A. Background of Study
Needs analysis (also known as needs assessment) has a vital role inthe process of designing and carrying out any language course, whetherit be English for Specific Purposes (ESP) or general English course, andits centrality has been acknowledged by several scholars and authors(Munby, 1978; Richterich and Chancerel, 1987; Hutchinson and Waters,1987; Berwick, 1989; Brindley, 1989; Tarone and Yule, 1989; Robinson,
1991; etc. According to Iwai et al. (1999), the term needs analysis generallyrefers to the activities that are involved in collecting information that willserve as the basis for developing a curriculum that will meet the needs ofa particular group of students. formal needs analysis is relativelynew to the field of language teaching. However, informal needs analyseshave been conducted by teachers in order to assess what language points
their students needed to master. In fact, the reason why differentapproaches were born and then replaced by others is that teachers haveintended to meet the needs of their students during their learning.From the field of language teaching the focus of this paper will be onESP.
B. Purposes of Study
According to background of study above, the purposes of this paper is to fulfill the assigment from our ESP lecturer Mr. Ma’mun A.Md., S.S besides that, the purpose of this paper is to give the information for the readers especially terachers about Needs Analysis in ESP.
C. Formulation of Study
- What is definition of needs analysis ?
- What is kinds of needs analysis ?
A. Definition of Needs Analysis
Need Analysis is the process of identifying and evaluating needs (see sample definitions below) in a community or other defined population of people. The identification of needs is a process of describing “problems” of a target population and possible solutions to these problems. A need has been described as:
• A gap between “what is” and “what should be.” (Witkin et al., 1995)
• “A gap between real and ideal that is both acknowledged by community values andpotentially amenable to change.” (Reviere, 1996, p. 5)
• May be different from such related concepts as wants (“something people are willing to pay for”) or demands (“something people are willing to march for”). (McKillip, 1987).
According to Iwai et al. (1999), the term needs analysis generally refers to the activities that are involved in collecting information that will serve as the basis for developing a curriculum that will meet the needs of a particular group of students. According to Iwai et al. (1999), formal needs analysis is relatively new to the field of language teaching. However, informal needs analyses have been conducted by teachers in order to assess what language points their students needed to master. In fact, the reason why different approaches were born and then replaced by others is that teachers have intended to meet the needs of their students during their learning. According to Iwai et al. (1999), formal needs analysis is relatively new to the field of language teaching. However, informal needs analyses have been conducted by teachers in order to assess what language points their students needed to master. In fact, the reason why different approaches were born and then replaced by others is that teachers have intended to meet the needs of their students during their learning. For Johns (1991), needs analysis is the first step in coursedesign and it provides validity and relevancy for all subsequent course design activities. There are some terms in needs analysis, target situation analysis, present situation analysis, pedagogic needs analysis, deficiency analysis, strategy analysis or learning needs analysis, mean analysis, register analysis, discourse analysis, and genre analysis.
B. Target Situation Analysis
The term Target Situation Analysis (TSA) was, in fact, first used by Chambers in his 1980 article in which he tried to clarify the confusion of terminology. For Chambers TSA is “communication in the target situation” (p.29). In his work Munby (1978) introduced Communicative Needs Processor (CNP). In Munby’s CNP, the target needs and target level performance are established by investigating the target situation, and his overall model clearly establishes the place of needs analysis as central to ESP, indeed the necessary starting point in materials or course design (West, 1998). (CNP) which is the basis of Munby’s approach to needs analysis andestablishes the profile of needs through the processing of eightparameters the processing of which gives us a detailed description ofparticular communication needs (Munby, 1978). The parametersspecified by Munby (1987) are:
• Purposive domain: this category establishes the type ofESP, and then the purpose which the target language will beused for at the end of the course.
• Setting: the physical setting specifying the spatial andtemporal aspects of the situation where English will beused, and the psychological setting specifying the differentenvironment in which English will be used.
• Interaction: identifies the learner’s interlocutors andpredicts relationship between them.
• Instrumentality: specifies the medium, i.e., whether thelanguage to be used is written, spoken, or both; mode, i.e.,whether the language to be used is in the form ofmonologue, dialogue or any other; and channel ofcommunication, i.e., whether it is face to face, radio, or anyother.
• Dialect: dialects learners will have to understand or producein terms of their spatial, temporal, or social aspect.
• Communicative event: states what the participants will haveto do productively or receptively.
• Communicative key: the manner in which the participantswill have to do the activities comprising an event, e.g.politely or impolitely.
• Target level: level of linguistic proficiency at the end of theESP course which might be different for different skills.
The aim of Munby’s CNP is to find as thoroughly as possible the linguistic form a
prospective ESP learner is likely to use in various situations in his target working environment. The outcome of the processing data by means of Munby’s model is, as Hutchinson and Waters (1987) say, what the learner needs to know in order to function effectively in the target situation. Most subsequent target needs analysis research was based on Munby’s model for the reason that it offers comprehensive data banks and target performance (Robinson, 1991). For Hutchinson andWaters (1987) the analysis of target situation needs is “in essence a matter of asking questions about the target situation and the attitudes towards that situation of various participants in the learning process”
1. Why is language needed?
• for study;
• for work;
• for training;
• for a combination of these;
• for some other purposes, e.g. status, examination,
2. How will the language be used?
• Medium: speaking, writing, reading, etc.;
• Channel: e.g. telephone, face to face;
• Types of text or discourse: e.g. academic text,
lectures, catalogues, etc.
