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English for Specific Purposes World

ISSN 1682-3257

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Editor's Commentary

The article English Language Skills for Engineering Students: A Needs Survey by our colleagues from India may be seen as an interesting example of action research a study of a problem or aspect of their teaching carried out by practicioners for the purpose of improving their practice. The survey described in the article constitutes part of the authors Ph.D. research work, but, as Alan Maley puts it: Increasingly both professional researchers and classroom teachers are becoming involved in pragmatically-rooted research at the chalk face designed to find answers to quite small-scale, specific problems.[1] Teachers might not possess the skills and/or resources for applying rigorous research methods in the process of their investigation but their reflection on the data they collect, analyses of the effects of their actions, and attempts to improve their educational practice is what can eventually bring about positive change in the real world of their classrooms.

One other important aspect of this kind of research is that its results should be shared. In this way the researchers will be able to compare their findings with those of other professionals, to learn from their experiences and, most importantly, to contribute to a general body of professional understanding.[2]

My aim in writing this commentary is to encourage readers of the ESP World to respond to this publication with accounts of their own classroom research projects , and specifically those that explore the needs of their learners, since this is what we all have to deal with and what may equally be of interest to teachers from Asia, Latin America or Europe, etc, in this rapidly globalizing world. Describe the settings in which your research is conducted (as we work in different parts of the world, this background information is also illuminating and helps us look at our practices from a different perspective), the problems you address, the outcomes, and the lessons learned. Thus we will be able to learn from each other and develop together. As Peter James says, Teachers are capable of extraordinary achievements in learning![3]

ESP World Editor-in Chief

Lyudmila Kuznetsova

Associate Professor

Saint-Petersburg State University


[1] Maley, A. (1991). Classroom Practice:An Overview. In: Bowers, R. and Brumfit, C. (eds.) (!991). Applied Linguistics and English Language Teaching. Review of ELT, 2, 1. London: Modern English Publicationsin association with The British Council, p29

[2] James, P. (2000). Teachers in Action. Cambridge University Press, p19

[3] Ibid., p 26.


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