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Acknowledgements Abbreviations 1 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 2 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 3 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 4 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 5 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Introduction ESP/EAP Courses at Tertiary Level Needs Analysis for EAP EAP Needs Classification and Genre-based Framework Outline of the Book Researching Academic ESL Reading Needs Reading Primacy and EAP Materials Academic Reading Needs: Major Research Issues Theoretical Framework Data Theory and Rationale for Data Collection Research Purpose and Scope Significance of the Study Definition of Terms Genre Theory and Genre-Based Pedagogy Introduction Major Theoretical Orientations and Definitions Interface between Theory and Pedagogy A Comparative Summary of the Issues A Genre-Based Framework for EAP Conceptual Framework EAP Programme Development Reading Research Genres: Theoretical and Pedagogical Perspectives Analysing ESP/EAP Needs Issues in ESL Reading Research Introduction Psycholinguistic Approaches Schema-theoretic Research Interactive Approaches to Reading and Implications Metacognitive Awareness in ESL Reading

vii viii 1 1 3 5 7 9 9 12 14 20 23 24 25 28 28 29 40 46 51 51 56 62 74 94 94 94 96 101 103


6 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 7 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 8 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 9 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4

Materials and Methods Overall Research Approach The UK TESOL Institutions The Subjects Location of Study and Sampling Issues Research Questions Materials and Data Collection Data Analysis Needs Survey Outcomes Introduction UK Student Survey UK Staff Survey Students Reading Tasks Questionnaire Metacognitive Awareness and Reading Performance Approaches to Studying The Case Study Introduction Text Sequencing Task Recall and Summary Tasks Comprehension Task Relationships in Task-based Performance Advantages and Limitations of the Workshop Synoptic Discussion Conclusion Introduction Major Conclusions Implications for EAP/ESAP Reading Instruction in TESOL Limitations of the Study and Suggestions for Further Research References Appendices

107 107 107 108 111 113 114 136 142 142 142 154 162 165 170 177 177 177 187 191 194 196 197 204 204 204 205 209 211 225



First, I would like to acknowledge my doctoral committee members, Mike Wallace, and Lindsay Paterson of Moray House Institute of Education for their excellent guidance throughout the planning and writing of this dissertation. Their expert insights contributed invaluably to the propositional as well as the methodological development of this thesis. Lindsays patience, understanding, and timely assistance helped me to set in relief many of issues concerning the analysis and interpretation of the various types of data collected for the study. I am especially grateful to Mike for being a superb supervisor and academic confidant during the 3 years or so that I have spent at Moray House. Despite a busy schedule, he always found time to accommodate my many requests for assistance with the thematic aspects of the dissertation (often at short notice!) not to mention the occasional vacillation of spirit that seemed to afflict my cause as a postgraduate researcher. Indeed, Mikes and Lindsays enthusiastic guidance makes them ideal advisors for any postgraduate student interested in their respective areas of expertise. I am also indebted to Gillies Haughton, David Carver, Iain MacWilliam, and Patricia Bryden of the TESOL Unit at Moray House for their excellent effort as raters of data elicited from students and for their useful feedback on related issues. In addition, I take this opportunity to thank Jim Morrison, Patricia Ahrens, Lionel Jackson, and Mary Jackson for their comments and advice during the initial stages of this research project. Further, I cannot thank enough the Malaysian TESOL students, their lecturers in UK who participated as respondents, and particularly the administrative staff in the various TESOL institutions who helped in the conduct of the surveys. Special mention is due to the final-year cohorts in the pre/in-service TESOL programme at Moray House (1995-97) without whose cheerful co-operation and willing commitment subsequent phases of the study could not have been completed. Many individuals at the Moray House research base also provided the necessary resources, both by way of material and of moral support, for the successful completion of this dissertation, especially Lesley Scullion, Pat McLaughlin, Pamela Munn, Margaret Johnston, Claire Norris, Judy Arrowsmith, Gina Reddie and Bronwen Burford. Special thanks are due to the Moray House library administrative staff, notably David Fairgrieve, for their advice and help in accessing some of the research materials that I needed. My appreciation of the unwavering support and encouragement from my wife and children towards the completion of this thesis (and beyond) knows no bounds. I am deeply grateful to them for their perseverance in putting up with my sometimes capricious temperament, with the promise of getting around to doing together many of the things that I said we would. Finally, I thank God for making all this possible and pray for His guidance and blessings for the rest of my life.

Note: Purely as a matter of convenience, when the sex of a referent is unspecified in the text of the dissertation, masculine forms have generally been used.




Abstract-Introduction-Method-Results-Discussion Adult Migrant English Education American National Standards Institute Approaches to Studying Inventory Create a Research Space Contextual Configuration Communicative Needs Processor Comprehension English for Academic Purposes English for Business and Technology English as a Foreign Language English for General Academic Purposes English for General Purposes English Language Teaching English for Occupational Purposes English for Specific Academic Purposes English as a Second Language English for Specific Purposes English for Science and Technology General English Generic Structure Potential Inventory of Learning Processes Introduction-Method-Results-Discussion Learning and Study Strategies Inventory Literacy and Education Research Network Learning Situation Analysis Learning Styles Inventory Languages for Special Purposes Metacognitive Awareness Moray House Institute of Education Method-Introduction-Method-Results-Discussion Present Situation Analysis Research Article Recall Reading and Thinking in English Strategic Inventory for Language Learning Study Process Questionnaire Summary Text As Linguistic Object Text As a Vehicle for Information Task-based Learning Task-based Language Teaching Teaching of English as a Foreign Language Teaching of English for No Obvious Reason Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages Text Sequencing Target Situation Analysis United Nations Development Programme Writing Across the Curriculum


1 Introduction

1.1 EAP Courses at Tertiary Level EAP (English for Academic Purposes) courses are incorporated in the academic curricula of most universities and colleges of higher education to help their ESL/EFL students come to grips with study materials written in English. Given the acknowledged need amongst undergraduate and postgraduate students to use their knowledge and competence in English to process written communication in the language, the majority of EAP courses within these ESL/EFL contexts have generally tended to focus on improving reading abilities. Due consideration has also been given to related development in the other skills for reasons of effective pedagogy as well as catering for the learners extended needs (see some of the major materials writing projects briefly discussed in the sub-section entitled Reading Primacy and EAP Materials in Chapter 2). By way of a simple introduction, first, EAP like its parent discipline ESP (English for Specific Purposes) almost by definition, is language in context (Robinson, 1991: 20). ESP/EAP courses are justified primarily on the basis of learners communicative needs (Munby, 1978; Kennedy and Bolitho, 1984: 14-6; Bloor and Bloor, 1986: 5-6): ESP courses are those where the syllabus and materials are determined in all essentials by the prior analysis of the communicative needs of the learner (Munby, 1978: 2). The Munbyan model of prior analysis of learner needs, however, has had a rather restricted following within the ESP movement due to the CNPs (Communicative Needs Processors) ultimate sterility as a needs assessment approach (Hutchinson and Waters, 1987:54). In addition to being criticised as being impractical (Davies, 1981, Mead, 1982, and Porter, 1983, cited in Alderson, 1988: 93-4), a Munby-type needs analysis has been singled out for its lack of theoretical justification for the categorisation of macro- and micro-skills, and how the analysis of related needs might be relevant to a heterogeneous group of learners. As Alderson (1988) appropriately notes, the most serious shortcoming of Munbys CNP model is its predominantly linguistic or sociolinguistic orientation rather than a psycholinguistic one. Consequently, the success of ESP courses has been attributed to more pragmatic approaches to needs analysis (Robinson, 1991: 7-17). These approaches comprise various combinations of a Target Situation Analysis (TSA), a Present Situation Analysis (PSA), and a Learning Situation Analysis (LSA) (Dudley-Evans and St. John, 1998), sets of procedures that attempt to analyse and account for the different types of needs that impinge on the learner and the learning situation with direct reference/relevance to the target language use situation. ESP courses, by virtue of the fact that they are relevant to the learners authentic contexts of language use and therefore, learning needs, are claimed to be more efficient because they [the courses] get their priorities right... and that they are educationally more effective because they are motivating (Bloor and Bloor, 1986: 5; original emphasis). In short, a properly instituted and conducted ESP course may be deemed to have linguistic, sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic validity in terms of the language learning enterprise, and the fact that it has a higher propensity to motivate the learner is probably what counts as far as the language teaching cause is concerned. 1

Assessing EAP Needs for the University The question of motivation on the part of the tertiary ESL learner is indeed a crucial one: the language course must be seen by students to be explicitly relevant and of unquestioned utility for their academic and/or projected professional needs. Put differently, the ESP/EAP teaching programme must be real both in terms of its subject-specific content and pedagogical approach to make for sustained interest and optimal learning on the part of the students who have hitherto been like Shakespearean schoolboys, like snails, crawling unwillingly to school. The following soul -searching experience of colleagues at a Malaysian university would perhaps lend itself to some initial reflection on the matter:
Clearly, we had to knock down the edifices on which our own courses were traditionally based. It was no longer valid to assume that the students wanted to learn when they came to the courses conducted by the Language Centre, that it was English they came to learn, that learning English was useful and that all we needed to do was find the best ways of teaching English. We had to construct a new basis for our course from first principles. The student had to be motivated to learn and this meant that the course must not only be useful and interesting but also seen to be useful and interesting. The surrender value of what we teach must be immediate and demonstrable (N. Chitravelu 1980: 17).

The exigencies of the situation considered, it would be difficult to dispute the fact that the real value of tertiary ESL learning lies in discipline-specific EAP courses which have been constructed on the basis of real needs negotiated between students and the sponsor and/or teaching institution rather than in general ESL courses. The latter type of course, which in extreme cases is often based on some hypothetical, intuitive conceptualisation of need, is likely to have a demotivating effect on tertiary level students. These students, we find out to our dismay, often resist any such threat to their status that promises more of the same secondary school type of teaching/learning situations by voting with their feet they stay away from language classes. There is yet another dimension to the rationale for subject-specific EAP courses at the tertiary level that has direct implications for the motivation and efficient performance of EAP practitioners at institutions of higher education. This is related to the status of what is often referred to as Service English operations in universities and colleges and how these teaching/learning activities are perceived by subject specialists and the institutional powers that be, especially when the language teaching enterprise has typically had to compete for resources- and typically unsuccessfully- against other interest groups which usually have more campus prestige and power (Swales, 1990: 2). To the best of my knowledge, in most tertiary institutions, EAP specialists, including those with Masters and PhD degrees in their field, are categorised as language teachers or tutors, which means that they do not enjoy the remunerations schemes and perks that are extended to the tenures of similarly qualified professionals in the more academic fields such as education, economics, agriculture, science, etc. As Hyland and Hamp-Lyons (2002) note in their editorial of the inaugural issue of the English for Academic Purposes journal, most EAP practitioners are non-native speakers of English who engage in theory and practice in EAP as a field in its own right and whose needs have to be addressed:
This groups needs are beginning to be noticed and analyzed; training for academic staff in teaching through English and conducting research through English; specific support to academics in preparing their work for publication in Englishinitiatives to provide specific help are emerging (references). At the same time, research into the English language behaviours and patterns of nonnative academics is beginning to appear (reference). (p. 2)


Addressing the language needs of students as well as academic needs of EAP professional may help dispel another more fundamental misconception about the field and the status of its theory and practice. This is because subject specialists in other specific fields of scientific inquiry have often criticised what they perceive as the introduction of English Language Proficiency, General English or Remedial English courses, questioning, as it were, the need for the university to do what should have been done at primary and secondary school level (Abdullah, 1992), that the teaching of English even at tertiary level appears to be nothing more than remedial. Indeed, there may be isolated cases and contexts where courses that are actually labelled as such, but most courses are based on needs assessment and pragmatic concerns to help students achieve their academic goals:
Considerable commitment is also needed to sustain attempts to enlist the support of senior academics and administrators for EAP initiatives, to resist charges that EAP is really only a matter of remedial work (addressing problems that are 'all the fault of the schools'), and to establish the enhancement of students' communicative abilities as a suitable goal in an academic curriculum. (Allison, 1996, p.88)

Hence, the absence of any principled approach to understand the forces which variously shape the language of the academy (Swales, 1990: 2), and to make a case for EAP courses based on that understanding and the associated needs of both EAP students and their teachers, is bound to have a deleterious effect on the viability and efficacy of service operations at the university level.
Considerable commitment is also needed to sustain attempts

1.2 Needs Analysis for EAP Both the notion of learner needs and its associated set of analytical procedures or needs analysis are now well known in ESP (English for Specific Purposes) at large. Both notion and procedure have gained much prominence in recent years within the rather prolific ESP learning/teaching enterprise. In drawing upon three major domains of knowledge, i.e. language, pedagogy and the learners area of specialized interest, needs analysis has become almost synonymous with the discipline of professional practice in question. As Dudley-Evans and St John (1998) have recently observed, needs analysis is the corner stone of ESP [as] it leads to a very focused course (p. 122), and this appears to be particularly so in arguably the larger ESP strand of EAP (English for Academic Purposes) in which much pioneering work has been conducted (the other strand being English for Occupational Purposes or simply, EOP). While most practitioners would seem to have an intuitive sense of what learners really need so as to acquire the target communicative competencies in the English language with respect to given contexts of use (especially where no clear objectives are present nor readily available), the pragmatic considerations which make ESP/EAP work would seem to dictate a principled approach to course design, methodology and materials production. Approaches to needs analysis and course design in EAP, however, produce anything but sets of cut and dry procedures that readily guarantee cost-effective solutions to learners communicative needs. This is because the pragmatist principles (Allison, 1995; 1996; 1998) that underlie the approach 3

Assessing EAP Needs for the University and subsequent techniques of EAP needs assessment, and indeed the whole ESP enterprise, as it were, have to be tenable vis--vis educational, ideological and political issues inherent in the target situation and their impact on the overall process of learning and teaching. These issues are usually encapsulated in the language policy and planning initiatives particular to the situation (see Tollefson, 1991; Pennycook, 1997), how these are implemented by the governing state and what learning outcomes may be expected (see Benesch, 1996; 2001 and Allison 1996; 1998 for a critical review of the issues). While many of these issues are often resolved to a large extent in top-down fashion by policy makers and planners in so far as the mainly school-based General English scenario is concerned, EAP needs analysts and course designers would appear to have some leeway to determine what needs to be taught/learnt in the language, how much of it, and to what level of competence on the basis of the data that they are able to collect and collate to inform syllabus and course design. The specifications of the course and curriculum must meet the learners (and their sponsors) actual requirements as well as those of the teaching institution. Hutchinson and Waters (1987) write succinctly about this quintessential feature of ESP practice as it stands in contrast with GE (General English):
[I]f we had to state in practical terms the irreducible minimum of an ESP approach to course design, it would be needs analysis, since it is the awareness of a target situation a definable need to communicate in English that distinguishes the ESP learner from the learner of General English (p.54; Emphasis added).

Hence, whether or not one takes a critical stance in the matter, the anarchy of expectations (Drobnic, 1978, in Bloor and Bloor, 1988: 65) that are often perceived as ambiguity in language learner needs may not be bad after all. I think ESP/EAP thrives because this ambiguity provides the practitioner with the pedagogic space to specify teaching/learning objectives on the basis of the externally motivated specific purpose(s) of a given academic course or programme and the disciplinary rationale for language use that necessitates the course in the first place. Needless to say, in EAP as in any other educational context, needs analysis is fundamentally about choosing the right questions and interpreting the answers professionally to draft or formulate a learning plan, curriculum, syllabus or course of instruction for a pre-specified group of language learners (see Richterich, 1983). EAP practitioners are often expected to be able to design, and often teach, courses for learners with specific academic needs relevant to their course of study (e.g. as university undergraduates or post-graduate students of biotechnology or agriculture) or their academic discipline of practice (e.g. medical practitioners/researchers, legal aid providers/counsellors, engineering consultants, etc.). So, it is not difficult to see why many EAP practitioners and theorists regard needs analysis as criterial to their area of practice (Robinson, 1991) (although needs analysis is also very relevant to General English course design, perhaps particularly in adult education, and has implications for learner training and the development of learner autonomy). With ESP established as the best-known English language offshoot of the Languages for Specific Purposes (LSP) movement mainly in European multilingual contexts, EAP is often defined simply as the learning/teaching of the language for study purposes (or educational purposes in some wider contexts of application). This is because in recent years EAP has emerged from the larger field of ESP as the academic home of scholars who do not research in or teach other SPs, but whose focus is 4

Introduction wholly on academic contexts (Hyland and Hamp-Lyons, 2002: 3). EAP practitioners (as these researchers and teachers are now known because of the multifarious roles they play, particularly in academia) draw on a broad range of interdisciplinary influences for their research methods, theories and practices as they seek to address the English language needs of learners at all ages and proficiency levels in a variety of educational contexts even if EAP has traditionally been located within universities. As tertiary-level instructors, E(S)AP practitioners attempt to enlighten and train their students to make contextually-relevant sense of the structure and meanings of academic texts, and to appreciate how these texts set up expectations of and make demands on communicative behaviours. They provide such insights and facilitate practice on the part of their students via appropriate pedagogic practices of their own (Hyland and Hamp-Lyons, 2002: ibid). Dudley-Evans and St. John (1998: 34) outline four types of EAP situation at the tertiary level: 1) An English-speaking country, such as UK or USA; 2) An ESL situation, such as in former British colonies in Africa or in South East Asia; 3) A situation where certain subjects are taught in English, the rest being in the national language; and 4) A situation in which all subjects are taught in the national language and English plays an ancillary role. Malaysian EAP situations would generally seem to fall within type (3) i.e. as far as most university contexts in the country are concerned. However, Dudley-Evans and St. John (1998: 39) also point to the extremely sensitive issue of the difference between formal and informal orders of operation vis--vis how English is really used in a given situation, hence underscoring the utility of needs analysis as an essential set of procedures to establish as closely as possible the perceived and realpolitik EAP learning needs of target groups of learners in any of the situations mentioned above.

1.3 EAP Needs Classification and Genre-based Framework A relatively large number of articles and books have been written about the theoretical bases, methodology and practice of needs analysis. For example, Robinsons (1991) practitioners guide to ESP cites 43 such publications and Wests (1994) survey of needs analysis in language teaching refers to over 200 of them. Many writers and practitioners use the terms needs analysis in different ways to refer to a range of perceptions of need and a range of approaches to analysis. These perceptions and approaches reflect what Berwick (1989) has called the conceptual baggage of teachers and course planners, that is, their conscious, and unconscious, beliefs about the nature of language, learning and teaching which translate eventually into positions about learners needs, needs assessment processes and course design. However, for the practical purposes of developing programmes or even a single course, a precise definition of the language learners needs may not be necessary, particularly given the fact that needs analysis is not a one-off stage of activity and that it is closely related to the other ongoing key stages in ESP such as course/syllabus design, materials selection/production, teaching and learning (methodology), and evaluation (Dudley-Evans and St John, 1998, p. 121). A working classification that appears to enjoy currency amongst needs analysts is types of need, that is, a) goal-oriented needs, and b) process-oriented needs (see Brindley, 1989, p. 63; Robinson, 5

Assessing EAP Needs for the University 1991, p.7). Since the former type of need is generally aligned with the requirements of the learners target situation and the latter with those of the learners themselves, needs analysis procedures have now been further classified into three analytical categories in the current literature as follows (see e.g. Dudley-Evans and St. John, 1998): a) TSA (Target Situation Analysis) comprising analyses of key genres or text-types and related elements of language (register), skills and strategies required for the learner to function effectively in the target discipline; b) PSA (Present Situation Analysis) made up of assessments of the learners level of language proficiency and related strengths and weaknesses as well as provisions and/or constraints inherent in the learning situation; and c) LSA (Learning Situation Analysis) that examines attitudinal and motivational factors, learner preferences, styles and strategies, expectations and desires. For reasons of focus and perhaps ease of reference, Hutchinson and Waters (1987) roughly gloss these corresponding categories of the ESP/EAP learners needs as necessities, lacks and wants, respectively. As in the case of learner needs above, the use of the concept of genre to refer to non-literary text of a situated nature has not been without its controversies (Hyland, 2008, p. 26). For example, genre has been viewed as typified rhetorical forms of social action (Miller, 1984), regularised staged, goaloriented social processes (Martin, Rothery and Christie, 1987), and shared sets of communicative purposes (Swales, 1990). Based on these orientations, Hyon (1996) identifies three perspectives on genre and genre-based pedagogy that are influenced by the (North American) New Rhetoric, (Australian) Systemic Functional Linguistics and English for Specific Purposes movements, respectively (see Chapter 3 for a detailed account of these orientations and applications). For the present purpose of adopting an applied view of genre and genre analysis for use within an EAP, however, the following postulation of discourse as genre and its analysis by Bhatia (2004) would be apt:
[It] extends the analysis of the textual product to incorporate context in a broader sense to account for not only the way text is constructed, but also for the way it is often interpreted, used and exploited in specific institutional or more narrowly professional contexts to achieve specific disciplinary goals. The nature of questions addressed in this kind of analysis may often include not only the linguistic but also the socio-cognitive and the ethnographic. This kind of grounded analysis of the textual output is very typical of any framework within genre-based theory Genres often operate in what might be viewed as tactical space that allows established members of discourse communities to exploit generic resources to respond to recurring or often novel situational contexts. (p. 20)

Indeed, as I have attempted to show in this book, this explication of genre and its associated constructs of discourse community and learning task (Swales (1990) lend themselves well to the eclectic pragmatist framework adopted for EAP programme development, particularly when dealing with research genres and their use. The pervasive influence of this framework has been noted by Swales (2004):
[T]here has been a continuing and accelerating interest in centralizing the concept of genre in specialized language teaching and in the development of professional communication tools. I know of a dozen relevant books published between 1993 and 2002 that have the work genre in their title, and there are others of at least equal relevance with other titles, such as Johns Text, Role and Context (1997), Dudley-Evans and St Johns Development in English for Specific Purposes (1998), and Hylands Disciplinary Discourses (2000). Genre-based approaches to academic writing have

infiltrated the textbook field, starting with Weissberg and Bukers Writing Up Research (1990) and including two with which I have been associated (Swales & Feak, 1994; Swales & Feak, 2000). (p. 1)

Besides use in book publications, the genre-based approach Swales (2004) has also been employed internationally in many theses and dissertations, not to mention in the numerous research findings published in books and journals to the extent that the textual traffic around the plaza where genre, disciplinary community and task-based materials run into each other has become increasingly heavy in recent years (ibid: 1-2; emphasis in original). Having said that, I now proceed to the purpose of the book and the outline of its contents.

1.4 Outline of the Book This book addresses the EAP needs analysis problematic by first considering related issues with a broad theoretical perspective on academic reading, genre theory and genre-based framework to explicate the term learner needs in the field before I present an account of the related set of assessment procedures in tandem with some of the constraints that impinge on course design. Next, to illustrate how the essential aspects of needs and needs analysis play out in practice, I discuss salient features of an ESAP needs analysis project that I conducted with Malaysian TESOL teachers studying in the UK to construct the students generalised academic reading needs profile. Finally, I suggest implications for the undertaking of similar projects and the possible resolution of some of the issues at hand. Subsequent to this introductory chapter that has been necessary in writing up the research for the present publication, Chapter 2 delineates various aspects of the research problem and presents a proposed model for the analysis of the EAP learners specialised academic reading needs (I hope the reader notes that this model in generally consistent with current thinking in the field in that the Present Situation Analysis [PSA] component in my model has now been divided into PSA and LSA [Learning Situation Analysis] to afford greater focus on learner-centred needs.). Chapter 3 deals extensively with genre theory and genre-based pedagogy in three clearly distinguishable traditions of scholarship, providing at the end a comparative summary of the issues. Chapter 4 seeks to frame the readers focus on similar concerns specifically related to EAP programme design within a task-based language learning/teaching context. The points of convergence in the literature are then further extended to address issues specific to the reading of research genres, particularly the research article abstract and the introduction, and to explicate some pedagogical perspectives evidenced via related studies in the literature. A critical review of issues in ESP, and particularly concerning ESP/EAP needs analysis is then attempted to address pragmatic concerns relating to conducting target as well as present situation analyses to inform a genre-based approach to EAP reading programme design. Chapter 5 makes an attempt to address the more fundamental issues relating to ESL reading research that were left open in the preceding chapter. These issues relate to psycholinguistic approaches, schema-theoretic models, and interactive approaches to reading in ESL/EFL. Limitations 7

Assessing EAP Needs for the University of related research as well as training studies are considered from a genre-specific perspective before a set of guidelines for reading curriculum design is explored. Chapter 6 describes aspects of the methodological design of the case study. This includes, besides the necessary explication of the overall research design and sampling issues, descriptions of a variety of data collection methods including a quasi-experimental study involving genre-text processing tasks, and data analysis procedures. Chapters 7 and 8 present the results of the study and a discussion of the various sets of findings procured via the diverse methodological procedures, first in isolation and then in synoptic fashion to arrive at a generalised needs profile that can inform academic reading programme design and the related concerns of task-based methodology. The final chapter, Chapter 9, sums up the dissertation by drawing conclusions from the main findings in the light of the proposed genre needs-based model for discipline-specific EAP reading instruction. It then considers wider implications of the study for curriculum issues in subject-specific EAP with a view towards mitigating to some extent the tension in the field between genre-based approaches and other apparently competing viewpoints. Suggestions for further research are also discussed.

2 Researching Academic ESL Reading Needs

2.1 Reading Primacy and EAP Materials Reading as a much needed academic skill has generally gained momentum within the EAP strand of ESP (Wallace, C., 1992: 65; Robinson, 1991: 102). The need has been created by the increase in the number of students in secondary and especially tertiary education where students are expected to extend their knowledge independently of their lecturers and tutors by reading materials written in English. This the students have to do not only extensively and critically, but also relatively quickly in order to process salient information that they will need to use for a variety of academic tasks, the chief ones being expressing informed viewpoints both in oral settings and in written papers. Given the fact that English is the dominant language of international communication and academia, Grabe (1986) presents a number of cogent arguments to emphasise that reading in English is a (or perhaps the) critical skill needed by second language students to achieve academic success (p. 25). His main contention for this is that extensive reading facilitates the development of what he calls a critical mass of knowledge which would lead to both an independent reading ability and much improved performance in the other traditional language skills, notably perhaps in the area of writing (Eisterhold, 1990: 88-101). In Grabes view (1986) the critical mass that an efficient second language reader possesses consists of three strands of knowledge: linguistic knowledge, background knowledge assumptions, and relevant formal and content schemata. The linguistic knowledge that good readers possess enables them to process syntactic patterns and vocabulary automatically in tandem with the other two strands of knowledge to form the critical mass. Background knowledge assumptions constitute the necessary information base that allows the reader to make often non-obvious associations between apparently independent areas of knowledge that he has in his mental store. Such assumptions are said to be derived largely from prior reading of texts, and are consequently believed to facilitate speculative thinking. Viewed in their totality, background knowledge assumptions appear to make for creative and discovery-based thinking, abilities crucial for efficient processing of textual information. Schemata (originally introduced by Bartlett [1932], and developed in other studies, e.g. Rumelhart, 1980, and Carrell, 1987) refer to the mental store of expectations and prior knowledge internalised via past real-life and verbal experiences which enable us to interpret and make sense of the world around us. Existing schemata are known to expand and change to absorb new information that we are exposed to, and acquire. Carrell (1987) distinguishes between content schemata, and formal or rhetorical schemata which relate to the structural patterns and organisation of texts. Such formal schemata are acquired through our previous experience and knowledge of texts read earlier. For example, our pre-existing schemata of narratives, internalised via prior exposure to stories heard or read, enable us to recognise a particular text as a narrative. According to Grabe (1986), second language readers who have acquired sufficient control over the three strands of knowledge mentioned above are in possession of the critical mass of knowledge 9

Assessing EAP Needs for the University necessary for efficient ESL reading, thereby being able to read in ways similar to successful students in their own language (p. 36). In other words, the ESL reader who has acquired the critical mass is deemed to have attained a level of reading competence at which s/he stops learning to read and only reads to learn (ibid.). Given that good reading abilities are of obvious importance in tertiary ESL/EFL situations, one cannot but view with concern the apparent inadequacy and/or inappropriacy of related instruction that the learner receives at earlier levels of education (Johns, T., 1994: 102). This is because the average university entrant is more often than not minimally equipped, to say the least, to come to grips with the rigours of reading for a degree (Cooper, 1984; Chitravelu, 1980). The observed deficiency in comprehending ability might be attributed to the use of the ubiquitous reading passage as dependent exemplification of language usage or as independent comprehension pieces of inauthentic language use (Widdowson, 1978: 77-9). The first of these two categories of reading comprehension passage/instruction can be related to what Johns, T. and Davies (1983) refer to as TALO (Text As Linguistic Object), i.e., a given textual extract is exploited as an object of study, its principal purpose being to exemplify the syntactic structures of the target language, and to be a source for the quarrying of new vocabulary (pp. 2-3; original italics). The second has been equally popular in reading comprehension lessons in that students are required to read a given passage or extract so as to answer a list of questions purported to assess their general understanding of the gist regardless of the communicative purpose for which the piece of text had been originally written. In other words, answering comprehension questions about a given text or extract in a general way is not going to help the student focus on the essential aspects of the text as a medium of communication. In either instance of typical reading comprehension instruction at school level mentioned above, it is questionable whether the learner has been gainfully engaged in the negotiation of meaning from written texts. More importantly for the tertiary ESL learner who needs to transfer skills acquired in the language course to the academic milieu, it is highly contentious whether the types of texts he reads in/for the language class will serve his cause in any useful way. The problem becomes potentially more serious for ill-equipped readers who have to deal with highly specialised texts as reports of empirical research that reflect conventional thought particular to the readers field of specialisation. Steps to address the EAP reading problem at university level have ranged from using authentic texts for comprehension practice alongside conventional reading textbooks (Higgins, 1967: 33) to more sophisticated general EAP (non-subject-specific) or common core approaches with explicit focus on reading, notably the Reading and Thinking in English (RTE), and the Skills for Learning series. Moore, J. (1977, in Swales 1988: 157) captures the essence of the RTE approach to EAP materials as follows:
We have attempted to make texts and exercises interesting and relevant by choosing interdisciplinary topics or themes of general academic interest and to include study skills useful in a variety of disciplines. The criteria for the selection of texts has (sic) not been topic but style (the way a text is structured to reflect the methodology of academic disciplines), exemplificatory adequacy and exploitability.

Skills for Learning, however, adopts a more cautious attitude to the generality vs. specificity issue: 10

Researching Academic ESL Reading Needs

It was argued that reading skills are not language-specific but universal and that there is a core of language (for example, certain structures of argument and forms of presentation) which can be identified as academic and which is not subject-specific. Therefore a course which comprises a common core strand with a subject-specific complementary strand to fit the special demands of each discipline is more economical and cost- effective in terms of time spent in preparing teaching materials than the usual ESP materials which duplicate the core material with text content specific to each discipline (Chitravelu 1980: vi).

Arguments in favour of a common core approach to EAP instruction and materials at tertiary level are indeed strong. In addition to those tendered above, the common core approach helps to circumvent the problem of EAP teachers having to deal with learning material that they cannot wholly comprehend and which often turn out to be demotivating to the students themselves (Dudley-Evans, 1988: 29). Moreover, the fact that major ESP/EAP textbook production efforts as A Course in Basic Scientific English (Ewer and Latorre, 1967), the Nucleus series (Bates and Dudley Evans, 1976), Reading and Thinking in English series (Moore et al, 1980), and the Skills for Learning series (1980) have been developed via large projects in EAP settings in developing countries can only strengthen their cause. Nevertheless, the more striking fact remains that subject specific work/materials are needed to supplement common core ones on the basis that:



While research has undoubtedly revealed the existence of a common-core, particularly in the area of study skills, more research is needed to establish what can be justifiably included in the core, and what should be left to more subject specific work... [and] Where students are given no guidance as to the relevance of common-core material to specific tasks they have to carry out in English, they may fail to make the necessary transfer (Dudley-Evans, 1988 :30).

Be that as it may, there is again the question of the effect of (specialised) academic background knowledge on reading comprehension (Alderson and Urquhart, 1985: 168-82), that it is highly probable that the processing of specialised texts is discipline-specific. In sum, then, the realpolitik world of students academic needs would dictate that while the common core approach to materials might be sustainable at pre-EAP levels or at best at the very early stages of tertiary education, instructional methods for reading to learn in a given field of knowledge must necessarily be based on subject-specific features of text and discourse conventions germane to theory and practice in the field (cf. Jordans [1997] dichotomisation of EAP into EGAP [English for General Academic Purposes] and ESAP (English for Specific Academic Purposes] to realistically reflect basic study skills/strategies and their practice e.g., Wallace, M. J. [1980], and related higher order abilities concerning academic discourse styles and subject-specific language respectively). Consequently, the value of focused instruction in the use of conscious knowledge of generic/discourse structure for reading specialised texts as the research article cannot be over stressed, especially in social science fields such as TESOL in which journal articles generally tend to have longer and more complex introductions (Crookes, 1986: 67) compared to those in the hard sciences and related applied sciences (Swales, 1981) that reflect greater codification of content.


Assessing EAP Needs for the University

2.2 Academic Reading Needs: Major Research Issues It is widely acknowledged that reading in English has emerged prominently as the most needed language skill in academic ESL environments. Students, especially at the tertiary level, are expected to extend their knowledge independently of their lecturers and tutors. The importance of reading at tertiary level and its effect on the acquisition of and performance in other language skills has already been noted with reference to Grabes (1986) critical mass hypothesis. The vast majority of students entering university already have some reading abilities and strategies in their L1, but these appear to be largely ineffectual when they attempt to read in English. Cooper (1984), in a study at the University of Malaya, concludes that in the main unpractised readers differ from practised readers in their apparent lack of ability to use text-based linguistic clues in the larger context to determine meaning, and that the higher one goes up the ladder of grammar and discourse, the wider the comprehension gap between practised and unpractised readers becomes (pp. 133-4). Cooper distinguishes between the two categories of Malaysian readers on the basis of medium of instruction at school, practised readers having had the benefit of a large part of their education through English (ibid.: 122). This basis might not be entirely valid for the sample of TESOL teachers/trainees in the present study, but the distinction is a useful one to dichotomise efficient and inefficient text processing strategies and/or styles amongst a naturally occurring sample of readers. One way of ameliorating the problem of the unpractised reader might be by giving him insight into his existing strategies and by further refining them via exposure to the ideas of other students (Glendinning, 1992: 3). However, as far as specialised scientific texts are concerned, it is probably equally important, if not more so, to initiate the reader into the genre-specific conventions vis--vis the rhetorical features and linguistic elements of written genres that enjoy currency within the target discourse community (as defined by Swales, 1990). Accordingly, we cannot emphasise enough the need for a focused, genre-based approach to teaching reading comprehension of specialised texts like textbooks, and especially journal abstracts and research/review articles which play specific communicative roles within a given discipline. Many undergraduates claim to be able to comprehend the specialised texts they have to read within their discipline in order to extract the information they require for their work. However, as Hewings and Henderson (1987) have pointed out in the case of economics students difficulties in processing bank review articles, the reading of specialised journal articles can be seen as demanding the creation of new sets of schemata overlapping with those needed for textbooks, but generally of a more elaborate and evaluative nature (p. 173). This is a view which teachers of undergraduate EAP reading classes will no doubt endorse. The fact that a good number of students encounter problems in using appropriate schemata to recognise the top-level structure of a given genre, say, a research article, so that predictions about its content could be made would appear to point to some kind of ingrained strategic processing difficulty and/or deficiency. For example, Meyer and Rice (1982) report on the use of the structure strategy on the part of good comprehenders to seek and use the top-level structure in a particular text as an organisational framework to guide encoding and retrieval (p. 182) while poor readers resort to a default list strategy by which the reader merely tries to remember bits and pieces 12

Researching Academic ESL Reading Needs of often unrelated information. Wallace, M. J. (1988: 80) replicated Meyer and Rices procedure with a group of Malaysian TESOL undergraduates studying in the UK to discover similar differential ability in predicting content on the basis of structure awareness and use. Thus it can be said that while the more proficient comprehenders seek to achieve a deeper understanding of the meaning of a particular text via information structure, for the less proficient reading very often manifests itself as some kind of myopic problem (Matthews, 1989) of missing the wood for the trees. An area of learner involvement very closely related to reader-text interaction would be the question of learning styles and/or strategies employed by students in higher education which has generated a tremendous amount of interest among researchers pioneered by, inter alia, Entwistle, N. and others at Lancaster, and Marton, F. and others at Gothenburg (Wallace, M. J., 1991: 20). Regardless of whether we look at them as learning styles, learning strategies or as approaches to studying, the potentially diverse ways in which tertiary students approach a particular academic task will almost certainly influence the outcomes of the learning process (Dahlgren, L., 1984: 19-26) in our case, the comprehending of specialised genre-texts. In other words, are certain students relatively more inclined towards the acquisition of knowledge in predominantly quantitative terms (how much is learned) by, say, methods of rote-memorisation, or are they predisposed to studying in qualitative terms (what is learned) via deep understanding of content and subsequent reflection? Similarly, taking the cue from Martons original experiment (1974) with students reading research articles (Marton and Salj, 1984: 37-44), how are students depth of understanding of a text or levels of processing related to learning outcomes? Finally, on a more general level, how do students metacognitively conceive the reading process, problems in reading for academic purposes, and the strategies they use and their effectiveness? Needless to say, if we are to help students read and reflect more efficiently to develop insights and to solve problems related to academia and/or their profession, then answers to questions like those posed above need to be found, preferably both in experimental as well as in naturalistic settings (Entwistle, 1984: 17) so that they can be made aware of their own strategies and be exposed further to a repertoire of potentially useful learning/text-processing strategies (Wallace, M. J., 1991: 25-7; also see Glendinning, 1992: 3) to arrive at a variety of learning outcomes commensurate with reading purpose. Undergraduates of TESOL/TESL/TEFL like any other definable group of tertiary level students embarking on a new career or enhancing their expertise within an existing one, often need to read, besides textbooks and notes given to them by their lecturers, more specialised material such as journal articles, proceedings of seminars and reviews and reports of research. As neophytes in a multidisciplinary field, the population of undergraduates in question might not be expected to undertake full-fledged empirical research, but they would still perceive a need to read specialised texts as research articles if only to keep themselves informed of developments in their field, and to use this received knowledge to reflect to some extent on their professional practice with a view to develop insights (Wallace, M. J., 1991: 12-3) and/or to pursue likely solutions to problems. Some pressing questions about this rather specialised academic need (but acquirable related competence) would include the following: What genres are perceived to be important in the students field of specialisation? To what extent are students aware of the rhetorical structure of these essential genre13

Assessing EAP Needs for the University texts? How does this rhetorical consciousness (or the lack of it) affect their recall and/or comprehension of the types of texts in question? How might self-awareness of their existing textprocessing strategies and/or styles of learning be harnessed towards a better understanding of genre, and subsequently, a deeper appreciation of the purpose and the role of the texts within their academic/professional discourse community? There can be no doubt that responses to such questions would figure significantly in the design of any academic reading programme. All said, the task of addressing the genre-based language needs and the strategic text-processing needs of the EAP learner is necessarily complex and arduous, but one that has to be attempted regardless if the course designer is to provide pedagogically viable solutions equal to the challenge. In its entirety, the enterprise would involve, in the first instance, the investigation of target genres and their communicative roles within the discourse community, and reader variables as well as reader-text interaction variables so as to arrive at an EAP needs profile. This profile would in turn serve as the basis for making decisions about course and/or materials design. It is acknowledged that such an undertaking would be beyond the scope of a largely synchronic, one-off investigation, which the present study is in many ways. However, in view of the paucity of such studies in TESOL, indeed in EAP as far as a genre-based approach to reading is concerned, the proposed study hopes to bring about greater clarity in the field of discipline-related undergraduate academic needs by establishing certain essential population parameters through surveys as well as providing some in-depth understanding about how an institutional sample of students process texts strategically in selected research genres. Accordingly, the theoretical framework as well as the related rationale underpinning collection of the necessary data are explicated in greater detail in the next two sub-sections of the chapter.