3. What will the content areas be?
• Subjects: e.g. medicine, biology, commerce,
• Level: technician, craftsman, postgraduate, etc.
4. Where will the language be used?
• Physical setting: e.g. office, lecture theater, hotel,
• Human context: alone, meetings, demonstrations,
• Linguistic context: e.g. in own country, abroad.
Setting (physical and
5. When will the language be used?
• Concurrently with the ESP course or subsequently;
• Frequently, seldom, in small amounts, in large chunks.
Like any other model/approach, however, Munby’s model is notwithout its critics. Munby provided detailed lists of microfunctions in hisCNP. What he did not include was how to prioritize them or any of the affective factors which today are recognized as important (Dudley-Evans and St. John, 1998). Hutchinson and Waters (1987) also point out that it is too time consuming to write a target profile for each student based on Munby’s model. This model only considers one viewpoint, i.e. that of the analyst, but neglects others (those of the learners, user-institutions, etc.).Meanwhile, it does not take into account of the learning needs nor itmakes a distinction between necessities, wants, and lacks.
C. Present Situation Analysis
Present situation analysis may be posited as a complement to targetsituation analysis (Robinson, 1991; Jordan, 1997). If target situationanalysis tries to establish what the learners are expected to be like at theend of the language course, present situation analysis attempts to identifywhat they are like at the beginning of it. As Dudley-Evans and St. John(1998: 125) state "a PSA estimates strengths and weaknesses in language, skills, learning experiences." If the destination point to which the students need to get is to be established, first the starting point has to be defined, and this is provided by means of PSA.The PSA can be carried out by means of established placement tests. However, the background information, e.g. years of learning English, level of education, etc. about learners can provide us with enough information about their present abilities which can thus be predicted to some extent . Needs analysis may be seen as a combination of TSA and PSA. As noted, within the realm of ESP, one cannot rely either on TSA or PSA as a reliable indicator of what is needed to enhance learning and reaching the desired goals. Consequently, other approaches to needs analysis have been proposed, such as Pedagogic Needs Analysis.
D. Pedagogic Needs Analysis
The term “pedagogic needs analysis” was proposed by West (1998)as an umbrella term to describe the following three elements of needsanalysis. He states the fact that shortcomings of target needs analysisshould be compensated for by collecting data about the learner and thelearning environment. The term ‘pedagogic needs analysis’ coversdeficiency analysis, strategy analysis or learning needs analysis, andmeans analysis.
E. Deficiency Analysis
What Hutchinson and Waters (1987) define as lacks can be matchedwith deficiency analysis. Also, according to Allwright (1982, quoted inWest, 1994), the approaches to needs analysis that have been developedto consider learners’ present needs or wants may be called analysis oflearners’ deficiencies or lacks. From what has already been said, it isobvious that deficiency analysis is the route to cover from point A(present situation) to point B (target situation), always keeping thelearning needs in mind. Therefore, deficiency analysis can form the basisof the language syllabus (Jordan, 1997) because it should provide dataabout both the gap between present and target extralinguistic knowledge,mastery of general English, language skills, and learning strategies.
F. Strategy Analysis or Learning Needs Analysis
Allwright who was a pioneer in the field of strategy analysis (West,1994) started from the students’ perceptions of their needs in their ownterms (Jordan, 1997). It is Allwright who makes a distinction betweenneeds (the skills which a student sees as being relevant to himself orherself), wants (those needs on which students put a high priority in theavailable, limited time), and lacks (the difference between the student’spresent competence and the desired competence). Learning needs analysis will tell us "what the learner needs to do in order to learn"The framework proposed by Hutchinson and Waters (1987) for analysis of learning needs is the following:
1. Why are the learners taking the course?
• compulsory or optional;
• apparent need or not;
• Are status, money, promotion involved?
• What do learners think they will achieve?
• What is their attitude towards the ESP course? Do they want to improve their English or do they resent the time they have to spend on it?
2. How do the learners learn?
• What is their learning background?
• What is their concept of teaching and learning?
• What methodology will appeal to them?
• What sort of techniques bore/alienate them?
3. What sources are available?
• number and professional competence of teachers;
• attitude of teachers to ESP;
• teachers' knowledge of and attitude to subject content;
• opportunities for out-of-class activities.
4. Who are t he learners?
• What do they know already about English?
• What subject knowledge do they have?
• What are their interests?
• What is their socio-cultural background?
• What teaching styles are they used to?
•What is their attitude to English or to the cultures of the Englishspeaking world?
Finally, as Allwright (1982, quoted in West, 1994) says the investigation of learners’ preferred learning styles and strategies gives us apicture of the learners’ conception of learning.
