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  • 8/8/2019 sampe esol



    TESOL- Managing ESOL Provision


    Designing an EAP Course for students of International Islamic University,

    Islamabad, Pakistan

    English Language Centre (ELC) at International Islamic University Islamabad,

    provides language support to the new students, who will soon join their

    respective faculties. This centre works independent of the department of English

    at International Islamic University, but often gets teaching support from the

    department. ELC runs short EAP and ESP courses. EAP courses organized by

    this institute are quite popular with students. These courses help students learn

    skills which they will use through-out their academic careers.

    I am a Lecturer at the department of English, International Islamic University. I

    have been asked by the Director ELC to teach an eight week EAP course to a

    group of eight learners. Classes will be held for five days a week, and the

    duration of teaching input for each day will be five hours. The language centre

    has provided me the profiles of the students who have joined this course. These

    profiles are based upon the interviews of these students at the time of their

    admission and their bio-data forms. I know that these profiles are by no means a

    substitute for a detailed needs analysis (Please see appendix 1 for learners


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    Needs Assessment

    According to Graves, needs assessment is seeking and interpreting information

    about students needs so that the course effectively caters to it (Graves, 1996,

    p.12). It is fundamental to course designing and without assessing the needs of

    students, it is difficult to imagine a successful course. From the learners profile

    and the nature of EAP courses it is quite clear that students in my group would

    like to acquire language skills which will enable them face the rigorous

    challenges of university life.Generally speaking students are required to have the

    following academic skills, listening and note-taking, academic writing ( formal

    writing, using right register) understanding spoken and written instructions,

    reading skills which include skimming, scanning, predicting, guessing meanings

    from context, improving reading speed and vocabulary, writing effective

    paragraphs, descriptive essays, analytical essays, comparison contrast, narrative

    essays, writing assignments, presentation skills, referencing, writing a

    bibliography etc. Some of these skills are outlined by Jordan ( Jordan, 1997, p.7)

    When we talk about EAP courses in Pakistan, the focus in generally on reading

    and writing skills. However, there are students in this group who will join faculty

    of law, journalism, media studies, and business management. For these

    students, it is of paramount importance to improve their listening and speaking

    skills along with their reading and writing skills. The assessment system of

    university is such that in each module, a student is required to give at least one

    presentation, which has 20% weighting. Hence, only a reading and writing based

    syllabus will not cater to the needs of my students.

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    While assessing learning needs of students, it is important to take into account,

    both objective and subjective needs. Brindley (1979: 70) defines objective needs

    as derivable from different kinds of factual information about learners, their use

    of language in real life communication situations as well as their current language

    proficiency and language difficulties, he explains subjective needs as cognitive

    and affective needs in the learning situation, which can be derived from learners

    attitudes, personalities or the level of their confidence ( cited in Graves, 1996,

    p.13). For a course to be successful both subjective and objective needs should

    be assessed. The example of Uvins course for Chinese workers ( Graves, 1996,

    p. 14) clearly tells us that unless subjective needs are not taken into account,

    objective needs may not be met.

    It is also important to state that this group of learners is quite diverse in terms of

    their choice of academic disciplines. Therefore, it will be useful to visit the

    departments, which these students will join, and meet the senior faculty members

    to assess the academic skills these students may need. Before the course

    officially starts, I have arranged an informal orientation session. In this session, I

    will tell my students the objectives of this course and elicit their opinions about it.

    I understand that sometimes the needs assessment questionnaires may not be

    successful in seeking the information a teacher is looking for. In such an event,

    an informal discussion with students helps to extract the required information.

    According to Graves ( Graves, 1996, p.16) many students are not familiar with

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    needs assessment process, they find it hard articulating their needs and it may

    make the whole learning scenario appear complex for them. In the light of my

    previous teaching experience, I agree with Graves view. Many a times the initial

    needs assessment doesnt work for the reasons given above. So it needs to be

    an ongoing process, and I will carry it through the course.(Please see appendix 2

    for needs assessment questionnaire)


    Physical Constraints

    Since this course is scheduled in summer, so we will be fighting frequent power-

    cuts. There is an acute power-shortage in summers and it does take its toll on

    education institutions. Its a real shock for international students who are

    struggling to adjust in a new environment and new culture. Most of my students

    are living on campus, so we can start our lessons at 8 a.m. It will help us finish

    most of our work before noon, when these power-cuts become more frequent

    and painful because of the soaring temperatures. With frequent power-cuts it

    becomes difficult to use multimedia, DVDs, Internet etc in the class, but I still feel

    that I can manage to use realia, though it may not be as regular as I would have

    liked it.

    Other Constraints

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  • 8/8/2019 sampe esol



    According to Graves (Graves, 1996, p. 17) goals are general statements of the

    overall, long-term purposes of the course. Objectives express the specific ways

    in which the goals will be achieved. Hence according to Graves, goals

    represent destination and objectives are how this destination will be reached.

    Nunan believes ( Nunan, 1998, p.24) that goals provide rationale for the course.

    When a teacher breaks down goals, it gives a direction to course and helps to

    conceptualize course in teachable chunks ( Graves, 1996, p.17). Nunan also

    shares the same view, he asserts that objectives provide a sharper focus and

    tell learners about what they can expect from the course ( Nunan, 1988, p.61). In

    the light of needs assessment and the learners profile, I believe the main goals

    of my course should be

    y To improve EAP skills of learners that includes academic reading, writing,

    listening and speaking

    y To make them creative and critical, as both skills are fundamental to their

    success at university level

    y To motivate learners and give them self-belief

    y To make them confident enough to learn on their own

    y To help them improve their general English ability, which includes

    development in their listening, speaking, reading, writing and vocabulary,

    ability to understand and correct their own mistakes

    y To enable learners use language according to the cultural and social

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    y To introduce learners to study skills which they will need at university


    While setting these goals, the model I have chosen is the one proposed by

    Stern(1992). According to Stern, there are four types of goals for language

    learners, and these are proficiency goals, affective goals, cognitive goals and

    transfer goal ( cited in Graves, 1996, p.17). The learners profile indicates that

    there is hardly a single learner in the group, who is good at all four skills. Hence

    their proficiency in these skills should be improved. Some of my learners do not

    feel motivated to learn English, and lack self-confidence. Hence encouraging and

    motivating them will be pivotal to their learning. For a student to do well at

    university level he must learn how to learn on his own, and in Sterns model

    Transfer goals take care of this aspect as well. Transfer goal addresses learner

    autonomy. Learner autonomy is explained in the later part of this assignment.

    How to achieve these goals (Conceptualising content/ Activities/ Material)

    In the light of learners profile, I think if both the EAP skills and general English

    skills are blended together, the course may be a success. According to Jordan

    ( Jordan, 1997, p.75-76) the purpose of including non-EAP component such as

    social/survival English, familiarisation with TV news and newspapers, videos,

    grammar, vocabulary development etc is threefold, to serve as a necessary

    adjunct to the main study skills, to fulfil a perceived present or future needs and

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    to provide useful variety