2.3 Theoretical Framework This section outlines a broad perspective of the theoretical assumptions that constitute the backdrop against which the whole study concerning the academic reading needs of Malaysian TESOL students is placed. For more detailed support for these assumptions, the readers attention is directed to relevant sections of the literature review in the next chapter that accounts for both research evidence and theoretical positions in specific areas related to the present investigation. Global/constructivist approaches to the process of reading in ESL with reference to academic/professional contexts can be theorised as being based on a set of premises that are predominantly top-down in their orientation. These are presented below in a manner of increasing focus to address the concerns of the present investigation: 1) Reading comprehension is a unitary process in which the reader employs a constructivist framework to arrive at specific sets of meanings taking into account both textual and contextual constraints (cf. Ollers [1982] Unitary Competence Hypothesis, and General Expectancy Grammar). Traditionally, the act of reading has been viewed as being composed of a multitude of enabling sub-skills (Weir, 1988: 78); however, in the light of more recent research evidence and 14

Researching Academic ESL Reading Needs thinking in the field (Alderson, 1988; Alderson and Lukmani, 1989; Wallace, C., 1992), it might be more useful to postulate that the reader, in his efforts to construct an optimal interpretation of the writers message, uses specific purpose-related strategies rather than the so-called sub-skills of reading. A constructivist approach to discourse comprehension, in other words, would necessarily be top-down in orientation and be knowledge-based, especially in tertiary-level training situations where the comprehender has at his disposal a wealth of conceptual as well as experiential knowledge of the world and of his discipline, profession, discourse community, and the genres that enjoy currency within his field of specialisation.. However, in terms of strategy use and the purpose for reading a particular text, the process of reading may be viewed as an interactive one. For example, a reader may begin his reading of a particular text using a top-down processing mode, but factors related to the text like content complexity, familiarity etc., and/or those related to processing resources as linguistic competence, schema availability etc. might force him to switch to the bottom-up mode as the particular situation might warrant. 2) Language competence appears to be crucial to the comprehension of texts and/or genres, but only up to a point in a reading-to-learn EAP context where reading purpose, which motivates the reading task (Grabe, 1991) while being external to the text, is a central concern. Readers within this context engage in reading in order to access information relevant to their needs, and the task would admittedly be a difficult one for the average ESL reader considering the complexity of linguistic as well as the non-linguistic knowledge systems that s/he must utilise to make sense of written text. However, it can be argued that the apparently linguistically deficient reader in the tertiary EAP context may actually be less accomplished in the simultaneous application of these knowledge systems/processes which represent a compensating web of assets interacting and compensating one another (Stanovich, 1980). A focus on purpose and comprehension of content appears to allow the reader to acquire unfamiliar vocabulary and syntax as he attempts to comprehend text (Hudson, 1991: 82-3). It follows that the ESL reader with limited linguistic competence would potentially be able to compensate for the deficiency with the strategic use of his background knowledge of the content of his discipline, procedural knowledge, and other extra linguistic schemata to satisfy his purpose/goal for reading. 3) Text comprehension does not and cannot occur in a vacuum. A reader is almost always armed with some kind of purpose before he even attempts to comprehend a text. This would be especially so in the academic context where the reader is inclined to read selectively and strategically to satisfy his purpose(s), e.g. looking for specific items of information that he needs to support his own viewpoint, surveying the general thought in the field in relation to an issue, etc. Put another way, the readers schemata and his reading purpose appear to be intricately related to the extent that each influences the other within the context of a given academic reading task (cf. Bazermans [1985] postulation of schema-laden purpose and purpose-laden schema). 15

Assessing EAP Needs for the University 4) A persons knowledge of the world, and in a general way, his schematic knowledge of text and context has been theorised to comprise both formal and content schemata (Carrell, 1984, 1987). However, in a genre-based approach to discourse comprehension it might not always be easy to partial out the effects of either type of schemata as both seem to coalesce during the act of comprehension. Stated differently, in a given genre-text what is sayable blends with when and how it is sayable (Swales, 1990: 88; original emphasis). This is because a proficient reader always approaches the task of reading or a particular reading situation with some kind of expectation of the genre in relation to its formal structure and its content i.e., its communicative purpose. This happens even before he begins to read (Nystrand, 1987, in Swales, op. cit.: 89; Wallace, C., 1992), and what he expects to read would be a manifestation of his previously internalised schema comprising both the formal/structural features of the soon to-be-read text as well as its intricately related propositional content. As he initially attempts to identify the particular genre using his knowledge of formal schemata, it is the environment/context that sets up the stronger expectation and prepares him for the content and purpose of the genre as a whole. While the distinction between form and content might be an important and a more manageable one in cognitive psychology, it appears to be a less useful orientation in terms of a pedagogic approach to discourse comprehension based on the concept of genre which considers textual form within its communicative context. An integrated model of genre comprehension postulates procedural routines that mediate between text structure and content to engender the comprehension as well as acquisition of a variety of genres within a given setting where these communicative events operate (see Swales [1990] conceptualisation of these processes in section 3.3.2 below). 5) Schemata are packets of knowledge about the world. They are structured in such a way that they have slots with default values. In the case of knowledge of prior texts and genres, the default values enable the reader of new texts to make elaborative inferences about information or arguments that are implied thus arriving at a cogent interpretation of the writers argument or position (Rumelhart, 1980: 34-7). Schemata appear to be constantly modified from text to text and from situation to situation and even within the course of reading a particular text or during the particular experience of a given situation. A proficient reader would have internalised and/or constructed for himself a critical mass (Grabe, 1986) of the various types of schemata namely, linguistic, formal, and content schemata, via his experiences with prior texts and genres within their respective discourse settings. How the different types of schemata are actually stored in the persons long term memory might be a moot point, but it appears that a particular schema is instantiated in a given situation, mediated by reading purpose, via familiarity with the situation and through recognition of cues and signals like foreknowledge of the genre concerned, the title of the genre-text and its internal cognitive structure, and the linguistic elements that introduce or signal particular communicative moves. 6) Efficient readers of academic texts who have internalised their schematic structure and/or their generic conventions would be able to use their knowledge of the top-level structure to monitor 16

Researching Academic ESL Reading Needs comprehension and, if necessary, to structure their recall of the main points and relevant supporting ideas. Poor readers who have no access to such knowledge tend to process texts more superficially regardless of how these may be structured; as a result, such readers would not be able to distinguish between main ideas and supporting ones to the detriment of their comprehension of the text as a whole. This surface type of processing and/or preoccupation with details probably results in an attempt to grab as much as might be possible from the text during the act of reading. Recall of main ideas and supporting details thus tends to be less or non-structured in addition to poor comprehension of the writers argument(s) (see Meyer et al., 1980; Meyer and Rice, 1982). 7) Novice readers in a particular academic context have to be initiated into their academic discourse community if they are to recognise and interpret the roles of genres that serve as a means of communication within the discipline. They have to be trained to think in particular ways taking into account knowledge of the conceptual structure of the target discipline, of generic conventions relating to discourse structure and use, and institutional culture. It might be argued that undergraduates who gain admission to academic institutions providing training in TESOL have already acquired the necessary threshold linguistic competence. However, some of the important questions that need to be asked are: To what extent are they aware of the rationale and the discourse structure of the genres that enjoy currency within their field? If indeed they are, how do they use this knowledge for purposes of communication in the discipline? How can EAP programmes best help the newly-initiated learners acquire such knowledge, and more importantly, put it to good use in their mainstream subject courses? 8) The issue of linguistic competence and content-based background knowledge notwithstanding, a genre-based approach to reading in a specialist discipline, and by extension, related training in the other language skills, would be necessary for both native and non-native speakers of the dominant language of communication within the discipline. Besides acquiring at least a working knowledge of the generic conventions as well as the attendant grammatical and lexical dependencies, neophytes will also need to grasp the conceptual structure of the discipline, more specifically the methodology for addressing issues and solving problems, in order to appreciate the rationale for the various genres that mediate in much field-specific communication. This suprageneric structure serves to function as a cognitive model for the discipline, and also to constrain the linguistic features that identify a particular genre. For example, Love (1991) postulates a product-process disciplinary model for geology, and Bloor and Makaya (1990) propose a forecasting schema comprising reporting-predicting episodes. Similarly, a problem-solution schematic structure can be proposed for understanding research in TESOL (see Edge, 1985) within an overarching, discipline-specific reflective practice model to address the professional practitioners essential need to reflect on practice on the basis of received as well as of experiential knowledge (Wallace, M. J., 1991) to strive to effect change in the desired direction i.e., to solve problems. The rhetorical scheme of situation-problem-solution-evaluation proposed by Hoey (1983) would be useful to characterise the whole of the research article in TESOL (Thomas, 1994) in that the 17

Assessing EAP Needs for the University article introduction deals with situation-problem, the methodology section with the proposed solution, and the discussion and conclusion sections with the evaluation of the response to the problem. 9) Each genre in a given field of academic/professional practice is a successful achievement of a specific communicative purpose using conventional knowledge of linguistic and discoursal resources (Bhatia, 1993: 16). This means that successful academic and/or professional writers submit to and work within the conventional orthodoxy of their discipline to communicate their ideas to other members of the discourse community. They do this by exploiting genre constraints effectively and in an original manner, keeping, at the same time, within a broad range of genre rules and conventions. It should be pointed out that different sets of constraints, rules and/or conventions are effected to produce different genres, even if the various genres might be aimed at structuring the same narrow experience or reality. The purpose of genre analysis, or as Bhatia (1993) notes, applied genre analysis, is twofold: ... first, to characterise typical or conventional features of any genre-specific text in an attempt to identify pedagogically utilizable form-function correlations; and to explain such a characterisation in the context of the sociocultural as well as the cognitive constraints operating in the relevant area of specialisation, whether professional or academic (p. 34). This explication of aims points to the multi-disciplinary nature of genre analysis activity i.e., to contributions from linguistics, sociology, and psychology that help provide a thick description (Geertz, 1973, cited in Bhatia, 1991: 153) of genre as social action (Miller, 1984) by which writers (or speakers) achieve their private academic/professional purpose(s). While the outcomes of the analysis of a particular genre will vary depending on the specific area of interest of the analyst (linguistic, sociological, psychological or combinations thereof), and on the level and/or type of analysis ranging from macro areas as the institutional context to micro elements as grammatical features, the locus of the current investigation will be the structural interpretation of selected genre-texts, namely, the research article abstract and the introduction in as much as the schematic structure highlights the cognitive aspects of language organisation. Of direct relevance here would be the work of Swales (1981, 1990) in relation to the genre schema of communicative moves in research article introductions, and that of Bhatia (1993) in research abstracts. These conceptualisations of top-level/global structure of specialised texts can also be compared to the theory of macrostructure put forth by van Dijk and Kintsch (1983) as they relate to the current paradigm of reading comprehension (Carrell et al, 1988). Accordingly, it is theorised here that readers (should) act strategically, using the various sources of information at their disposal (e.g. knowledge of prior texts and their structures, previous knowledge of content, knowledge of the disciplines conceptual structure, textual signals etc.) so that they can determine the hierarchy of importance in the texts ideas, and thereby build a macrostructural interpretation. This macrostructure would be those propositions in the text that represent the information that summarises the text as a whole or what might be called the main idea(s) and which might be manifest in various forms as word titles, topic sentences, summaries etc. (Carriedo and AlonsoTapia, 1996: 103) depending on the requirements and/or purpose of the reading task. Thus, the macrostructure or main idea(s) could be considered as a summary of the explicit contents of a 18

Researching Academic ESL Reading Needs passage achieved by creating generalised statements that subsume specific information and then deleting that specific (and now redundant) information (Cunningham and Moore, 1986: 6, quoted in ibid.). However, an important and useful distinction will need to be made between genre schema (i.e. the cognitive move-structure of the genre-text), and the readers schema for a particular genre-text if one has been internalised (as postulated in schema theory). The former, in as much as it refers to the regularities of organisation and/or conventions recognised and used by expert members of the related discourse community is essentially a property of the text, dependent upon the communicative purpose of the genre, and variant among different genres (Bhatia, 1993: 32). In this respect, it can be likened to the text/discourse analytic concepts of macrostructure, discourse structure, and rhetorical structure to the extent that it serves as the underlying structure that accounts for the organisation of a text or discourse, and thereby rendering the text coherent (Richards et al, 1992: 323). The readers schema for genres on the other hand would involve his expectations regarding the shape of genre-texts, that is, the nature and sequencing of their component parts, the significance of the selection of certain options and the rejection of others, the exploitation of metatextual devices like subtitles, and so on (Bloor and Makaya, 1990: 64), or as Carrell (1987: 461) has said, ... the knowledge relevant to the formal, rhetorical, organisational structures of the text. The distinction between genre schema and reader schema is argued to be a crucial one in that the extent to which readers are able to mesh their own existing schemata with those of particular texts will determine the extent to which their comprehension of the texts will be successful. 10) An important area of development in cognitive psychology related to the reading of genre-texts would be research into students learning styles. Reading strategies appear to be strongly influenced by particular approaches to studying, whether ingrained through experience or applied selectively for strategic control over study material. However, instead of categorising readers dichotomously as deep processors and surface processors (or for that matter as global readers and local readers), it might be more useful for the purpose of providing them insight into their own strategies to view levels of processing on a continuum with deep and surface processing at the diametrically-opposed ends. The type of processing in a particular instance would then be seen more realistically as being dependent upon contextual variables related to the nature of the task at hand and its requirements, and the influence of the academic institution (e.g. achieving/strategic processing) (see Ramsden and Entwistle, 1981). 11) Training/learning materials in EAP must be focused on authentic texts selected from the discipline, and on a task-based methodology that reflects the use and interpretation of essential genres in real-life situations. The design of such materials would to some extent necessitate a dynamic and critical approach to needs analysis (see e.g. Benesch, 1996), and subsequent specification of learning objectives which take into account a variety of factors relating to both the target situation and the present situation of the target group of learners (Robinson, 1991; Jordan, 19

Assessing EAP Needs for the University 1997). Both the product-oriented as well as the process-oriented features of the intended learning situation must be considered in tandem and geared towards the specification of genre learning tasks. It might be reliably hypothesised that the outcomes of this approach to academic reading would facilitate the comprehension of academic discourse, and the acquisition of related genres, literacy, and language in the long run.

2.4 Data Theory and Rationale for Data Collection The present model (please see Figure 2.1) proposes a broad genre-based framework for data collection vis--vis a sample of TESOL learners learning and language needs which may then be used as the basis of constructing learning tasks within a pedagogical context potentially manifest as an adjunct EAP course in the specialist training programme. In line with established ESP principles, the actual make-up and timing of the course would depend on various constraints specific to each application together with the genre(s) that need to be addressed, and these aspects are briefly explored in the implications of the study (see Chapter 8). Perhaps it would suffice at this stage to establish the overall rationale for the data collection phase of the study by briefly describing the conceptual bases as well as the related components of the model. The procedures listed below hope to procure the necessary types of information about the learners Present Situation as well as about their Target Situation needs. The former type of analysis would involve collecting information about the learners language/reading competence, learning styles. background knowledge, and metacognitive strategies used while the latter would deal with essential insights into the conceptual structure of the discipline the learners are to be initiated into, surveys of essential genres, and investigation of the reading strategies necessary for optimum processing of printed information in text-task situations. The target population that the above model is aimed at would be the super-population (Skinner, Holt and Smith, 1989: 14) of successful Malaysian aspirants to the in-service TESOL programmes currently ongoing at UK training institutions. Given the nature of the present study, its scope, and available provisions in terms of resources, the scheme of information/data gathering procedures and expected outcomes presented in Table 2.1 has been deemed adequate to estimate realistic parameters about the said population with reference to selected PSA and TSA elements of academic reading needs. The various types of information classified in the table could be used to make informed decisions about the specification of learning tasks that reflect genre text-task interactions in the real world. Taking cognisance of the theoretical postulates set out in the preceding sub-section, and the investigative strategies for perceived as well as selectively observed needs of the target learners, the present study proposes a working model (see Figure 2.1) to guide the collection of information towards the design of a task-based academic reading course. Without belabouring the point further, the following, perhaps already transparent, remarks are tendered below about the wider utility of the model: Given that needs analysis for language for specific purposes is generally viewed as a pragmatic activity amenable to the adoption of different approaches depending upon the ideological affiliation as well as the theoretical beliefs of the assessor, the 20

Researching Academic ESL Reading Needs proposed model must be seen, in principle, as a definitive albeit necessarily restrictive one. However, taking into considerations other provisos in terms of available resources and/or opportunity cost particular to the target pedagogic implementation, the model might be viewed as being sufficiently generalised and open-ended for the specification of EAP genre-based tasks on two counts. First, it points to the collection, collation and subsequent processing of information for a mono- or multi-skill target programme and to a variety of prioritised genres (though as mentioned earlier, for the purpose of in-depth focus and manageability, the current study is mainly concerned with research article abstracts and introductions); secondly, it would be reasonable to consider applying the model as a schematised approach in a similar way for EAP in other academic disciplines. It can thus be argued that the design of suitable EAP reading/learning materials will be better served by a genre-based approach to needs analysis in that the potential insights into the learners own strategies as well as exposition to other effective strategies of genre-text processing can only better prepare him for the real academic and/or professional world he has entered or is about to enter.


Assessing EAP Needs for the University Table 2.1 TSA and PSA Elements: Procedures and Outcomes
PSA Elements Self-assessed language skills Language use habits Attitude to study Reading general material Reading academic material General reading competence Academic material comprehension. Authentic materials proportion Language skills priority Interest in postgraduate work Reading/Referencing problems Problems in academic reading and task accomplishment Problems in academic reading and related tasks/activity TSA Elements Types of academic materials Academic materials priority Types of journals Skills/strategies needed for set academic tasks

Method/Instrument 1. Survey of perceived needs (student questionnaire)

2. Survey of perceived needs (staff questionnaire) 3. ASI questionnaire

Types of academic materials Skills/strategies required for set academic tasks Deep processing Strategic/achieving orientation Academic selfconfidence

Learning approach and/or orientation Problems/pathologies in approach to studying

4. General English language proficiency : public exam grades; standardised test scores; language ability selfratings 5. MCA questionnaire

Measures of students general competence, reading proficiency, and perceived ability in ESL areas Measure of students overall English language ability Assessment of students perceived strategies and problems (e.g. overdependence on a particular strategy) Reading difficulties perceived Levels of rhetorical consciousness of genre move structure (RA abstract and introduction) Ability to use generic structure to organise recall/summary of main ideas Ability to use generic structure to critically assess writers ideas and to reflect on implications for readers purpose/needs Awareness of different reading strategies and their effectiveness

6. Genre awareness task

7. Recall/Summary tasks


Comprehension task


Researching Academic ESL Reading Needs 2.5 Research Purpose and Scope The general aim of the study was to investigate selected aspects of genre-based reading needs and related strategic processing/learning needs of final-year Malaysian undergraduates in an in-service TESOL programme in the UK so that informed decisions can be made about related discipline-specific EAP reading materials with special reference to research article abstracts and introductions. In relation to this overall purpose, the following specific objectives were formulated to reflect the particular concerns of the present research and its scope: 1) To survey the perceptions of students and lecturers about Malaysian in-service TESOL undergraduates academic reading needs in the final year of their study in the UK; 2) To survey the perceptions of UK TESOL staff teaching Malaysian undergraduates concerning student needs and to compare these with similar perceptions elicited from a sample of MHIE (Moray House Institute of Education) students; 3) To investigate, through the use of the MCA (Metacognitive Awareness) questionnaire, the relationship between students metacognitive awareness judgements about reading strategies and difficulties, and their observed reading ability; 4) To use the ASI (Approaches to Studying Inventory) questionnaire to assess students approaches to studying in their field and to correlate these with measures of reading competence; and 5) To assess the impact of the teacher-researchers intervention by way of a genre-based reading workshop to enhance TESOL students awareness of generic structure as well as content comprehension of the specialised texts they read with particular reference to research article abstracts and introductions. The research questions addressed by the study objectives above are presented and discussed in Chapter 6 Materials and Methods). Related sets of null/alternative hypotheses are tested in Chapters 6 and 7. In striving to meet the above objectives, the present investigation was designed as a case study involving two sub-samples of final year undergraduate cohorts at MHIE who obliged willingly. However, to make for some measure of generalisability in the potential findings, the participation of a larger sample of similarly placed Malaysian students as well as associated teaching faculty in the UK was secured for the respective needs survey. In other words, the survey data was to be used solely for the purpose of investigating, and subsequently establishing with an acceptable level of confidence the needs variables indicative of homogeneity between the sub-samples on the one hand and the larger UK sample on the other. Moreover, the assistance of contact persons in the nine UK TESOL institutions had been engaged on the understanding that no comparison would be made in the data interpretation across institutions identified by name (for the obvious reason that this might reflect poorly on certain 23

Assessing EAP Needs for the University institutions). Therefore the scope of the survey was delimited towards informing what was to be basically a case study and not to compare any form of institutional ethos, as it were, even if this would be fertile area for a separate study. Further, besides using a questionnaire survey as explained above, the researcher included a quasiexperimental component to the case study to assess, broadly speaking, the impact of a genre-based reading workshop on the selected text-processing tasks. Because this phase of the study at MHIE evaluated the performance of a single intact group of eighteen students, half of which was used as the control/comparison group, it was assumed that the related findings needed to be approached with some caution in terms of generalisability to other similar genre-based reading classrooms especially if these comprised less homogeneous student samples and/or populations. Apart from the above methodological limitations, there is also some theoretical reservation probably implicit in any educational needs assessment. This is considering the argument that needs analysis, especially as a largely synchronic investigation for language teaching purposes, cannot be a precise science in that the findings that may be procured must be taken not as concrete entities set in stone once and for all for a particular programme of instruction, but as pragmatic bases for negotiation and subsequent evaluation. Again, this is because the concept of need itself does not have objective reality even if the particular analytical framework used by an assessor is often informed by valid social and psychological insights into language use and behaviour. Therefore, even though the inherent shortcoming of conducting needs analyses is often mitigated in practice by building into the resultant programme design evaluation as well as negotiation procedures, the fact remains that the essentially snapshot nature of learner needs probably indicates propensities of perceived necessity and wants rather than enduring realities. In this respect, the scope of the present study would be as limited as the scope of the need analysis enterprise.

2.6 Significance of the Study The proposed model (see Figure 1.2) suggests a broad genre-based framework for analysing a sample of TESOL undergraduates learning and language needs. Viewed in a more pragmatic light, it presents a set of procedures that can be used to procure information about the learners Present Situation as well as about their Target Situation. The methods of data collection and analysis, and subsequently the findings of the study can be used to arrive at pedagogically useful recommendations for EAP reading course design in a specific area of academic study, which in the context of the present investigation is TESOL. This would necessarily be done prescriptively within a broad framework of genre analysis (Dudley-Evans, 1987) and a genre-driven approach to task-based learning. Further, the researcher could also explore some of the significant differences between the genres under investigation and other genres found within the academic specialism in question seeking recourse, as it were, to relevant information about institutional culture (Robinson, 1991:27) and/or the parent discourse community. In relation to the above framework for subject-specific EAP programme design, perhaps another kind of strength can be discerned in the present study. To the best of the present researchers 24

Researching Academic ESL Reading Needs knowledge, previous studies have generally worked with heterogeneous groups of ESL learners from different disciplines and at varying levels of academic study, notably Hyon (1995) whose subjects included undergraduate, masters, as well as doctoral level students from diverse academic disciplines. In approaching TESOL as a distinct discipline of eclectic scholarship drawing from insights in a multitude of related disciplines (as do, it might be argued, most other disciplines in social science), the current study has sought to address issues salient to a narrow-angle programme design framework for a group of target learners of relatively similar background attributes and academic/professional profile. Further, it is envisaged that the proposed research will contribute to the body of knowledge in English language teaching at large, and in ESP (English for Specific Purposes) in particular in that the study would have attempted to some extent to reconcile the tension between the two main schools of thought in contemporary ESP: the need for development of general language capacity from an educational perspective (Widdowson, 1983; Hutchinson and Waters, 1987), and the need for genrespecific knowledge and related strategies (Swales, 1990; Bhatia, 1993). In a more parochial sense, the research will make a small but significant impact on the Malaysian English language teaching scenario where genre thought is a relatively new and recent phenomenon. All said, the value of relevant research into the essential aspects of academic and/or professional genres for the purpose of EAP programme design cannot be over stressed. Additionally, the Research English model for EAP reading materials design procured via the proposed study could be considered for application in specialisms other than TESOL.

2.7 Definition of Terms 2.7.1 Academic needs

Generally speaking, the concept of need for academic language learning purposes might be defined as the gap between what is and what should be (Brindley, 1989: 65; emphasis added) in relation to the wide range of abilities and resources that are or ought to be potentially available to the learner for the successful execution of language use tasks. However, since every researcher and/or assessor must formulate a more sophisticated model of academic need within specific learning contexts, the present study approaches the umbrella term of academic needs in terms of selected product-oriented, target situation needs, and process-oriented, present situation needs in relation to the efficient processing of essential genre-texts in TESOL. More specifically, the former may be defined as those types of texts, and the necessary processing strategies and orientations that are perceived to be important for the students if they are to be properly initiated into and acquainted with discourse conventions of the field. Such perceptions of necessity are to be procured from the students themselves, from their teachers, and via the researchers intuitive knowledge of the field. The latter aspect of learners academic needs (perhaps also called learning needs) are best defined as existing language abilities (both selfperceived and those which are demonstrable), awareness about reading strategies and their use, 25

Assessing EAP Needs for the University studying approaches, and problems and/or difficulties in the comprehension of required genre-texts, and types of tasks and/or activities that can be related to effective use of genre-based reading strategies.


Reading strategies

It would be pedagogically more viable to use the term strategies as opposed to the usual term skills to refer to the consciously controlled, goal-directed actions that are potentially available to the reader (Carrell, 1989: 129). This is because the former term is more appropriate when describing the deliberate actions that learners or readers select and control to achieve desired goals or objectives (van Dijk and Kinstch, 1983). In other words, while skills appears to be more closely related to passive abilities which may or may not be activated before, during and after the process of reading for a particular propose, the term strategies may readily points to the readers conscious, active participation. This distinction between the two terms also renders strategies of reading more amenable in a pedagogical perspective of comprehension abilities in the sense that such metacognitive abilities, it is argued, can be explicitly and overtly taught. Therefore, for the purpose of this research, the term reading strategies has been defined as those actions and processes in the act of reading academic texts that undergraduate TESOL readers are able to select and control consciously to extract information and/or to arrive at an interpretation of the writers purpose commensurate with their own purpose for reading. 2.7.3 Genre Skills/Strategies

From a genre-based perspective on the reading of research articles, these are predicated on the overarching concept of rhetorical consciousness (or more specifically, genre awareness) in direct relation to the structure of genre texts, and to the role such texts play in discourse communication within the field of the students specialisation vis--vis resolving problems and/or addressing issues that impinge on development in the field as a whole. Put in more operational terms, such strategies will include the following: 1) recognising form-function correlations in essential genre-texts, especially to the extent that these correspondences are indicative of the communicative moves and component steps; 2) interpreting the propositional content of the writers underlying motive and/or purpose, and relating this to the overall rationale for the genre; and 3) critically evaluating the writers response to the research problem that s/he purports to address, and drawing inferences that serve to inform and/or reframe the readers own response and purpose for reading


Researching Academic ESL Reading Needs


ANALYSE PRESENT SITUATION Language proficiency, basic study skills, learning styles/strategies, background knowledge of discipline/profession

ANALYSE TARGET SITUATION Knowledge of conceptual structure of discipline and role of genres in discourse community, selection and analysis of key genres

IDENTIFY LEARNING NEEDS & CONSTRAINTS Subjective wants, attitudes, self-esteem, interest in academic work, other strengths and weaknesses, constraints and opportunity cost

IDENTIFY GENRE-BASED LANGUAGE NEEDS & STRATEGIES Knowledge of generic conventions, rhetorical consciousness and metacognitive strategy use, formfunction correlations, rhetorical acts






Figure 2.1

A Proposed Model for EAP Reading Programme Design


3 Genre Theory and Genre-Based Pedagogy

3.1 Introduction The term genre has traditionally been used to describe different forms of literary work as novel, short story, poem, ballad, and play, and in the film world to peg various types of productions as comedy, musical, horror, western, science fiction, disaster and so on. However, recently the term has taken on new connotations as a result of broader conceptualisations in non-literary scholarly disciplines. For example, Aston (1979) extended the meaning of the term to encompass such commonplace types of non-literary text like menu, or shopping list (cited in C. Wallace, 1992: 30); perhaps one could add others like recipe, classroom lesson, and sundry advertisements that frequently appear in the newspaper (including impassioned pleas of lonely hearts in the classified section!). Then, there would be hosts of non-traditional genres associated with the academia and the professions (e.g. abstracts, journal articles and grant proposals), and with the business community (correspondence, sales reports, economic forecasts, etc.): the list of non-literary genres would seem endless. However, what might be the extent of influence of this new concept? Is it the emperors new clothes of language studies, or does it hold sufficient promise in Kuhnian terms for a paradigm shift in applied linguistics? The latter proposition might appear a little far-fetched (as yet), but here is Candlin (1993: ix) on genre, and possibly on the shape of things to come:
Common and encompassing terms have a sting in their tail. ... What is it about the term and area of study it represents that attracts such attention? What is it that will bring together under one terminological roof literary scholars, rhetoricians, sociologists, cognitive scientists, machine translators, computational linguists and discourse analysts, ESP specialists and language teachers? What is it that will bring together, to cite one Sydney example, over 700 secondary school teachers of language and literacy to a weekend conference exploring genre? What is it, moreover, that will allow us to bring into the same fold, advertising copywriters, business communication experts and Plain English campaigners? Clearly, a concept that has found its time. (Original emphasis)

Candlin cites an example within the Australian experience but as we shall see later in the chapter, the interest in the concept is potentially international in scope. It is not surprising, therefore, that over the last two decades, the concept of genre has emerged as a useful framework for analysing non-literary, non-film texts in fields as varied as rhetoric, linguistics, composition studies, technical communication, and English for Specific Purposes with particular focus on the potential of nonliterary genre analysis as a practical tool in education, especially in writing instruction (Hyon, 1995: 1). Interest in the relatively new conceptualisation of genre amongst non-literary scholars, often cutting across disciplines, appears to have had the ramifications that ever so often accompany any new wave movement in scholarship, particularly in parts of the world where the impact of genre analysis and related genre-driven pedagogy has been most felt: North America, Australia, Great Britain, South East Asia, and Scandinavia (ibid.). The complex development of genre thought and its extension to 28

Genre Theory and Genre-Based Pedagogy diverse educational settings in these regions have been reflected in the proliferation of conferences, in the heightened enthusiasm towards related research, and in the almost inevitable controversy. Even as the word genre is on everyones lips, from researchers and scholars to curriculum planners and teachers (Freedman and Medway, 1994: 2), the proliferation of thought and the contentious nature of claims amongst genre scholars from different global settings appear to have made the movement a rather complicated one to understand with the result that it has become a movement which ... has the positive potential to mean many things to many people (Cope and Kalantzis, 1993: 2). Kay (1994: 63, in Hyon, 1995: 3) reflects on some difficulties that one is bound to encounter in attempting to understand genre-related research:
It seems crucial that classroom practitioners should understand the notion of genre, but this is easier said than done: a journey through some of the literature on the subject brings us face-to-face not only with genres but also with sub-genres, microgenres, complex genres, minimal genres, discourse genres, text genres, and rhetorical genres, and we learn too that some textual entities are not genres at all, but are pre-generic while still others are suprageneric.

Again, as alluded to earlier, the confusion amongst classroom practitioners might not be totally unexpected given the fluid nature of the newly emerging research paradigm that is grounded in different areas of the world, and further compounded by the lack of empirical educational research that would serve to establish some kind of interface between theory and practice. As Kay (1994, in ibid. p. 4) has herself perceptively suggested, the first step is to understand the theories. The application of these to the pedagogical context can then be considered. Hyons doctoral dissertation (1995) appears to address, for a major part, this dire need in a critical and illuminating way. Accordingly, the forthcoming sections of this chapter draw substantially from this work to review the different theoretical orientations to related constructs and to contemplate pedagogical implications for English for Specific Academic Purposes.

3.2 Major Theoretical Orientations and Definitions Genre theory as a whole, if it can be viewed thus, appears to have developed in three significantly different schools and/or traditions, but over roughly the same period of time: (a) North American New Rhetoric studies, (b) Australian systemic functional linguistics, and (c) ESP (Hyon, 1996: 694-7). The sub-sections that follow examine the main differences in terms of theoretical origins, definitions of genre, and approaches to genre analysis so that pedagogical contexts and applications can be discussed in related perspectives later in the chapter.


North American New Rhetoric Studies

Theories of non-literary genres within this school have originated and evolved out of a variety of disciplines mainly concerned with L1 teaching, including applied linguistics, rhetoric, composition 29

Assessing EAP Needs for the University studies, and written professional communication (Hyon, 1995, 1996). Hyon (1995) observes that the field of mainstream linguistics has had limited influence in shaping genre thought in North America even though discourse analysis during the 1970s opened the door in linguistics to considerations of larger than word and sentence level units (p.8). Swales (1990: 39-41) points out that apart from ethnographic linguists like Hymes (1974), and especially Saville-Troike (1982) who considered classifying genres found across different cultures, linguistics as a whole has tended to find genre indigestible, a resistance he attributes to the fact that register has been firmly established as a central concept in linguistics, while genre is a recent appendage found to be necessary as a result of important studies of text structure (p. 41). So, while genre theories have on the whole focused on description of text structure and purpose, register studies in North America have focused on describing styles of discourse such as medical English, legalese or business language, which may cut across different text-types (Hyon, op.cit: 9). Bhatia (1993: 18) agrees with Swales observation of linguists preference for register over genre, and rightly reasons that this preoccupation with register has led linguists to miss differences in texts of the same register and similarities among texts of different registers. Studies about genre in the New Rhetoric tradition have therefore concentrated more on the situational contexts in which genres occur than on their structural forms, placing special emphasis, as it were, on the social purposes, or actions, that these genres fulfil within these situations (Hyon, 1996: 696; original emphasis). This neo-orientation towards the conceptualisation and the study of genre must be seen as a significant departure from the more traditional Aristotelian-type of rhetorical inquiry in which discourse is classified deductively to construct a closed system of categories (Swales, 1990: 42). The more inductive approach of the new rhetoricians, who study the historical development of discourse types in their respective recurrent contexts and how prior genres constrain later ones, is aptly encapsulated by Campbell and Jamieson (1978: 20, in ibid.: 43) who define a genre as a group of acts unified by a constellation of forms that recurs in each of its members. These forms, in isolation, appear in other discourses. What is distinctive about the acts in a genre is a recurrence of the forms together in constellation (original emphasis). In other words, the New Rhetoric view of genres as types of discourse grounded in particular situations but constrained by antecedent ones clearly stands in stark contrast with the rather arbitrary a priori modes of classifying discourse of the traditional rhetoricians. Carolyn Millers paper, Genre as Social Action (1984) was seminal in shaping genre theory in the New Rhetoric field. She argues that a rhetorically sound definition of genre must be centred not on the substance or the form of discourse but on the action it is used to accomplish (p. 151; Millers italics), and goes on to consider as useful for fruitful investigation, as a matter of principle, several types of discourse usually disregarded by traditional rhetoricians:
To consider as potential genres such homely discourse as the letter of recommendation, the user manual, the progress report, the ransom note, the lecture, and the white paper, as well as the eulogy, the apologia, the inaugural, the public proceeding, and the sermon, is not to trivialize the study of genres; it is to take seriously the rhetoric in which we are immersed and the situations in which we find ourselves (p. 155).


