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Changing General to Specific: On the Outcome of Using Special English Materials in University English Courses

Abbass Eslami Rasekh, Mehdi Jafarzadeh, Shahla Simin

Assistant Processor ; Lecturer ; PhD. Candidate 

Department of English Language and Literature, University of Isfahan, Iran

abbasseslamirasekh@yahoo.com ; meh.jafarzade@gmail.com; shahlasimin@yahoo.com

Abstract

Preparing EAP teaching materials for Iranian higher education institutes has been one of the long standing issues of debate among Universities. Unlike EGP courses which enjoy imported quality materials published internationally, EAP courses are administered by universities with the materials prepared by local practitioners in the form of published textbooks. The question has been how to raise the outcome of the English courses. The plan is giving the priority to the specialist EAP written materials. This article aims to investigate the effectiveness of the newly designed EAP textbooks prepared to target the students' future study needs. For this purpose, the EAP textbooks of engineering and behavioral sciences at the University of Isfahan were evaluated in a two phase procedure: a) analyzing the target needs at the start and b) doing evaluation, both formative and summative, at the end of the teaching program. The aim was to discover students' views about the relevance and usefulness of the course materials on the one hand, and their improvement revealed by the final evaluation scores on the other hand. The data gathered through questionnaire and an interview indicated that the outcome of the changes was more satisfactory than in previous semesters.  The test scores compared with previous tests and the views expressed in both interview and responses to the questions in the checklist revealed that a significant degree of improvement, both in the degree of motivation and increasing the level of proficiency, was caused by preparing the relevant materials responding to the needs of the students. 

Key Words: English for specific/academic purposes, ESP/EAP material development, ESP/EAP courses, Needs Analysis

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