G. Means Analysis
Dudley-Evans and St. John (1998: 125) suggest that means analysis provides us “information about the environment in which the course will be run” and thus attempts to adapt to ESP course to the cultural environment in which it will be run.
Swales (1989, quoted in West, 1994) lists five factors which relate to the learning environment and should be considered by curriculum specialists if the course is to be successful. These considerations are:
• classroom culture
• EAP staff
• pilot target situation analysis
• status of service operations
• study of change agents
H. Register Analysis
Register analysis, also called “lexicostatistics” by Swales (1988: 1,quoted in Dudley-Evans and St. John, 1998) and “frequency analysis” byRobinson (1991: 23) focused on the grammar and “structural and nonstructural”vocabulary (Ewer and Latorre, 1967: 223, quoted in West,1998). The assumption behind register analysis was that, while thegrammar of scientific and technical writing does not differ from that of
general English, certain grammatical and lexical forms are used muchmore frequently (Dudley-Evans and St. John, 1998). As noted, register analysis operates only at word and sentence level and does not go beyond these levels. The criticism on register analysis can be summarized as the following:
• it restricts the analysis of texts to the word and sentence level (West 1998);
• it is only descriptive, not explanatory (Robinson, 1991);
• most materials produced under the banner of register analysis follow a similar pattern, beginning with a long specialist reading passage which lacks authenticity (Dudley-Evans and St. John, 1998).
I. Discourse Analysis
The pioneers in the field of discourse analysis (also called rhetorical ortextual analysis) were Lackstorm, Selinker, and Trimble whose focus wason the text rather than on the sentence, and on the writer’s purpose ratherthan on form (Robison, 1991). In practice, according to West (1998), thisapproach tended to concentrate on how sentences are used in the performance of acts of communication and to generate materials based onfunctions. One of the shortcomings of the discourse analysis is that its treatment remains fragmentary, identifying the functional units of which discourse was composed at sentence/utterance level but offering limited guidance on how functions and sentences/utterances fit together to form text (West, 1998).
J. Genre Analysis
Bhatia who is one of the researchers in the field of genre analysishas his definition of ‘genre analysis’ as the study of linguistic behavior ininstitutionalized academic or professional setting (Bhatia, undated).In his article, Bhatia distinguishes four, though systematically related,areas of competence that an ESP learner needs to develop so as to get over his/her lack of confidence in dealing with specialist discourse. These four areas are:
1. Knowledge of the Code which is the pre-requisite for
developing communicative expertise in specialist or even everyday discourse.
2. Acquisition of Genre Knowledge which is the familiarity with
and awareness of appropriate rhetorical procedures andconventions typically associated with the specialist discourse
3. Sensitivity to Cognitive Structures, that is, since certain
lexical items have specialist meanings in specific professional
genres, a number of syntactic forms may also carry genrespecific
restricted values in addition to their general meaningscodified in grammar books. Thus, it is imperative that thespecialist learner become aware of restricted aspects of linguistic code in addition to the general competence he or she requires in the language.
4. Exploitation of Generic Knowledge, that is, it is only after
learners have developed some acquaintance or, better yet,
expertise at levels discussed above, that they can confidently
interpret, use or even take liberties with specialist discourse.
Genre-analysis approach goes two steps beyond register analysis andone step beyond discourse analysis (though it draws on the findings ofboth). As Bhatia (undated) states the main benefit of a genre-basedapproach to the teaching and learning of specialist English is that thelearner does not learn language in isolation from specialist contexts, butis encouraged to make the relevant connection between the use oflanguage on the one hand and the purpose of communication on the
other, always aware of the question, why do members of the specialist
discourse community use the language in this way?
According to Iwai et al. (1999), the term needs analysis generally refers to the activities that are involved in collecting information that will serve as the basis for developing a curriculum that will meet the needs of a particular group of students. Needs analysis (also known as needs assessment) has a vital role in the process of designing and carrying out any language course, whether it be English for Specific Purposes (ESP) or general English course, and its centrality has been acknowledged by several scholars and authors (Munby, 1978; Richterich and Chancerel, 1987; Hutchinson and Waters, 1987; Berwick, 1989; Brindley, 1989; Tarone and Yule, 1989; Robinson, 1991; etc. Different approaches to needs analysis attempt to meet the needs of the learners in the process of learning a second language. Not a single approach to needs analysis can be a reliable indicator of what is needed to enhance learning.The current concept of needs analysis includes the following:
• Environmental situation - information about the situation inwhich the course will be run (means analysis);
• Personal information about learners - factors which may affect theway they learn (wants, means, subjective needs);
• Language information about learners - what their current skills andlanguage use are (present situation analysis);
• Learner's lacks (the gap between the present situation andprofessional information about learners);
• Learner's needs from course - what is wanted from the course(short-term needs);
• Language learning needs - effective ways of learning the skillsand language determined by lacks;
• Professional information about learners - the tasks and activitiesEnglish learners are/will be using English for (Target SituationAnalysis and objective needs);
• How to communicate in the target situation – knowledge of howlanguage and skills are used in the target situation (registeranalysis, discourse analysis, genre analysis).
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