Genre Theory and Genre-Based Pedagogy The social motive for a genre, Miller (op.cit.) says, is the sense of exigence that lies at the core of a particular situation which provides the rhetor with a sense of rhetorical purpose ... with a socially recognizable way to make his or her actions known. It provides an occasion, and thus a form, for making public our private version of things (pp. 157-8). This means that a genre is a response to situational exigence, a social action that meets the demands and needs of a particular situation that warrant it together with the needs of certain groups of people. For example, the eulogy is typified as social action which satisfies the social exigence that a death produces (p. 159). Accordingly, Miller contextualises genres within specific communities, adding that the actions inherent in genres help the community do its work, carry out its purposes, reproduce and reconstruct itself, continue its story (Miller, 1992: 9, in Hyon, 1995: 23) Finally, Miller (1984) suggests what value the study of genres may have for rhetorical theory, criticism, and education:
what we learn when we learn a genre is not just a pattern of forms or even a method of achieving our own ends. We learn, more importantly, what ends we may have ... We learn to understand better the situations in which we find ourselves and the potentials for failure and success in acting together. As a recurrent, significant action, a genre embodies an aspect of cultural rationality. For the critic, genres can serve both as an index to cultural patterns and as tools for exploring the achievements of particular speakers and writers; for the student, genres serve as keys to understanding how to participate in the actions of a community (p. 165).

Millers views about genre as homely discourse, and consequently as a vehicle for social action have clearly placed the study and the use of genres within a wider sociorhetorical context with respect to specific discourse communities, operating not only as a mechanism for reaching communicative goals but also of clarifying what those goals might be (Swales, 1990: 44). The cause of the researcher, the critic, and the student who want/need to find out what makes a particular community tick cannot be better served than by a good understanding of the communitys genres.


The Australian School

Within the Hallidayan tradition of systemic linguistics, the concept of genre broadly includes the whole range of both spoken and written language activity that is culturally recognisable as different social events. The specific functions, goals, conventions and rituals of a highly conventionalised social situation (e.g. a committee meeting) are seen as having influenced the nature of texts that arise from the situation. The texts produced in this manner are called genres and like the social occasions that give rise to them, they are highly conventionalised in that they have specific forms and convey specific meanings. These meanings derive from and encode the functions, purposes and meanings of the social events that they represent providing thereby a precise index and catalogue of the relevant social occasions of a community at a given time (Kress, 1989: 19). Examples of genre in this sense are interview, essay, conversation, sale, tutorial, sports commentary, seduction, office memo, novel, political speech, editorial, sermon, joke, and instruction (ibid.). 31

Assessing EAP Needs for the University The foregoing definition and examples of genre have evolved from British-born scholar M. A. K. Hallidays own established notion of register (1978) to describe particular lexis and grammatical structures that characterise language use in specific social settings or situations, for example, journalese and advertising. The register framework, being unique to the systemic functional linguistics school, views context of situation as determined by three variables, what Halliday has called field, mode, and tenor. These concepts are now well-known: in their broad sense, field refers to the type of activity that occurs in the situation, tenor to the relationship between the participants, and mode the role the language serves, or the channel of communication used (Halliday, 1978; Halliday and Hasan, 1989). Together, these three variables comprise what Halliday calls register and provide, as it were, what is needed for describing what is linguistically significant in the context of situation (Halliday, 1978: 33). Consequently, Hallidays approach to grammar has been primarily semantic rather than syntactic in that it seeks to consider and identify the role of various linguistic items in any text in terms of their function in building meaning (Hasan, 1989: ix) Accordingly, he postulates three semantic metafunctions of language: the ideational, the interpersonal, and the textual to refer to the types of meaning that may be possible within a situation (Halliday, 1978: 45-6). However, Halliday also uses the concept of register as a framework for the formal linguistic description of the features that occur within a particular social situation. Register is thus a form of prediction: given that we know the situation, the social context of language use, we can predict a great deal about the language that will occur (Halliday, 1978: 32). Correspondingly, Halliday and Hasan (1989) have indicated sets of linguistic elements that coincide with the field, tenor and mode within a given register. The field or activity of the situation is generally realised through the types of verbal processes used as well as the participants. The tenor, or relationship between the participants, usually corresponds to the selection of interpersonal options, those in the linguistic systems of mood, modality, person, key, intensity, evaluation and comment (Halliday, 1978: 144). Finally, the mode, that is, the medium of communication selected, affects the type of theme patterns used in texts as well as the distribution of active/passive voice and patterns of cohesion, reference, and conjunction (Halliday, 1978: 144-5; Halliday and Hasan, 1989: 30-4). Systemic theories of register have therefore been concerned with both the social and formal properties of language, and how the two relate together (Halliday and Hasan, 1989: 35). Language is social in that it is grounded within the context of situation, and yet the field, mode, and tenor of situation predict certain formal realisations within language. The brief discussion of Hallidays framework for analysing context-bound language within his theory of systemic linguistics clearly points to the ascendancy of register, not genre, although he claims that the latter construct can be brought within the general framework of the concept of register (Halliday, 1978: 134). Rather than acknowledge genre as a separate entity in its own right, he assigns it a status within mode as in, for example, Halliday and Hasan (1976: 22): The mode is the function of the text in the event, including ... its genre, or rhetorical mode, as narrative, didactic, persuasive, phatic communion and so on. Even though the construct of genre has not been fully developed by Halliday (Hyon, 1995: 32), theories of genre have evolved through the work of his former students and their colleagues, notably R. 32

Genre Theory and Genre-Based Pedagogy Hasan and J. R. Martin, which reflects his simultaneous focus on the contextual and formal aspects of texts. Hasan conceptualised genre as a social entity that is determined by contextual constraints, thereby giving each genre a distinctive shape. She calls this Contextual Configuration (or CC), operating at least in part as an alternative to Hallidays specification of register, that is, a specific set of values that realizes field, tenor, and mode (Hasan, 1989). Thus, genre is a contextual entity that responds to elements in the CC, doing the job appropriate to that class of social happenings (Hasan, 1989: 108). Perhaps especially important in the work of Hasan (op.cit.) is the way in which the CC predicts formal features of text types, particularly in terms of the focus on the global structure of texts. Hasan argues that the features of the CC can be used for making certain kinds of predictions about text structure (p. 56) and that a given genre is defined by the number of obligatory as well as optional structural elements. For example, Hasan uses the service encounter to illustrate the required as well as the optional structural moves. She argues that such an encounter must have a sales request, a sales compliance, and a purchase, although depending on the specific CC it may or may not have elements like greetings, sales initiation or sales enquiry. The complete range of obligatory-optional move combinations help to define a text type as a genre, or give it what Hasan calls its Generic Structure Potential or GSP (p.64). While Hasan has worked to extend the definition of genre within Hallidays framework of register, J. R. Martin has theorised more independently by removing genre from register and mode and looking at it as a separate construct, working closely with other scholars such as J. Rothery, F. Christie, G. Kress and C. Painter (Hyon, 1995: 33-5). Cope and Kalantzis (1993b) report that Martin made his first tentative reworkings of his colleagues Halliday and Hasans work by conceptualising genre as part of Michael Gregorys functional tenor and then later as a construct outside of register entirely (p. 65-65). In fact, together with Christie and Rothery, Martin (1987: 53, cited in Wallace, C., 1992: 30) has ascribed genre its own theoretical basis by claiming that genre theory differs from register theory in the amount of emphasis it places on social purpose as determining variables in language use (my emphasis). Nevertheless, the Martin-Rothery-Christie scheme has conceptualised both the terms of register and genre in relation to separate controlling contexts of situation, and of culture respectively. According to Christie (1991: 236), [Genres] can thus be thought of as artefacts of the contexts of culture ... in which they operate. Registers, on the other hand, are of the contexts of situation ... within the culture. This means that a particular genre, being a cultural category, is not overtly subject to the register-oriented constraints of field, mode, and tenor, but can be used in a variety of situations. The related theory, which obviously underlies much genre-based pedagogy in Australia (and explained in a LERN teachers guidebook), is illustrated in Figure 3.1. The illustration of the model of genre in question (Figure 3.1) appears to be self-explanatory: genre constrained by purpose is shown in the outermost ring within the larger context of culture whereas register which is constrained directly by field, tenor and mode and by the more specific context of situation is in the inner ring. Language in terms of systemic choices of grammar and lexis is depicted in the innermost ring (ibid.). Martin (1992: 40) tenders a similar model of the genre-register relationship but with the added overarching dimension of ideology of culture (see Fig. 3.2) which he 33

Assessing EAP Needs for the University calls the fourth communicative plane... with genre, and hence register and language as its expression form (Martin, 1992: 496).





Figure 3.1

The Contexts of Genre and Register (LERN 1990). Adapted from Hyon, 1995: 39)

Martins metaphorical model of concentric circles is composed of larger circles recontextualising smaller ones; the size of the circles also reflects the fact that the analysis tends to focus on larger units (1992: 496) as the analyst moves from language to ideology. Thus the tendency at the level of language would be to focus on an exchange or paragraph and below, at the level of register to focus on a stage in a transaction, at the level of genre to focus on whole texts and at the level of ideology to focus on discourses manifested across a range of texts (ibid). Against this analytical perspective of the semiotic space surrounding texts, Martin defines ideology as the system of coding orientations constituting a culture... realised through contextually specific semantic styles associated with groups of speakers of differing generation, gender, ethnicity and class (ibid: 507). He relates such culturespecific styles to social power, that is, the range of options available, the extent to which options available can be used for control, submission or negotiation, and the degree to which options can be taken up to change the context making them available (ibid). Clearly, it is this ideological dimension that has underpinned the avowed concern of much Australian genre-driven pedagogy to empower certain sections of the population with the genres of power for social success. However, since the relationship depicted in Martins model is a hierarchical rather than a mutually exclusive one, Christie (1991: 236) has argued, genre may be influenced by the different immediate context of ideology of culture, it continues to constrain the possible choices made with respect to register. Therefore, not quite completely devoid of systemic influences in their approach, Martin and his colleagues have approached genre on the basis of both its sociocontextual as well its formal 34

Genre Theory and Genre-Based Pedagogy characteristics.More specifically, they view genre as a functional, social process which is goaloriented, and characterised by some kind of global structure, or staging. In perhaps their most popular definition of genre (Hyon, 1995: 34), they say that:

Figure 3.2

Language and its Semiotic Environment (Martin, 1992: 496)

Genres are referred to as social processes because members of a culture interact with each other to achieve them, as goal-oriented because they have evolved to get things done, and as staged because it usually takes more than one step for participants to achieve their goals (Martin, Rothery and Christie, 1987: 59)

The above definition exists in various modified forms in other Australian genre studies, notably Christie (1990, 1993), Cope et al. (1993), Martin (1991), and Rothery (1989). However, Martin et al.s (1987) definition is also concerned with form as they remark later in their work that genre theory depends on a careful linguistic analysis of the textual features of genre (p. 62), focusing on schematic structures and global structural sequencing and probably echoing the concerns of Hasans postulates (1977, 1980) about generalised text structures. Moreover, the structural form of a genre, rather than being an entity removed from its social function, is seen as reflecting the stages of a genre in action as verbal strategies [which are] used to accomplish social purposes of many kinds (Martin, 1985: 251, in Hyon, 1995: 35). For example, the LERN (1990) teachers guidebook presents outline analyses of various school or elemental genres as narrative, recount, report, procedure, exposition, discussion, and explanation, each of which are described in terms of their social function, schematic sequence, and other language features as in the following report genre (Figure 3.3): 35

Assessing EAP Needs for the University The approach to analysis of elemental genres as the one described in Figure 3.3 appears to have been extended to more complex adult-level text types such as the laboratory report (see Figure 3.4), a macro-genre in Martins terms which comprises such elemental types as procedure, report and explanation (Hyon, 1995: 52).
Function Factual text which describes the way things are, with reference to a whole range of phenomena, natural, synthetic and social in our environment. Schematic structure General Classification Description - types - parts (and their functions) - qualities - habits/behaviours (or uses if non-natural) Language features Focus on Generic Participants (groups of things) e.g. the heart, the body, the lungs e.g. computers, the printer, frames, the monitor; Use of simple present tense (unless extinct) e.g. is, is made up of, contains etc. e.g. is can do, has, run; No temporal sequence Use of being and having clauses e.g. The heart is.. but has two hard working pumps it is bright red; The computer is an electronic machine, If the computer has a printer; There are many types ... etc.

Figure 3.3

Report Genre (LERN 1990, p. 14, in Hyon, 1995: 36)

The part/whole composition of the laboratory report (appropriate elemental genre terms in bold) macro genre: laboratory report title abstract introduction methods recount of a procedure results report discussion bibliogr. discussion

Figure 3.4

Macro-genre: Laboratory Report (elemental genres highlighted) (Drury, 1992: 11, in Hyon, 1995:32)


Genre Theory and Genre-Based Pedagogy This focus on staged structure seems to be remarkably similar to the formal description of sequential moves in ESP genre analysis indicating shared influences between the predominantly localised Australian tradition and the wider, indeed international, scope of the specific purposes language teaching movement 3.2.3 ESP

ESP is a relatively new field that has emerged within the parent discipline of English Language Teaching that has developed within the last three decades or so (Swales, 1988) based on the need to examine the kind of language and related abilities required by the non-native learner-user of English in specific academic and/or occupational settings. Towards this end, a number of ESP scholars have been interested in genre research with a view to derive applications for analysing and teaching the spoken and written language (Bhatia, 1993; Flowerdew, 1993; Hopkins and Dudley-Evans, 1988; Love, 1991; Nwogu, 1991; Swales, 1990; Thompson, 1994; Weissberg, 1993; Weissberg and Buker, 1990). Within this relatively new tradition, the concept of genre has generally been approached as relating to oral or written text types on the basis of the texts formal properties as well as its communicative purpose within the related social context. Nevertheless it has been John Swales (1981, 1986, 1990) theorising and research concerning generic structure, rhetorical moves, and communicative functions that have clearly been seminal in shaping genre theory in ESP (Hyon, 1996: 694). His concern for both the form and the social function of genres, which he describes as communicative events that are characterised both by their set of communicative purposes and by various patterns of similarity in structure, style, content and intended audience (1990: 58), is clearly reflected in other ESP definitions of genre (Bhatia, 1993; Flowerdew, 1993; Hopkins and Dudley-Evans, 1988; Thompson, 1994). In the light of the foregoing exposition about North American and Australian schools of thought, Swales position appears to be eclectic but one with a more pragmatic orientation towards non-native academic English language learning focusing on both form and social function. This is because, lest the concept of genre be misconstrued as being synonymous with the general view of authentic texts in EAP communication studies, he emphasises that the essence of genre and its communicative significance do not reside in text alone:
... it is not only the texts that we need to understand, but the roles texts have in their environments; the values, congruent and conflictive, placed on them by occupational, professional and disciplinary memberships; and the expectations those members have of the patternings of the genres they participate in ... . (Swales, 1985 :219)

This position appears to be notwithstanding the fact that differences in ideological inclination in a given discourse community might affect the conventional structure of its genres (see especially Tinberg, 1988 for an account of how the work of neo-Marxist and capitalist economists potentially affect the generic structure within the field of economics). Swales considers such ideological differences as not germane to a genre-based approach in EAP (Swales, 1990: 9) because the proposed 37

Assessing EAP Needs for the University approach is not activated by a wish to make a contribution to intellectual history or to construct a schematic vision of disciplinary cultures, but rests on a pragmatic concern to help people, both nonnative and native speakers to develop their academic communicative competence. The following definition by Bhatia (1993: 13) probably best sums up the Swalesian position in ESP genre theory:
... it is a recognizable communicative event characterized by a set of communicative purpose(s) identified and mutually understood by members of the professional or academic community in which it regularly occurs. Most often it is highly structured and conventionalized with constraints on allowable contributions in terms of their intent, positioning, form and functional value. These constraints, however, are often exploited by the expert members of the discourse community to achieve private intentions within the framework of socially recognized purpose(s).

Bhatia elaborates on a number of salient areas in the above definition (ibid., pp. 13-6) that have helped shape genre theory in ESP. These concern the essence of genre as a recognizable communicative event and its connection with the discourse community (the connection itself being characterised by the communicative purpose(s) sanctioned by the discourse community), constraints in the form of allowable or acceptable standards, rules and conventions on the expression of various private intentions, and the exploitation of conventions to achieve members aims. Perhaps a few additional comments will be in order. Swales (1990) has referred to the communicative purpose of a genre as a privileged criterion and one that operates to keep the scope of a genre ... focused on comparable rhetorical action (p. 58). As such, it is the shared set of purpose(s) that shapes a particular genre and determines its internal structure, and by extension, that which serves to distinguish between genres and/or sub-genres. Secondly, as Bhatia (1993) says, the highly structured and conventionalised nature of a genre attests to the expert knowledge of the communitys specialist members long experience and/or training in the specialist community (p. 14). Perhaps more importantly, structural attributes of genres can be related to the issue of canon, that is, accepted standards or sets of procedures to promote scholarship in an academic discipline. Based on Scholes (1992, cited in Johns, 1993) distinction between academic disciplines in which the canon is inherent in the texts themselves (e.g. literature in which texts are revered and/or studied for their own sake) and those in which the canon is manifest as methods or rules for research, Johns, A. M. (1993) explains that scientific texts (e.g. the experimental research report in which variable methods and results are of focal interest amongst researchers) become templates, rapid constructions derived closely from previous expert texts to efficiently promote and distribute research (p. 93). In other words, writers and readers of such texts are not concerned with variation (style) in texts but with using texts as vehicles to report their research, with efficiency and rapid publication (ibid.). Tarone et al (1981) first used the term genre in an ESP context (Robinson, 1991: 25; DudleyEvans, 1994: 217) to establish, as it were, the principle that within the constraints of a specific genre or text type, the writers communicative purpose is the sole determinant of choice of grammatical and lexical micro-elements (Dudley-Evans, ibid.). However, as Robinson (1991: 23-5) points out, approaches to the analysis of language for ESP have generally involved diversity in terms of methods and levels of analysis as well as linguistic content and its description. While earlier studies looked at sentence structure, later investigations focused more on cohesion between sentences. Attention then 38

Genre Theory and Genre-Based Pedagogy moved to notions and functions, and to the study of language forms in context. More recently, however, insights from discourse analysis and pragmatics have been sought to study language use beyond sentence boundaries . Having said that, she reviews three important approaches to ESP language description, largely seen as occurring in historical sequence even if they may also occur concurrently, according to the needs of different course designers (p. 23): frequency studies, rhetorical analysis, and genre analysis. As might have become quite clear at this point, the concepts of genre and discourse community in ESP have been much influenced by related thinking in New Rhetoric studies, especially the theorising work of Miller (1984, 1992), Bazerman (1988), and Myers (1991) while the approach to formal descriptions of text types reflect to some extent the work of Martin (1989) (see Dudley-Evans, 1994: 217). This is not surprising given the fact that Swales makes extensive reference among others to the above writers work in bringing his own thought to maturity in Genre Analysis (1990), a text which has now become obligatory citation in much genre and discourse community literature (Johns, A. M., 1993: 90). In theory, ESP genre analysis in line with its professed applied pedagogical concerns should focus on both the social aspects as well as the formal aspects of texts. In practice, however, many ESP scholars and/or practitioners have concentrated more on describing the formal characteristics of genres while paying less attention to the specialised functions of texts and their surrounding social contexts (Hyon, 1996: 695). The apparent preoccupation with formal text analysis might be understandable, particularly among ESP practitioners who are amateurs in ethnography, but experts in such areas as discourse, course design and programme evaluation and an ethnographic shift might actually lead ... to some qualitative decline in ESP research standards and lead to detachment from ESPs traditional anchor in linguistics (Swales, 1993: 100-1). Nevertheless, while Swales does agree that there might be a need to contextualise genre research, he warns about going overboard with too heavy an emphasis on ethnographic studies into target discourse communities (cited Johns, A. M., 1993: 89) as such initiatives would necessitate considerable specialist knowledge and social skill on the part of the researcher. More importantly, especially in the face of the current lack of such specialised training for would-be practitioners in ESP, Swales expresses concern about the question of the right methodology for the way forward in contextualising genre-related work:
Contextualization as a programmatic methodology explores the singular and the particular. It places the instance before the model, and the concrete before the abstract. However, this is not the only possible way of proceeding. There may be times when it is more enlightening (and more comfortable for us) to place the model before the instance, and the abstract before the concrete. We need both of course, but not necessarily in a fixed order which requires all our starting points to be grounded in ethnography (Swales, 1993: 101).

Generally speaking, then, much research in ESP genre analysis has been modelled on Swales structural move analysis of genres. Indeed, such work has proceeded mainly by placing the abstract before the concrete, that is, by using rhetorical move structure models to describe global organisational patterns in genres such as research article introductions (Swales, 1981, 1990), student dissertations (Hopkins, A. and Dudley-Evans, T. (1988), abstracts (Salager-Meyer, 1990), popularised 39

Assessing EAP Needs for the University medical research reports (Nwogu, 1991), business letters (Bhatia, 1993), and university lectures (Thompson, 1994). Toward more micro-levels of genre analysis., other researchers have looked at grammatical features at the sentence level, for example: passive voice (Tarone, Dwyer, Gillette, and Icke, 1981), verb forms and tense (Hanania and Akhtar, 1985; Malcolm, 1987), reporting verbs (Thomas, 1991), and hedges (Hyland, 1994; Salager-Meyer, 1994a)

3.3 Interface between Theory and Pedagogy Pedagogical applications of genre theory, regardless of theoretical orientation or school of thought, have generally tended to consider some form of classroom instruction, and have focused on written text types. In addition, most pedagogical initiatives have centred on writing classrooms (Hyon, 1996: 697-8), perhaps except for the work of some ESP researchers like Dudley-Evans (1994), Thompson (1994), and Weissberg (1993) who have looked at oral communication in ESL, and others like Hyon (1995), and Cope and Kalantzis (1993a; 1993b) who have considered genre-based approaches to ESL literacy development. It would appear that this general pedagogical tendency toward writing instruction might have stemmed from the less transient nature of the written form of genres as conceptualised in all three traditions discussed above which probably lends itself readily for analysis on the basis of related theoretical precepts. Be that as it may, the forthcoming subsections will attempt a brief review of the different orientations and goals of genre-based pedagogy, and dominant instructional frameworks in relation to the governing principles of each theoretical school.


New Rhetoric: University and Professions

Because of their professed focus on the social functions or actions of genres, researchers in the New Rhetoric tradition have understandably been more concerned with teaching university students and fledgling professionals about the sociocontextual aspects in which genres function rather than the potential of genre theory for the learning/teaching of text form (Bazerman, 1988; Devitt, 1993; Freedman and Medway, 1994; Miller, 1994, cited in Hyon, 1996: 698). For example, Miller (1994: 67) has suggested that generic function should be accorded a central position in writing instruction with the contention that the failure to understand genre as social action afflicts the typical first-year college writing program in the United States; it turn what should be a practical art of achieving social ends into a productive art of making texts fit certain formal requirements (quoted in ibid.: 699). Bazerman, another prominent rhetorician who echoes the views of his colleagues that scientific texts are active social tools in the complex interactions of a research community (1985: 3), argues for a more sociocontextual orientation in writing instruction in that instructors should lead students to understand all of the life in texts rather than merely introducing them to the formal trappings of the genres they need to work in (1988: 320). However, while the above concern for functional properties of genre has been widely articulated within the field, there appears to be a general lack of clear frameworks for teaching students about the 40

Genre Theory and Genre-Based Pedagogy formal and functional features of academic and professional genres as much of the research effort has been to describe rather than to teach. The result has been that readers of the research in question have had to infer their own teaching applications (Bazerman, 1988; Giltrow, 1994; Miller, 1984, 1994; Pare and Smart, 1994; Schryer, 1993; Van Nostrand, 1994; Yates and Orlikowski, 1992, cited in Hyon, 1996: 703). As we noted earlier in section 3.2.1, it is only in the last paragraph of Millers 1984 paper that she makes a fleeting reference to the value of genre theory for rhetorical education (p. 165). Perhaps it is in L1 rather than in L2 teaching that New Rhetoric scholars have contributed more, notably in the Freedman and Medway research collection entitled Learning and Teaching Genre (1994) which deliberates on the implications of the schools focus on text context and social function for L1 writing instruction (Hyon, 1996: 703-4). Viewed from a different coign of vantage, this explicit locus of pedagogical application of social function-rather than form-prominent genre theory in first language instructional contexts might be deemed tenable in view of the geographical location of educational settings and learner populations in North America. The disadvantaged second/foreign language student probably needs a more delicate balance of formal-functional focus in the teaching of genres essential for communication with both native and other non-native speakers of English. For this common concern for the disadvantaged student (Hyon, 1995: 69), we turn to the Australian and the ESP teaching/learning contexts of genre-based instruction that follow.


Australian Orientations

Pedagogical applications arising from Australian researchers conceptualisation of genre have been mainly concentrated in primary and secondary school contexts, and more recently in adult migrant English language education as well as in workplace training programmes (Hyon, 1996: 699). Such applications have reportedly emanated as a result of common concern among researchers of process writing classrooms, that children were ill-prepared to write the required range of text types deemed necessary. According to Cope and Kalantzis, genre-based teaching in Australia started as an educational experiment (1993a: 1) to inform a new approach to literacy. This led to what Hyon (1995: 84) claims is perhaps the most widely recognized model for genre-based pedagogy, that is a teaching learning cycle ... in the figure of a wheel (Cope and Kalantzis, 1993a: 10). The model (see Figure 3.5) was developed through the Literacy and Education Research Network (LERN) project founded in the late 1980s by a group of researchers that included Mike Callaghan, Bill Cope, Anne Cranny-Francis, Mary Kalantzis, Peter Knapp, Gunther Kress, Mary Macken, Robyn Mamouney, Jim Martin, Joan Rothery, and Diana Slade. The LERN educational initiative was originally envisaged toward developing an instructional approach that would help students master a variety of school genres, including those linked to what Martin (1989) has called factual writing, such as reports, procedures, expositions, and explanations (Hyon, 1996: 699-700; Italics in original). The wheel model maps out the instructional process in three stages i.e. modelling, joint negotiation of text, and independent construction of text, and the instructor is expected to proceed in a clockwise manner. Since the model appears to represent 41

Assessing EAP Needs for the University the principal thrust for a genre-based instructional framework within the systemic functional traditional, some elaboration might be in order. As depicted graphically in Figure 3.5, in the modelling phase the teacher presents a given text type and its generic features i.e. its social function, schematic structure, and language conventions (lexico-grammatical features). In the phase of joint negotiation between the teacher and the class, the teacher ... acts as a scribe for the class group and shapes the students contribution into a text which approximates to the genre under focus (LERN, 1990: 11). According to Callaghan, Knapp, and Noble, 1993: 181, Cited in Hyon, 1996: 704), the teachers close and direct involvement in phases 1 and 2 is justifiable given that language acquisition ... is really highly interventionist. As evident in the figure of the wheel, phase 3 involves students constructing on their own an instance of the genre in question. Further, the teacher is expected to use the wheel flexibly, entering and re-entering the cycle in a way that best meets students needs (Callaghan, Knapp, and Noble, 1993: 182, in ibid). A notable large-scale adult education programme that appears to have taken the cue from LERN is the Adult Migrant English Service (AMES) that operates under the state-funded Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP), the largest government-funded language teaching program in the world, serving approximately 42,000 students each year, and which aims, together with other genre-based workplace training curricula to strengthen Australian industrial competitiveness, to enhance the labour market productivity of migrants from non-English speaking backgrounds (Strong and Candlin, 1993: i, quoted in Hyon, 1996: 700).

Figure 3.5

The Teaching and Learning Cycle. Reproduced from Hyon (1995; 705)


Genre Theory and Genre-Based Pedagogy

It is perhaps pertinent to note at this point that the overarching goals of genre-based instruction in Australian contexts have been to help disadvantaged students succeed as readers and writers in the academia and in their places of work, and to empower them with the knowledge of genres for social success. While the first goal has easily discernible parallels in the North American school and in ESP, the second one appears to a uniquely Australian phenomenon in that it adds an ideological dimension to the teaching of school, academic and workplace genres, especially those genres of power that offer their users access to ... certain realms of social influence and power (Cope and Kalantzis, 1993a: 7). The categories of students perceived to require this type of empowerment include both school pupils and adults (from both migrant and local Aboriginal populations) of limited educational and English language abilities. Accordingly, genre teaching has been conceptualised as a means of making available access to linguistic as well as social resources to the extent that Kress (1993) has argued that genre work [in Australia] has been both a pedagogical and political project towards realising some kind of social justice for learners, the rationale being that as long as we leave matters of language use available to some and not to others, then we maintain a society which permits and perpetuates injustice of many kinds (Christie, 1991: 85, in ibid.).


ESP: Academic and Professional Communication

As clearly implied by the title above, ESP researchers have generally sought to find pedagogical use for genre theory in academic and professional contexts in relation to the use of English as a second/foreign language. More specifically, they have proposed genre-based applications to assist nonnative learner-users to understand and master the social functions and the discourse conventions of texts so that they can read and write effectively in their disciplines and professions. Besides Swales (1990), and Bhatia (1993), other notable investigators include inter alia Flowerdew (1993) who advocates an educational, or process approach as opposed to a training, or product approach to the teaching of EPC (English for Professional Communication) genres (p. 305), Tarone et al. (1981), Hewings and Henderson (1987), Hopkins and Dudley-Evans (1988), Love (1991), Salager-Meyer (1994a, 1994b), and Thomas (1995). Flowerdews educational approach, based on a Hallidayan framework involving field, tenor and mode, invokes Widdowsons (1983) education-training dichotomy to argue in favour of a procedure which focuses on the process of learning about, and how to participate in, genres, ... as opposed to a procedure which focuses solely on the end-product of specific varieties of genres (a training approach) (1993, p. 309). In fact, most researchers who have conducted formal text analyses of specific genres suggest implications of their work for teaching the text types in question vis--vis their structural, linguistic as well as stylistic features. Much of this research effort, while echoing Swales avowed pragmatic concern to help people, both native and non-native speakers, to develop their academic communicative competence (1990: 9), have clearly taken the cue from his early 1981 work in which he suggests an 43

Assessing EAP Needs for the University initial authoritarian/prescriptive stance to require students to demonstrate that they can communicate effectively within the confines and constraints of the models before they are given the opportunity to write according to their natural- or unnatural - inclination (p. 88). However, even if ESP investigations and subsequent recommendations for pedagogical innovation in genre-based teaching have been inevitably based on generally non-variant features of text structure and form--function correlations, there has been a dearth of instructional models that detail actual classroom methodology (Hyon, 1996: 702). Not unlike New Rhetoric scholars, there appears to be a tendency among most ESP researchers to regard as self-evident that the description and classification of genres and subgenres will be of value to teachers and learners (Hopkins and Dudley-Evans, 1988: 119). Nevertheless, among the few explications of teaching applications of genre research that do exist in the literature are, again, Swales (1990, 1994), Bhatia (1993), Flowerdew (1994), and Weissberg and Buker (1991). Perhaps it is Vijay K. Bhatia, one of Swales more prominent students, who appears to have best illuminated the use of genre analysis in ESP as a pedagogical tool in the teaching of both academic and professional communication. Working within a broad perspective of discourse analysis, he differentiates between discourse analysis as description i.e. text analysis that concentrates on the linguistic aspects of text construction and interpretation, and discourse analysis as explanation that transcends such description to rationalise conventional aspects of genre construction and interpretation (1993: 1). Perhaps Bhatias preferred latter orientation for the study of specialist discourse is aptly encapsulated by the question: Why do the members of a specialised community write the way they do? (ibid.) towards framing genre analysis as an applied discourse analysis model that takes into account the unique rationale underlying different discourse or text types, and the conventions that regularise the related communicative events. More importantly, such a model, claims Bhatia, would be of immediate use to language teachers and applied linguists working within ESP rather than to grammatical theorists in that it is truly applied in nature tending, as it were, towards the specific end of the continuum than the general end (Cf. Bhatias postulation of the theoretical bases of ESP [1986:54]), because in language teaching for specific purposes, it is more realistic, and often desirable, to find pedagogically useful form-function correlation within, rather than across, specific genres [p. 11].). Accordingly, Bhatias significant contributions to the genre-based pedagogical enterprise comprise the explication of a useful modus operandi, as it were, for analysing unfamiliar genres (1993: 22-36), and critically assessing the sociological as well as the psychological aspects of generic conventions with specific reference to Swales 1981 and 1990 (CARS) move structure models for article introductions as well as his own for research article abstracts, and legal discourse with a view towards drawing insights for applied concerns as learning materials design and language reform (the latter particularly in the writing of public legislative documents). Besides introducing the notion of easification (Bhatia, 1983, 1993: 145-6) as an alternative to simplification (pace Widdowson, 1978), both as a text presentation technique and as a learning strategy which enables the learner to simplify the text for himself [sic], depending upon his background knowledge of the subject matter and of the language (1993: 146), Bhatia (1993) has translated his structural and linguistic form-function analyses of scientific and business genres to design a set of self-access materials in English for business and technology (EBT) for use in the national university and two polytechnics in Singapore Produced under the auspices of the UNDP-Government of Singapore Project in the 44

Genre Theory and Genre-Based Pedagogy Teaching of English in Meeting the Needs of Business and Technology, Volumes 1 and 2 of the EBT materials, English for Business and English for Technology respectively, are based on thick descriptions of essential genres to help the learners via series of tasks to understand and use language more effectively in academic and professional settings, and to bring much needed psychological reality and relevance to the learning task, the rationale being that once the conventions and procedures are learnt and adequately understood, the learner can then be encouraged to exploit them creatively to achieve private ends within the socially recognized communicative purposes (1993: 182). The tasks themselves involve learners working with explanatory models of genres as the sales promotion letter, job application, and the laboratory report so that they can identify and internalise the discourse conventions and language strategies in the genres, and use the schematic knowledge to construct appropriate business and scientific texts of their own. Flowerdew (1993), arguing that we cannot hope to predict the wide range of possible genres students of English for Professional Communication will need to participate in (p. 309), chooses to adopt a Hallidayan framework to sensitise learners towards the subtle interplay between the various parameters [of field, tenor and mode] affecting genre and how a change in any one of the parameters is likely to affect the discourse structure and linguistic encoding (ibid.) so that they can identify and understand the conventions of new genres that they encounter outside the classroom. He says that his educational, or process approach to the teaching of genres is a reaction to the product-oriented, training approach adopted in most ESP courses in which genres are presented as rigid, non-varying entities. To help achieve the professed educational ends, Flowerdew proposes six activity types, namely, using the results of genre analysis, metacommunicating or put simply talking about genre exemplars, analysing genres, concordancing of verb forms etc. found in texts, on-line genre analysis, and translation of given genres in the mother tongue to the target language (p. 309-313). The real issue here appears to be one of methodology and the time available for potential gains to be manifest in terms of learning outcomes. In other words, the educational approach, if it is to yield the appreciable gains envisaged by Flowerdew, would entail a considerable length of time, a pragmatic constraint in most ESP teaching/learning situations where cost-effectiveness relative to availability of time and other provisions is often a prevalent factor. However, the approach in question might yet serve useful in less time-constrained narrow angle ESP courses as genre-consciousness raising activity after sufficient work has been accomplished with a limited number of genres prioritised as essential for the learners immediate needs. Swales (1990), in line with his acknowledged prescriptive stance, describes a number of pedagogic tasks that he used to help his Dissertation, Thesis and Prospectus Writing for Non-Native Speakers class to come to grips with essential genres of Academic Communications as memos and request letters to academics (pp. 77-82). He has also emphasised the need to heighten rhetorical awareness of the top-level structure of genres such as article introductions on the part of students by having them mark-up text using colour marker pens for discussion and comment concerning major communicative moves, and reordering jumbled moves and then jumbled sentences within each move (1981: 88, 1990: 213-4). These specific instances of genre learning tasks must be seen as illustrative of the wider framework that Swales has proposed for developing EAP programmes based on the three 45

Assessing EAP Needs for the University concepts of genre, discourse community and learning task central to the theory he has espoused for the understanding of academic discourse and related language learning activities. Since this framework is pivotal within the overall rationale of the present investigation, it is best examined in a separate section after some in-depth deliberations about the attendant concepts so that a case may be made for a more focused pedagogical approach for the teaching of academic research genres (see sections 2.5 and 2.6 of this chapter.). Before that, a consideration of the main issues related to the three major schools of thought would probably be in order to set them in perspective, and thereby address some pedagogical issues impinging on current ESP/EAP initiatives.

