UNIVERSIDAD PEDAGÓGICA EXPERIMENTAL LIBERTADOR INSTITUTO PEDAGÓGICO DE CARACAS DEPARTAMENTO DE IDIOMAS MODERNOS PROGRAMA INGLÉS CÁTEDRA DE LINGÜÍSTICA NEEDS ANALYSIS: WHERE ESP COURSES START Curso: Seminario de ESP Profesora: Nahir Aparicio Autor: Sam Cruz Caracas, abril de 2012
NEEDS ANALYSIS Needs analysis (also known as needs assessment) has a vital role in theprocess of designing and carrying out any language course, whether it beEnglish for Specific Purposes (ESP) or other general English courses. It generally refers to the activities that are involved in collectinginformation that will serve as the basis for developing a curriculum that willmeet the needs of a particular group of students. Formal needs analysis is relatively new to the field of languageteaching. However, informal needs analyses have been conducted by teachersin order to assess what language points their students needed to master. How do you carry out the needs analysis process? Do you always carry it out?
TARGET SITUATION ANALYSIS In the earlier periods, needs analysis was mainly concerned withlinguistic and register analysis; needs were seen as discrete language items ofgrammar and vocabulary. It later moved towards placing the learner’s purposes in the centralposition. Consequently, the notion of target needs became paramount, andresearch proved that functions and situations were also fundamental. The term Target Situation Analysis (TSA) was, in fact, first used byChambers in his 1980 article in which he tried to clarify the confusion ofterminology. How would you get acquainted with the students’ TS? Do you think it is important to prepare yourself for and about it?
COMMUNICATIVE NEEDS PROCESSOR It basically refers to the target needs and target level performance, which areestablished by investigating the target situation, and making it the necessary startingpoint in materials or course design. In the CNP, account is taken of “the variables that affect communication needsby organizing them as parameters in a dynamic relationship to each other” (Munby,1978). Munby’s overall model is made up of the following elements:9.Participants;10.Communication Needs Processor (particular communication needs according tosociocultural and stylistic needs);11.Profile of Needs;12.Meaning Processor (sociocultural aspects made into semantic subcategories of apredominantly pragmatic kind);13.The Language Skills Selector;14.The Linguistic Encoder: considers (the dimension of contextual appropriacy);15.The Communicative Competence Specification.
PRESENT SITUATION ANALYSIS Present situation analysis (PSA) may be considered as a complement to TSA. IfTSA tries to establish what the learners are expected to be like at the end of the languagecourse, PSA attempts to identify what they are like at the beginning of it. A PSA estimates strengths andweaknesses in language, skills, and learningexperiences. If the destination point to whichthe students need to get is to be established,first the starting point has to be defined, andthis is provided by means of PSA. The PSA can be carried out by meansof established placement tests. However, thebackground information, e.g.: years of learningEnglish, level of education, etc. about learnerscan provide enough information about theirpresent abilities which can thus be predicted tosome extent. Needs analysis may be seen as acombination of TSA and PSA.
PEDAGOGIC NEEDS ANALYSIS The term “pedagogic needs analysis” is proposed as an umbrella term todescribe the following three elements of needs analysis. It covers deficiency analysis,strategy analysis or learning needs analysis, and means analysis. Deficiency Analysis refers to the approaches to needs analysis that have beendeveloped to consider learners’ present needs or wants may be called analysis oflearners’ deficiencies or lacks. Strategy analysis has to do with the strategies that learners employ in order tolearn another language. This tries to establish how the learners wish to learn rather thanwhat they need to learn. Learners should be taught skills enabling them to reach thetarget. Motivation and the fact that learners learn in different ways should be considered. Means analysis tries to investigate those considerations regarding matters oflogistics and pedagogy that lead to debate about practicalities and constraints inimplementing needs-based language courses, providing info about the environment inwhich the course will be run.
REGISTER, DISCOURSE, AND GENRE ANALYSIS Register analysis focuses on vocabulary and grammar (the elements ofsentence). The main motive behind register analysis was the pedagogic one of makingthe ESP course more relevant to learners’ needs. The assumption behind register analysiswas that, while the grammar of scientific and technical writing does not differ from thatof general English, certain grammatical and lexical forms are used much more frequently. Discourse analysis focuses on the text –and the levels above the sentence- rather than onthe sentence itself, and on the writer’s purposerather than on form. This approach tended toconcentrate on how sentences are used in theperformance of acts of communication and togenerate materials based on functions. One of theshortcomings of the discourse analysis is that itstreatment remains fragmentary. Genre analysis refers to the regularities of structures that distinguish one type of text from another. The term ‘genre’ may be considered as the study of linguistic behavior in institutionalized academic or professional setting, distinguishing four, though systematically related, areas: Knowledge of the Code, Acquisition of Genre Knowledge, Sensitivity to Cognitive Structures.
CONCLUSION3.Environmental situation - information about the situation in which the course will berun (means analysis);5.Personal information about learners - factors which may affect the way they learn(wants, means, subjective needs);16.Language information about learners - what their current skills and language use are(present situation analysis);18.Learners lacks (the gap between the present situation and professional informationabout learners);
CONCLUSION3.Learners needs from course - what is wanted from the course (short-term needs);5.Language learning needs - effective ways of learning the skills and languagedetermined by lacks;7.Professional information about learners - the tasks and activities English learnersare/will be using English for (Target Situation Analysis and objective needs);9.How to communicate in the target situation – knowledge of how language and skillsare used in the target situation (register analysis, discourse analysis, genre analysis).
BIBLIOGRAPHYAnthony, L. (n/d). English for Specific Purposes: What does it mean? Whyis it different? [Online artcle]. Available at: http://www. antlab.sci.waseda.ac.jp/abstracts/ESParticle.html. [Consulted in: May 2012].Haseli Songhori, M. (2008). Introduction to Needs Analysis. [Onlinearticle]. Available at: http://www.esp-world.info/articles_20/doc/Introduction %20to%20needs %20analysis.pdf. [Consulted in: April 2012].Le Ha, P. (2005). Munbys needs analysis model and ESP. [Onlinearticle]. Available at: http://www.asian-efl-journal.com/ pta_october_07_plh.php. [Consulted in: May 2012].
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