Conducting a Needs Analysis for an ESP Course Design: The Case of Fourth Year Students of Cellular and Molecular Biology

By Haddam Faiza.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Many countries, Algeria among them, have given much importance to the learning of English in order to contribute to national and international scientific development and to achieve progress in different scientific fields. The present research work intends to describe the major issues encountered by fourth year students at the Department of Biology, at the University of Tlemcen. In this Department, the English courses are still a mixture of general English and (ESP); there is no prescribed syllabus. This leads to several difficulties in the teaching and learning processes. Students and teachers at the Department of Biology are well aware of the fact that proficiency in English is crucial for the successful completion of their studies and future careers. Most study courses require students to read scientific texts in English and that the English language is of paramount importance for students’ professional and academic daily needs. Thus, the aim of this study is to stress the importance of conducting a needs analysis in ESP courses and to present the steps that can be followed so as to develop a new and adequate ESP course. One of the most important factors in an efficient education process is students’ motivation; their wants and weaknesses in studying a particular subject are crucial and should be taken into consideration in the process of syllabus design. This paper discusses the importance of knowing learners’ needs and matches their needs with curriculum, material and teachers’ training. The needs analysis conducted in this research among the fourth-year students in the Department of Biology in the academic year 2007-2008 , on the language skills reveals that translation, reading and listening skills are among their top priorities. This is what almost the ESP teachers agree with. The main objective of the research was to consider the lacks, wants and necessities of biology students in order to design an appropriate ESP course to improve the ESP teaching and learning process.

Keywords: Needs Analysis, Wants and Lacks, English for Specific Purposes (ESP), Syllabus Design

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 8, Issue 9, pp.77-98. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 933.705KB).

Haddam Faiza

Teacher, Department of English, Abu-Bekr Belkaid Univerity, Tlemcen, Tlemcen, Algeria

Haddam Faiza holds an MA in TEFL and Applied Linguistics and is a teacher of English at the university. He is preparing a PhD thesis in ESP and has main interests in ESP, language teaching methodology, and applied linguistics.

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