3.4 A Comparative Summary of the Issues As indicated by the above title, an attempt is made here to critically place in perspective the issues of non-literary genre definition, social contexts, elements of change, textual boundaries, analytical focus, and pedagogical initiatives to make for better understanding of the theoretical as well as the practical concerns and/or differences among the main scholarly traditions looked at in the foregoing sections. As most of the information presented in Figure 3.6 [mainly abstracted from Hyon (1995, 1996)] has been looked at in isolation earlier, the present condensed, comparative style of presentation has been deemed appropriate commensurate with the purpose of this section. A quick look down the table of description of the various aspects of genre over the three theoretical orientations would appear to indicate that although Australian views about genre and pedagogical applications have developed, as earlier reported, approximately over the same period as New Rhetoric studies and ESP, they have seemingly evolved largely on their own. In other words, there appears to be a closer overall affinity between New Rhetoric and ESP proponents than between either of these traditions and the Australian one. The reasons for this initial perception might be ascribed to the influence of Hallidayan systemic functional linguistics, the unique political and cultural forces that shaped the Australian school of thought, and perhaps to a much lesser degree, the greater geographical separation of the Australian sub-continent from the primary areas of development of the other two schools in North America and Europe. The closer links between the New Rhetoricians and ESP scholars led by John Swales, especially those that relate to the sociocontextual construct of discourse community and attendant communicative functions of genre and to pedagogical initiatives at university level, may be explained to a large extent by the evolution of Swales own research which for our present material purpose began in 1981 (that is, his early work on article introductions) at the University of Aston, UK, and underwent some radical change in focus after he moved in 1985 to Ann Arbor, USA where the influence of rhetoric and composition scholars was most felt. This means that changes in Swales research from a focus on the formal aspects of text structure towards a more sociorhetorical view of texts may be seen as representative of a gradual movement by other ESP scholars in the same direction (see Hyon, 1995: 28-29). However, ESP genre scholarship also appears to have developed along somewhat symbiotic lines with the Australian in relation to how genre itself is conceptualised (compare e.g. staged, social process with ESPs highly structured and conventionalised move sequences or stages) and in the 46

Genre Theory and Genre-Based Pedagogy way texts are approached as synchronic entities with generally invariant features lending themselves, as it were, to analyses mainly of their formal aspects. Not that this is an unusual phenomenon in academic research and scholarship for as Swales rightly acknowledges from the outset in Genre Analysis (1990), his genre-based approach is an eclectic one in that whatever small measure of originality the approach may possess probably lies as much in integrating the work of several different traditions as in new thinking per se (p. 13). He then goes on to outline the myriad influences of a range of both applied and non-applied fields on the approach in question: from language variety studies through discourse analysis to Clifford Geertzs (1983) cultural anthropological notions of local knowledge and significative worlds (ibid.: 14-9). Further, in terms of the overarching concern amongst scholars and practitioners of the three schools of helping students, albeit at different levels of learning relative to each tradition, to become better readers and writers of texts perceived to be important for their study or work, New Rhetoric pedagogy would appear to be the least ideologically charged (see Hyon, 1996: 702). This is because the professed stance adopted by the Australian scholars and educationists to teach the genres of power as a means of empowering disadvantaged student masses might be seen as reflecting to some extent the pragmatism in EAP advocated by Swales (1990: 9; But see Benesch, 1993 and 1994; Allison, 1994, 1996 for discussion of the issues) to help people, both non-native and native speakers to develop their academic communicative competence, perhaps not so much the graduate students and professionals representing the educational and economic elite of the world who might not always need empowerment and liberation (Johns, 1993: 85, cited in Hyon, op.cit.) but the ever increasing numbers of undergraduates both within and without the developed world who arguably need principled induction into how things get done in their chosen disciplines. As the reader has probably noted by now, the scope of implementation of genre-based applications too has been variable across the three genre schools. As Hyon (1996: 10) observes, the New Rhetoricians efforts in this respect have been difficult to assess not only because of the paucity of genre-based instructional guidelines but also because applications have been reported on a case-bycase basis rather than in terms of larger initiatives affecting multiple classrooms. A similar scenario would appear to be the case in ESP where evidence of pedagogical initiatives have tended to remain anecdotal in the absence of recommendations for broader implementation or more programmatic methodology (Swales, 1990; Hopkins and Dudley-Evans, 1988; Nwogu, 1991; Love, 1991) even if these explorations have provided insights into how relevant research may be applied in actual classroom settings. Perhaps Bhatias EBT materials (1993), Weissberg and Buker (1990), Flowerdew (1993), and Swales and Feak (1994) are notable exceptions in that they represent wider curricular projects aimed at facilitating students awareness of the form-function relationships inherent in the texts that they need to read and write in their specialisms and professions. On the other hand, genre applications have proved to be highly institutionalised in the Australian contexts influencing, as it were, the literacy education programmes of entire states with the use of relatively sophisticated mechanisms for the implementation of pedagogy, notably the LERN teaching-learning cycle, and teacher development (Hyon, 1996: 710-11). 47

Assessing EAP Needs for the University Be that as it may, as might be expected the various schools of genre persuasion above are not without their respective detractors concerning the extent to which genre knowledge and its use in social contexts can be explicitly taught. Within the New Rhetoric tradition, Berkenkotter and Huckin (1993), for example, have proffered the view that genre skills are probably better acquired through enculturation as apprentices become socialized to the ways of speaking [or writing] in particular disciplinary communities (p. 482); Dias (1994) argues a similar point (Both citations in ibid.).


Genre Theory and Genre-Based Pedagogy Table 3.6: Genre-related Issues: a Comparative Perspective
Issue/Aspect of Genre 1) Definition North American Rhetoric Studies Social action as response to exigence of specific situation and needs of particular community Fairly narrow focus on specific communities Australian Systemic Functional Linguistics Staged, social process merging form and function as social entity interacting with situation Context of culture (genre) Context of situation (register) Ideological perspective Mainly synchronic view of fixed genres moulded by cultural forces; some notions of diachronic change ESP

Highly structured and conventionalised communicative event characterised by purpose and social function Discourse communities own and shape genres, and are shaped by them Mainly synchronic view of text types and non-variant features; some diachronic approach to genre evolution and change in professional communities Structure recognised by discourse community; concrete existence differentiated via communicative purpose: genres, sub-genres e.g. research articles, abstracts, grant proposals, etc.

2) Context

3) Change

Diachronic evolution in discourse communities shaped by social and historic forces Infinite number of genres owing to multiplicity of rhetorical situations; recognised names, unique structural and stylistic features, and concrete existence, e.g. medical records Sociohistorical and ethnographic methods e.g. the experimental article in scientific communities over different time periods and analysing medical records in context; some analysis of formal features of texts Helping university students and neophyte professionals understand the social contexts and related functions of genres; general focus on writing pedagogy

4) Boundaries

Boundaries not clear due to mixed criteria or categories; Taxonomy of core genres, macro-genres and elemental genres e.g. factual writing comprises procedure, explanation, report, exposition, and discussion Mainly synchronic descriptions of schematic structure and staging; Hallidays register mechanism for examining linguistic realisations of different levels of meaning

5) Analysis

Move analysis to explicate global text schema and linguistic features signalling transitions between moves; sentence level analyses for distribution of linguistic features, and other features such as hedging; some ethnographic research into professional/ academic institutions EAP and EPC settings with explicit focus on teaching rhetorical structures and grammatical features of text types based on text analyses of genres; pragmatic concern to help non-native speakers control the organisational, stylistic, and linguistic conventions of genretexts in their disciplines

6) Pedagogical contexts and goals

Child and adolescent contexts (primary and secondary schools) and adult migrant English education/workplace training situations with emphasis on literacy education; programmatic teaching/learning models and materials


Assessing EAP Needs for the University In Australia, Cope and Kalantzis (1993a: 15) express concern about the danger of genre-based teaching representing transmission pedagogy in which selected texts are presented for uncritical treatment and to the exclusion of other genres that might be culturally more important in students lives. And in EAP, Johns (1993) invokes Freedman (1993) and Fahnestock (1993) (both cited in Johns, ibid.) to warn against going overboard with the teaching of genres as fixed formal entities for it would lead to the Current-Traditional methods in which texts were taught as context-free templates into which content is poured (p. 97). Admittedly, there could be no denying the fact that all concerned practitioners of genre-based pedagogy should be wary about overzealous application of formulaic solutions to often complex textual problems (Cf. Widdowsons [1983] caveat against the unwitting development of restricted competence) and stereotyped presentations of the rather abstract and sometimes abstruse nature of discourse communities. However, on the flip side of the coin is the greater danger of leaving students to their own devices to (hopefully) discover for themselves the process and related intricacies of communication in their field which are often beyond the individuals control (see Horowitz, 1986a: 446-7) and yet acquire the necessary transferable skills (Johns, 1988) to survive the rites de passage of the target discourse community. Herein probably lies the key benefit of genre-driven pedagogical activities of getting student-apprentices to explore, reflect upon and better articulate the ethos of their particular discourse communities, for there is evidence that such students , especially if they are minority or non-native speakers, see those communities as dangerously monodimensional (Swales, 1990: 12). The deployment of rather restrictive models of generic structure and rhetorical action in relation to certain focal texts at the initial stages must be adjudged as temporary on the road to generalisation and ultimately, criticality and creativity in the processing and production of non-literary texts. Such an approach would be amenable along lines similar to Swales following pragmatic exhortation to students (ibid.):
Look, this appears to be the standard way of doing this in your area. Will you please practice (sic) doing it the standard way for me as an exercise. Once you can show me that you both understand and operate the standard (and safe) way, you are free to carry on in another way if you like, especially if the other ways suit your individual intellectual character or your perceptions of your particular writing situation.

All said, the highly summarised discussion of genre theory and genre-based pedagogy presented in the foregoing sections of this chapter show that researchers as well as practitioners in different scholarly traditions located in roughly different parts of the world have conceived aspects of nonliterary text theory and its place in educational practice in quite distinct ways. However, while the primary focus of each tradition may be deemed unique in relation to the underlying original theoretical premises, goals, and settings, it has been clear that there is considerable overlap in several areas across the schools, all of which serve to indicate that it would be futile to approach genre and genre-driven methodology as a monolithic enterprise (which probably explains some of the confusion amongst practitioners reported early in the chapter). Accordingly, the forthcoming chapter looks at, in a principled manner, a genre-based framework for developing EAP programmes at tertiary level thereby addressing, as it were, the issue of its lack reported in the literature.


4 A Genre-Based Framework for EAP

4.1 Conceptual Framework 4.1.1 Genre and Discourse Community

Miller (1984) has conceptualised genres as keys to understanding how to participate in the actions of a community (p. 165), and has located them within the context of communities, adding that the actions inherent in genres help the community do its work, carry out its purposes, reproduce and reconstruct itself, continue its story (p. 9, quoted in Hyon, 1995: 23). Views such as these appear to have moulded contemporary thought amongst scholars in various North American disciplines toward the perception of genres as actions that satisfy the needs of specific groups, and toward describing the shaping context of situation in terms of community. This notion of discourse community emerged in the early 1980s, especially in the field of written communication and composition studies, to refer to distinct academically-oriented groups whose beliefs and values shaped their communicative practices. The interpretation of separate discourse communities attempted to show that individual writers compose not in isolation but as members of communities whose discursive practices constrain the way they structure meaning (Nystrand, Green, and Wiemelt, 1993: 289, in Hyon, 1995: 23). Hyon (ibid.) reports that the construct of discourse community emerged from literary scholar Stanley Fishs notion of interpretive community and its effect on readers to responses to literature. Fish (1980, cited in ibid.) postulated that meaning is external to a text in that it is constructed through the readers response to the text. The response of the reader is, however, not autonomous as it is conditioned by strategies of textual interpretation employed by the group, the interpretive community, of which he is a member. Consequently, Hyon adds, scholars working in composition studies who have adopted Fishs ideas to describe groups whose beliefs influence reader response as well as all types of communicative activities including written genres. For example, Bizzell (1986, 1992) has argued that a communitys world view shapes and is shaped by its genres (p. 24, cited in ibid.). Nevertheless, the definition of discourse community and its purported relationship to its genres have become the subject of some controversy. Various researchers (e.g. Bizzell, 1992; Killingsworth and Gilbertson, 1992; Mauranen, 1992; and Porter, 1988, cited in Hyon, 1995: 24) have questioned the criteria applied to define discourse communities and related to issues concerning a given communitys set(s) of beliefs, its discourse practices, and its level of abstraction i.e. whether or not it had geographic or demographic reality as an entity in its own right. Generally scholars have argued that discourse communities are best conceived as abstractions than as material entities (Hyon, ibid.). Even Swales (1992) has quite recently conceded that perhaps he was too easily seduced by the notion of actual groups of individuals shaping, or owning genres (ibid.). He ponders the potential and problems for a fixed definition of discourse community:


Assessing EAP Needs for the University

There are strong motives for holding the line on discourse community, especially when viewed as the controlling vehicle for genre agency and management. But there are equally strong questions and doubts. Theoretically, is discourse community a robust social construct, a defensible categorization of a particular kind of group? Or is it just a convenient covering metaphor, or worse, a deluding vision allowing us the dubious facility of making tempting generalisation about the world and its words? Or is it essentially a heuristic device for understanding the dynamic processes of qualification, entry, [and] apprenticeship? (Swales, 1993: 17, quoted in Johns, A. M., 1993: 95)

The last of the above rhetorical questions probably approximate Swales present stand on the issue for Hyon (1995: 24) tells us that he now suggests that a community using and shaping genres may not have material demographic and geographic substance (Swales, 1993: 695) but represents an abstract collection of shared interests. Johns, A. M. (1993: 94) observes that although she will not go as far as Prior (1993) who says that discourse communities dont exist, she advises caution in the use of the term to describe communities of readers and writers as there may be communities of one - or there may be huge, broad amorphous communities - and we all belong to some of each. Nevertheless, she concurs with Swales (1990) by saying that we should keep the concept to indicate the plausible connection between communities and their genres, drawing further support from Widdowson (1993) who has noted that such communities are subcultures that manage their communicative affairs in certain ways; in other words, they can be defined in terms of their generic inclinations (p. 34, quoted in Johns, A. M., ibid.). Notwithstanding the problem in conceptualising the construct, she concludes that communities appear to be very real to those who are initiated members. Her research with agronomists in Morocco appears to support this view:
[They] definitely thought of themselves as members of the international agronomic community, and they used published articles and informal written communication among initiated members. They also belonged to local social, religious, departmental and other communities. However, for the purposes of my study of their texts, the international community was the most salient (Johns, A. M., 1993: 95).

Indeed, despite its changing definitions, the concept of discourse community has served to frame North American as well as ESP genre theories for describing the influence of context on texts. Perhaps more importantly for ESP, it has also been a powerful force for interdisciplinarity ... bringing together sociology and rhetoric, ethnography and discourse analysis, composition and ESL (Swales, 1992: 289, quoted in Hyon, 1995: 25). Rhetoric scholars, notably Bazerman (1988) and Schryer (1993), have referred to the contextual influence of discourse community on genres such as the experimental research report and the medical record, respectively (ibid.). Bazerman also views genres as evolving parts of the ongoing activity of a discourse community (1988: 155), a view that quite obviously suggests that it is essential to understand the discourse community in order to understand the contextual influences on its discourse. In sum, then, it would be difficult for us to dispute the notion that there is some kind of dynamic interaction between a discourse community (even if only an abstract one) and its genres and vice versa, at least as far as academic and professional communities are concerned for the discourse that one group of like-minded people use defines the community and is its product as well (Berkenkotter et al, 1991: 191-2; emphasis in original). Although there seems to be some controversy about how distinct 52

A Genre-Based Framework for EAP discourse communities might actually be conceptualised, the concept appears to be a useful one indeed in relation to its twin construct of genre. Further, as we will see in the forthcoming section, genre and discourse community figure prominently together with one other central notion in the pedagogical application of Swalesian genre theory in ESP, that is, the concept of learning task.


Learning Task

Michael H. Longs non-pedagogical definition of task as something that is done, not something that is said (Long and Crookes, 1993: 39) is probably well-known in ESL teaching/learning circles, and clearly serves as a useful point of departure in any discussion of the concept for specifying methodological criteria (see, for example, Kumaravadivelu, 1993: 70, and Nunan, 1993: 58). Giving the above general conception a pedagogical orientation, Crookes (1986) defines task as a piece of work or an activity, usually with a specified objective, undertaken as part of an educational course or at work (p. 1, cited in Long and Crookes, op. cit.). This positioning of task definition within study and/or workplace contexts would at once relate it to ESP curriculum design for Long and Crookes rightly go on to say that such conceptions of task require a needs identification to be conducted in terms of the real-world target tasks learners are preparing to undertake - buying a ticket, renting an apartment, reading a technical manual, solving a math problem, reporting a chemistry experiment, taking lecture notes, and so on - not in terms of (say) notions, functions, topics or situations (op.cit.: 39-40; original emphasis). However, because the concept of task occupies a central position in many theories of classroom teaching and learning (Richards, Platt and Platt, 1992: 373) - in fact, task-based learning has come to be known as TBL (Swales, 1990: 74)- and perhaps owing to the resultant divergence in conceptualisation, the construct appears to have defied clear terminological, conceptual and methodological understanding necessary to establish some kind of defining criteria (Kumaravadivelu, 1993: 69) that would help guide task specification, classification and pedagogical realisation within a given language curriculum. It appears that, not unlike the related concept of learner need, the methodological entity of task, whether it involves overt or covert language use (Long and Crookes, op.cit.), does not have objective reality and would have to be defined according to the theoretical precepts of a particular teaching/learning approach. In other words, the preferred approach to teaching required aspects of language will determine how the concept of task is defined and exploited towards effecting pedagogical outcomes. Accordingly, in language-centred approaches, learners perform form-focused tasks with the use of preselected, presequenced syntactic structures and lexis; in learner-centred approaches that are based on the prior analysis of communicative needs, tasks comprise opportunities for learners to practise preselected and appropriately sequenced notions and functions of language via communication-focused activities; and in learning-centred approaches - for example, Krashen and Terrells (1983) natural approach- the learners attention is focused on the negotiation of meaning in open-ended interaction in the classroom and hopefully beyond it (Kumaravadivelu, 1993: 75). Yet, it is important to take heed of Kumaravadivelus caveat that it would be a fallacy to conclude that the treatment of tasks and task-based pedagogy in the literature 53

Assessing EAP Needs for the University falls neatly into the three categories of language teaching approaches (ibid.: 78) because task-based methodology in practice adopts various combinations of task treatment both in terms of form-based and meaning-based orientations to satisfy learner needs. For example, Samuda and Madden (1985) justify their incorporation of explicit grammar-focused activity in tandem with meaning-focused task in their instructional material design on the basis that in order to be responsive to the needs of students in their program, we have attempted to strike a balance between the dual roles students take on in the classroom: that of language user and that of language learner (p. 84, quoted in ibid.). Swales (1990) also places language-learning tasks centrally in his genre-centred approach to university-level academic English programmes by building on an insightful critique of Breens notion of task, which appears to consider anything done in the language classroom a task, and then on Candlins more elaborate and oft quoted definition of the same construct. According to Breen (1987), task refers to a range of workplans which have the overall purpose of facilitating language learningfrom the simple and brief exercise type to more complex and lengthy activities such as group problemsolving simulations and decision-making (p. 23, cited in Swales, op.cit.: 74). Swales says that this definition is not precise enough to sustain one of the central tenets of TBL, that is, that of enablement or support for Breens simple and brief exercise type must be seen as a mere means to an end rather than as the end in itself (ibid.; see, for example, the task-based materials design models of Edge and Samuda, 1983, and Hutchinson and Waters, 1987: 108-20). Edge and Samuda (1983) say that the putative distinction between method and materials is meaningless in communicative methodology. They therefore tender a methodials approach which is task-based through the mediating stages of information search, information exchange and information synthesis, and incorporating system support at the second and third stages to strengthen the skill-chain (pp. 57-60).Candlin, on the other hand, seems to offer a more structured and comprehensive definition of task, building into it, as it were, several variables that usefully point to its construction as a pedagogical tool:
One of a set of differentiated, sequenceable problem-posing activities involving learners and teachers in some joint selection from a range of varied cognitive and communicative procedures applied to existing and new knowledge in the collective exploration and pursuance of foreseen or emergent goals within a social milieu (Candlin, 1987: 10, quoted in Swales, op.cit.: 74)

Swales isolates several variables in Candlins definition for comment: that of task differentiation, task sequencing, problem-solving, collaborative work between teacher and learner, and the important question of social context. Despite the problems inherent in sequencing tasks (e.g. how objective are the criteria of difficulty and complexity?), Swales considers only the first two variables as being clearly useful for a genre-based approach as appears obvious in his own definition of task below: One of a set of differentiated, sequenceable goal-directed activities drawing upon a range of cognitive and communicative procedures relatable to the acquisition of pre-genre and genre skills appropriate to a foreseen or emerging sociorhetorical situation. (ibid) In other words, Swales does not believe that all tasks in the learning scenario to be problemposing; instead he deems it more appropriate to assign goal-directed status to tasks. The point seems to be moot for much would depend on what constitutes a problem in the minds of learners, and on the fact that what might be problematic for some learners might not be for others even if students 54

A Genre-Based Framework for EAP have to come up with an answer to a question for which they have been given the relevant information (ibid.: 75). Further, Swales dispute with joint action between teachers and learners on tasks is apparently an ideological one, quite possibly reflecting the tension between his largely prescriptive stance and the well-known concern of Candlin and other colleagues at the University of Lancaster to divest the instructor of much of his or her institutionally given authority (ibid.). However, in as much as the rationale for a genre-based approach to the teaching of EAP as pragmatist discourse and the related (necessary?) ideological stance are concerned, Swales arguments appear to be tenable and as such are quoted at some length below:
Although the advocacy of joint planning and class negotiation is surely admirable, and may well be a valuable concomitant of TBL, again I believe that it is unwise to consider it as a necessary condition for a suitable language-learning task. Occasions will surely arise when instructors may feel the need for unilateral action, particularly when a task sequence is going wrong and a repair-type task seems warranted. In a similar way, I would question the need for the exploration and furtherance of goals to be collective, for this would suggest that individual or self-access or out of class activities are somehow not to be considered as tasks but merely have some lesser preparatory status (ibid.: 75-6).

The final point that Swales makes is, of course, about the social milieu, the social context for placing learning tasks which he thinks is rather ambiguous in Candlins definition, that is, Does social here mean socializing, that is, does it refer to a preferred type of classroom dynamic? Or is it taken to mean that the goals are to be constructed within an actual or simulated operational environment? Or both? (ibid: 76, original emphasis). Understandably, in keeping with the ESP/EAP tradition within which learning goals tend to approximate those of the target context, Swales appropriately relates genre-based skills to the sociorhetorical situation. Nonetheless, to be fair to Candlin, we have to take cognisance of the latters comment (as indeed does Swales) that his definition will be evaluated according to different pedagogical situations and purposes (ibid.: 74), and in this broad sense it must be deemed as an elegant prototype of task definition in TBL on the basis of which more specific or restrictive teaching/learning approaches may be modelled. Coming back to Swales espousal of the sociorhetorical situation, task-based activities conducted in the learning situation would be relatable to the acquisition of specific genre skills appropriate for use in the target context in that the task-designer is accorded some leeway to experiment with various kinds of analysis and to explore unusual combinations of texts and tasks (ibid.). A valuable corollary would be the fact that, when the class and the instructor homogeneously belong to a discipline-specific discourse community as in team teaching situations or in various types of adjunct EAP classes, the emerging sociorhetorical situation will be that of moving towards membership of [the] chosen discourse community via effective use of established genres within that community ... [and accordingly] the relatable procedures include rhetorical analysis, discussion, and anticipation of audience reaction seen as a way of meeting discoursal expectations (ibid.: 81, Swales emphasis). The last of the three procedures quoted above from Swales is clearly apt in the advanced writing class that he uses to illustrate his use of genre-based pedagogical tasks with special reference to written academic communication (memos, request letters etc.) (see ibid.: 77-82); still it underscores the need 55

Assessing EAP Needs for the University to address the social function of genre-texts when constructing appropriate learning tasks commensurate with the academic needs of particular groups of students. The final point in the above paragraph concerning the importance of devising suitable pedagogical tasks that meet learners sociorhetorical needs within their chosen academic milieu bring us to the question of a larger framework for programme design in which the central concept of learning task and the closely related constructs of genre and discourse community are appropriately schematised. We now turn to such a framework (probably the only one of its kind in the literature) to see how a taskbased methodology for the teaching/learning of genres may be realised in EAP.

4.2 EAP Programme Development Swales proposed framework is aimed at providing a crude schematization of processes (1990: 68) that can be undertaken by programme designers for developing EAP courses (see Figure 4.1). As it stands, the model indicates four major strands or access routes that are open to the investigator towards designing appropriate genre-based learning activities or tasks. However, as Swales seems to imply, the potential user of this framework would need to take cognisance of two working principles, as it were, if s/he is to approach it from a more manageable perspective. The first of these underlying assumptions relate to the rather fluid nature of relationships inherent in each investigative route or strategy as the processes involved:
are likely to be more overlapping and interconnected than the figure intimates. It suggests, for example, that ethnographic work, of both humble and sophisticated kinds, leads to characterizations of discourse communities, while discourse analysis leads to characterizations of genres. However, the relationships are much less isomorphic than that, for genres are neither simply texts nor discourse communities simply groups of individuals who share attitudes, beliefs and expectations. The horizontal arrows therefore indicate general propensities rather than bounded investigative territories (ibid.)

The second assumption concerns the non-specification of any particular order in which a given needs investigation may proceed for: there is no presumption that exploring discourse communities should precede analyzing genres or that genre analysis should precede the devising of tasks - which is why [in the figure] the links between the levels have been characterized by double-ended arrows. Sometimes texts present the best immediate opportunity for development, sometimes tasks and sometimes the sociorhetorical situation; at other times it may seem most advantageous to pursue several access routes simultaneously (ibid.: 77) Further, given that Swales has assigned learning task a central position in his genre-based to teaching language use, the potential utility of his EAP programme design framework as a task-based needs identification (albeit more for the specification of real-world target needs than for the classroomrelated learning needs of a specific set of students) is an implied rather than an explicitly stated aim of the propose scheme (see e.g. Long and Crookes [1993: 40] who mention Swales framework in this respect as a prerequisite for task-based syllabuses). Therefore, keeping in mind the above assumptions 56

A Genre-Based Framework for EAP and/or caveats and the implicit rationale of the framework, the programme designer can then plan how the necessary information will be collected and specify teaching/learning objectives via the following lines of investigation:



Evaluations and validations


Access routes for the designer

Discourse analysis





Figure 4.1

A Framework for Developing Academic English Courses (Swales, 1990: 69)

Ethnography: Depending on the level of sophistication at the disposal of the programme designer, the method of investigation into the culture of the host institution, and especially the nature of the relevant target discourse communities (both primary and secondary) would include such research techniques as (participant) observation, interview, and the questionnaire survey. Evaluations and validations: This line of action would include mainly the review of available instructional materials and the counter-checking of claims made in guide-books, textbooks etc. concerning the properties and functions of genres relevant to the field of study. Discourse analysis: This activity concerns the analysis of essential genres (previously prioritised via ethnographic techniques), including besides formal properties such as communicative move structure, their epistemic features and linguistic realisation in texts. Swales notes that such analyses should not be concerned solely with finished products but also include drafts, plans, revisions and rehearsals of genres central to a discourse community ... [and] comparisons of processes and products 57

Assessing EAP Needs for the University between apprentice and expert members, and the use of specialist informants [reference] to throw light on those processes and products. Methodology: The general guiding principle for this strand would be that Tasks are seen as having communicative outcomes, just as genres are seen as having communicative purposes and discourse communities communicative goals. The resultant methodology would therefore focus on how effectively the members of the target discourse community are able to communicate their ideas and intentions via established conventions particular to specific genres. Insights into the means by which such rhetorical action is accomplished would necessarily involve the analysis and discussion of text-task situations and the teaching/learning of appropriate form. It appears to be obvious that this final strand is best completed after a substantial amount of information has been amassed and interpreted via the other strands of the scheme, or is at least conducted simultaneously, so that the findings can inform the specification of commensurate target tasks and learning tasks mediated on the one hand by the requirements of specific genres, and on the other, by the concomitant assumptions of task-based activities against a backdrop of ESL learning theory and practice. For the actual collection of the necessary data, even though investigative strategies in general tend to be perceived as being hierarchically ordered from the exploratory phase (case studies), to the descriptive phase (surveys), and on to the explanatory phase to make causal links (experiments) (Swales, op.cit.: 203), a case study approach can be usefully engaged to realise to some extent the potential outcomes of the three phases (Yin, 1984, cited in ibid.), especially if the study involves a representative group of learners rather than a single person. Perhaps more importantly at this point in the present discussion, given the paramount importance of task in Swales conceptualisation of the programme designing process, it would be imperative for the designer to first consider some operating principles of task-based pedagogy in order to devise suitable tasks that form the basis of the genre-based EAP curriculum and course materials. Accordingly, an attempt is made here to review such principles and/or assumptions to establish a methodological framework, as it were, for the design of actual genre-based tasks. The arguments in support of a methodology-driven approach to courses in ESP/EAP would not be hard to find in the literature. For example, Widdowson (1983) has argued for methodology to be placed at the very heart of the of the operation , with course design directed at servicing its requirements and not the reverse (p. 107) and this important need to realign priorities in curriculum development is reaffirmed by Swales (1985: 221). However, regardless of syllabus type, a dichotomy between methodology and content/syllabus specification is generally assumed in language teaching for as Widdowson (1984, 1987, 1990, cited in Kumaravadivelu, 1993: 72) has again argued that it is perfectly possible to adopt a communicative methodology in the realisation of a structural syllabus (ibid.) because the syllabus as a source of teacher reference can only effect learning through methodological mediation (Widdowson, 1990: 130, in ibid.). Hence, in the light of the current vogue in task-based pedagogy in language teaching, Kumaravadivelu postulates a continuum to characterise the historical development leading towards it, as in Figure 4.2:


A Genre-Based Framework for EAP

Content < == Form based driven pedagogy

=== Function based === Task based == > Method pedagogy pedagogy driven

Figure 4.2 Content/method Continuum (Kumaravadivelu, 1993: 73) Correspondingly, as Kumaravadivelu explains: In a predominantly content-driven pedagogy, such as a structural approach, teachers and learners were presented with a preselected, presequenced syllabus, the realization of which constituted the primary, perhaps the only, objective of classroom activity. Teachers ostensibly knew what they were supposed to teach and learners ostensibly knew what they were supposed to learn - mainly because structural textbooks carried, at the beginning of every lesson, a list of grammar and vocabulary items which were the focus of that particular lesson. Thus, content becomes a central tenet of a structural approach. On the other hand, in an essentially method-driven pedagogy such as task-based pedagogy: ... teachers have a remarkable degree of flexibility, for they are presented with a set of general learning objectives, and not a list of specific linguistic items. The essence of a task-based methodology lies in the negotiated interactional opportunity given to learners to navigate their own paths and routes to learning, using their own learning styles and strategies. Learning outcome then is a result of fairly unpredictable interaction between the learner, the task, and the task situation (Breen, 1987). Furthermore, as Foley (1991) argues from the Vygotskyan psycholinguistic perspective, task-based L2 learning is an internal, self-regulating process which will vary according to the individual and cannot specifically be controlled by the syllabus designer or the classroom teacher. It is, however, the teachers responsibility to promote and maximize learning opportunities through adequate and appropriate classroom procedures. Thus, methodology becomes the central tenet of task-based pedagogy (ibid.) The set of quotes above has been produced at some length because it quite clearly illustrates the extreme positions in Kumaravadivelus continuum, and the equally clear reality that most actual teaching/learning situations will fall at various points in between. The second quote in particular, while reflecting the writers ideological inclination towards the Lancaster schools concern for negotiated, interactional, learning-centred learning (as noted by Swales earlier in section 3.5.2), generally frames a task-based methodology (even if the question of needs-based target needs important for specifying learning objectives is not included). For a genre-centred approach to TBL, the fact that the practitioner of task-based methodology has a remarkable degree of flexibility in devising classroom activities (cf. Swales [1990: 76] postulate that learning activities be relatable to genre acquisition) will have added significance, keeping in mind the potential mismatch between task-as-workplan and task-asprocess (see Breen, 1987). In fact, Kumaravadivelu looks to the various language teaching approaches in the literature (ibid.: 77-80) to suggest three categories of TBL classroom procedures that he relates in terms of a hierarchy and schematized as follows (Figure 4.3):


Assessing EAP Needs for the University

Pedagogic tasks ==== > Communicative activities ==== > Structural exercises Figure 4.3 A hierarchy of classroom procedures (Kumaravadivelu, 1993: 80)

He says that the hierarchy is interpreted to mean that learning-centred, pedagogic tasks include some of the characteristics of learner-centred communicative activities which in turn include some of the characteristics of language-centred structural exercises (ibid.; emphasis in original). In other words, as he goes on to add, tasks encompass activities which in turn include exercises of various kinds. This type of categorisation of classroom procedures, besides helping to mitigate to a large extent the conceptual as well as terminological ambiguity concerning task in the literature with reference to linguistic content and classroom methodology (ibid.: 72), claims Kumaravadivelu, is compatible with a learning-centred task-based pedagogy in that its theoretical principles and classroom procedures, unlike those of language-centred and learner-centred pedagogies, are basically grounded in currently available insights derived from psycholinguistic research on L2 development. So be it; however, a genre-centred task-based pedagogy would additionally take cognisance of the distinction between pedagogic tasks and target (genre) tasks, the latter as evinced by a needs assessment (see Long and Crookes, 1993, pp. 30-3 for such a distinction in their critique of Prabhus [1987] task-based procedural syllabus used in the Bangalore Project), would contribute to yet another dimension to Kumaravadivelus hierarchy that could probably be reframed as follows:

Target genre tasks Figure 4.4

== > Pedagogic tasks

== > Communicative == > Structural activities exercises

Reframing the Hierarchy of Classroom Procedures

Long and Crookes (1993: 29-43) in their investigation of units of analysis in language syllabus design in the literature review three types of task-based syllabus which take task rather than word, structure or notion/function as the unit of analysis (and thereby conflating the distinction between content and methodology as discussed in the foregoing paragraphs), namely, the procedural syllabus (Prabhu, 1980, 1984, 1987), the process syllabus (e.g. Breen and Candlin, 1980; Candlin and Murphy, 1987), and what they call task-based language teaching or TBLT (e.g. Long and Crookes, 1987, 1992) as an approach to course design in its own right. While the first two may be directly related to the Prabhus Bangalore Project and to Lancaster radicalism respectively, the third has its roots in the theory as well as the practice of languages for specific purposes (LSP), mainly in EFL contexts (ibid.: 37). A brief but illuminating discussion of the merits and demerits of all three syllabus types is provided by Long and Crookes (op.cit.); for the purpose of summing up the present discussion about the place of genre-based EAP pedagogy in TBLT, the following premises together with the main problems have been extracted from their cited work (pp. 37-42) and presented in summarised form below. 60

A Genre-Based Framework for EAP First, a number of assumptions emergent in a psycholinguistic rationale for TBLT would be as follows: 1) Various types of studies in SLA suggest that formal instruction appear to foster the use of some learning strategies, enhance the rate of learning, and improve the ultimate level of attainment in SL; 2) Most target and pedagogic tasks focus on things that are done, not said (by Longs [1987] definition). Therefore, a needs identification in terms of learners real-world target tasks will be imperative for TBLT to facilitate selection of tasks for inclusion in programme design; 3) Since learners will not work too frequently with target tasks, especially in the early stages in the course, these are classified into task types first. Then pedagogic tasks are derived from these task types and sequenced to form the task-based syllabus. The grading and sequencing of pedagogic tasks will depend on increasing complexity in relation to increasingly accurate approximation to the target task(s) which will in turn depend on the attributes of the tasks themselves e.g. the number of steps involved, the number of solutions to a problem, the number of people involved and the importance of their distinctive characteristics, the level of intellectual challenge posed by the pedagogic task etc. Teacher intervention by way of various pedagogic options (e.g. using different pedagogic task configurations as one-way and two-way, planned and unplanned, open and closed) will also determine the task ordering process; and 4) By implication, learners will be assessed on the basis of task-based criterion-referenced tests i.e., whether students can perform a particular task to a given criterion. Despite the potential of TBLT for course design and/or methodology and materials, the following problems would probably need to be addressed in any prospective application: 1) TBLT is based on limited research, and some of the classroom-based research findings may be open to diverse interpretations because of small scale studies and questionable methodology; 2) Probably the most problematic aspect of TBLT is the question of grading task difficulty and sequencing pedagogic tasks on the basis of valid empirical evidence, making the issue the most crucial one. Long and Crookes (op.cit.: 42) quote Schinner-Erben (1981: 11) on this:
The criterion (sic) which are commonly used to establish traditional sequences are rather feeble. Difficulty is not easily defined and it is of questionable value. Frequency/utility is also difficult to establish and has not been proven helpful in the learning process. And natural sequences do not really exist in sufficient detail to be used as the basis for a precise order, nor have they been shown to facilitate learning in a second language situation.

