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A study examines current approaches to assessing the academic writing needs of non-native speakers of English (NNSs), first by reviewing recent research into student writing needs and then by a survey of students, tutors, and English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) teachers. Critical examination of recent studies finds problems in both their approach and methodology and the underlying accommodationist ideology. Semi-structured interviews were then conducted with four NNS University of Melbourne students of macroeconomics, three macroeconomics instructors, and three ESL teachers. It was found that interviewees sometimes expressed similar ideas about what is needed for successful academic writing, but also found differing perceptions both across the three groups and within them, especially concerning grammatical proficiency and the importance of language. Key issues for needs analysis and English for Academic Purposes (EAP) instruction arising from the interviews are discussed, and possible alternative interpretations of particular "needs" are explored, highlighting the problem of definition in needs assessment. (Contains 31 references.) (MSE)

Descriptors: Classroom Techniques, College Students, Economics Education, Educational Needs, English for Academic Purposes, English (Second Language), Foreign Countries, Higher Education, Language Research, Needs Assessment, Second Language Instruction, Student Attitudes, Student Needs, Surveys, Teacher Attitudes, Writing Instruction

Autor: Tait, Joslyn


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