Nowadays, teaching English has become a challenging task as students have become more and more electic in terms language knowledge and level of competence. That’s why teachers try to create new environment to meet the students’ needs and demands. This framework analysis would benefit both parties: teachers in that the process of teaching should focus on the students’ specific needs and students in which they will meet their needs in terms of knowledge abilities and skills.
In this context, a survey in which students were asked to express their level of satisfaction related to the English course as well as to suggest topics and language issues they would like to deal with. In this case, study, the responses were analyzed to be interpreted in order to adopt the content of the course to meet the students’ expectations.
Designing an ESP course :
The language course for Business and Engineering students should be designed according to their needs and expectations.
ESP activities should be developed to meet the learner’s needs .Thus, needs analysis is a vital tool to assess the specific points needed by the students. In the second year of Business and Engineering from the North University Centre of Baia Marc, Technical University of Cluj Napoca in which the main aim is to assess their personal and language information and to set up areas of competence that an ESP student needs to develop.
English is considered the lingua franca of international technical professions. Most technical universities demand their students to study at least one course in a foreign language and the choice will be either English, French or German.
As a result, many questions come under discussion. However, many pragmatics suggest that what unifies lingua Franco speech is communication strategies rather than the result of any structural convergence.
2) ESP and needs analysis
The main concerns of ESP have always been a focus on preparing students to communicate effectively to meet their needs in a particular task or situation.
According to Hutchinson and Waters, the ESP Teachers Are often adopting the content of the course to the reasons of learning English. Consequently, teachers are developing curriculum and teaching materials to fill the gap between student language level of proficiency before taking the course and at the end when they are supposed to achieve their goals and needs. Brown states that developing teaching activities and strategies of assessment are considered to be at the heart of students ‘needs in terms of goals and objectives.
The process of needs analysis aims at collecting information about the learner and the target environment of teaching ESP. In fact, it should be a procedure going on throughout the whole process of language development not just delivered at a particular period of time. The considerable difference between ESP and GE is the awareness of students’ needs with making efforts to properly meet them rather than being only at the stage of admitting their existence. Thus, the learner motivation of taking the course as well as the awareness of his communicative needs are leading factors to a successful teaching process.
According to Hutchinson and Waters, target needs are defined as necessities completely different from wants that learners believe they need. In this context, it is also necessary to distinguish between target needs and learning needs. The target needs refer to the target context of use that the learner is required to perform and the learning needs refer to the extensive efforts in order to make the learning happen.
In this regards, Berwick adds that needs are “the gap between what is and what should be “. The author draws a distinction between felt needs, which are needs that the learner have and the perceived needs, which are mainly about self-evaluation of other’s experiences.
Furthermore, Robinson draws a discrimination of objective needs which are defined as ” all genuine information about the learner ”
According to Alderson’s point of view, there are fundamentally four types of needs:
Actual or obligation needs
Hypothetical future needs
On the other hand, Altman calls for adjusting the learning resources according to the individual differences of proficiency level, age, maturity, goals and needs
According to Hutchinson and Waters and Robinson, needs analysis should be a continued process during all phases of each course to encourage students’ progress by identifying their needs and lucks. The key role of needs analysis in a skills centered approach is to discover students’ current abilities before taking the ESP course and enable them with the needed competence to communicate in a specific context of use
For Hawkey, needs analysis represent a tool for the development of the course design. Brindley also states that needs analysis are of paramount importance in setting goals throughout the learning process.
Hughes points out the necessity of the speaking activities in the learning process which serve to improve the quality of classroom interaction as well as the importance of writing activities including modals and texts classification.
3) The Subjective Needs Analysis in Practical Application:
In order to reach the four objectives of ESP teaching, a needs analysis is essential. In this regard, after one academic year of learning English, normally, students are able to make an objective opinion about the teacher, the subject taught, and their needs in terms of language. This can also help the teacher improve him/her course through students’ feedback. For this case study, the subjective needs analysis, which concentrates on the learners’ wants, reasons for attending the course, and expectations, was chosen.
A questionnaire was designed to a group of 179 second year students from the Faculty of Engineering and from the Faculty of Sciences ,i.e. studying either technical or Business English . The questionnaire included four questions. The first dealt with non-English course related aspects. the second question ,which aimed at assessing students’ level of satisfaction with the English course and the teacher ,had positive responses (88%) , while 12% were dissatisfied stating that their dissatisfaction was due to the choice of activities ,and their peers’ attitude in the classroom . However, none of the students provided feedback about the teacher’s performance, behavior, knowledge or skill.
The third question dealt with the aspects and activities the students appreciated during the English course. « Most aspects referred exclusively to the course. », and some included the teacher’s behavior, or attitude that made them enjoy the course. Humor was proven helpful in reaching a positive atmosphere in the classroom.
Regarding activities, students showed appreciation of certain types of activities, and showed their dislike for others. Grammar, public speaking, reading and writing activities received the lowest scores. However, the highest score went to teamwork (35 out of 179). Students preferred working in groups because in these activities they are allowed to use their smart devises in order to help them with vocabulary or for extra information. The second activity that had a high score was games, in which competition was required and which involved team play. The reasons why these kind of activities were most liked is that they gave participants a feeling of safety from public judgement. Some students showed their preference to vocabulary related activities.
Regarding activities that are supposed to improve their listening skills, 23 students expressed their preference to them. This can be a good sign about their awareness of the necessity of improving this skill. Projects were only liked by 10 respondents despite that they are considered successful according to teachers. However, for students they are time consuming.
The final question was to suggest activities students consider useful. Grammar activities were requested by people who preferred them. Project activities were suggested by 12% participants (twice the number of students who mentioned these activities as their preferred ones). 35 students (almost a quarter of the respondents) suggested more teamwork activities. It is no surprise that games were suggested by a similar number of participants (33). Vocabulary activities were also requested.
In terms of speaking activities and presentations, 15 participants suggested more of them. This can be a proof that students are conscious about the need to practice their speaking skills.
Regarding the listening skills, 13% requested that this type of activity be used more during the English course .It is important to mention that among the whole group of respondents, 14 had no recommendations or suggestions.
Since ESP teaching is a student-centered approach, it is important to focus on students’ wants and needs regarding the English course. Therefore, this questionnaire serves as a feedback on how students used to learn ESP, and a needs analysis for future ESP courses.
Being proven effective, this kind of questionnaire needs to be followed by other case studies in order to be updated about the students’ needs and wants related to the ESP course.
Introduction, designing an ESP course done by Feyza Mejri ESP and needs analysis done by Iness Guezzi
The Subjective Needs Analysis in Practical Application ,Conclusion done by Anfèl Ben Souheil