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Needs analysis and competence profiling through ethnographic methods: the case of the Academic English course at the Graduate School of a Spanish university

7 pagesPublished: January 6, 2018

Abstract

This paper reports findings from a micro-ethnographic study of the academic literacy practices of the doctoral students that participate in the course in Academic English (AE) taught at the Graduate School of the University of Zaragoza (UZ), Spain. So far there is no evidence regarding the degree of competence in spoken and written communication in academic English to be expected from the students that enroll in the course. Accordingly, the UZ has funded a Teaching Innovation Project (TIP) with the aim of developing ethnographic study protocols capable of providing empirical data on competence profiles, and analysing the learning needs of a specific type of EFL adult learner. The aim of this paper is, therefore, to report on those results that can help to improve the AE course by planning it more efficiently on the basis of a needs analysis that takes disciplinary factors, among others, into account. Reading specialized bibliography, writing a dissertation, giving an oral presentation... all seem to constitute manifestations of, or generic competences for, Academic English in tertiary education, but the acquisition of those competences in an EFL environment may become a challenge for the young researcher attending the AE course. Nowadays, effective teaching in that context requires going beyond mere experience and gathering empirical, ethnographic information suitable for competence profiling (see e.g. Bocanegra-Valle, 2016). Consequently, our study draws on relevant ethnographic techniques in the field of EAP (see e.g. Dressen-Hamouda, 2012), the paper thus beginning by reporting on the results of the analysis of the answers to a structured questionnaire administered to students as the starting point for small-scale semi- structured interviews. Our ultimate aim is the examination of the acquisition and learning of second-language academic literacy practices in line with e.g. 'New Literacies' studies such as Seloni (2012).

Keyphrases: Academic English at Graduate School, competence profiling, ethnographic methodology, needs analysis, Teaching English for Academic Purposes in an EFL context

In: Alejandro Curado (editor). LSP in Multi-disciplinary contexts of Teaching and Research. Papers from the 16th International AELFE Conference, vol 3, pages 110--116

Links:
BibTeX entry
@inproceedings{AELFE2017:Needs_analysis_and_competence,
  author    = {Ignacio Guillen Galve},
  title     = {Needs analysis and competence profiling through ethnographic methods: the case of the Academic English course at the Graduate School of a Spanish university},
  booktitle = {LSP in Multi-disciplinary contexts of Teaching and Research. Papers from the 16th International AELFE Conference},
  editor    = {Alejandro Curado},
  series    = {EPiC Series in Language and Linguistics},
  volume    = {3},
  pages     = {110--116},
  year      = {2018},
  publisher = {EasyChair},
  bibsource = {EasyChair, http://www.easychair.org},
  issn      = {2398-5283},
  url       = {https://easychair.org/publications/paper/6Cpl},
  doi       = {10.29007/dn58}}
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