3) Another problem relates to the finiteness of task as a unit of analysis, for example: How many tasks and task types are there? Where does one task end and the next begins? How many levels of analysis are needed, and what hierarchical relationships might there be between one level and another? 4) For the sake of efficiency and relevance to learners needs, TBLT often needs to be structured to some extent. Such structuring could well negate efforts towards promoting learner autonomy besides interfering with general learning processes. 61

Assessing EAP Needs for the University 5) There has been a dearth of evaluation studies of complete TBLT programmes that have been implemented, not to mention the lack of commercially published materials based on TBLT principles. The few that do exist have not been rigorously evaluated to validate current thinking in the field. The discussion so far in this major section of the chapter has centred on deliberations concerning Swales espousal of a framework for academic English programme design, predicated on the central concepts of genre, discourse community and learning task, and has explored some general principles of task-based pedagogy that have served to inform some of the issues related to methodology and materials design left open in the framework. However, as might have become obvious by now, the genre-based pedagogical application proposed by Swales for tertiary-level EAP is close to what has come to be known as narrow angle ESP, and as he points out himself, it is by no means universally accepted (1990: 72). Further, in the light of all that has been said concerning TBL above, and considering Swales explication of the materials design process for a group of academic writing course participants who had had 18 months graduate experience, although clearly illustrative and insightful, one would probably wonder if a correspondent approach could be adopted to address the discipline specific literacy needs of undergraduate students. Perhaps without relinquishing the essence of the genre approach, the course designer could look, at least for the design of the initial stages of the course, at the model for EAP materials design proposed by Hutchinson and Waters (1987: 118; see Swales, op.cit.), which is built around the four basic elements of input, content focus, language focus and task, even if judiciously selected authentic genre-texts may still be used. In any case, a focused investigation of issues, both theoretical and pedagogical, concerning important research process genres vis--vis the present research problem concerning TESOL undergraduate needs would probably shed more light on the matter. Viable solutions can then be considered on the basis of the empirical findings procured. At the same time, it would also serve to account for the linguistic, psycholinguistic as well sociolinguistic validity of genre-based comprehension of academic texts within an EAP context. To this type of review of issues in the literature we now turn in the final section of this chapter.

4.3 Reading Research Genres: Theoretical and Pedagogical Perspectives 4.3.1 Schematic Structure of Two Genres

It is probably known that even though genre analysis does not, as a matter of principle, exclude spoken discourse, most of the research in the field has been concerned with written academic discourse, particularly research articles (Jordan, 1997: 231) probably because of the relatively easy availability and portability of the written text form (Myers, 1991: 2). Equally, most studies of academic research genres have tended to focus on the study of moves by which a writer develops his argument and communicative purpose in a given genre (Swales 1981;1990), and the importance of such genre studies and that of the classification and description of genres for both teachers and learners of English is now well-documented (Bhatia 1993; Hopkins and Dudley-Evans 1988; Dudley-Evans 62

A Genre-Based Framework for EAP 1994). Although the applications of genre studies are often focused on academic writing, their relevance for an academic reading course cannot be over stressed. For example, taking what is arguably the most researched and/or reviewed Swalesian genre, the research article introduction, Williams (1984: 86; postscript to Swales, 1984) has observed that an understanding of the structure of Article Introductions ... offers a predictable structure against which the reader can mesh the specific content of the Introduction, and thus it allows easier processing of what is often rather difficult reading matter. In this quote, R. C. Williams clearly appears to be referring to the issue of the assumed relationship between genre and schemata. This issue will be dealt with a little later in this section after a brief look at some typical investigations of genre in the EAP field beginning with, of course, Swales pioneering model for research article introductions. Swales (1981, 1983, 1984) analysed the introductions to 48 randomly selected academic articles, 16 of which were from the hard sciences, 16 from biology/medicine, and 16 from the social sciences (education, management and linguistics). He abstracted a four-move pattern that appeared to be common to a majority of the relatively short introductions he investigated (see Figure 4.5 for a schematic presentation of the pattern). Much of the theoretical assumptions underpinning genre has already been presented in relevant sections earlier on in this chapter. What remains to be presented here with specific reference to Swales rationale for postulating the research article introduction as a distinctive genre is perhaps captured in the following intimation about the private intentions of the article writer to create a research space, although we probably would not go so far as to look at it as the dark side (Swales and Najjar, 1987: 175; original quotation marks): At the outset, the writer of an introduction has the option of trying to establish that his or her particular area of research is of some significance. This is most commonly done by claiming that that the area is nonperipheral; authors may claim that there is interest in it or that it is important or relevant, or that it has been widely investigated, or that standard procedures have evolved (Move 1). This done, Move 2 summarizes selectively the relevant previous research. The rhetorical role of Move 3 is to show that the reported previous research is not complete ... by indicating a gap in the previous work, by raising a question or by indicating that a new explanation is needed. ... Finally, in Move 4 the gap is turned into the research space. (ibid.) Even as the above type of explanation about the writers communicative moves is given due attention in many of Swales writings, the concept move is probably best operationalised in Nwogu (1997: 122): The term Move means a text segment made up of a bundle of linguistic features (lexical meaning, propositional meanings, illocutionary forces, etc.) which give the segment a uniform orientation and signal the content of discourse in it. Each Move is taken to embody a number of constituent elements or slots which combine in identifiable ways to constitute information in the Move. Moves and their constituent elements were determined partly by inferencing from context, but also by reference to linguistic clues in the discourse, ... . Further, he lists a useful procedure that can be used by the analyst (or by the teacher to metacommunicate/demonstrate how genre analysis is done towards raising rhetorical awareness in 63

Assessing EAP Needs for the University his/her students) to identify specific moves in the schematic structure of a genre-text: 1) focusing on the propositional content and identifying important information; 2) searching for linguistic clues as function words, explicit lexical expressions, verb forms, discourse conjuncts and markers, headings and sub-headings, summary statements etc.; 3) classifying and paraphrasing discourse content on the basis of linguistic cues; 4) assigning discourse functions to information in text segments; and 5) validating functions in relation to other similar texts (ibid.: 122-3).


Establishing the Field A) Showing Centrality i) by intent ii) by importance iii) by topic-prominence iv) by standard procedure B) Stating Current Knowledge C) Ascribing Key Characteristics Summarising Previous Research A) Strong Author-Orientation B) Weak Author-Orientation C) Subject Orientation Preparing for Present Research A) Indicating a Gap B} Question-Raising C) Extending a Finding Introducing Present Research A) Giving the Purpose B) Describing the Present Research i) by this/the present signals ii) by Move 3 take-up iii) by switching to First Person Pronoun




Figure 4.5

4-Move Structure of Research Article Introductions (Swales, 1981)

The validity of the moves and move cycles themselves with specific reference to research article introductions has been tested by Crookes (1986) whose analysis of 96 scientific articles produced a relatively high level of overall inter-rater agreement at 0.6 (pp. 62-5). Crookes emphatically states that his analysis has important pedagogical implications for the design of reading rather than writing [materials], because of the product-based nature of the analysis ... aimed at making salient the possible structures of article introductions, devices used to signal them, and the way relations between the topics of different segments contribute to the text as a whole on the basis that the analysis that such materials are to be based on must be a valid reflection of discourse structure in target texts, and proven so (p. 65). In short, the value of providing the EAP reader with an empirically validated schema to help make his/her task easier cannot be emphasised enough. However, mainly as a result of his subsequent research with longer article introductions in which move cycles were clearly manifest and in which was evident the increasing practice of spreading 64

A Genre-Based Framework for EAP evidence throughout the introduction (Swales, 1990: 140, with respect to Jacoby, 1986), and perhaps more importantly because of the reported difficulty of separating Move 1 and Move 2, Swales (1990) proposed a revised three-move Create a Research Space (CARS) model (Figure 4.6).

Move 1 Step 1 Step 2 Step 3

Establishing a territory Claiming a territory and/or Making topic generalization(s) and/or Reviewing items of previous research Declining rhetorical effort

Move 2 Establishing a niche Step 1A Counter-claiming or Step 1B Indicating a gap or Step 1C Question-raising or Step 1D Continuing a tradition Weakening knowledge claims Move 3 Occupying the niche Step 1A Outlining purpose or Step 1B Announcing present research Step 2 Announcing principal findings Step 3 Indicating RA structure Increasing explicitness Figure 4.6 A CARS Model for Article Introductions (Swales, 1990: 141)

Nevertheless, Swales theoretical move to modify the original model has been questioned by Bhatia (1993) on the grounds that Swales has inadvertently perhaps, ... created a more serious problem by combining the two because there are more valid arguments for maintaining an individual status for Move 2 (summary of previous research or what is popularly known as literature review in research reporting): the importance of recognising and upholding scholarly tradition, and correspondingly, the necessity for researchers to demonstrate in a focused and independent way their knowledge of the relevant literature in their chosen field (p. 85). This appears to be fair criticism for even if Swales had other intentions, for example the need to shift focus to the writers clear intention 65

Assessing EAP Needs for the University to create a research space, this is in any case highlighted in Move 3 of the original model. A useful point that Bhatia makes concerning the observed phenomenon of citations being scattered throughout the introduction (and in the light of what is to be said shortly, elsewhere in the article) is that citations are like other linguistic forms in texts in that they can also be assigned different discoursal values specific to their location in the macro-structure and to the particular communicative purpose or move they serve (p. 87). Yet another comment that is made by Bhatia concerns the distinction between discriminative and non-discriminative strategies vis--vis the moves and steps in both models proposed by Swales (Bhatia, op.cit. 29-32). Clearly, even as the said distinction is implied rather than overtly explained by Swales in his various versions of interpretation of his models (Swales, 1981, 1986, 1990), it would be an important one for gaining a deeper insight into the conceptualisation of moves as discriminative elements of generic structure and strategies as non-discriminative options within the allowable contributions available to an author for creative or innovative genre construction (Bhatia, op.cit.: 32). Of equal importance would be the characterisation of the whole move structure of an article as cognitive (the authors) structuring. Here, Bhatia establishes a discernible link between the organisational features of text in EAP genre theory and schematic structuring in schema theory, the difference being that the former is a property of genre, that is, the cognitive organisation conventionally used by members of the target discourse community while the latter remains the individual readers approach/response to a genre-text (ibid.). Bhatia does not go on to make the inevitable connection within a genre learning/teaching context, but in the light of Crookes concluding remarks mentioned above, we can reasonably assume that the extent to which the readers internalised schematic structure for a particular class of texts approximates the cognitive structuring of that class would determine the extent to which successful comprehension might be facilitated, provided that other factors remain favourable. Following Swales conceptualisation of moves for article introductions, Bhatia (1993: 78-9) has proposed a 4-move structure for the research article abstract as a genre that is related to but recognisably distinct from the introduction. Occurring in isolation or at the beginning of an article that it represents (but usually without the content of the articles introductory section), an abstract is an abbreviated, accurate representation of the contents of a document, preferably prepared by its author(s) for publication with it (ANSI, 1979: 1, cited in ibid.: 78). As such, it is succinctly described by Bhatia in terms of What the author did, How the author did it, What the author found, and What the author concluded and further schematised as a prototypical text type as follows in Figure 4.7:
1. 2. 3. 4. INTRODUCING PURPOSE: indication of authors intention, thesis or hypothesis; may also include the goals or objectives of research or the problem that the author wishes to tackle. DESCRIBING METHODOLOGY: indication of the experimental design, including information on the data, procedures or methods used and, if necessary, scope SUMMARIZING RESULTS: important aspect of abstracts where author mentions observations and findings and suggests solutions to the problem PRESENTING CONCLUSIONS: to interpret results and draw inferences; typically includes some indication of the implications and applications of the present findings. A 4-Move Structure for Research Article Abstracts (Slightly adapted from Bhatia, 1993: 78-9)

Figure 4.7


A Genre-Based Framework for EAP While models and examples of the above kind would certainly be indicative of the analysis and validation process, the larger task for the analyst as well as for the consumer of genre analysis research would be to account for the independent status of a given text type as a genre in relation to any competing ones. This would be in terms of the rationale for the genres existence sanctioned by the discourse community, and by extension, with regards to the discourse functions manifest in its move structure. Put simply, how much overlap is there between the respective rationale and/or the functional role of, say, two apparently related text types? More specifically, taking as examples the present instances of the research article abstract and the introduction, if only their respective prototypical exemplars, how do their schematic move structures compare? Abstracts are known to be pervasive in scholarly and scientific writing (Kaplan et al., 1994: 402), and although as noted above they are often found together with research or review articles in academic/professional journals, they can occur in isolation (e.g. conference abstracts in the refereeing process- see Kaplan et al., op.cit.; Swales, 1990: 181)-indeed, the abstract can be the only piece of academic writing that needs to be done in English in some ESL/EFL situations (Bloor, M., 1984, cited in ibid.: 179). This means that the abstract represents the whole article providing all the crucial information albeit in a distilled, compressed form (cf. Bhatias model above) whereas the introduction, again as noted above, introduces the article without divulging everything that is reported in the main written piece, playing, as it were, a persuasive role in making the present story (i.e. the piece of research being reported) relevant by placing it appropriately in the context of the first story, i.e. previous research in a particular field of study (Bhatia, op.cit.: 82). That being the difference in rationale, a comparison of the move structures will show that the only common move is the last one of the introduction. As Bhatia sums up the issue, the article introduction ends where the abstract begins. It might be argued that this unique relationship between the two genres can be utilised by the informed EAP learner as a cost-effective way of reading journal articles at the literature survey and/or information seeking stage of an academic task or project. However, despite the widespread use of abstracts in academia and its potential use for insightful genre study as well as for providing a window on the nature of disciplinary discourse communities, the genre remains a neglected area of investigation in discourse analysis (Swales, op.cit.: 181). For an EAP genre-based reading perspective, the number of available studies focusing on abstracts is even more limited; apart from those mentioned above, Salager-Meyers analysis of discoursal flaws in medical English abstracts (1990) and her investigation of how structural variables affect readers construction of meaning from the same genre (1994b) appear to be among the remaining few.


Schemata and Genre Comprehension

Assuming that the immediately preceding discussion, by examining two prototypical exemplars in relation to their communicative purpose, points to some kind of educational value for undertaking genre analysis, what is probably important at this juncture is to explore how the physical manifestation of the genre i.e., its schematic structure of moves or its overall rhetorical organisation would concern issues relating to the role of schemata (Carrell and Eisterhold, 1988:76-81), their origin, their nature 67

Assessing EAP Needs for the University and their relationships to genre (Swales, 1990:83) and by extension, we may add, genre comprehension and acquisition. As Swales conceptualisation of the process (ibid.: 84) illustrates, (see Figure 4.8) prior knowledge not only interprets facts and concepts but also calls up interactive procedures or routines (Widdowson, 1983: 57). Other labels in the literature for this type of procedural knowledge would include scripts (Schank and Abelson, 1977), scenarios (Sanford and Garrod, 1981), and frames (Van Dijk, 1977). Further, such procedures may derive schematic information from previous experience as well as knowledge of prior texts, thereby contributing to the formation of what Carrell (1983) has called formal schemata, that is, background knowledge of the formal, rhetorical and organisational knowledge of the different types of texts (p. 1). In this way, both content and formal schemata facilitate the recognition and comprehension of genres and, possibly, inform the production of exemplars. However, as in many areas of research concerning the role of schemata, the question of how content and formal schemata interact, and of the relative contribution of each schema type (ibid.) towards effective comprehension, appears to be an open one.

PRIOR KNOWLEDGE previous experience prior texts (oral and written)

facts and concepts


information structures/ rhetorical elements/ style

content schemata

formal schemata genre (allowable contributions)

Figure 4.8

Genres, Schemata and Acquisition (Swales, 1990: 84)

Carrell, in her attempt to address the issue by working with two groups of ESL students of Muslim and Catholic backgrounds (1987) reading four texts of differential culture-specific content schemata and formal schemata, concludes that in mixed conditions (familiar content, unfamiliar rhetorical form; unfamiliar content, familiar rhetorical form) (p. 461), content schemata is more significant than formal schemata, that is:
When either form or content is unfamiliar, unfamiliar content poses more difficulties for the reader than unfamiliar form. However, perhaps not too surprisingly, rhetorical form is a significant factor,


A Genre-Based Framework for EAP

more important than content, in the comprehension of the top-level episodic structure of a text and in the comprehension of even sequences and temporal relationships among events (p. 476; Carrells italics).

Swales criticises Carrells research, admittedly from a genre-specific perspective, on account of its reliance on decontextualised textual samples that fit broad textual categories such as historical narrative or Meyers five types of expository organization which has therefore resulted in some neglect of communicative purpose and of looking at text in terms of genre-specific organization (op.cit.: 87) (Cf. Carrells later research into the quantity and quality of subjects recall information as functions of awareness of text structure (1992) in which she uses Meyers (1975, 1979) text categories and prose analysis procedures.). This appears to be a valid point because the critical issue is the way in which the textual research materials have evidently been conceptualised (Swales calls the text types in question Hagiographies with appropriate communicative purposes which are generally unaffected by the chronology of event sequences in the text) and how and whether the readers personal reactions are correlated with it (ibid.: 88).


Genre Awareness

In many ways, as we will see below, this concept is central towards explaining a genre-specific approach to written discourse comprehension and production. Swales calls this schema-based construct rhetorical consciousness to refer to formal schemata [that] need to be activated and developed, not so much as rigid templates against which all texts are forced to fit, but more as caricatures which self-evidently simplify and distort certain features in an attempt to capture general identity (1990: 213; italics in original). An earlier statement by Blanton (1984) is deemed equally definitive: the readers ability to perceive the notional blocks that comprise a text and the hierarchical relationships that conceptually align them. Swales argues that there is pedagogical value in sensitising students in this way, not only in terms of the perception of rhetorical structures as well as their effects on textual meaning but also by way of helping them to schematise the structures themselves towards developing an understanding of what it is that allows them to recognize a section as Method or Discussion [e.g. in a research paper] , and what it is that allows them to argue that one section is more or less effective than another, (Swales, op.cit.) adding that such consciousness-raising elements in learning activities are probably as essential as similar concerns in grammar teaching. Compare this argument, for example, with that aiming to explicate the concept of noticing for grammar: One interesting dimension here is explicitness. We may wish to make a feature of the grammar very explicit indeed to our learners, for example, by providing overt metalinguistic explanations. Alternatively, we could make it very implicit, perhaps by marking a target form in a different colour in the text (Batstone, 1996: 273).


Assessing EAP Needs for the University In fact, the colour-coding of different segments of text to reflect its rhetorical structure has been a recommended consciousness-raising activity for students in Swales (1981) as is the reordering of text segments in Swales (1990: 213-4). Similar teaching procedures explained in Hill et al. (1982) in conjunction with specific reading strategies for the experimental research article (pp. 338-43) will be indicative and germane to the present discussion. For the purpose of actual classroom application, it might be important to note that in the above recommendations for text sequencing activity, both individual sentences and paragraphs are mentioned as the unit of text to be worked on by students. Finally, the potential benefits that may be reaped by infusing genre awareness activities, even in a heterogeneous class of EAP learners, are many and multi-fold, especially in view of the multifarious language needs of students who as aspiring neophytes in their chosen field/community must not only be able to comprehend and produce its research genres but also learn to control the metalanguage associated with these textual products apart from, perhaps most importantly, the appreciation that the course of instruction is indeed relevant to their needs. Correspondingly, Swales account of the probable gains for the student are quite exhaustive, and are quoted below in full for its flavour and implied conviction:
1. 2. 3. 4. The problem of heterogeneous content interests in the class (medics and economics) is partially if temporarily sidestepped. Insight into rhetorical structure is useful for both the reading and the writing of research. General features are examined before specific details. Discussion of rhetorical structure usefully develops in participants an increasing control of the metalanguage (negotiations of knowledge claims, self-citation, metadiscourse, etc.) which, in turn provides a perspective fro critiquing their own work as that of others. Rhetorical structure may have novelty value, and may thus identify the class as being different from others that participants have experienced. The rhetorical element is likely to present the instructor as having something to contribute over and above methodology. (Swales, 1990, p. 214)

5. 6.

As the ethnomethodologists would probably see it, among other advantages that no doubt exist the total impact of the above on the tertiary ESL learners English language class is what counts as sound pedagogy.


Some Pedagogical Perspectives

Clearly working within a genre perspective, but adopting a more qualitative approach, Hewings and Henderson (1987) examined the effects of teaching the macro-structure model of economic review articles on not academically well-qualified adult students reading abilities. Acting as teacherresearchers in an introductory economics course, they found that teaching the Situation-Policy-ResultTheory-Conclusion move structure of bank review articles, which had previously been difficult reading matter, helped students to comprehend the texts better and, perhaps more purposefully, in a critical manner:


A Genre-Based Framework for EAP

The macro-structure model itself was criticised, but more importantly, the students were able to discuss the article using a cohesive framework. They could see that the author was discussing a policy in terms of a situation and they were enabled to evaluate the authors arguments through perceiving this purpose (p. 171).

Despite the fact that the discussion and evaluation activity stimulated among students via use of the generic structure resulted in different decisions involving the propositional content of the articles, the researchers state that It is of less consequence what decisions are made than that the discussions generated encourage greater awareness of the overall structure (p. 173). They conclude that reading specialised texts such as review articles and textbooks (which was also investigated but was considered less problematic) can be viewed as the development of new sets of overlapping schemata related to the distinctive structures of different genres or sub-genres. This case study has been regarded anecdotal in its pedagogical claims (Swales, op.cit.: 89), not to mention its relative lack of empirical rigour comparable to Carrells investigation above. Notwithstanding this methodological limitation, it must be seen as having made a small but significant contribution towards validating a genre-based pedagogy for reading development in that, as the researchers have claimed, it brings together two strands of applied linguistics: work on genre in the field of text analysis, and the development of schema-based approaches to the study of reading (p. 156); in short, a link of sorts between genre and schemata. Similarly, while Hewings and Henderson worked with native speakers, Hyon (1995) conducted a case study using non-native ESL speakers at university level, comprising both undergraduates and postgraduates from different disciplinary fields, to report positive effects of a genre-based reading course (that she taught for a whole term) on the students comprehension of text structure and overall abilities in reading. However, in her attempt to address the need for more rigour in the research effort, she embraced a quasi-experimental design to assess, via before-after type reading exercises, whether students comprehension of genre features had changed over the term in relation to four different written genres: two newspaper genres (what she calls hard news story, and the feature article) and two academic genres (textbook and research article). Genre features operationalised for evaluating the appropriacy of students responses to the reading exercise comprised elements related to topic type, structure, language style, or purpose of the text. Non-genre features were coded as content in the analysis as these referred to general informational qualities in the texts rather than to specific rhetorical elements. Beginning-of-semester as well as end-of-semester interviews were also conducted to elicit the perceptions of students in the experimental group regarding the possible impact of the instruction on their reading abilities. Hyon reports that students in the experimental group generally performed better than their control group counterparts in the reading exercises albeit more so in relation to the linguistically-signalled features and possibly lexically-marked features (interview data) of the genres under study particularly with respect to topic-type/content and text structure. Comments procured via interviews with three control/comparison group students also suggested that the course had heightened students awareness of certain genre features. Interestingly, the fact that some of the students (but not as many as in the experimental group) in the comparison were indeed able to describe certain rhetorical features in the written response to the reading exercise led Hyon to surmise that at least 71

Assessing EAP Needs for the University some of the students had rhetorical sensitivity without the ... course and perhaps without any genrespecific instruction at all (p. 268). Overall, she concludes that because the course focused on explicitly teaching the prototypical rhetorical features of selected genres and did not fully explore the complex and subtle variations that may occur within groups or classes of texts (ibid.: 273), the results of the study indicate that such teaching may be limited in developing only selected types of knowledge important for reading comprehension. While this may indeed be true as a result of constraints of design and/or implementation, from a different angle, limitations such as those in Hyons study as well as in Hewings and Hendersons above (problems with propositional content of articles) would appear to point to the need to further focus learner attention and related skill development at the more micro levels of rhetorical organisation in texts besides macro-level correlations of form and function. In other words, learners may also need to be trained, perhaps more practically in a full-fledged course, to understand that product-oriented form-function relationships apparently manifest in the texts presented to them may not always represent the only or, in some contexts, the most acceptable ways of expressing a purpose (Tickoo, 1993: 56). For example, Paltridge (1996) invokes Bibers (1988) distinction between genre and text type to propose complementary perspectives on the structure of texts: generic structure based on genre category membership (formal letter of complaint, experimental research report etc.), and text structure based on patterns of rhetorical organisation internal to the text (problem-solution, procedure, description etc.). Pointing out that many of the suggestions made in the literature on genre analysis for dealing with the generic structure of texts may equally be applied to the teaching of textual structures (p. 241), he suggests various classroom activities that compare and contrast the structural perspectives in question. Two other pedagogical approaches that are clearly based on a genre-specific perspective on text macrostructure are Thomas (1994) and Hall et al. (1986). The former argues for a discourse-based approach to EAP reading/writing instruction in teaching the research article as a whole in terms of the generally-recognised Problem-Solution discourse pattern as well as the functional role of citations with respect to communicative purpose of the moves in the macrostructure (Thomas, op.cit., p. 95). Hall et al. (1986), on the other hand, describe how they designed an information structuring course at the Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok to promote among students a willingness to apply critical analysis to the way that ideas can be related to each other, both within the text and beyond the text to the wider body of scientific knowledge and development in response to Poppers (1970) plea that all teaching on the university level (and if possible below) should be training and encouragement in critical thinking (quoted in Hall et al., op. cit.: 149). The focal texts addressed in the course are research articles and abstracts, the pedagogical initiative being focused on macrocohesion vis--vis Swales 4-move pattern (1981) for the article introduction and the generalised Introduction-Method-Results-Discussion for both genre-texts, and on micro-cohesion in relation to both genre-texts to explicate the relationships between ideas and how language is used to achieve it. An important, if not crucial, aspect of the content-based approach to teaching the genres in question above appears to be the rationale to develop in the student an understanding of the kind of assumptions, both explicit and implicit, writers make in scientific writing depending upon whether or not the reader is expected to challenge the assumptions. Here, Hall et al. (op. cit.) argue that implicit assumptions constitute the givens and therefore the writer does not expect the reader to challenge 72

A Genre-Based Framework for EAP them; however, explicit assumptions are stated thereby allowing them to be challenged (p. 153), and the critical ability of the reader being that of discerning the relationships between writers making assumptions and forming hypotheses that can be tested to validate their assumptions within the wider body of knowledge in the field. This argument is then related to the significance of the 4-move pattern inherent in article introductions (cf. Swales rationale for the genre - to create research space) which the informed student can evaluate critically in terms of Is there a genuine gap to be filled?; Is this gap worth filing?; and is the link between the present research and the gap established? (ibid.). Clearly, this line of reasoning would be very useful for the teaching of research article introductions and abstracts in that the link between the two genres can be established via the notion of gap in the following way (Figure 4.9): Hall et al. (1986) say that their information-structuring course aims to present various patterns of thought (concepts, hypotheses, and procedures) that are both implicit and explicit in scientific writing for discussion and subsequent validation and/or modification on the basis that their consideration can contribute to an improved appreciation of what may be involved in organizing ideas, in producing a text, and ultimately, in having a text interpreted by a reader (p. 147). They claim that this type of procedural activity allows students to engage critically in the examination of ideas and their presentation in academic texts, and that models presented or developed in class are intended neither as prescriptive, generative nor even as descriptive tools as these are always open to student discussion (p. 158).

INTRODUCTION (4-Part Structure) 1. Establish the field 2. Describe previous research 3. Indicate the gap in previous research} ABSTRACT 4. Announce the present research } =======> 1. Re-establish the field/gap 2. Refer to the methodology 3. Evaluate the findings /Draw conclusions --------------------------------------------------------4. Define the limitations of the study/ Make recommendations = New information gap

Figure 4.9

Patterns of Writing (Hall et al., 1986: 156)

While this type of methodology appears to suggest some affinity to Atkinsons (1997) more structured cognitive apprenticeship approach to critical thinking in TESOL via the methods of modelling, coaching, and fading in content domain-specific instruction (p. 88), its utility probably lies in its potential for universal applicability across disciplines, and its relevance for both native and non-native speakers of English. 73

Assessing EAP Needs for the University 4.4 Analysing ESP/EAP Needs 4.4.1 The Nature of ESP

ESP is a prolific language teaching activity world-wide which draws upon three major realms of knowledge: language, pedagogy and the students/participants specialist area of interest (Robinson, 1991:1). Since emerging as the most important strand of LSP (Languages for Specific Purposes) in recent years, the enterprise has assumed a protean nature in that it has become increasingly sensitive to changes in terms of the language, pedagogy and content of students study/work area, and as a result, a multitude of approaches is used in its learning/teaching (ibid.). The point to be made here is that a particular ESP approach or methodology employed would depend on the specific context where the teaching/learning is to take place (and, of course, the prior specification of the learners needs, but we will come to this later). Suffice at this stage to say that the chief defining characteristic of ESP is what Richards (1989: 215) has called delicacy of context, and more importantly, which clearly distinguishes it from English language teaching in general. For want of a definition, what is ESP? Robinson (op.cit.) concedes that it might be impossible to produce a universally applicable definition of ESP, and Hutchinson and Waters (1987: 18-9) have deigned to say what ESP is not. Nevertheless, definitions are useful in that they help refine the probable interpretation of an idea or a construct so that it can be set apart from close ones. Hence, turning to Strevens (1988: 1-2), ESP may be defined as a particular case of the general category of special-purpose language teaching that takes into account a number of absolute and variable characteristics: First, ESP programmes are absolute in the sense that they satisfy the specific needs of a given group of learners, are content-specific as far as particular disciplines or vocations are concerned, and are focused on the use of appropriate language (discourse structure, syntax, lexis, semantics etc.). Secondly, ESP is variable in that it is reflective of its customary nature rather than necessary conditions, that is, it might be restricted to particular language skills (e.g. reading only), and to teaching/learning that is not based on any prescribed methodology. In the light of these characteristic features of ESP, it is not difficult to see why it is often perceived in contrast with General English. Theoretically speaking, then, there are probably as many types of ESP as there are contextladen purposes and purpose-laden contexts, and quite understandably, special names, related acronyms, and ESP family trees abound in the introductory literature. The main distinction that often needs to be drawn is between EAP (English for academic purposes) and EOP (English for occupational purposes) even if EST (English for science and technology) is a broad area that cuts across both the above major strands of ESP (Robinson, 1991: 2) and which Swales (1988: xiv) considers to be the senior branch of ESP encompassing, as it were, work in academic and/or occupational needs. However, another useful distinction relevant to the present study that should be made is that between EGAP (English for General Academic Purposes) and ESAP (English for Specific Academic Purposes) (Jordan, 1997: 4-5) to distinguish between common core (study skills), and subject-specific orientations respectively. So, where do we place General English? Bloor and Bloor (1986) have argued convincingly against equating General English (what they call a convenient term for a constellation of pseudo74

A Genre-Based Framework for EAP varieties such as `classroom English, `foundation English, `common core English or what have you) to the Common Core of essentially linguistic features underlying all varieties of the language. In other words, General English is as much a variety of English as the different types of ESP are. Since no speaker can have a command of the Common Core in a vacuum, Bloor and Bloor conclude that There is no reason whatsoever why the Common Core cannot be acquired from a so-called `special variety just as well as from a more usual classroom variety (ibid. 19). The teaching of general classroom English in the public school system appears, however, to be considered sacrosanct in terms of satisfying some kind of long term social, cultural, and political need (Michael Wallace, 1995: personal communication) though often unacknowledged, and of nonobvious purpose; cf. the coining of the term TENOR - the Teaching of English for No Obvious Reason, no reason obvious to the learner, that is, by Gerry Abbott [1981]). Related reasons for the teaching of general English might include the notion that it would serve as a novel input in the process of education for life and the probably popular one that children need to know another language other than their mother tongue, and perhaps more logically, the belief that learning English might be useful in that it provides a window on the world by virtue of the languages position as the lingua franca. However, learners in most general English situations would appear, almost as a rule, to be quite oblivious to these reasons to discern any kind of purpose from them. As Abbott (op.cit.) explains, Most of the worlds learners of English are schoolchildren ... [who] are too young or too distant from any real communication in English to have any identifiable needs. At the tertiary level, students are known to respond to the perceived encroachment of school-type general English courses on their hardearned status as university students by voting against it with their feet. Nevertheless, the point in the Bloors caveat above appears to have two serious implications for ESP programme/materials designers at large, especially at tertiary level where in most cases students have undergone more than a decade of instruction in a `general variety of English and who now need to use the language in fairly well defined domains of use. First, we need not teach the tertiary student `remedial English or any other form of `general English in order to prime him/her to study more effectively. As Swales has recently observed (1990:2): For if there is one factor that has debilitated academic English programmes more than any other around the world, it has been the concept of remediation - that we have nothing to teach but that which should have been learnt before. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, corpus-based studies of language use in particular registers have raised serious questions about the validity of the notion that has come to be known as General English, and about the sustainable utility of teaching general patterns of linguistic usage to students who require instruction in specific varieties (Biber et al., 1994: 179). Bibers own multidimensional analysis of linguistic variation among registers/genres (1988, 1992) has shown that there are significant differences across registers at all linguistic levels, and that:
... there is no single register that can be identified as general English, and advanced instruction based on our intuitions about general or core English is not likely to provide adequate exposure to the actual linguistic patterns found in the target registers that students must use on a regular basis. (Biber, Conrad and Reppen, 1994: 183)


Assessing EAP Needs for the University So, if it is accepted that General English is a misnomer, and that the common core is really an abstraction, what theoretical validity would there be for ESP as a specialised language variety? Bloor and Bloor (1986: 20) tender what they have called The LSP Model (see Figure 4.10). Because each variety of language is profoundly context-dependent (ibid.) in terms of selection of linguistic resources by related discourse communities for the accomplishment of social functions, the LSP or ESP view of language paves the way for a needs sensitive approach to course design (Bloor and Bloor, 1986: 21). To summarise, the term ESP is viewed both as a specialised language variety of English ( albeit a macro-variety under which is subsumed many other varieties depending on particular contexts of language use) and as a uniquely context-dependent approach to the teaching of English distinguishable from General English on the basis of specificity of learning purpose in ESP. The notions of specific variety as well as specific purpose associated with ESP also serve as clear rationale for the analysis of prospective ESP learners needs. For example, at the tertiary level, instituting properly planned ESP courses would be a practical means of prioritising educational practices on the basis of target needs for students, well-motivated they may be, often come to the English class with an anarchy of expectations (Drobnic, 1978, quoted in Bloor, M., 1988: 65) as a direct result of their multifarious needs, lacks, wants and desires vis--vis the perceived role of the language in their lives. On the basis of a needs analysis, however, it might perhaps be decided that what the students really require would be a course that focuses on a single language skill, say reading academic texts, or extracting information from lectures in a given knowledge domain. In other words, a specification of learning purpose becomes the main determinant of the structure and content of the language course as well as the specialised language variety that needs to be taught/learnt to satisfy the purpose. Hence, the next major section of the chapter presents some historical background leading to the theoretical bases for the analysis/specification of needs in ESP, the procedures potentially involved in conducting the analysis as well as a critical consideration of related pragmatic issues so as to establish some points of departure for the present investigation.


Historical and Theoretical Bases of Needs Analysis

The analysis of learners needs has come to be viewed as being almost synonymous with ESP... and it is difficult to think of one without the other coming to mind (McDonough 1984:29) since an investigation of what learners need might be viewed as the sine qua non for the initiation of any ESP programme. R. West has documented in his excellent state-of-the-art article (1994) that the concept of needs in language teaching is attributed to Michael Wests introduction of the term analysis of needs in India in the 1920s to encompass two separate concepts of need in foreign language learning: the target competence required of the learner, and the process of acquiring that competence. These two concepts were seen as being in potential conflict with each other, but contributing to some kind of surrender value of foreign language learning. West goes on to say that the concept of need does not seem to appear for almost 50 years after [Michael] West (1994: 1), a situation which Schutz and Derwing (1981) have attempted to explain from quite opposing coigns of vantage. They find this conspicuous absence surprising because language planners have apparently bypassed an essential 76

A Genre-Based Framework for EAP prerequisite to curriculum design; however, they also view the situation as not in the least bit surprising given the fact that systematic assessment of complex learners needs can be complicated and difficult (p. 30). Those of us who are teachers ourselves know that the second of the above viewpoints would be the more plausible explanation as language teachers generally appear to base their teaching activity on some sort of intuitive, informal analysis of their students needs (Tarone and Yule, 1989: 21) rather than on the basis of any principled approach or paradigm (assuming such an objective system actually exists for use by practitioners, that is!).

