Perceived language needs of undergraduate medical students enrolled in a consecutively running ESP course

Handan Çelik

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English for Specific Purposes, both a separate branch and an approach to English language teaching, is based on needs analysis as its defining feature (Carter and Nunan 2001). Driven from the understanding that learners’ needs should be considered for an effective ESP course, this study examines the language needs of Turkish undergraduate medical students enrolled in an ESP course consecutively running in their program. With these in mind, 2nd and 3rd graders (N=88) studying in the 2016-2017 cohort of a Turkish state university in School of Medicine responded to a 26-item, 4-point Likert scale assessing their needs for four macro language skills; listening, reading, speaking, and writing. The descriptive analysis of the data revealed that for both groups reading skills are needed the most, and followed by speaking, writing, and listening skills. Despite slight variations between the skills, the overemphasis put on reading skills in both groups could primarily suggest that the learners are at a stage whereby they need to be equipped with knowledge and information on their major. Thus, they naturally perceive to gain knowledge and development in their prospective profession through reading textbooks and other printed materials. The findings could also suggest how to plan the likely content to be covered in ESP courses for medical purposes.

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