Ece ZEHİR TOPKAYA is associate professor in the Department of English Language Teaching at Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Turkey. She completed her doctoral work at Dokuz Eylül University in ELT. Her current research interests include language teacher education, needs analysis in EAP/ESP, and program evaluation.
Workshop: Needs analysis in the context of EAP/ESP learning and teaching
Traditionally, much attention has been given to materials selection and instructional methods in designing programs and courses in English language teaching. However, the context of EAP/ESP needs to be responsive to the needs of several stakeholders since a variety of educational, professional as well as personal goals are expected to be addressed. Due to this goal-directed nature, EAP/ ESP, therefore, focuses on needs analysis (NA) to specify what the learners need to know and do in their academic or professional lives, their lacks and wants and how these can be catered to in the time available within language programs, courses or learning activities. Such being the case, conducting NA studies appears as an essential part of teacher-researcher competences.
In its broadest sense, NA is a tool for decision-making regarding identifying learning outcomes, determining content, selecting instructional techniques, developing materials as well as curriculum revision and program/course evaluation. Because of the changing nature of personal, academic and professional needs, needs analyses can be conducted before, while and after a program/course is in effect, which underlines the significance of ongoing NA and adopting a needs-analysis-informed approach to program design, revision and evaluation as well as instruction.
Thus, within this context, this workshop aims to introduce what needs and NA are and for what purposes teachers can undertake NA studies. Together with the participants we will identify the stakeholders in the context of EAP/ESP; the steps in conducting an NA; common means of eliciting and gathering data regarding needs; and ways of data analysis and interpretation. Also, some challenges that teacher-researchers may encounter during NA and possible ways of troubleshooting them will be discussed. The participants will be encouraged to reflect upon their own language teaching programs/courses, student groups, instructional practices in the light of the information provided in the workshop and to offer ideas for potential NA projects relevant to their own educational contexts.