Esp and Needs Analysis

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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

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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 in 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.

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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

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forces 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...
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