Figure 4.10 The LSP Model (Bloor and Bloor, 1986: 20)

Nonetheless, it was probably no accident of history that more formal analyses of learner needs began to assume a central position in English language teaching circa the 1960s when the term English for Special Purposes first appeared on the scene at the Makerere Conference in 1960 nd was soon connected with the concept of need (West, 1994, p. 2). Tickoo (1988) places the advent of ESP at about 1963, quite obviously drawing from Swales' view (1988) that ESP may be said to have formally arrived on the ELT scenario with the publication of Barber's 1962 article. Accordingly, Halliday, McIntosh and Strevens (1964: 189, in West, 1994, p. 2) referred to ESP as English for Special Needs albeit linking need to purely linguistic features or register. In fact, it appears that the analysis of the language learners needs has emerged as a more serious enterprise in tandem with the increasing attention given to the teaching/learning of languages for specific purposes in general in the early 1970s (Richterich, 1973), and with the evolving interest in ESP in particular later in the decade (Strevens, 1977; Munby, 1978). Although Strevens survey of ESP suggests that needs analysis is a 77

Assessing EAP Needs for the University necessary first step for specific purpose language teaching, it is more concerned with the nature of scientific discourse. The real attempt at establishing some kind of modus operandi for actually performing an analysis of a definitive group of learners needs must clearly rest with Munbys Communicative syllabus design model (1978). Even if Munbys model has been the subject of much criticism for its inflexible, complex and time-consuming nature (West, 1994; see also Alderson, 1988), it must be viewed as seminal in the field of needs analysis (Jordan, 1997) in that further developments have either ... stemmed from his work, or as a result of reactions to it with the result that subsequent systems of needs analysis have aimed at simplicity (p. 24). Therefore, needs analysis in ESP has been approached as a basically pragmatic activity (Schutz and Derwing, 1981) that is conducted in highly localised contexts of target language use (Tarone and Yule, 1989: 11). West (1994) rightly points out that the broad underlying theoretical basis is that of curriculum development (p. 2), but finds clearer justification in Holecs views (1985) that analyses of language needs have generally followed three main aims since the 1960s: improving teaching methods, adapting the teaching to the type of learners, and training the learner how to learn (p. 263-4, cited in ibid.). West concludes that needs analysis has been rooted in the second of these tendencies and more recently, in the third (ibid.), that is, in learning to learn. This latter orientation of needs analysis to learner training, and perhaps we may also add, learner autonomy, is timely especially as far as English for academic or study purposes (EAP) is concerned. Learners of ESP/EAP who come from diverse fields of knowledge need to learn the language both as language learners and as language users. Since ESP courses are not by their very nature terminus courses (West, 1994: 4) in that the skills acquired, and the strategies that are honed by the learners in the course of their formal learning experience will prepare them for further future autonomous learning in their respective academic disciplines. Having said that, it can be subsequently argued that learner training is best done within a relevant context, real or simulated, so that learning outcomes become immediately utilizable in the case of immediate needs and/or transferable to similar future contexts in the case of projected needs. So, any system of needs analysis that might be applied to investigate a given set of needs in the narrow sense described above must be related to a theory of the nature of language that is used in a given context and of the discourse competence the learner requires to communicate effectively within it. In other words, categories of language and communicative competence of target learners that are used in needs analysis procedures will be usefully informed by related theoretical constructs. For example, Munbys (1978) analysis of English into communicative functions despite its professed base in concepts of communicative competence (cf. Hymes, 1971) to arrive at minutely organised categories at several levels to inform creation of students needs profiles, is really a performance-oriented setting up of categories of communicative activity and events representing real-world language use rather than elements of a construct of communicative competence (West, 1994: 3; my italics). On the other hand, Hutchinson and Waters (1980, 1987), in questioning the Munbyan model of target performance repertoire as a valid approach to needs analysis, have argued instead for an examination of the underlying competence which the learner must bring to ... the study of any specialized subject adding that if we are to prepare the overseas student adequately for, say, technical instruction, what he needs to acquire is this assumed competence (1980: 178; emphasis in 78

A Genre-Based Framework for EAP original). Although their concept of underlying competence has since been extended from preintermediate technical ESP to higher level EAP (Waters and Waters, 1992), its theoretical validity would still be in question for as West (1994) notes, it remains evident that the components of any underlying competence are empirical categories derived from observation and introspection rather than theoretical elements of the same order as, say, Canale and Swains model of communicative competence (comprising grammatical, sociolinguistic, and strategic competence) or Bachmans (1990: 84-107) language competence and strategic competence (p. 3). In fact, West approvingly assesses Tarone and Yules (1989) application of Canale and Swains (1980) model of communicative competence to needs analysis at four levels of generality (see Figure 4.11). Stated briefly, the global level pertains to target situations of language use, the rhetorical level to information structure of the language activity, the grammatical-rhetorical level to how language forms realise the information structure, and the grammatical level of needs analysis relates to the frequency of occurrence of language forms vis--vis communicative situations. More importantly, Tarone and Yule in their discussion of the levels helpfully encapsulate each level into a basic operational question for the benefit of the needs analyst:
What do these students need to use the language for? [global level]; How is information organized in the written texts encountered by the learner in the situations identified at the global level? {and] What language functions are required to be expressed or understood within communicative situation x? [rhetorical level]; What language forms are used to signal ...[rhetorical] organization? [rhetorical-grammatical level]; and What is the frequency of the grammatical forms used by the fluent speakers of the target language in the set of communicative situations identified in the analysis at the global level? [grammatical level] (Tarone and Yule, 1989: 37-8).

We note that the above writers imply some kind of hierarchical, systemic movement for any proposed needs analysis modelled on the above scheme, that is, from the global level to the grammatical level toward using the findings to specify the contents of the intended syllabus. Further, we also see that the model has incorporated in effect the approaches of register analysis (e.g. Barber, 1962) and discourse analysis (potentially including genre analysis, at least as far as the framework of the present investigation is concerned) as layers of target situation analysis and present situation analysis, the findings of which are then available for input data for the syllabus design stage (West, 1994: 3). The principle of language restriction and the subsequent selection of categories implicit in Tarone and Yules levels of analysis above quite clearly echo the rationale of the first stage in Coffeys sixstep model of course design (1984: 8) (see Figures 3.11 and 3.12). However, West (ibid.) correctly observes that target situation analysis and present situation analysis potentially directed by Tarone and Yules levels would relate only, at best, to the first four of Coffeys stages, that is, up to the course design stage, and that research and development in other areas of language teaching as methodology, materials design, and notably, learning styles and strategies (Ellis and Sinclair, 1989; Nunan, 1989), have since begun to inform needs analysis procedures. This means that the scope of needs analysis would encompass all of stages one to five in Coffeys model (West, op. cit.). Additionally, we can 79

Assessing EAP Needs for the University reliably argue that in as much as classroom teaching entails in many ways the evaluation of teaching/learning materials, as indeed suggested by Coffey (op.cit.), stage six could also be brought under the scope in question.

Level Global

Area specified The situations in which learners need to use the language, and language-related activities which typically occur in those situations The typical way information is organised in any language-related activity

Examples In university classes: lecturing, taking notes, asking questions, reading blackboard notes In university lectures: an initial transition from yesterdays lecture, overview of points to be covered, review of standard procedure used in solving a problem (In the section of a lecture which reviews standard procedures)- use of the passive aspect as opposed to the active (In engineering lectures)- the relative percentages of active and passive forms



Those language forms used to realise the information structure of the language activity


The frequency with which language forms are used in different communication situations

Figure 4.11 Investigating what students need to learn: four levels of analysis (Tarone and Yule, 1989: 37)

Selection of theory Nature of language: principles of restriction - e.g. communicative functions Course design = The ordering of the language items, by their relative importance and their sequencing


Needs analysis = A matching of vocational needs with the categories established Course construction = The devising of strategies and techniques


Language realisation The transforming of the functions, skills previously identified into language items



Classroom teaching

Figure 4.12 Coffeys 6-Step Model of Course Design (1984: 7-8) To sum up the above theoretical deliberations, perhaps some further comment on Coffeys course design might be in order here with specific reference to a genre-based approach to ESP/EAP reading needs analysis. A programme designer working within such a framework, that posits task rather than language item as the unit of analysis, would need to reframe Coffeys model in significantly different terms to address, as it were, acknowledged principles of task-based learning/teaching. In addition, 80

A Genre-Based Framework for EAP given that all four levels of analysis in Tarone and Yules model would usefully inform the potential analyses of genres essential for the learners target situation, and of the genre-text processing deficiencies and/or abilities inherent in the students present situation, a genre-driven model of course design would focus on target tasks and pedagogic tasks.


Issues of Pragmatic Concern

Technically speaking, needs analysis in ESP basically involves the collating of relevant information about a single learners or a set of learners common purpose(s) for learning English, and interpreting the data so that choices and/or decisions can be made about defining objectives and principles for course design and materials. However, the process of collecting relevant information, analysing it, and identifying learners needs that are translatable into curriculum goals would appear to involve asking a number of unavoidable questions for which tenable answers must be sought, questions such as who decides to identify the needs, who compiles the information, what information to collect, on whom, how, where and when, who makes use of the information, how, to do what etc. (Richterich, 1983: 1). West (1994: 3-8) provides an illuminating overview of these fundamental questions as does Jordan (1997: 22-23) albeit much more concisely by the latter, particularly for EAP, with a useful summary of the steps involved from the purpose of the analysis through to the evaluation of procedures and results after course implementation. However, issues relating to these questions and procedures with reference to the present investigation are probably more usefully discussed in terms of the overarching concepts of need, target situation analysis, and present situation analysis to better focus the present investigative task at hand concerning academic reading needs of overseas TESOL students in the UK. (i) Needs While some of the questions (e.g. why the analysis is being undertaken, whose needs are analysed, who performs the analysis, when the analysis is conducted, and where the course is to be held) might be quite readily answered or acted upon, others that crucially depend on how the concept of need is actually conceptualised (e.g. who decides what the needs are, what is to be analysed and correspondingly, how the data is to be collected) would almost certainly colour the whole process and its outcomes in line with the prevalent ideology and/or socio-political constraints of the situation. However, as Richterich (1983) has observed, The very concept of language needs has never been clearly defined and remains at best ambiguous (p. 2). For example, Berwick (1989) tenders the skeletal structure of a definition [of a need] ... as a gap or measurable discrepancy between a current state of affairs and a desired future state pre-qualified by his statement that an operational definition must be constructed anew for each assessment because its elements will change according to the values of the assessor or influential constituent of an educational system (p. 52). Similarly, even if we adopt a relatively simple definition from the field of adult education, that a `need is the gap between what is and what should be (Brindley 1989: 65), ambiguity would arise concerning who decides `what should be. This issue has been variously interpreted and defined by assessors and curriculum planners 81

Assessing EAP Needs for the University on the basis of what they see as being the dictates of a particular situation of assessment, and how they distinguish between various concepts of need: necessities or demands (also called objective, productoriented or perceived needs), and learners wants (subjective, or felt needs), indicating, as it were, that the various concepts of need do not have of themselves an objective reality (ibid.). In other words, a new operational definition of need would have to be constructed for each assessment because its elements will change according to the values of the assessor or influential constituents of an educational system (Berwick, 1989: 52). Therefore, what is finally established as `need is a matter for agreement and judgement, not discovery (Lawson 1979: 37, quoted in Brindley op. cit.). Richterich (1983), however, does shed some light in the right direction towards resolving the issue from a pragmatic viewpoint:
What is essential is not so much to give an accurate definition of the word need as to measure pragmatically the educational, ideological and political effects, scope and impact in the actual process of teaching and learning, of the methodological questions ...and the answers which we will give to them. (p. 3)

So, while an accurate definition might not be possible nor for that matter, intrinsically desirable, a broad one of needs analysis that reflects the various dimensions of need briefly referred to in the above paragraph would certainly serve to inform any assessment in practical terms for the purpose of curriculum design, that is, as the process of determining the needs for which a learner or group of learners requires a language and arranging the needs according to priorities ... [making] use of both subjective and objective information (Richards et al., 1992: 242-243). Since there seems to be some agreement amongst needs analysts as to types of needs, these may be dichotomised, generally speaking, as goal-oriented needs and process-oriented needs (Widdowson 1981:2, in Robinson, 1991: 7). The former is based on a `narrow interpretation of needs in that the students needs are viewed in terms of the elements of language, and related knowledge, skills and strategies s/he will have to use for study and/or occupational purposes. Hence needs analysis is to a certain extent a process of determining the learners target language use. The latter interpretation of process-based needs is a `broad one for it attempts to deal largely with the needs of the student qua language learner. This aspect of needs analysis should therefore take into account the affective and cognitive factors relating to the learning situation as attitudes, motivation, wants, desires, expectations and learning styles/strategies, constraints etc. (Brindley, op.cit.: 63). For all practical extents and purpose, the two interpretations and /or approaches to needs analysis may be roughly glossed as target situation analysis and present-situation analysis respectively. Nevertheless, it might be quite mistaken on our part to perceive the above divisions strictly in terms of the objective/subjective divide. Since the concept of need does not have objective reality, it can be argued that there would be a tendency for all parties involved to perceive students needs both in objective and/or subjective terms. In other words, both objective and subjective elements could be present in the perception of the rather nebulous construct of need regardless of whether the perceiver is the learner, the teacher, or the sponsor. For example, it is generally thought that teachers will be best placed to perceive objective, target needs while learners tend to perceive the subjective needs in learning-centred terms. However, this does not always have to be true because many ESP students do 82

A Genre-Based Framework for EAP often have a clear perception of most of their objective needs (Robinson 1991: 8). On the other hand, many learners may not themselves perceive a particular subjective need (e.g. the need to develop confidence) which a teacher is capable of `seeing (Brindley 1984: 138, quoted in ibid.) (ii) Target- and Present-Situation Analyses (TSA and PSA) The term target situation analysis (TSA) was introduced by Chambers (1980) and the TSA par excellence is probably Munbys model, at least as far as the insight it offers concerning target-level performance required of the learner (Robinson, 1991: 9). In other words, the TSA may serve to pinpoint the stage at which good enough competence ... is reached (ibid.). This means that the information collected and analysed under the TSA can be used by the course designer to define initial learning/teaching objectives (subject, of course, to possible modification in the light of insights gained in other areas of the needs analysis, and to evaluation once the course gets under way). Hutchinson and Waters (1987) sub-divide target needs into necessities, lacks and wants. Necessities, which are sometimes also called objective needs (Jordan, 1997: 25) are target situation demands, that is, what the learner needs to know in order to function effectively in the target situation (ibid.: 55), for example, attending lectures, participating in seminars, reading academic texts etc. Lacks refer to the gap between the target competence and the learners existing competence for which the further training is needed. Jordan (op.cit.) concurs by saying that the necessities the learner lacks can form the basis of the language syllabus: this is often referred to as deficiency analysis. Both necessities and lacks can be considered as being objective (p. 26; original italics) although West (1994) contends that deficiency analysis would additionally take account of learners present needs/wants as well as the requirements of target situation (p. 10) drawing support from Smith and Arun (1980): start from the target situation and design the curriculum around the gap between the present abilities of the target trainees and the needs of the situation in which they will find themselves at the end of the training programme (p. 210, quoted in ibid.) as well as from Robinson who views the whole process as a combination of TSA and PSA (op.cit.: 9) As noted by West (op.cit.) above, and elaborately argued by Hutchinson and Waters (op.cit.: 56), there is the question of the learners wants or felt needs which can be interpreted within the context of their perceived needs, that is, necessities and lacks they consider important in relation to what is overtly desirable to be learnt from a programme of instruction. Felt needs, on the other hand, could also refer to the learners personal aims which may or may not be commensurate with `objective needs perceived by the teacher and/or the assessor. Personal needs of this nature may be (and often are) devalued by viewing them as `wants or `desires because of certain preferences on the part of assessors (Berwick, 1989: 53; see also Thorp, 1991 on staff reactions to EAP students different culture-specific norms of interaction). Although Berwick (op. cit.) goes on to suggest the middle ground where interpretive expertise is applied to what learners say they need (p. 53), the potentially important role played by learners wants towards the forging some kind of negotiated happy mean (Richterich 1983: 4) between conflicting perceptions of need cannot be over stressed, especially as regards perceived relevance of the course to their needs and consequential benefits in motivational 83

Assessing EAP Needs for the University terms. This crucial point is made by Bowers (1980) as a caveat against the mere foisting of teacher/sponsor perceived needs on the learner to the utter disregard of the latters wants:
If we accept ... that a student will learn best what he wants to learn, less well what he needs to learn, less well still what he neither wants nor needs to learn, it is clearly important to leave room in a learning programme for the learners own wishes regarding both goals and processes (p. 67; original emphasis).

Notable examples where mismatch in expectations is likely to occur are `grammar and degree of emphasis on the speaking skill (especially in EAP situations where there might be no explicit need for oral communication). Teachers tend to perceive `grammar' in a language programme in terms of content while learners have been known to use it as a blanket term for "preferred ways of learning", e.g. a systematic approach, formal explanation of grammatical rules, more class time spent on doing written exercises etc. (Brindley, 1989.: 75). Brindley (ibid) suggests that reconciliation by way of accommodation and compromise, though by no means an easy task, would be of crucial importance in a learner-centred system in that sharing of information regarding each others expectations is a first step which can help avoid such conflicts, and, after Littlejohn (1985), that allowing learners a choice of learning activities according to their preferred learning modes and styles has been shown to be an effective way of involving them in the management of their own learning while at the same time reducing the risk of conflicting expectations (ibid). Perhaps Brindleys point comes across better as he goes on to point out that when learners say This is what I want to learn, they may in fact be saying, in some cases at least, This is how I want to learn (ibid.). Consequently, we could argue that what clearly seems to apply to learning modes and styles would equally apply to the textual means by which learning/studying is effected, that is, essential materials (genres) and related skills. All said this far, according to West (1994) deficiency analysis as a combined TSA and PSA approach will include two central components: a) an inventory of potential target needs expressed in terms of activities, and b) a scale that is used to establish (and subsequently re-establish) the priority that should be given to each activity (p. 10; Wests italics). At the data collection stage, Allwright (1977, cited in ibid.) asked target learners to establish whether or not each potential need listed was an actual need, and subsequently, to express their present level of difficulty in each activity on a none, some, or a lot scale. West also reports on a refinement of Allwrights approach that combines TSA and PSA by Bheiss (1988) who attempted to establish curricular priorities in a more formal manner via three components rather than the above two: a) a list of potential target situation skills procured after consulting a specialist informant; b) a needs questionnaire that uses a 0 = unnecessary to 4 = essential scale to ascertain level of target need for each skill in a); and c) a lacks questionnaire using a 0 = no difficulty to 4 = very difficult scale to establish skill-related present deficiency levels. As might be expected, after each questionnaire was given to either specialist staff or students, overall needs and lacks of the group were calculated, and learning priorities established by multiplying the two scores (ibid.). Although the above two examples would appear to usefully illustrate the degree of preciseness with which target needs and perceived deficiencies can be calculated at opposite sides of a continuum, variations that probably lie somewhere further away or in between can be found in the literature. For example, Weir (1988) designed and used a more sophisticated questionnaire (within a 84

A Genre-Based Framework for EAP needs-based testing framework) that employed similar 4/5-point scales to assess the EAP needs (frequency of occurrence - H = High, M = Medium, L = Low, or N = Non-occurrence) and perceived difficulty levels (H = High difficulty, M = Medium difficulty, L = Low difficulty, N = No difficulty, DK = Dont know) of both British and overseas students in terms of communicative events and activities involving major skill areas. The questionnaire categories had previously been framed on the basis of data procured via classroom observation checklists as well as interviews with faculty. Based on the survey data received from 940 overseas students, 530 British students and 560 staff, in respect of 43 post-graduate course, 61 undergraduate course and 39 Advanced level Centres, Weir claims to have been able to identify more closely than is possible by armchair needs analysis alone, the constituent enabling skills that might be needed by these students for the successful performance of activities in the academic context (p. 48). Other instances of more modest-scale needs surveys employing multi-part questionnaires include Ostlers (1980) assessment of academic needs of ESL university students, at all levels from freshmen to Ph.D., which comprised 56 questions eliciting biographical information from students as well as self-assessment of academic skills needed in general, and reading skills in particular. There were also two tasks to assess students sentence-combining and summary skills. Ostler reports that in terms of students major, the greatest needs overall were the abilities to read textbooks (90%), take notes in class (84%), and ask questions in class (68%) together with a strong need for reading academic papers and journals among senior undergraduates and all postgraduates. On the basis of the actual performance task data, undergraduates were assessed to need more work in sentence combining and related grammar skills in addition to work in learning summary skills that were clearly needed by postgraduates. She concludes by pointing to the potential danger in attempting to incorporate the findings of students self-assessed needs into advanced ESL programmes because the findings of a need to possess a skill must not be equated with not having acquired that skill (p. 498). However, while this concern might be justified within the context of students perceived needs and their commensurate actual performance in specific skills, we must also take cognisance of the equally justifiable, and probably more important, assumption that what learners believe about what they are learning and about what they need to learn strongly influences their receptiveness to learning (Leki and Carson, 1994: 82; my emphasis; also cf. Bowers, 1980 above). An academic skills questionnaire was also used by Johns, A. M. (1981) who set out to collect responses from 200 classroom instructors in a large university, i.e. a randomly selected 10 percent sample of the entire university faculty to prioritise English language skills for their classes. Subsequently, 140 questionnaires were returned and the researchers discovered that respondents generally ranked reading, listening, writing, and speaking in this order of priority. However, except for engineering faculty, the majority of departments chose General English over ESP, a general perception which Johns, A. M. attributes to various reasons the most compelling of which is that most faculty do not understand the nature and breadth of ESP (p. 54). This, of course would have been expected given that related thinking, even amongst ESL teachers, was in a state of flux in the late 70s and early 80s. More recently, working within a genre-specific perspective, Ferris and Tagg (1996a) have embarked on a relatively large scale survey (234 or 25.4% returns out of the 946 questionnaires mailed 85

Assessing EAP Needs for the University out) of subject-matter college/university instructors expectations and requirements for EAP aural/oral tasks across a range of academic study areas and class types in which ESL students were significantly represented. While the findings of the study would relate to genres in the spoken mode, the structure of the questionnaire and/or its items in terms of perception categories (academic tasks required and student difficulties), the data analysis, and the implications of the study for task-based EAP pedagogy at large (Ferris and Tagg, 1996b) will clearly be germane to the concerns of the present investigation (see the relevant discussion of needs instruments in Chapter 6). However, what might be reiterated here will be the need for the needs analyst-cum-programme designer to engage the help of teaching faculty to establish target skills and tasks required of students (as Johns, A. M., 1981 above has done), and additionally to elicit faculty members informed perceptions about students problems in meeting those requirements and expectations so that suitable pedagogic tasks may be designed (cf. Long and Crookes, 1993). Further, concerns similar to that of Ostler (1980) above must also be addressed in that the quest for objectivity through the use of questionnaires, when these are used, must be complemented and/or triangulated via other means that include tests of students actual performance on target tasks as well as more qualitative measures as interviews to seek intuitive insights and informed judgement of experienced teachers and specialists in the students field of specialisation. To conclude this sub-section, for all practical purposes related to programme design, needs analysis, can be viewed as a combination of a `Target Situation Analysis (TSA), and a `Present Situation Analysis (PSA).The TSA focuses on target needs, the information collected relating to academic needs and/or occupational needs in terms of materials and related skills necessary for the prospective course participants to function in the target situation. The PSA would in turn seek to complement the TSA in that the information collected about learners lacks would relate to learning needs incorporating affective and cognitive factors as well as motivational needs (wants) impinging on the students language learning environment. Finally, a deficiency analysis approach towards identifying needs which is motivated by both TSA and PSA orientations can have benefits for the target learners besides serving as a basis for curriculum planning. This would be especially so when their involvement has been engaged right from the start of the needs analysis process (Jordan, 1997: 26-7). As Nunan (1988) has observed:
one important outcome of involving learners in ongoing curriculum development is that not only does it increase the likelihood that the course will be perceived as relevant, but learners will be sensitised to their own preferences, strengths and weaknesses. They will become more aware of what it is to be a learner, will develop skills in learning how to learn and will be in a better position to negotiate the curriculum in the future (p. 53).

(iii) Strategy Analysis As was noted by West (1994) towards the end of the brief historical account of needs analysis above, the trend in the field from the early 1980s has been on learner training vis--vis the preferred learning styles/strategies and content expectations of students, and invariably this type of analysis led to a focus on methodology (Jordan, 1997: 27) especially in terms of task-based teaching and learning (Nunan, 1988: 17) and the skills and strategies that learners could potentially use to accomplish target tasks. 86

A Genre-Based Framework for EAP Areas related to the analysis of learner strategies and/or skills would include other student preferences as the logistics of the physical learning environment (group size, resource materials, lecture rooms, time-tabling etc.), homework assignment and feedback preferences, and assessment methods (West, op.cit.: 11). An important area of development in cognitive psychology that can be related to academic reading would be research into students learning strategies, styles, and approaches. Research in this area with particular reference to university students has spawned many studies and the subsequent development of various research tools for measuring learning or studying. Among the well-known tools underpinned by different theoretical bases are the Strategic Inventory for Language Learning (SILL) (Oxford, 1990, cited in West, op.cit.: 11), the Inventory of Learning Processes (ILP) (Schmeck, 1977), the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI) (Schulte and Weinstein, 1981), the Learning Styles Inventory (LSI) (Kolb et al., 1971), and the Approaches to Studying Inventory (ASI) (Entwistle and Ramsden, 1983) (all cited in Cano-Garcia and Justicia Justicia, 1994: 239-243). A discussion of the theoretical orientations that motivated each research tool mentioned as well as a corresponding critical comparison of the empirically isolated study factors would clearly be beyond the scope of this sub-section, indeed the present study as a whole; however, the ASI and its sub-scales will be explored briefly because it has been claimed to take [its] theoretical basis from previous research and authors ideas on student learning (ibid.: 241), and consequently, to being based on specific studies to develop various measures of study methods and motivation. In the main, although the ASI has been informed by various studies that emphasised the useful distinction between different forms of motivation (ibid.), concepts obtained from the research into learning/studying conducted by Marton and Slj (1976a, 1976b), Pask (1976), and Biggs (1976) appear to have influenced it most. Marton and Slj (op.cit.) systematically analysed interviews with students after they had read an academic article and described what they saw as the fundamental difference in the two basically distinguishable ways the former focused their attention on the text, i.e. two levels of processing which they call deep-level and surfacelevel processing relating to the different aspects of the text being read:
In the case of surface-level processing the student directs his attention towards learning the text itself (the sign),i.e., he has a reproductive conception of learning which means that he is more or less forced to keep to a rote-learning strategy. In the case of deep-level processing, on the other hand, the student is directed towards the intentional content of the learning material (what is signified), i.e., he is directed towards comprehending what the author wants to say about, for example, a certain scientific problem or principle (1976a: 7-8).

Entwistle (1988) uses, after Marton (1975), the terms deep approach and surface approach to refer to the two levels of processing mentioned in the quote above, and since the approach adopted by the student is variable over time and over situation (Entwistle, op.cit.: 25), motivation for reading was found to affect approach in that students who had found the article interesting or relevant tended to adopt a deep approach while others who had found it stressful, probably because of anxiety due to extrinsic motivation, were more likely to adopt a surface approach. Further analysis of student interviews led to the addition of another term: strategic approach, i.e. in response to determining what was required for examinations (Ramsden, 1981, cited in Cano-Garcia and Justicia Justicia, 1994: 241) 87

Assessing EAP Needs for the University as was the term orientation to studying in relation to the finding that students consistently used either a deep approach or a surface approach for many tasks. Pasks research (1976, in ibid.) showed that students used a distinctive ways to tackle a variety of academic tasks which were problem-solving in nature thereby requiring understanding as outcome. He described these specific learning strategies as serialist, and holist strategies (focus on facts, details, and logical relationships in linear fashion to build understanding, and building up a broad view of the task in relation to general connections between ideas, respectively), and these were later identified as styles of learning: A serialist strategy relies on operation learning (step-by-step concentration on particulars) , while the process used in a holist strategy is termed comprehension learning (building up an overview) (Entwistle, 1988: 26). Since the rigours of studying at tertiary level required a versatile style of learning, tendencies among students for excessive reliance on either serialist strategies or on holist ones are characterised in terms of correspondingly distinct pathologies of learning, i.e., improvidence, and globetrotting. Admittedly, the above account of the research leading to the development of the ASI (Entwistle and Ramsden, 1981) is highly condensed, but it will serve to put the important constructs in perspective. The final version of the inventory reported by Entwistle (1988) contained 64 items across 16 subscales subsumed under four domains: Meaning Orientation, Reproducing Orientation, Achieving Orientation, and Learning Style (pp. 29-30). The revised ASI questionnaire (Entwistle, 1994) used in the present study contains 38 Likert-scale items that measure the following main approaches and/or orientations to studying: Deep Approach (15 items), Surface Approach (15 items), Strategic Approach (15 items), Lack of direction (4 items), and Academic self-confidence (4 items). It is presented in some detail in Chapter 6 (Materials and Methods). Perhaps what remains worthy of mention here would be the fact that the ASI (and to some extent other such inventories as Biggs Study Process Questionnaire [SPQ]- see e.g. Gow et al., 1991), has been used in a wide variety of educational contexts including Australian and Asian settings (Harper and Kember, 1989; Kember and Gow, 1991, 1994; Kember, 1996). Kember and Gow (1991) compare the mean scores on the scales of the SPQ obtained by Hong Kong and Australian university students, and conclude that approaches to learning tasks are more a function of the curriculum and teaching environment (as Ramsden and Entwistle [1981] have done in a large scale investigation of British tertiary level students) challenging, as it were, the anecdotal stereotype that Asian students have a marked predilection towards reproductive study strategies (p. 117; but see Kember [1996] for an alternative explanation of the observed paradox of the Asian learner). However, in an interesting study, Kember and Gow (1994) in setting out to relate a sample of Hong Kong students English language ability to the ASI sub-scales came to the realise that the ASI data reflected more on students reading skills rather than on general language abilities, so the data obtained could usefully be compared to theories and models of reading (p. 10), more specifically to the interactive model of text-processing (Johnson, Shek and Law, 1989, cited in ibid.: 12) In other words, deep and surface processors on the ASI, whose language abilities correlated with the related sub-scales, tended to be predominantly top-down and bottom-up processors, respectively, in interactive terms. The individual learner as a potential processor of information attempts to interpret text-based meaning in different ways. However, the distinctive approaches to learning in academic contexts adopted by learners have in many cases given rise to problems in interpretation especially where 88

A Genre-Based Framework for EAP students make use of strategies and styles perceived by teachers to be inappropriate or inefficient, e.g. rote learning and/or memorisation, and a passive approach often dependent on the teacher as well as being in some ways reminiscent of the coerced, submissive reader rather than the critical, resistant reader that education and training should produce (Kress, 1985: 43). Such perceptions of inadequacy, Jordan (1997) argues, should motivate teachers:
to raise awareness of ... cultural differences (where they exist), academic cultural conventions, differences in learning strategies and methods of teaching. Consequently. learner training and the development of learner autonomy become important. All this will assist in preventing the frustrations of expectations where students are studying in a different environment (p. 27).

(iv) General and Academic Culture Needs Indeed, the relationship between learning styles and strategies on the one hand, and general culture and academic culture on the other, is an important one if not the crucial factor, as Jordan (1997) clearly indicates above, when students are pursuing an academic/professional programme for the first time at tertiary level in a foreign environment. For example, Ballard and Clanchy (1984, cited in ibid.: 95-96) have drawn attention to areas of potential mismatch in expectations concerning English-speaking educational contexts, and correspondingly their graphic representation of learning approaches on a continuum from reproductive to speculative modes of thinking is very explicit and insightful (see Jordan, 1997: 96). Further, the need for students to be sensitised to specific generic conventions as discussed earlier (Swales, 1990: 215-6) must be seen as occurring within the broader context of the students chosen academic discipline. Again, Jordan (op.cit.: 98) observes that this would involve, in the first instance, a process of socialisation into the respective roles of student and lecturer/tutor/supervisor, etc. and their customary behaviour, in other words, adjusting to organisation, system and ethos of the university; secondly, the process would additionally involve a more specific kind of acculturation in that each discipline has its distinctive content, orientation, language and methodology which must be recognised and learned (Ballard and Clanchy, 1984, cited in ibid.). How each of these two types of psycho-social needs, one concerning general culture and the other more allied to academic culture, may be satisfied is considered briefly below. In relation to general culture, it must be admitted, to the credit of most foreign educational institutions, that many of the areas of initial socialisation needs are in fact addressed to some extent when students arrive at their selected universities by way of initial orientation programmes and subsequent instruction in pre-sessional and/or in-sessional courses as are aspects relating to the general culture of the surrounding English-speaking community with specific reference to the well-known phenomenon of culture shock which, it must be noted, can have positive effects as well on the learning experience of foreign students. In fact, most study skills courses give due consideration to this problem by bringing it into the open from the outset so that proper preliminary advice can be extended to students (Wallace, M. J., 1980b: 3; see also Ellis and Sinclair, 1989b). Nevertheless, the point to be made here is that the analysis of needs of a particular cohort of students for whom a more advanced EAP course is being envisaged, while being informed of culture shock concerns through accounts of previous investigation and related insights, should where feasible collect some relevant 89

Assessing EAP Needs for the University information from the students to help build a more realistically fleshed-out academic needs profile on which basis the proposed course can be better designed, for example, information about students preferred patterns of communication within themselves as well as with native speakers, general reading habits, extent of interest in local television and radio etc. As was noted by Nunan (1988) above, the consciousness-raising amongst students about cross-cultural differences and of the need to make adjustments in the positive direction for academic success is best effected by involving the target learners right from the beginning of the needs analysis process and through to the programme design stage, the intuitive knowledge of, and expertise in, the target situation on the part of the teacher and/or the designer providing the necessary impetus towards achieving objective goals of unquestioned relevance and utility for the students perceived needs. Second, and evidently more important for the students use of language for the successful accomplishment of core academic tasks expected of them, would be the need to acquaint and acculturate them in the conceptual structure of the intended discipline. The rationale for this is clearly discerned in the comments of various writers on the intrinsic connection between a discipline and the language that is used by its rhetorical community, and consequently how this intricate connection manifests itself in the communication expectations made on students new to the discipline (Love, 1991: 89). For example, Purves (1986: 39, in ibid.) states that Instruction in any discipline is acculturation, or the bringing of the student into the interpretive community of the discipline. And there is evidence that each discipline is also a rhetorical community, which is to say a field with certain norms, expectations, and conventions with respect to writing. Again, Ballard and Clanchy (1988) point to the language demands made on students:
Just as modes of analysis vary with disciplines and with the groups that practise them (physicists, psychologists, and literary critics), so too does language. For the student new to a discipline, the task of learning the distinctive mode of analysis ... is indivisible from the task of learning the language of the discipline... One area of development cannot proceed with the other (p. 17, cited in ibid.).

That these observations are predicated on a genre-specific perspective of language use is probably transparent as are the following attempts at explicating it: Love (1991), in seeking to establish a schema for approaching the introductory geology textbook as a genre, postulates a product-process disciplinary model for geology that relates present geographical features to past geological processes and in which the various geological agents and environmental conditions intervene to bring about change. Bloor, T. and Makaya (1990) propose a forecasting schema comprising reporting-predicting episodes (which in turn are composed of moves in canonical order in related texts) to describe the schematic structure of functional thought in economics, that is to identify the larger patterns to be found in [economics] texts, the functional framework, as it were (p. 56). How particular genres within these disciplines engender language communication will be the task of genre analysis, and the case for training new entrants in the fundamental patterns of thought cannot be better argued. Having reviewed the inadequacies of the craft model as well as the classic, and more prevalent, applied science model for training foreign language teachers, not to mention the almost pernicious effects of the research/practice divide on the profession as a whole, Wallace, M. J. (1991) proposes the reflective practice model (pp. 48-59). The two integral components of the input into the reflective 90

A Genre-Based Framework for EAP cycle at the heart of the model are received knowledge and experiential knowledge presented as contrasting conceptual constructs that function in a necessarily complex, interactive fashion. However, although Wallace, M. J. makes a clear distinction between the two types of knowledge by conceptualising on the basis that in the case of the former (a) the trainee has received it rather than experienced it in professional action, and (b) it is a deliberate echo of the phrase received wisdom (meaning what is commonly accepted without proof or question), in as much as the trainee is a potentially active, critical processor of knowledge via the contemporary genre-texts (journal articles, lectures, seminars etc.) of the profession, s/he is both a receiver and an experiencer of that knowledge. Indeed, Wallace, M. J. has noted and explained the process clearly:
the continuing process of reflection on received knowledge and experiential knowledge [occurs] in the context of professional action (practice). Of course, this reflection may tale place before the event. As we are reading texts or listening to lectures, etc. we may well be reflecting on such inputs and understanding them with reference to our professional concerns. Reflection may also take place by a process of recollection: as we struggle with a professional problem or dilemma we recall relevant knowledge or experience that may help us with our evaluation of our problem. Or finally, it may take place during the practice itself: reflection-in-action (ibid. 56).

