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Investigating Iranian MA Students’ Perceptions of their Academic English Language Needs, Abilities and Problems

Yaser Khajavi

Islamic Azad University, Izeh branch, Iran

&

Yahya Gordani

Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

Abstract

Present article reports on findings of a preliminary study on English language needs of graduate students in Iran. A mixed method design i.e. questionnaire and interviews were used in the study. An academic skills questionnaire was administered at Isfahan State University to 260 randomly selected MA students from six faculties of Isfahan University namely humanities, engineering, psychology, sport sciences, management and science in order to determine which of the four English language skills i.e. reading, writing, speaking, or listening were most essential to the academic needs of students. In addition, the study looked at what academic sub-skills students expected to need in order to successfully complete their studies and a self assessment of their ability in using English in academic setting. The results of questionnaires and follow-up semi-structured interviews revealed that speaking skill has been rated as the most important skill.  Furthermore,   graduate students indicated a greater need for writing abstracts and, giving presentations in seminars. Generally, the study indicated that the present practice of EAP in the curriculum is not consistent with the perceived needs of students. It is hoped that the findings of this study would shed light on syllabus design and curriculum development for EAP programs in Iran.     

Key words: English Language needs, MA students, EAP, English Language ability.

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