortable 17/12/09-07:57:20 feel comfortable in groups / teams: feel comfortableAny Comments: OK do not feel comfortable OK do not feel comfortable 7.
How do you think you learn best? (v for the suitable one(s) for you) -When teacher writes and describes -When teacher reads and you listen -When you are asked to find by yourself -When you get proved/logical data -When discuss with your friends and the teacher -Other (please feel free to specify): 8. What do you prefer to use as a learning material during this course? (v where suitable for you) Textbooks Websites (internet/mailing) Worksheets Authentic MaterialsAny other suggestions: Thank you very much for completing this questionnaire. Your answers will be used for your own benefit and I hope you will get as much information as you need from this course. Sevtap GUVENLI 5 ESP Conclusion: Designing a good questionnaire needs careful attention. I chose to make a questionnaire because I believe it is the most student-friendly way to do this is by class surveying. In the first of any new class, this is the ideal way to get students up and talking to each other, getting to know each other.Some criteria need to be considered such as, ‘being brief and specific, easy tabulation, confidentiality and evaluation’ (Bellman and Kelly, 1989:3).
The aim of the questionnaire I designed is mentioned in the beginning and this is very important to show learners what they are actually going to help for. In 17/12/09-07:57:20 addition, all of the questions are short and in very simple structure. This helps learners to understand quickly without getting bored, and as a result give true answers. Spaces for answers are almost at the same length and there are comment sections for each question.
I believe it is important to put a comment section in case students want to add any other ideas that I did not mention. From my point of view, questionnaires should be easy to evaluate as well as to write. In other words, I considered this and asked questions for the learner’s language background, the frequency of talking in English, the specific topics they need to focus, the expectations from me as a teacher and the skills that they want to improve. In addition to all of these, I believe it is significant to know that learning strategies learners have and the materials they want to use in the classroom.
These are all important issues when a teacher needs to design a course timetable for ESP. To sum up, needs analysis is the first step that a teacher needs to do in order to get to know his/her students and to design a course material. One of the main aims of language teaching is to answer the learners’ needs in order to prepare them to be better users of English language. In order to do this, one of the needs analysis instrument, mentioned above, needs to be held. Word Count: 1751 6 ESP REFERENCE LIST Basturkmen, H.
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1989. ‘Create Effective Workshops’. ASTD Press. 17/12/09-07:57:20 Evans, T.
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‘Developments in ESP: a multi-approach disciplinary approach’. Cambridge University Press. Fortanet-gomez, M.
& Raisanen,C. 2008. ‘ESP in European Higher Education: Integrating Language and Content’. John Benjamins Press. Hutchison,T.
& Waters, A. 1987. ‘English for Specific Purposes’. Cambridge University Press.