Accordingly, an overarching problem-solution structure (after Hoey, 1983: Situation-ProblemResponse-Evaluation) can be conceptualised to reflect the general pattern of thought and action within the discipline. In other words, in conflating the original distinction between the two knowledge bases that trainee-practitioners can access to address problems critically in their interaction with generic texts (Edge, 1985), and reflectively in their professional practice, we have been able to stake a claim to a kind of knowledge that others, who are not members of the profession, are lacking in (Wallace, M. J., op.cit.: 12) and which trainees need to be initiated in by way of appropriate EAP courses. This need would probably loom larger in the case of in-service TESOL students who by virtue of their prior training and/or professional experiences often come in with disparate world-views about their target domain of study. (v) Constraints This aspect of the present discussion will be seen as having two related facets: constraints and limitations of a particular approach to needs analysis, and the practical constraints that must be addressed in implementing needs-based EAP programmes. First, then, the EAP needs analyst rather than feeling entrapped in some kind of catch-22 situation where every method of data collection in the literature seems to be related to every other method (see Jordans needs analysis juggler [1997: 40]), has to decide beforehand what might be achievable under constraints of time and resources in relation to the specific language and study situations as well as the corresponding skills needed by the target group of students (ibid.: 28). Establishing levels of language and/or skill-based present proficiency (either self- or teacher-assessed, or better still, both) will probably figure prominently especially when triangulating the findings of diverse methods purporting to measure or observe the same facet of needs or behaviour. 91

Assessing EAP Needs for the University The second set of constraints has been the subject of debate in ELT, and especially in ESP, largely as a reaction to the failure of the Munby (1978) model to take account of matters of logistics and pedagogy (West, 1994: 11) in the design and execution of language programmes. Swales (1989) summarises the problems researchers as well as course designers have faced in attempting to come to terms with such matters (p. 86); however, Frankels (1983) view appears to be the majority one in that in the real world of ELT, there has to be a creative synthesis of theoretical principles and practical constraints, and ... where these conflict, as they sometimes do, the latter must take precedence (p. 120). In any case, the extreme position must be that of Holliday and Cooke (1982) who advocate a means analysis i.e., a study of the local situation in terms of the teachers, teaching methods, students, facilities and so on to see how a language may be implemented. Tinged with biological metaphor, their ecological approach argues for a preservation of the educational ecosystem when introducing language curriculum change by avoiding tissue rejection ... the changed curriculum must belong to the host institution and connect absolutely with the real world of all the parties within it - with the social deep action that pervades all its relationships (Holliday, 1994: 195; original emphasis). Rightly, Jordan (1997) sees this approach as the reverse order of the usual [needs analysis] approach (p. 27), but sees some value in it for the positive stance towards constraints in terms of what might be achieved with certain, given factors (p. 28). Swales (1989) has in fact attempted to develop the ecological approach further on the basis that it does not of itself provide an easy way of determining priorities in strategic decision making (p. 889). Still maintaining the importance of a properly instituted target-situation needs analysis, he suggests other factors that will have to be taken into account if proposed courses are to succeed: classroom culture research, EAP staff profiles, status of service operations, and study of change agents, so that decisions can be made on the basis of opportunity cost i.e., what you cannot afford not to do, what you can afford to do, what you can afford not to do, [and] what you cannot afford to do (p. 89). While Swales opportunity cost considerations would lie at the crux of the problem of programme implementation, factors such as target situation analysis, classroom culture analysis (relatable to learners present situation analysis), and to some extent study of change agents (curricular change mechanisms and the efficacy of arguments for change) are probably the only ones that really matter in English-speaking EAP environments. In these potentially EAP-friendly settings, constraints are perhaps more appropriately considered as fundamental variables in course design and implementation (see Robinson, 1991: 42). One wonders if the other factors such as status of service operations, ELT staffs strengths and weaknesses and [especially] their hopes and fears (Swales, op.cit.), and to a large extent the study of change agents are perhaps more applicable to alien environments and adversarial contexts relatively more resistant to change (see e.g. Coleman, 1987). Two final points about the EAP learners needs must be noted though. First, needs in a learnercentred system are not static. Just as students wants, desires and expectations have the proclivity for change over time, so will their needs (Meriel Bloor, 1992: personal communication). Hence the importance of programme/materials evaluation cannot be overstated. Needs analysis must not, therefore, be seen as a once-off procedure to be conducted only before programme design. On the contrary, it has to be an ongoing process of negotiation that involves the learner right from the start and which forms an integral part of programme design and evaluation so that actual courses of 92

A Genre-Based Framework for EAP instruction continue to be sensitive to the expectations of the parties concerned, not least of all the learner. Second, the learners expectations, other than being academic/occupational, and personal and individual (cf. TSA and PSA respectively, as explained in the foregoing paragraph), are also bound to be cultural-educational in that s/he will have been conditioned to the way in which s/he and other people learn and are taught English in their society. So, the extent to which the EAP course is different would be the extent learners would have to be educated into coming to terms with a novel experience (Strevens, 1988: 7). For example, learners, say, in Asian societies, who have been acculturated in the transmission model of teaching/learning situations will have to be reoriented towards autonomous learning situations which have tended to characterise ESP classrooms. In the predominantly task-based learning contexts of ESP, the teacher plays a relatively subdued role as facilitator of learning rather than its provider or transmitter. Therefore, it would not be too far from the truth to say that learning ESP to a significant extent means learning to be an independent learner who takes responsibility, as it were, for his/her own learning.


5 Issues in ESL Reading Research

5.1 Introduction The general goal of research into the reading process can be stated simply as investigating how readers make sense of written language. However, E. B. Hueys 1908 statement about the goals of the psychology of reading better articulates the essence, and the complexity, of the uniquely human faculty of what we have come to know as reading:
... to completely analyse what we do when we read would almost be the acme of a psychologists dream for it would be to describe very many of the most intricate workings of the human mind, as well as to unravel the tangled story of the most remarkable specific performance that civilisation has learned in all its history. (Huey 1908/1968:8, quoted in Anderson and Pearson, 1984:37)

Early approaches to reading, both in L1 as well as in ESL/EFL settings, viewed it as a passive, bottom-up decoding process. The reader was seen as reconstructing the writers intended meaning through recognition of the printed letters and words. In other words, the proficient reader was believed to be able to decode the meaning of a given text from the smallest text-based units i.e. individual letters and words at the bottom to increasingly larger units at the top (phrases, clauses and sentence connectors). Accordingly, problems in reading that were perceived in the ESL reader were construed basically as difficulties in the decoding of print to derive its propositional content (Carrell, 1988c:1-2). This bottom-up perspective of reading is known to have been established within the audiolingual and structuralist approaches to second/foreign language learning that enjoyed considerable support before 1970. Up to that point, reading (and writing) was viewed essentially as an adjunct to the oral language skills of listening and speaking. The structuralist tradition in linguistics such as that of Fries (1963) and Lado (1964) that emphasised phoneme-grapheme relationships evidently formalised the sound-symbol decoding approach to the teaching and learning of reading in ESL/EFL contexts. Even if there was reference to background knowledge, sociocultural meaning, and how these reader factors might interact with the linguistic meaning of reading texts (e.g. Rivers, 1968), such views about reader-text interaction did not exert any appreciable influence on early theories of reading in a second language as the methodological and institutional focus remained on decoding, or bottom-up processing (Carrell, 1988c: 2).

5.2 Psycholinguistic Approaches Speaking within the broad context of reading and/or text processing, the mere mention of the bottomup approach to explain the mechanics of the reading process is bound to immediately bring to mind the competing view about the same process: the top-down model. Despite the both historical and 94

Issues in ESL Reading Research logical connections between the bottom-up approach to reading and the audio-lingual movement briefly sketched above, there has been considerable controversy over the years as to how adequately each of the two models explain the process of text or discourse comprehension, and by extension, its implications for reading research. The origin of views about reading as an active, and interactive process (between reader and text) is now well-known to researchers in the field. Goodman (1967, 1971) characterised native language reading metaphorically as a psycholinguistic guessing game: Reading is a psycholinguistic process by which the reader (a language user) reconstructs as best as he can, a message which has been encoded by the writer as a graphic display (1972: 22). Smith (1971) defined the fluent reader as a person who can make optimal use of the redundancy in a text , and as one who moves from meanings to words rather than from words to meaning (p. 7). In Goodmans view, the fluent reader makes use of the redundant features of language inherent in text to reconstruct the writers message. In other words, such a reader need not (and does not) process a given text by decoding each and every letter or word in sequence, but samples the textual code so as to predict meaning on the basis of what he has sampled and his prior knowledge of the topic. Further, Goodman (1970: 21-2) surmises that all written languages, whatever their orthographic characteristics, have both deep and surface structures, and that reading always involves sampling from the physical representation so as to confirm or reject predictions about meaning. This aspect of his theorising has come to be known as the reading universals hypothesis. In a later revised model (1975), Goodman characterises the reading process as a series of cycles which are optical, perceptual, syntactic and semantic in nature, and through which the reader proceeds in a roughly sequential manner to get at the meaning of a given text using his/her existing prior knowledge of the topic of reading. Thus, Goodmans focus on the role of background knowledge in his psycholinguistic model must be seen as intuitively appealing in that it coincides with the overtly remarkable ability of competent readers. As Grabe (1991) notes:
Since it did not seem likely that fluent readers had the time to look at all the words on a page and still read at a rapid rate, it made sense that good readers used knowledge they brought to the reading and then read by predicting information, sampling the text, and confirming the prediction (p. 377).

However, Even if Goodman himself did not at the beginning relate his theory of reading in L1 to reading in ESL, two articles that emerged in the literature (Eskey, 1973; Saville-Troike, 1973) are considered seminal in making the connection explicit (Carrell, 1988:3). Against a backdrop of growing dissatisfaction with the audio-lingual method for its emphasis on aural-oral competence, Eskey (1973: 66) attempted to draw inferences from the psycholinguistic model of reading to make a case for reading skills primacy in advanced ESL/EFL contexts. Similarly, Saville-Troike (1973: 24-5), having suggested a historical connection between language pedagogy and approaches to linguistics and psychology in L1, stressed their relevance for fluent reading competence in ESL settings, particularly with respect to using English as a tool to read to learn in the subject area of the students specialisation. 95

Assessing EAP Needs for the University Consequently, psycholinguistic models based on Goodmans as well as on Smiths work appear to have triggered some kind of paradigm shift in reading theory in general with their emphasis on the readers active role in the construction of text meaning. In ESL/EFL, this development has been evident in the flourishing of psycholinguistic theories to describe reading processes and to address related problems (Alderson and Urquhart, 1984; Carrell, 1984, 1985, 1987; Coady, 1979; Clarke, 1980; Grabe, 1986, 1991). For example, Coady (1979) reinterpreted Goodmans model to see how such an approach relates to the ESL student (p. 6). He argued that comprehension is the result of the interaction among three factors: process strategies, background knowledge, and higher-level conceptual abilities. Beginning readers tend to focus more on process strategies (e.g. recognising words) while more accomplished ones make use of the more abstract conceptual abilities and their background knowledge, using sampling text to predict and confirm information. More recently, Dubin and Bycina (1991) have argued that proficient ESL readers comprehend a text better by retaining newly acquired knowledge, accessing recorded and stored knowledge, and attending to the writers cues as to the meaning intended for the text (p. 75, cited in Hyon, 1995: 125). This focus on the important role of background knowledge clearly appears to have impacted ESL pedagogy for as Eskey (1986: 12) notes, Among second language teachers interested in reading, the top-down model has already achieved something like official status as the model (Eskeys italics). The importance attached to background knowledge in psycholinguistic models of reading and the related focus on helping students in the classroom to use this facilitative knowledge to enhance reading (e.g. pre-reading tasks to help activate content schemata) appeared to set the stage for further research (Grabe, 1991: 360; Hyon, 1995: 125). Thus schema-based research served to provide insights in this direction by elaborating on the relationship between (previous) knowledge-based prior understanding and comprehension of texts.

5.3 Schema-theoretic Research Although the reading process as conceptualised by Huey (1908/68: 8 cited in Anderson and Pearson, 1984: 37)) is yet to be understood completely, significant progress has been made in recent years both in native and second/foreign language reading, especially in relation to schema-theoretic notions of the interaction between new and old knowledge structures or schemata. Working within the realm of schema theory, Anderson and Pearson (ibid.) tender the following explanation: Comprehension is the interaction of new information with old knowledge... . To say that one has comprehended a text is to say that she has found a mental home for the information in the text, or else she has modified an existing mental home in order to accommodate that new information. Although the term schema as a theoretical metaphor for the readers prior knowledge has been open to some criticism by researchers, the notion remains a useful construct that has been used to explain many experimental results (e.g. the facilitative role of pre-reading activities in improved reading recall) (see Grabe, 1991: 360). A schema is an abstract knowledge structure and one aspect 96

Issues in ESL Reading Research of reading comprehension relates to how schemata function in the process of interpreting new information in the text, and allowing it to enter and become part of the existing knowledge store (ibid.) Research into the role and function of schemata in reading, and the development of interactive models of reading, have generally been a spin-off from research into the conceptualisation of knowledge structures in artificial intelligence, for example, in the work of Rumelhart (1980) who provides the following extended definition and explanation:
A schema... is a data structure for representing the generic concepts stored in memory. There are schemata representing our knowledge about all concepts: those underlying objects, situations, events, sequences of events, actions and sequences of actions. A schema contains as part of its specification, the network of interrelations that is believed to normally hold among the constituents of the concept in question. A schema theory embodies a prototype theory of meaning. That is, inasmuch a schema underlying a concept stored in memory corresponds to the meaning of that concept, meanings are encoded in terms of the typical or normal situations or events that instantiate that concept. ... Schema theory is basically a theory about knowledge (p. 34).

Again, while this ambitious explication of schema theory (Anderson and Pearson, 1984: 41-2) has been open to question in that the theory itself might not be an accurate description of how knowledge is mentally represented, it has persisted as an extremely useful notion for describing how prior knowledge is integrated in memory and used in higher-level comprehension processes (Grabe, 1991: 389-90). In fact, Kitao (1989) goes so far as to describe reading as a process in which a reader fills the slots in the schema with information from the text (p. 4, cited in Hyon, 1995: 126). Schemata are also said to direct certain procedural phenomena in the reader as s/he interacts with the text. These are believed to comprise prediction, selection (of textual material for priority processing), elaboration, and tolerance of vagueness (Alvarez-de-Galicia, 1989: 46-7) Basically, the proponents of schema-theoretic notions of reading view the process in terms of the interaction between reader and text, quite akin to Goodmans metaphorical conceptualisation of reading (1967) as a psycholinguistic guessing game, and as a primarily concept-driven process. The reader samples the text selectively to confirm his hypothesis and to formulate new ones, that is, the text is mapped against existing schemata (Carrell, 1983: 82), the interpretative process guided, as it were, by the extent of compatibility between the schemata and the information in the text and resulting in two modes of information processing called bottom-up and top-down processing to refer to datadriven and conceptually-driven processes respectively. An important principle here is that since both processing modes occur simultaneously at all levels of analysis, the process of comprehending a text is an interactive one between the listener or readers background knowledge of content and structure, and the text itself ... [involving] much more than just relying on ones linguistic competence ... [which is] just one part of ones total background knowledge (ibid.: 82-3). As Carrell and Eisterhold (1983) note, Schema theory research has shown the importance of background knowledge within a psycholinguistic model of reading (p. 73). Perhaps more usefully, Carrell (1983, 1987, 1992), probably the most prominent ESL schema researcher, and Carrel and Eisterhold (1983) have proposed two types of schemata to distinguish between the main types of background knowledge towards understanding its role in reading 97

Assessing EAP Needs for the University comprehension: formal schemata to refer to background knowledge of the formal, rhetorical organizational structures of different types of texts, and content schemata to background knowledge of the content area of a text (Carrell, 1983: 83; Carrell and Eisterhold, 1983: 79). It is known that this important distinction in schemata has been sustained throughout the L2 comprehension literature. In any case, while content schemata would be culture-specific or discipline-specific in, say, academic discourse comprehension, formal schemata would concern expectations about rhetorical organisation of texts as in the structure of fables, short stories, newspaper articles, poetry, and expository text types (Carrell, 1988: 104). Carrell has, however, focused her own research mainly on the rhetorical structures of standard narrative texts (Carrell, 1987) as well as Meyers (1975; 1980) five expository text types of collection, description, causation, problem-solution and comparison. Swales (1990) suggests that the role of background knowledge in discourse comprehension may be more usefully linked to the concept of genre rather than schema, and cites the research of Nystrand (1986) who has considered the knowledge of genre to be the main element in the construction of meaning in text (pp. 88-9). Viewing the act of reading as a metaphorical wedge (see Figure 5.1) whereby each part constrains ... the possibilities for interpretation of the next layer (Nystrand, op.cit: 58, cited in Hyon, 1995: 127), Nystrand argues that the reader used a process of elimination by which s/he first determines the genre, or what sort of text s/he is reading, and then identifies the topic that is being communicated, and after that recognises the writers stance on the topic. Swales says that Nystrands model usefully identifies procedural routines that operate within the pre-- or early textual context and gives genre a watershed role in controlling the readers expectations (op. cit.: 89). Put differently, the model is not only consonant with top-down, schema-theoretic views of reading in its focus on the significance of rhetorical background knowledge as a basis for predicting meaning and guiding comprehension but it is also unique in the way it has conceptualised genre to refer to more text types than has the construct of schema (Hyon, op. cit.: 127).

Figure 5.1

Genre, Topic, and Comment (Nystrand, 1986: 57. Reproduced from Hyon, 1995: 127)

There seems to be a substantial body of empirical evidence in the literature to emphasise the importance of formal and content schemata on L1 reading comprehension (Kinstch and Yarbrough, 1982; Meyer and Rice, 1982; Meyer, Brandt and Bluth, 1980; Mannes, 1994), and on L2 reading (Hudson, 1982; Mohammed and Swales, 1984; Alderson and Urquhart, 1988; Richgels, McGee, Lomax and Sheard, 1987; Carrell, 1984, 1985, 1987a, 1992). Kintsch and Yarbrough (1982) discovered that their subjects were able to comprehend the topic and main points of a text after reading rhetorically well-structured versions of it, and suggested that readers should be taught to rely on 98

Issues in ESL Reading Research rhetorical schemata. Meyer and Rice (1982) looked at the positive effect of formal schemata in terms of the interaction between reader strategies and text organisation to conclude that good readers employing the structure strategy (p. 185) which matches the writers organisation are better able to encode and retrieve text information. Based more on research about content knowledge, Hudson (1982) argued that a high level of background knowledge can compensate for linguistic deficiencies. Correspondingly, Mohammed and Swales (1984) found that once L2 university students had passed a certain threshold, content familiarity was a better indicator of successful comprehension than language competence. Alderson and Urquhart (1988) came to a similar conclusion before suggesting that there should be subject-specific ESP tests. While the last two studies pointed to the positive influence of content schemata, other studies, notably those by Richgels et al. (1987) and Carrell (1984, 1985, 1987a, 1992), demonstrate that good readers appear to make better use of text organization, write better recalls by recognising and using the same discourse structure as the text studied, and generally recall information better from certain text types. In short, knowing how a text is organised, that is, awareness of text structure, appears to have a positive effect on the readers comprehension of the text. Carrell (1992) found that the subjects in her study who were not only aware of text structure but who actually used the structure of the reading passages to organize written recalls showed superior recall both quantitatively and qualitatively (p. 2; Carrells italics). Several researchers have, therefore, attempted to subject the above findings to further empirical validation via training studies ... [to] evaluate the reading outcomes of explicit training in content and/or structural information (Hyon, 1995: 129). Studies of this type that investigated ESL students content schemata include Floyd and Carrell (1987), Hudson (1982), Johnson (1982), and Williams (1987), and those that involved formal/structure schemata training, Carrell (1985), Davis, Lange and Samuels (1988), and Lee and Riley (1990). Floyd and Carrell (op. cit.) used an experimental-control group design to assess comprehension outcomes on two measures (written recall and answers to objective questions). The experimental group which had been taught appropriate cultural background information in two 50-minute training sessions showed significant improvement in reading comprehension, enabling the researchers to claim that background knowledge relevant to reading comprehension can effectively be taught in the ESL classroom, with consequential improvement in reading comprehension (p. 103). Hudson (op.cit) used three types of interventionist methods (prereading, vocabulary, and read-test/read-test) to teach three levels of pre-university students and found that these modes of inducing relevant schemata influenced comprehension levels and aided students understanding of selected texts. He concludes that advanced level L2 readers in English apparently do have more facile or robust networks for fitting meaning than do the lower level readers (p. 197). With special reference to the training of formal schemata use, Carrell (1985) investigated the effects of explicit focus on text structure (Meyers text types) using five one-hour training sessions to teach high-intermediate ESL university students. Consequently, she found that the experimental group recalled significantly more information than the control group which had received more traditional instruction including grammar exercises, sentence combining, [and] sentence analysis ... (p. 736). Additionally, a second post-test indicated that the training effect remained for as long as three weeks after training (p. 741). The results led Carrell to conclude that explicit, overt teaching about the top99

Assessing EAP Needs for the University level rhetorical organisation of texts can facilitate ESL reading comprehension, as measured by quantity of information recalled (ibid.). Two other studies that used designs similar to Carrells were Lee and Riley (1990) and Davis, Lange, and Samuel (1988). However, although both these studies recorded positive formal schemata effects on subjects ability to recall information, the text types used to teach structure differed. The former focused on the effect of instruction on two of Meyers expository types - collection of descriptions and problem-solution- to note that readers who had been given an expanded framework recalled significantly more ... than readers provided with either no framework or the minimal framework (p. 30). The latter, on the other hand, used the rhetorical structure of the scientific journal article which they provided to the experimental group in the form of written instructions about the types of information found in the problem, description of the investigation, results and conclusion sections (p. 203). Again, positive effects on recall were established in line with other similar findings above in that non-native readers trained on the structure of scientific articles had significantly better recall than non-instructed readers (p. 211). In sum, schema-based studies with reference to those having to do with formal schemata training have generally been characterised by several factors, namely, (1) the text types used, (2) the rhetorical features focused on, and (3) the measures of instructional effects (Hyon, 1995: 132). First, apart from the Davis, Lange and Samuels (1988) study concerning training in the structure of scientific journal articles, reports of research do not appear to highlight the effects of teaching texts with fairly specific forms and functions like the research article, academic book review or textbook (ibid.: 133). As we noted briefly in Chapter 4, Swales (1990) has argued that the texts used in schema studies do not address the rhetorical needs of readers who have to read specific genres in academic settings. In other words, There has been some neglect of communicative purpose and of looking at text in terms of genre-specific organization. Carrells 1987 texts illustrate these points well enough (p. 87), thereby necessitating, as it were, some shift in the reading research area towards a genre perspective (p. 89). On the other hand, other studies similar to Davis, Lange, and Samuels (1988), for example, Hewings and Hendersons (1987) work with L1 readers, have lacked the methodological rigour of the schema studies:
For reasons that are not hard to seek, the genre analysts have largely concentrated on the textual analysis per se, while the schema theorists and composition researchers have been more concerned with the experimental design. The case for merging the strengths of each group is urgent and strong (Swales, 1990: 89).

Second, schema studies have, almost as a rule, focused on measuring the effects of teaching toplevel structures to the apparent neglect of considering the effects of teaching stylistic features, which express bias or authority, or the social contexts associated with certain text forms (Hyon, op.cit: 134), for example, the function of hedges in certain academic texts and how it may be realised at surface textual level (Salager-Meyer, 1994; Hyland, 1994). Thirdly, schema-based studies have tended to be rather restricted in the measurement of outcomes of training, that is, to content comprehension and to the exclusion of potential value in the assessment of other types of comprehension e.g. rhetorical understanding (see Kintsch and Yarbrough, 1982; and especially Hewitt, 1982 for a critique of comprehension research methods). Further, the measurement of instructional effects in terms of 100

Issues in ESL Reading Research information recall might need to be triangulated with other reader performance measures as tests and interviews (ibid.: 135). To conclude, psycholinguistic research as well as schema-based studies have pointed to potential benefits that can be derived by the explicit teaching of text structures in ESL reading. More specifically, related studies in actual ESL reading settings appear to have provided a sound theoretical framework for the overt teaching of formal rhetorical schemata that students can use to guide text encoding and information recall. However, with particular reference to students in academic settings (where most of the above studies have been located), the exigency of addressing their specific generic needs cannot be stressed enough as well as the teaching of rhetorical features beyond the top-level structure of texts. Further areas of research would also need to include ways other than recall protocols for measuring instructional effects that might entail more qualitative modes such as assessing rhetorical awareness and feature identification as well as open-ended responses to comprehension questions.

5.4 Interactive Approaches to Reading and Implications One important reaction to the apparently pervasive influence of psycholinguistic and/or schema-based top down models in ESL reading research and instruction, especially in relation to the emphasis on background knowledge, has been a reconsideration of the importance of lower level processes in reading (e.g., letter, feature, word, and syntactic processing Grabe (1991: 390). Hence it has been argued that top-down models tend to emphasise higher order skills based on content and formal schemata at the expense of such lower-level skills as the rapid and accurate identification of lexical and grammatical form (Eskey, 1988: 93), and that there is a need to counteract this over-emphasis by holding in the bottom (ibid.) via the focus on the role of linguistic schemata (Carrell, 1988) necessary for effective reading. It must be noted that Goodmans original top-down perspective was a general model of reading with an L1 bias in the sense that it assumes that the reader typically has at his disposal a large vocabulary and basic syntactic features which are readily available (Goodman, 1988: 20-21). Probably because of the lack of attention to this basic assumption of the model, much empirical research in ESL reading appears to conflict with top-down notions (Grabe, 1988b: 95) To cite specific instances, Cohen et al. (1979) and Berman (1984) have drawn attention to syntax-based difficulties, while Cooper (1984) and Saville-Troike (1984) emphasise the importance of vocabulary knowledge on the part of the ESL reader. In fact, Grabe (1988a: 60) reports that a substantial volume of word recognition studies has posed serious questions about top-down approaches to the study of reading. On the whole, such studies appear to have established that good readers are adept at recognising lexical forms and that they are able to understand meaning more quickly than the time needed to activate context effects and conscious predicting. Because of such concerns in L2 reading, a number of researchers have proposed models of reading that are interactive in nature. As Grabe (1988b) has put it, the basic interactive model: 101

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does not presuppose the primacy of top-down processing skills- the gradual replacing of painful word-by word decoding with educated guessing based on minimal visual cues - but rather posits a constant interaction between bottom-up and top down processing in reading, each source of information contributing to a comprehensive reconstruction of the meaning of the text (p. 94).

Carrell et al.(1988) provide an excellent account of research in the area together with related discussion about the main issues and problems, one of the main concerns probably arising from the observation that Skilled readers constantly shift their mode of processing, accommodating to the demands of a particular text and a particular reading situation; less skilled readers tend to over rely on processes in one direction, producing deleterious effects on comprehension (Spiro, 1978, 1979, cited in Carrell, 1988a. 101). In this collection of papers (Carrell et al., 1988), Grabe (1988a) provides an overview of various interactive models as the Interactive-activation Model (McClelland and Rumelhart, 1981), the Interactive-compensatory Model (Stanovich 1980), the Bilateral Co-operative Model (Taylor and Taylor 1983), the Automatic Processing Model (LaBerge and Samuels 1974, 1977), and the Verbal Efficiency Model (Perfetti 1985; 1986), and Eskey and Grabe (1988), Carrell (1988b) as well as Devine (1988) suggest appropriate implications and applications to L2 reading pedagogy. Although interactive approaches and/or models have argued against the tendency to design reading programmes based wholly on top-down approaches, in part borne by the concern ... to keep the language in the teaching of second language reading (Eskey, 1988: 97), Hyon (1995) points out that such a stance might be premature in the face of insufficient training study evidence, particularly from a clearer genre focus than current schema research, to substantiate the claim. Further, from a different vantage point, Grabe (1991) states that interactive approaches to L2 reading represent a perspective on reading which seems to generate almost as much confusion as it does insights probably on the basis of how the term interactive has been interpreted in the research literature. Grabe (1988a:56-65) presents useful distinctions in the use of the above term: reading as an interactive process (interaction between reader and text); interactive models of reading (postulated interaction of component skills simultaneous operation); and textual interaction which embodies the interaction between text-based elements to help create textuality i.e. what makes a text a text and not a mere collection of sentences. The last type of interpretation manifest in textuality, Grabe claims, has important implications for reading research and pedagogy. Research conducted by Grabe (1984, 1986) and Biber (1984, 1985, 1986) using large corpora of text suggest that writers deliberately exploit formfunction relationships in text to achieve their own communicative purposes. Readers have to recognise these textual parameters at some level as part of their comprehension abilities, probably at the level of intentions or genre information (Grabe, 1988a:65). Thus, general features of textuality should be considered in reading research and pedagogy in the sense that:
... reading research studies with a limited or experimentally created text sample may not tap into particular genre or linguistic information that is available to readers when processing longer text segments... . For pedagogy, textual interaction suggests that certain linguistic structures and vocabulary be taught in combination as they might occur in types of expository prose... [rather than] derived from some linguistic model or simply as they happen to occur in text. (ibid.)


Issues in ESL Reading Research Further, in view of the complexity of the reading process, Grabe (1991: 379) presents six (there could be more) general component skills and knowledge areas: 1) automatic recognition skills; 2) vocabulary and structural knowledge; 3) formal discourse structure knowledge; 4) content/world background knowledge; 5) synthesis and evaluation skills/strategies; and 6) metacognitive knowledge and skills monitoring. Subsequently, he posits a general set of guidelines which can be extrapolated from current reading research as well as from related language teaching resources (ibid.: 395) for curriculum design. The guidelines are presented below in condensed form as follows: 1. Reading instruction taught in the context of content-centred, integrated skills curriculum; 2. Reading lab to provide individualised instruction and to facilitate practice of certain skills and strategies; 3. Sustained, silent reading encouraged to build fluency, confidence, and appreciation of reading; 4. Pre-, during, and post-reading framework for reading lessons; 5. High priority to specific skills and strategies and their practice depending on student needs, educational context, and pedagogical objectives; 6. Group work and co-operative learning to promote discussions of readings and complex problem-solving; and 7. Extensive reading to help develop vocabulary and structure awareness, automaticity, background knowledge, comprehension skills, confidence, and motivation Clearly, the number of guidelines such as the ones above and/or combinations thereof that can be pragmatically adopted in an EAP reading programme would clearly depend upon what a particular set of students need most and on the choices that would be made in relation to context of implementation (alluded to in [5] above}. Be that as it may, there is a substantial body of research about the role of the reader in consciously regulating certain cognitive strategies in his/her effort to effect as well as to monitor the comprehension process. For example, with particular reference to ESL reading, Cassanave (1988) in arguing that attention to comprehension monitoring has been a neglected essential in reading research, posits that our underlying knowledge about such monitoring behaviors might be viewed as strategy schemata, which in addition to schemata for content and form, influence how we understand what we read (p. 283; Original italics). A brief review of some related studies and the issues will be germane to the present discussion with implications for the academic reading needs of ESL learners and for subsequent pedagogical considerations.

5.5 Metacognitive Awareness in ESL Reading Flavell (1970) introduced the term metacognition to refer to ... ones knowledge concerning ones own mental processes ..., and to relate this conscious knowledge to the active monitoring and consequent regulation and orchestration of mental processes usually in the service of some concrete goal or objective (cited in Nisbet and Shucksmith, 1984: 6). Nisbet and Shucksmith themselves conceptualise metacognition as involving the process of learning to learn i.e. bringing the learning 103

Assessing EAP Needs for the University process to the conscious level to gain control over the organisation of the process of learning, quite rightly stating that this means that the individual strives to go beyond ordinary cognition by using its executive function (ibid.: 4) or metacognition Clearly following this line of reasoning, Brown, Armbruster, and Baker (1986) have argued that metacognition plays a vital role in reading, and go on to describe two types of cognition, namely, the readers knowledge of strategies for learning from texts, and the control readers have over their own actions while reading for various purposes. Put differently, successful readers tend to monitor their reading, plan strategies, and evaluate the success of their learning efforts consciously and on an ongoing basis (p. 49, cited in Carrel, Pharis and Liberto, 1989: 650). The effective use of metacognitive strategies is widely recognised as a critical component of skilled reading behaviour, and the role of such strategies has been the focus of much research in L1 reading (Grabe, 1991: 382). In ESL reading research, Carrell et al. (ibid.) have also maintained that Metacognitive control, in which the reader consciously directs the reasoning process, is a particularly important aspect of strategic reading. When readers are conscious of the reasoning involved, they can access and apply that reasoning to similar reading in future situations. Their research was based on providing metacognitive strategy training (over four consecutive days) via two methods, semantic mapping and experiencetext-relationship, to two experimental, heterogeneous groups of ESL undergraduate and post-graduate students from a variety of native language background. The results showed that while the strategy training did appear to enhance L2 reading, but there was a measurement effect: student responses to more open-ended questions rather than multiple-choice questions pointed to a significant gain in scores over both methods of training. Further, they also found significant aptitude-by-treatment interactions in relation to the hypothesised relationship between subjects learning styles as measured on the ILP (Schmeck, 1988) and methods of training, leading to the conclusion that while the effectiveness of one type of strategy training versus another may depend on the way reading is measured, students learning styles tend to interact significantly with instructional methods (treatment), and consequently, that second language reading pedagogy, especially for adult students in academic ESL programs, should benefit from the inclusion of explicit, comprehension fostering metacognitive strategy training (Carrell et al., op.cit: 669). Although the researchers add a note of caution about the studys generalisability in view of the small sample size and the fact that the research is a first of its kind (ibid.: 668), its pedagogical implications for tertiary level academic reading in ESL have been approvingly reviewed by others in the field (see e.g. Grabe, 1991; Shih, 1992; Janzen, 1996). In as far as metacognition is a key factor in reader performance and development, the words most often associated with it would include aware, conscious, and alert (Nuttall, 1996: 33). Cohen (1986), in summarising salient research about metacognitive processes in reading that can be investigated through mentalistic verbal report protocols, says that such methods are based on this observed phenomena about the overt nature of the type of strategies in question:
In reality, the amount of attention that readers pay to their choice of strategies falls on a continuum from total attention to total lack of attention. If readers are requested to indicate the strategies that they use, it is likely that they would be able to describe even the ones that they are attending to least, because these are, by definition, within the realm of conscious awareness (p. 133).


Issues in ESL Reading Research

Cohens subsequent report of a taxonomy of reading strategies abstracted via mentalistic measures (Sarigs [1987] in-depth study of 10 high school readers of Hebrew as a native language and English) illustrates the above point well enough. Sarigs taxonomy classifies a wide array of reading strategies hierarchically from basic, psychomotor acts or moves to higher level ones, suggesting implicitly the dynamic, complex as well as complementary interaction between moves relative to level (The seemingly exhaustive number of moves are classified into four major types or levels: technical-aid moves, clarification and simplification moves, coherence-detecting moves, and monitoring moves. See pp. 135-6). Applications of the taxonomy as an investigative tool by other researchers have provided some interesting insights into the strategies of good readers and weak EFL readers. For example, in Zupniks study (1985, cited in ibid.: 136) with a representative pair of such readers, the weak reader tended to use more moves and a wider variety of moves but with less successful results, a finding which appeared to invalidate the findings of another study that the more competent reader uses more strategies than a weaker one in addition to pointing to a qualitative dimension to the problem:
The poorer reader was involved mostly in clarification and simplification moves (e.g. the identification and analysis of specific vocabulary items) while the stronger reader was focusing more on monitoring moves (e.g. a critical analysis of the questions asked, self-evaluation of reading success, awareness of lack of comprehension). Also, most of the weak readers moves had a deterring effect on comprehension, whereas almost all of the strong readers moves were comprehension promoting (ibid.).

Cohen goes on to make the quite obvious conclusion from the above: there are not necessarily inherently good and bad strategies, but rather a series of strategies that may or may not promote comprehension, depending on the reader, the text, and the interaction of all these (p. 142). Hence, the established notion that all readers are in fact able to control strategies consciously and selectively would help make the explicit teaching of strategy awareness and use a tenable, indeed, a worthwhile one within the adult ESL context. Since, logically speaking, strategy awareness must precede strategy use, perhaps an in-depth look at Carrells study (1989) would serve to clarify the relationship between the two ostensibly separate constructs, and to some extent, set in relief issues related to it. Carrell argues, after Baker and Brown (1984), that:
knowing that (declarative knowledge) is different from knowing how (procedural knowledge), and that knowledge that a particular strategy is useful (awareness) precedes its routine use, which in turn precedes the ability to describe how it is used (Carrell, op.cit: 122; italics in original).

Put simply, the reader has to be aware that a particular strategy (exists and) is useful before s/he would be able to actually use it, and if necessary, to describe how it is used to potentially enhance comprehension. As Carrell adds, the first step in enhancing readers awareness is to find out what they are already aware of in terms of reading strategies (p. 128; my emphasis), and her study must be seen as clearly contributory to what we know in this respect. She has used a metacognitive questionnaire to measure subjects conceptualisations or awareness judgements (see relevant sub105

Assessing EAP Needs for the University section in Chapter 6 for the structure of Carrells questionnaire) about silent reading strategies in both their native and second languages to compare component awareness variables (confidence strategies, repair strategies, effective strategies, and strategies relating to reading difficulty among others such as global strategies and local strategies) with subjects actual reading performance in both languages. Generally speaking, Carrell found that while global , top-down types of strategies were not significantly related to L1 reading performance as might have been expected, these were indeed so in L2 reading even if Spanish ESL readers appeared to be more aware of such strategies than English SFL (Spanish as a foreign language) readers at relatively lower levels of proficiency (cf. Clarkes [1980] short circuit hypothesis). One perceptible strength of the study is probably the usefulness of the metacognitive questionnaire as a valid measure of ESL readers awareness of the various types of strategies that they could potentially use to attain comprehension on their own terms i.e. without any imposition, however subtly, of notions of appropriate or correct strategies. In Carrells words, the questionnaire, in contrast with previous similar instruments (notably Barnett, 1988), does not prejudge the effectiveness of strategies, but leaves the judgement to subjects ... (p. 122) even as she indicates that it has to be further validated in conjunction with reading tasks on a wide variety of tasks (p. 128) which would include, of course, the use of text types other than the comparison/contrast, and generalised problem-solution types that she used in her study, notably genres.


