ERG SES H 01, Language and Education
In Turkey, real communicative purposes of language learning has newly been recognized by educational institutions and there have been some important developments in National English Language curriculum within the framework of constructivist method of teaching under the name of Communicative Language Teaching(CLT) (Ministry of National education, 2013). Access to engaging, authentic, and comprehensible materials in the target language is essential for successful language learning. However, for many language learners, especially in class settings, such access is often restricted. Thus, this limitation is supposed to be eliminated with the help of providing the students with appropriate instructional tools and strategies. This is same for students who are learning vocational English because they need authentic audio and visual materials supported with constructive learning environment and supportive student-teacher interaction. In essence, the key to success lies in integrating old and new ways of learning within a comprehensive approach of blended learning, so that students' needs and expectations are adequately met.
Needs analysis is an important means of conducting research prior to designing and evaluating lessons/materials/syllabus and it helps draw a profile of students/course in order to determine and prioritize the needs for which students require English (Richards et al, 1992). This paper presents a needs analysis project we have developed for the English for Specific Purposes, namely Vocational English, class at a university in Ankara, Turkey. This project was carried out to support the passage process of English Language Teaching (ELT) curriculum at our university into the Common European Framework of Reference(CEFR) and integration of Vocational English and General English curriculum. Our needs analysis project aims at investigating students’ needs and expectations from Vocational English courses with regard to technological resources both for in-class and out-of-class activities, supplementary materials for both in-class and out-of-class activities, assessment and evaluation techniques, and teacher-student interaction.
There have been several approaches to needs analysis in English language teaching from the time when the term was first introduced by Michael West in 1920s, but almost all concern English for specific purposes primarily because of two reasons:1. Early needs analysis research focused on English for Occupational Purposes (EOP) which later changed to Academic (EAP). (West, 1994, p. 1)
- The belief that General English (GE) learners’ needs cannot be determined (Seedhouse, 1995, p.59) because it is taken for granted that General English learners learn the language in a TENOR (Teaching English for No Obvious Reason) situation. (Abbott & Wingard, 1981)
Nowadays needs analysis is an umbrella term covering several approaches. However, in this study bearing in mind the second assumption of Seedhouse's(1995) that indicates General English(GE) learners’ needs cannot be determined, we aim to focus on English for specific purposes and our research question is: What are the needs and expectations of students with regard to language learning in Vocational English classes?
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will provide necessary information about students' priorities about classroom tasks and activities while learning Vocational English prior to the implementation of a new curriculum based on CEFR. In the current curriculum,vocational terms are taught to students together with general English referred by CEFR in an integrated way and there have been some attempts to improve the effectiveness of language teaching through enhancement of the use information and communication technologies (ICT) such as modular object oriented dynamic learning environment (MOODLE)”or the use of smart-boards in and out of class activities. There have also been some innovations about fostering student-centered approach in language teaching by increasing students’ inclusion into the decision making process of vocatinal language classes
Abbot, G. & Wingard, P. (1981). The Teaching of English as an International Language, Collins. Berwick, R. (1989). Needs assessment in language programming: From theory to practice. In: Johnson, R. K. (Ed). The second language curriculum (pp.48-62). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ministry of National education(2013). English Language Curriculum, Turkey. Seedhouse, P. (1995) Needs analysis and the general English classroom. ELTJ, 49(1), pp. 59-65. Richards, J. C., J. Platt & H. Platt (1992) Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics. London: Longman. West, R. (1994). State of the art article: Needs analysis in language teaching. ELTJ, 27(1), pp. 1-29
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