6 Materials and Methods

6.1 Overall Research Approach The act of reading is probably one of the most complex, multi-faceted processes of the human mind. It has been researched in traditional psychology, and more recently in the area of artificial intelligence (Anderson and Pearson 1984: 37). The complexity involved in investigating internal reader processes in a second/foreign language, if viewed primarily in terms of a bottom-up perspective, would seem to be further compounded by the largely debilitating effects of linguistic competence (Cziko 1978; Clarke 1979, 1980). However, a global, and predominantly top-down approach would suggest that even with limited language competence, the reader is able to make sense of the content of a text using different types of schematic background knowledge that he brings to bear upon the task of discourse comprehension. Even in this latter restricted sense, what the individual reader needs in order to read to learn effectively at university level, given the vast multitude of factors potentially involved in the process, is bound to be equally complex. It follows, therefore, that any comprehensive research effort that attempts to capture even a small slice of this reality would necessarily involve a constellation of methods and/or procedures. Quite clearly, the present effort does not pretend to be one. Rather, the over-arching purpose of the present study has been to gain insights into what is going on rather than what caused this (Hatch and Lazaraton, 1991: 100) in terms of target ESL reader needs in relation to selected academic genre-texts and related learning tasks within the identifiable context of the UK academic TESOL environment. Accordingly, the survey design of the investigation was essentially ex-post-facto in nature: the reading needs survey questionnaires necessarily involved relatively large numbers of TESOL students and staff in nine UK institutions to make for post hoc comparisons of perceived needs ratings and other related data while several other questionnaires, reading tests and tasks, and interviews were oriented more towards a case-study approach involving intact groups of students at Moray House Institute. The four text processing tasks attempted by the second intact group additionally functioned as pre- (text sequencing task only) and post-tests in the quasi-experimental part of the case study. Overall, the rationale for the various procedures was to elicit responses relating to reader/respondent perceptions and/or processes within an EAP context so that conclusions could be arrived at in terms of reading needs, strategic abilities and/or deficiencies, and implications tendered for academic reading programme design for TESOL undergraduates.

6.2 The UK TESOL Institutions The present surveys covered nine universities in the UK that offered TESOL programmes to Malaysian students under a twinning arrangement between the UK institutions and the Ministry of Education, Malaysia, that is, Moray House/Heriot-Watt University, University of Lancaster, University of Birmingham, University of Wales (Cardiff), University of Strathclyde, University of Leeds, University 107

Assessing EAP Needs for the University of Bristol, University of Manchester, and University of Nottingham. These institutions provided training on an approved (by the Malaysian ministry) range of courses/modules, often going under different names , with some variation in focus with respect to different areas of the discipline, notably English for Specific Purposes (ESP), and literature in English. Information was collected on the understanding that when comparisons were made across institutions, their actual identity would not be revealed.

6.3 The Subjects This section provides a general description of the subjects who participated in the study, and the nature of the TESOL training programme at undergraduate level (B.Ed [Hons.] TESOL) that they pursued in the UK under the auspices of the Malaysian Ministry of Education (Moray House Institute B. Ed [Hons] TESOL Degree Handbook, 1995). At about the time that this study was being initiated, thirteen UK TESOL institutions were involved in the programme. Students in these colleges/universities were matriculated either in an in-service strand or in one of two pre-service strands of the programme called Pathway 2, Pathway 1 and Pathway 3 respectively at Moray House. A brief description of the three pathways is given below followed by a more detailed one of the two Pathway 2 cohorts at Moray House who participated in the study over the 1995/96 and 1996/97 academic sessions respectively, and on whose academic reading needs the investigation was focused.


Type of TESOL Programme

Pathway 1: This was the original or base degree in that it was a full, four-year programme. Students were required to undergo an access/matriculation course of two years at a UK college of education before being admitted into the degree-awarding institution. Successful entrants to the programme included Malaysian secondary school leavers of at least 18 years of age, and who had good O-level passes in the Malaysian Certificate of Education. The students who successfully completed this programme would have spent at least six years in the UK. Pathway 2: Students were admitted to this strand on the basis of advanced standing comprising substantial previous teaching experience, and previously acquired qualification from a Malaysian teachers college. There was no access course requirement, and given that this course was meant to be a shortened version of the base degree programme, entrants were required to complete successfully the third and fourth years in the UK to qualify for the award of the B. Ed degree. Entry prerequisites, subject to stringent vetting by both the Malaysian Ministry of Education and the UK institutions involved, included the following: either (a) a 3-year teacher-training certificate, five years of teaching experience, and a 1-year TESOL specialist-training certificate/diploma; or (b) a 3-year teacher-training certificate, a minimum 3 years of full-time teaching experience, and specialist TESOL work at Ministry and/or College level. At the time this study began, a total of nine UK institutions were involved in this type of training programme (see section 6.2 above). 108

Materials and Methods Pathway 3: This type of programme was an outcome of the twinning/link arrangement between the Maktab Perguruan Ilmu Khas (MPIK the Specialist Teachers Training Institute) in Malaysia, and Moray House Institute and four other UK institutions. Under this arrangement, students were required to complete a two-year access course, and years 1 and 4 of the degree programme at MPIK. Years 2 and 3 were to be completed at one of the five UK institutions that formed the twinning consortium: Moray House Institute, Edinburgh; Christchurch College, Canterbury; College of St Mark and St John, Plymouth; St Marys College, Twickenham; and Chichester Institute of Higher Education, Bognor Regis. Minimum requirements for successful entry into the access course comprised an A1 or A2 in English 122 at the Malaysian School Certificate level supported by credits in five other subjects including the sciences or mathematics, and a maximum aggregate of 20 points in six subjects including English. Selectors also considered commendable performance in English 1119 (O-level) or English Literature, in an individual oral interview, and in related written tests at MPIK (B.Ed Handbook, p. 48). Relevant UK matriculation figures that were made available for the research during the 1995/96 academic session are presented in Table 6.1.


In-Service Training Programme at Moray House

The two Moray House Pathway 2 cohorts whose participation in the study was secured comprised 20 final-year in-service trainees of the 1995/96 academic session (hereafter MH 1ns96), and 21 similarlyplaced students of the 1996/97 session (hereafter MH Ins97). Both groups pursued the same course of TESOL training at Moray House and were assessed using the same set of criteria both during and at the end of the programme. The philosophy underlying this strand of the teacher education programme is based on the two distinctive characteristics proposed by Greenland (1983: 42, cited in B.Ed [Hons] TESOL Degree Handbook, Vol. 1: 37) for in-service training: Firstly, the purpose of the training is simply to help ... teachers become better ... teachers without necessarily leading to their automatically assuming a new role afterwards- though in practice this often occurs. Secondly, the programme has to be an upgrading one in that it should be restricted to qualified and experienced ... teachers only, having been differentiated from the more popular upgrading route which is to enter a higher level pre-service course alongside youngsters with impressive formal academic qualifications who have come straight from senior secondary school. Hence, while the trained Malaysian teachers who enter the programme generally tend to be less academic than their school-leaver counterparts at Moray House, they would appear to be superior in terms of the ESL teaching (and to some extent, learning) experience that they bring to bear on the training process. This experiential asset may make these teachers more amenable for moulding along the lines of the reflective practitioner philosophy, but it also foreshadows potential problems involving the possible abandoning of long-held beliefs and practices for new ones. The programme designers at Moray House appear to have taken cognisance of this likelihood for conflict, inherent in any in-service training programme, by adopting a non-prescriptivist approach in determining how each course in the programme should proceed. 109

Assessing EAP Needs for the University To start with, all Malaysian students who arrived at Moray House attended a month-long presessional study skills module aimed at acquainting them (or reacquainting them to some extent, as it were, for they were to have attended a similar course at the Malaysian end of the consortium before embarking for the UK) with the skills they needed to live and study in the UK academic environment. This half-module was called Learning to Study and was aimed at enhancing in all students their ability to study effectively in ways relevant to current practice and trends in teaching/learning in Higher Education and with affording students the opportunity to analyse and reflect on their existing study techniques and develop the skills needed to benefit from the learning experiences provided at Moray House (B.Ed [Hons] TESOL degree Handbook 1994/95, Vol. 3 [Module Descriptors]). Major components of the course comprised eight units of learning activity, namely, (1) Ways of Learning, (2) Ways of Accessing Information, (3) Getting the Most from Lectures and Tutorials, (4) Reading Effectively, (5) Planning and Monitoring Work, (6) Writing an Assignment- the Initial Stages, (7) Developing a Structure, and (8) Meeting Criteria. However, in recognition of the possibility that students would have previously attained some level of expertise in study skills, a diagnostic test was administered at the end of Unit 3 to determine if the further work manifest in the remaining units was necessary. The set text that was used for the study skills module was Study Skills in English by M. J. Wallace (1980) who was also the co-ordinator of the TESOL programme at Moray House.
Table 6.1 Malaysian TESOL Undergraduates Matriculated at UK Institutions Classified by Programme Type, 1995/96 Academic Session Programme Type/Year of Study Pre-service 6Pre-service In-service 2 Yr Degree Link Degree Yr Degree Yr3 Yr4 Yr2 Yr3 Yr1 Yr2 15 15 33 34 18 19 * * 21 16 20 15 20 15 15 30 12 86 37 122 * * 20 14 20 15 20 20 20 15 15 159

Institution 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 College of St Mark & St John Christ Church College, Canterbury Chichester Institute of Higher Education St Marys College, Twickenham Moray House Institute /Heriot-Watt University University of Lancaster University of Birmingham University of Wales University of Strathclyde University of Leeds University of Bristol University of Manchester University of Nottingham Total * Figures not available

Total 66 * 68 * 72 30 40 30 20 40 20 30 30 446



Subsequent to the initial orientation to studying in English, all in-service trainees, because they had been admitted with advanced standing to year 3 of the degree programme, were required to 110

Materials and Methods complete various study modules appropriately categorised and designated as professional, specialist (mainly core modules related to TESOL), school placement, and elective modules. Perhaps it should be pointed out here that the professional module comprising courses of instruction in word processing/IT applications, research methodology, and understanding organisations was offered at the beginning of the first year, and that students were required to undertake a professional project, a 10,000 word written paper, at about the middle of their second year. The purpose of the professional project was to give the Course Members experience of a particular form of Reflective Practice: namely through a process of Action Research ...; however, any attempt by the students at producing a piece of more rigorous empirical research was not to be ruled out nor discouraged as long as it was deemed feasible and appropriate (B.Ed [Hons] TESOL Degree Handbook, Vol. 3: Professional Project module). To the best of the researchers knowledge, many students who participated in the study did in fact attempt and successfully complete the latter type of research at varying levels of sophistication.

6.4 Location of Study and Sampling Issues The present inquiry into the genre-related reading needs of Malaysian TESOL students was conducted entirely in the UK. Although the primary research focus was the academic reading needs of group(s) of final-year students matriculated at Moray House/Heriot-Watt University, survey data was collected from similarly placed students in eight other UK universities to make for comparison of perceptions about academic reading needs, and of selected variables relating to the respondents biodata and academic/professional background. To streamline the comparison procedure, the two Moray House cohorts were treated as separate sub-samples giving a total of ten sub-samples in all. Further, as Johns, A. M. (1991) has noted in her review of ESP principles and research that sources of precourse needs indicators may include the students themselves (i.e., their perceived needs and proficiencies) ... and the teaching organization (quoted in Ferris and Tagg, 1996a: 32), survey data was also collected from TESOL faculty in the same UK institutions to valuably complement student-sourced survey information as well as data from a variety of other methods specific to the Moray House case study. The instruments and/or data collection methods that were used, and the subjects who participated in the study are presented in Table 6.2. As the information shows, the initial survey instruments (1) and (2) covered TESOL students and lecturers from various institutions in the UK, while (3) to (11) explicitly focused on sub-samples of students at Moray House. The rationale for this approach to sampling was deemed tenable on account of the premise that the in-service trainees who are currently enrolled in UK TESOL institutions belong to the super-population of all potential entrants to the Malaysian government-sponsored programme as successful applicants come from a prospective pool that has inherently common characteristics vis--vis selection criteria for particular strands of the programme. Accordingly, although the present surveys, being the first of their kind for this particular population, were necessarily exploratory in nature, it was envisaged that the findings would serve to confirm the above assumption thereby helping the researcher to establish certain population 111

Assessing EAP Needs for the University propensities which would in turn inform the specification of a generalised academic needs profile to serve programme design. Put differently, the survey findings were expected to provide some basis on which the case study results might be deemed generalisable to the larger population in question.
Table 6.2 Student Samples and Data Collection



Type(s) of Data Collected Open/closed-ended responses; continuous rating scales

1. Perceived academic reading needs (UK TESOL student survey)

Final -year Malaysian in-service TESOL students in 9 UK institutions (P/Way 2: 1995/96 & Moray House P/Way 2 1996/97) Staff members teaching Malaysian in-service TESOL students in 9 UK institutions Final-year Malaysian in-service TESOL students at Moray House Institute (P/Way 2 1995/96; 1996/97) Final-year Malaysian in-service TESOL students at Moray House Institute (P/Way 2 1995/96; 1996/97) Moray House P/Way 2 1995/96; 1996/97 1996/97 cohort


2. Perceived academic reading needs(UK TESOL faculty survey) 3. Metacognitive ESL reading awareness (MCA) questionnaire


Open/closed-ended responses; continuous rating scales Open/closed-ended responses; continuous rating scales


4. Approaches to studying (ASI) questionnaire


Open/closed-ended responses; continuous rating scales

5. Reading proficiency tests: (a) MCA test (b) IELTS (1995) academic reading test 6. Academic reading tasks questionnaire 7. Text sequencing tasks (RA abstract & introduction) 8. Recall task (RA abstract) 9. Summary task (RA introduction) 10. Comprehension task 11. Post-treatment (genre workshop) questionnaire

20 21

Interval scale scores

Moray House P/way 2: 1996/97


Rating scales/openended responses Order Protocols and self-reports Written recall protocols







Written summary protocols Subjective responses Evaluative comments about workshop


16 8


Materials and Methods

6.5 Research Questions Broadly speaking, the purpose of the case study was to investigate the academic reading needs of Malaysian in-service TESOL students in the UK as well as to assess the effects of a genre-based reading workshop on students strategic processing of selected genre-texts vis--vis the Moray House sub-sample. Based on a proposed model for EAP reading programme design, the study attempted to address the above broad aim through the following research questions: 1) What are the student-perceived present situation as well as target situation academic reading needs of final-year Malaysian in-service TESOL undergraduates in the UK? How do these perceived needs compare across the various educational institutions with particular reference to sub-samples at Moray House? How are selected demographic variables and/or need variables related to students perceived overall proficiency as well as reading competence? 2) What are the lecturer-perceived reading and related needs of Malaysian in-service TESOL undergraduates? What differences are there in such perceptions between Moray House and the other TESOL training institutions in the UK? How do these compare with the related perceptions of students at Moray House? 3) What are TESOL students metacognitive conceptualisations about reading in ESL? What is the effect of these awareness variables on their actual reading performance? 4) What are the perceptions of Moray House students concerning background variables, and learning styles measured on the ASI? How do students perceptions concerning demographic variables, and approaches to studying correlate with their observed reading ability? 5) To what extent does the researcher-teachers intervention by way of a genre-based reading workshop enhance students awareness of generic structure in the specialised texts that they read as well as the comprehension of their content? Through the first two research questions, the study aimed at assessing levels of various types of academic reading needs, subsumed under present situation and target situation needs, perceived by both students and TESOL faculty. One would expect that the general institutional context or ethos, as it were (i.e., philosophical approach to education and training, orientation and make-up of teaching/training modules, strength and focus of research initiatives etc.), would have some effect on the student-perceived needs. However, in the absence of additional in-depth research into such institutional factors, the surveys that were conducted served more as exploratory rather than confirmatory measures of establishing learning needs that could be prioritised for purposes of EAP reading programme design in tandem with the findings from the other areas on investigation of the study. Significant differences in perceptions over the educational institutions were expected to help 113

Assessing EAP Needs for the University inform the extent to which the survey results were generalisable in terms of the super-population of Malaysian in-service TESOL students in the UK. The third research question sought, in the first instance, to classify two cohorts of final-year inservice students at Moray House by their perceived approaches to studying in TESOL, and to relate these as well as selected demographic variables to their reading ability. In the case of the second of the two sub-samples, the 1997 cohort, the above classifications and/or learning pathologies (if present) were compared with the students performance on the text processing tasks of the quasi-experimental study. Similarly, in question 4, the study attempted to elicit the same Moray House cohorts perceptions about metacognitive strategies and difficulties associated with reading in English, and to examine the relationships between perceptual categories and actual reading abilities measured on separate tests. Carrell (1989) found certain metacognitive perceptions to be correlated with reading performance, suggesting that strategy awareness precedes use in actual reading situations. The findings of the present study should shed some light in this direction. The last research question above addressed the impact of providing genre-based expository input for the reading of research articles in TESOL on actual task performance by undergraduates from the same discipline. In this way, this phase of the research extended the work of schema training studies that have not examined student performance from a genre-based perspective nor utilising subjects from the same discipline.

6.6 Materials and Data Collection 6.6.1 Needs Survey (UK Student Questionnaire)

This needs survey questionnaire was specifically designed for Malaysian TESOL undergraduates to assess their perceived academic reading and related needs while studying for their degrees at various institutions in the United Kingdom. In order to ensure that the proposed instrument was appropriate for the present study, it was pre-tested for comprehensibility with a group of 12 final-year in-service TESOL students at Moray House in 1995. Feedback from the students responses allowed the instrument to be further refined and for final adjustments to be made before it was administered to the UK sample. The survey instrument consisted of sixty-five individual items of a biographical and selfevaluating nature together with a final question soliciting students views on problems and/or comments concerning their reading of written academic materials in their field of specialisation. Subsequent to brief prefatory statements, the questionnaire was divided into two major parts: Part I sought to solicit the students biodata as well as their perceptions about their studying experience at their present institution of higher learning, and Part II dealt with students perceived academic reading needs. Respondents were urged to respond to all items in both parts of the questionnaire.


Materials and Methods Part 1 Question 1 was reserved for the sample number, so was to be left blank by the respondents. Questions 2 - 10 were aimed at obtaining a brief biographical profile of the target student population in the UK. Question 11 comprised items asking students to self-evaluate, on a 4-point scale, their own abilities in various language ability areas presented in discrete terms as listening, speaking, reading, writing, grammar, and vocabulary, while question 12 requested of students to evaluate their overall proficiency in English relative to other students in their group/class. Questions 13 - 17 were concerned with exposure to English language use via interaction with native speakers, and through contact with local television and radio programmes in the UK. Questions 18 - 25 were aimed at eliciting students selfperception of their overall attitude to the study programme, study habits, general and academic reading in English (frequency and level of comprehension), and at their views about what proportion of texts in a TESOL reading/study skills course should be authentic materials actually taken from real-world reading materials. In question 26, students were asked to rank-order the six discretely presented language/skill areas of listening, speaking, reading, writing, grammar, and vocabulary in terms of how important each area was to their immediate academic needs. Question 27 sought to inquire whether students would be interested to pursue postgraduate degrees at Masters and/or Ph.D. level if they had the chance to do so, that is, if they were successful in securing a scholarship to further their studies. Part II There were two sections in this part of the questionnaire. Section A attempted to get the students to self-assess their level of need on a 4-point scale with respect to a list of types of academic reading materials generally perceived to be required for their study programmes. These types of materials were duplicated notes, textbooks, journal articles, dissertations/term papers, seminar papers, magazine and newspaper articles, and notices and memos. Further, students were also invited to prioritise their needs by selecting four types of materials they perceived as being the most important in terms of help needed for comprehension. Section B presented a list of popular journals established as being potentially useful for TESOL students. This was done after consulting a specialist informant and a number of students concerning what they ordinarily read in the institute library. Respondents were asked to indicate how frequently they needed to read or refer to each publication listed for the purpose of meeting the requirements of their programme of study as a whole. Space was allocated at the end of the list for students to add the titles of other journals and/or periodicals that they customarily read to access information relevant for their academic needs. Finally, on the last page of the questionnaire, respondents were invited to record their comments and/or problems, if any, related to academic reading in the space provided. Initial letters requesting assistance with questionnaire administration were mailed in early December, 1995 to TESOL programme co-ordinators in twelve institutions (Students at Moray House were contacted personally by the researcher.). Of these, ten responded, all favourably, providing as requested data about Malaysian students matriculated under the various pathways or types of TESOL programme in their respective institutions. About 200 copies of the survey questionnaire (in ten 115

Assessing EAP Needs for the University packets) were dispatched in February 1996 to the contact persons for distribution among students in three different types of programme. Moray House students were given the questionnaires for completion after their regular classes circa the same time in February.


Needs Survey (UK Staff Questionnaire)

This questionnaire was prepared to elicit the views of TESOL teaching staff in the UK regarding their Malaysian students academic needs. It was modelled on a survey conducted by Ferris and Tagg (1996) into the academic oral communication needs of EAP learners at four different educational institutions in the UK with the express purpose of examining and describing the expectations and requirements of instructors regarding listening and speaking skills for ESL learners. The present questionnaire focused on reading and related tasks, adopting the format, methodological concerns and overall focus in terms of task expectations and/or requirements of the above-mentioned model. However, the necessary deletions, additions and substitutions were made to both macro- and micro-items to render the new questionnaire sensitive and relevant for the present purpose. The format and the content of the adapted instrument were then verified for validity with a TESOL specialist at Moray House. Minor modifications were subsequently made, especially by way of grammaticality and removal of ambiguity, before the questionnaire was duplicated for distribution. The questionnaire comprised seven sections, A - G: Section A solicited demographic information concerning respondents teaching institution, academic department, and group(s) of Malaysian TESOL students taught in the past by the respondent. Section B asked the respondent to state the TESOL module or course most recently taught, and information about customary teaching mode (e.g. lecture, seminar, lab etc.). Section C dealt with staff perceptions about various types of academic reading materials required for their Malaysian TESOL students in terms of frequency of need (Always, Often, Sometimes or Never). The given list comprised duplicated notes, textbooks, various types of journal texts, dissertations and term papers, seminar proceedings, magazine and newspaper articles, and notices and memos. The inclusion of the last item in an academic reading material list was deemed appropriate within a genre-based approach to academic reading. Space was apportioned for respondents to specify other types of journal article/writing, and at the end of the given list for other academic materials that might be required. Section D requested that respondents state their perceptions about the frequency of academic reading and related tasks required for their students with reference to the course mentioned in Section B. A list of nine tasks ranging from background reading through reading theoretical position papers to students talking about their academic reading with the lecturer/tutor was presented for rating. Space was allotted at the end of the section for respondents to state other tasks that they perceived to be important for their students. Section E sought perceptions about frequency of student difficulties in academic reading and related tasks. Most of the task-based difficulties listed here related in a general way to academic reading that students were required to have carried out to complete other academic tasks such as participating in group discussions, and especially writing up assignments. Again, respondents were free to specify other reading and/or related difficulties based on their observation of student performance of set task-based activity. Section F 116

Materials and Methods attempted to elicit summary comments about academic reading skills required for and expected of Malaysian TESOL students in general, specific areas of difficulty, and suggestions, if any, to help better prepare students for mainstream subject matter courses. It was also envisaged that respondents would give, if necessary, general comments about the information-seeking approach adopted, as it were, for the questionnaire as a whole. Section G solicited course materials that documented formal academic reading requirements, if any, be attached to the completed questionnaire. The first batch of 130 questionnaire forms was sent out, each with an attached covering letter, for distribution amongst the TESOL staff in thirteen UK institutions in June 1996 via the contacts established for the students needs survey (again, in the case of Moray House lecturers, the questionnaires were distributed by the researcher). By September 1996, only 22 completed questionnaire forms had been returned, so another letter together with an additional 5 copies of the questionnaire was sent to each of the thirteen institutions to enquire about the prospect of further returns, if these were forthcoming. Some communication ensued with several contact persons via email. Consequently, 23 more completed forms were received by mid-November 1996, giving a total of 45 in all. One institution failed to return any of the forms sent and this was confirmed in writing by the contact person in that institution (no specific reason was given). Several other institutions also confirmed with apologies that further returns were not to be expected. Therefore, even though the overall response rate was lower than for students, it was deemed satisfactory on the grounds that sufficient effort had been made, and on the basis that most institutions which had relatively smaller number of Malaysian students compared to Moray House would probably have fewer faculty members teaching the groups concerned (Mike Wallace, personal communication). Therefore, faculty from 11 out of the 13 UK institutions initially approached responded to the academic needs survey. However, since the study was to examine the needs of in-service students, only the perceptions and views of faculty involved in the teaching/training of this type of students were to be considered for analysis. The resultant sample comprised 35 staff members from eight universities, a respondent sample size that was adjudged to adequately represent the faculty teaching first- and/or final-year in-service students at their respective institutions.


Reading Tasks Questionnaire (MHIE Sample)

This instrument was a three-part questionnaire, Sections A, B, and C modelled on relevant sections of the staff survey questionnaire. The student questionnaire was aimed at eliciting the views and/perceptions of a small sample of the target population of students concerning the type of academic reading tasks required of them, related difficulties, and summary comments and suggestions as to how their needs might be better addressed by the host institution so that these responses could be compared on a like for like basis with parallel responses elicited via the staff sample. As might be expected, the items in the student questionnaire were appropriately reworded to address students directly rather than staff members (See Appendix A). Further, students were to respond anonymously to enable them to express their views freely, particularly in Section C. 20 students at Moray House (1996/97 session) 117

Assessing EAP Needs for the University completed the reading tasks questionnaire in a single session after one of their regular classes. It was administered and collected immediately after completion by the researcher.


MCA Questionnaire

This questionnaire was originally developed by Carrell (1989) to collect salient demographic information from English and Spanish readers reading both in their respective first and second languages, and more importantly, to investigate their metacognitive conceptualisations or awareness judgements about silent reading in both languages, native and second language. She used a 1 - 5 Likert-type scale (1 = strongly agree, 5 = strongly disagree) to elicit her subjects judgements about 36 statements concerning silent reading strategies in each of the languages mentioned. Prior to responding to the questionnaire about reading in each language, the subjects were asked to read a short text and answer ten multiple-choice comprehension questions in that language. (Carrells use of her metacognitive awareness questionnaire and the results are summarised in Chapter 5.) The present study replicated the English language version of Carrells questionnaire with some minor modifications together with her 10-item reading test that was to be attempted by students before they responded to the questionnaire. The present questionnaire was structured as follows: Demographic information comprised sample number, respondents age in years, native language, gender, UK TESOL institution matriculated at, type of study programme, language(s) the respondent was able to read other than English, and number of years studying academic subjects in English in Malaysia and/or in any other country (including UK). The remaining 36 items of the questionnaire were organised, after Carrell (1989: 124), in terms of four macro variables that are explicated in Figure 6.1: It should be noted that Carrell, in designing the above format, sought to overcome a crucial weakness in a previous investigation by Barnett (1988) who employed a traditional multiple-choice completion format in which the researcher used pre-determined correct responses to score readers judgements about effective reading strategies (besides the problem of forcing subjects to choose a single strategy from several potentially acceptable ones listed under an item). Consequently, Carrell claims justification for the present format with the rationale that:
it would be desirable to construct a questionnaire which does not prejudge the effectiveness of strategies, but leaves that judgement to subjects, and then empirically investigates the relationship between those readers judgements about the effectiveness of the various reading strategies and the effectiveness of their reading (p. 122).

In other words, strategies thought to be characteristic of both proficient and less-proficient readers and/or global and local reading behaviour are presented to subjects who judge each of these on the basis of their own reading tendencies.


Materials and Methods

1) Confidence

6 statements related various aspects of a readers perceived ability to read in the language. E.g., When reading silently in English, I am able to recognise the difference between main points and supporting details. 5 statements related to repair strategies a reader uses when comprehension fails. E.g., When reading silently in English, when I dont understand something, I keep on reading and hope for clarification later on. 17 statements related to reading strategies the reader feels make the reading effective. Subcategorised into: Sound-letter (3 statements); Word meaning (5 statements); Text gist (2 statements); Background knowledge (2 statements); Content details (2 statements); Text organisation (2 statements); Sentence syntax (1 statement) E.g., When reading silently in English, the things I do to read effectively are to focus on the organisation of the text. 8 statements related to aspects of reading which make the reading difficult. Subcategorised into: Sound-letter (3 statements); Word -meaning (1 statement); Background knowledge (1 statement); Text organisation (1 statements); Sentence syntax (1 statement) E.g., When reading silently in English, things that make the reading difficult are the grammatical structures.

2) Repair

3) Effectiveness

4) Difficulty

Figure 6.1

Structure of the Metacognitive Questionnaire (Reproduced with slight adaptation from Carrell, 1989: 149)

The MCA questionnaire was administered together with the 10-item reading test (MCA test) in separate sessions on 20 in-service TESOL undergraduates in the 1995/96 academic session (MH Ins96), and on another group of 21 in-service TESOL students at Moray House in the 1996/97 session (MH Ins97). In both sessions, the respondents attempted the test before they answered the questionnaire. All respondents were in the final year of their studies at the same institution, and the responses made by each intact group of undergraduates were recorded in a single sitting specific to the group. As with the ASI questionnaire above, potential respondents were reminded to base their responses on their initial feelings/perceptions in relation to each item as they worked quickly through the whole questionnaire.


ASI Questionnaire

An investigative measure that has been found useful for assessing cognitive styles in an academic context is the Approaches to Studying Inventory (ASI) questionnaire (Kember and Gow, 1994). Originally developed by Ramsden and Entwistle (1981), the inventory seeks to assess the extent to which students utilise specific approaches or strategies to relate to academic tasks such as the reading of research papers. The original instrument comprised 16 sub-scales that were constructed by summing student responses to the 64 Likert-scale items of the questionnaire, and using factor analysis to arrive 119

Assessing EAP Needs for the University at the main approaches or styles (ibid.: 373-4). The revised ASI questionnaire (Entwistle, 1994) used in the present study contained 38 Likert-scale items aimed at measuring five approaches and/or styles and respective component orientations to study. The resultant 14 sub-scales are presented as in Figure 6.2 (questionnaire items coded X1 to X38): The following items from Entwistles questionnaire concerning other basic academic prerequisites were adopted in a slightly modified form so that students of the present discipline of focus i.e., TESOL, could relate to the questions appropriately: a) Entry qualifications (SPM, STPM, Diploma/Cert. in TESL etc.); b) Background knowledge of TESOL that you come in with; c) Study skills acquired (reading, listening/speaking, library/referencing skills, essay writing, etc.); and d) Ability to organise and plan study on your own.

Approach Deep Approach (10 items)

Component Orientations Looking for meaning Active interest/Critical stance Relating and organising ideas Using evidence and logic Relying on memorising Difficulty in making sense Unrelatedness Concern about coping Determination to excel Effort in studying Organised studying Time management -

Questionnaire Items X30, X19 X5, X1 X13, X25, X28 X38, X32, X35 X26, X20 X22, X6. X9, X23 X17, X3, X33, X7 X27, X21 X14, X21 X10, X2, X31 X18, X34, X37 X11, X15, X29, X36 X4, X8, X16, X12

Surface Approach (10 items)

Strategic Approach (10 items)

Lack of Direction (4 items) Academic Self-confidence (4 items)

Figure 6.2

ASI Scales and Component Questionnaire Items

The revised ASI questionnaire was initially administered on 20 in-service TESOL undergraduates during the 1995/96 academic session at Moray House. In the subsequent academic year (1996/97), another group of 21 in-service TESOL students at the same institution responded to the questionnaire. All respondents were in the final year of their studies, and responses were recorded in a single sitting specific to each intact target group of students. From the outset, respondents had been reminded to 120

Materials and Methods base their responses on their initial feelings/perceptions in relation to each item as there would be no right or wrong answers. Accordingly, they were asked to work quickly through the whole questionnaire before returning the completed questionnaires to the researcher as soon as they had finished (i.e., no additional time for checking answers). To this extent the procedure was deemed successful in getting students to respond off the cuff to the items in the questionnaire.


Reading Competence and English Language Ability Scales

Besides the MCA test mentioned above, an ESL reading competence, and an English language scale were deemed necessary for each of the 41 final-year TESOL subjects at Moray House Institute so that some measure of their reading as well as overall ability in ESL could be employed as performance criteria with the ASI sub-scales, metacognitive awareness categories, and with the quasi-experimental outcomes (MH Ins97). However, given that students were already running a tight schedule in their final year and that it was necessary to maintain their goodwill (not to mention their co-operation under the circumstances), it was impractical to test English language ability extensively besides the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) academic reading test that was administered to the MH Ins97 final-year cohort. (25 sets of the 1995 version of the IELTS test materials were purchased from the publishers, and the test was administered under examination conditions before being scored by the researcher using the marking scheme provided.) Thus two composite measures were computed using the existing data . First, the different sets of data i.e., subjects overall self-ratings of ESL ability (sum of listening, speaking, reading writing, grammar, and vocabulary ratings), and reading ability self-ratings were recomputed as standardised scores on a scale of 10 (the MCA test score was already on this scale), that is, RSELFRAT (recoded self-ratings) and RREADAB, respectively. Next, an English language scale (ELSCALE) was computed for the total sample (N=41) by summing RSELFRAT and the MCA test score and calculating the average, and READ by adding up RREADAB and MCA. The results of these procedures are as follows:
Table 6.4 Mean (SD) Reading and Overall ESL Proficiency Ratings of Moray House Cohorts

Sub-sample MH Ins96 (N = 20) MH Ins97 (N = 21) Overall (N = 41)

ELSCALE 7.465 (1.357) 6.976 (1.259) 7.214 (1.314)

READ 7.788 (1.110) 7.155 (1.322) 7.463 (1.249)

RIELTS (x/10) -

6.842 (1.922)


Assessing EAP Needs for the University 6.6.7 The Quasi-experimental Study

(i) Design Issues The general aim of the quasi-experiment was to examine the impact of a genre-based reading workshop on subjects genre awareness when reading TESOL research articles. The genre-text processing tasks designed and administered during this phase of the study related to and measured the following dependent macro-variables: a) Text sequencing (TS); b) Recall of main ideas (REC); c) Summary of main ideas (SUM); and d) Text Comprehension (COMP). 16 out of 21 final-year in-service TESOL students at Moray House Institute (Malaysian cohorts of the 1996/97 academic session) participated in the four text processing tasks involving the reading/comprehension of selected genre-texts taken from general readership journals in the field. (Although 18 subjects attempted the text sequencing pre-tasks A and B, and completed a debriefing questionnaire specific to each task, only 16 were available for the post-tasks). The TS task was a post hoc procedure aimed at assessing subjects ability to use the appropriate formal schemata, if indeed they had already internalised and/or had access to these abstract mental structures, to organise the scrambled pieces of textual information in each task. This task additionally served as a pre-test/post-test for the quasi-experimental investigation involving tasks concerning immediate recall, written summary, and comprehension of two research genre-texts. For the TS, REC, SUM, and COMP post-tasks, the subjects were randomly assigned, using a table of random numbers, to two groups, Group 1 (experimental) and Group 2 (comparison), of 8 students each. The basic experimental design for a non-randomised intact group with a single control may be schematised as follows: G1 (intact) X1 --- T --- X2 G2 (intact) X1 --- 0 --- X2 where G1 = experimental group; G2 = control group; T = treatment; 0 = no treatment; X1 = pre-test; and X2 = post-test This type of design is frequently used in the field of applied linguistics for the purpose of teaching programme and/or materials evaluation (Hatch and Lazaraton, 1991: 89). However, in the present study a slight variation of the above design was adopted to enable between-groups comparisons of outcomes, and at the same time, to minimise serious threats to internal validity. Campbell and Stanley (1963, cited in ibid: 33) have noted that internal validity concerns interpretation of findings within the study itself whereas external validity has to do with generalising the findings beyond. Known threats to internal validity are, inter alia, subject selection, maturation, history, instrumentation, task directions, adequate data base, and test effect even if it is not always possible to address all of these in a single study, at least in applied linguistics research (ibid.). Although the subjects of the present quasiexperimental study came from an intact group, their assignment to experimental and control/comparison groups was randomised using a table of random numbers. Maturation generally 122

Materials and Methods relates to time, and its possible effect on this relatively short study might be discounted. While history factors are largely beyond the conscious control of any researcher in similarly situated studies, the present researcher knows of no concurrent events and/or training sessions based on the concept of genre that the present subjects had received during the three-month period mentioned above other than the workshop treatment process that clearly intervened within the same duration. However, it must be pointed out that the whole of the present experimental phase of the study was conducted in action research style with the investigation placed in the classroom context, and with the researcher playing the role of teacher-researcher in order to attempt in many ways an efficient shift from a somewhat teaching spectacle type of situation to a learning festival one (Coleman, 1987) in terms of the general classroom-based teaching/learning culture. While this approach to research might be construed as posing a serious threat to the internal validity of the study (even if it is not of the classic experimental type) in relation to the possible introduction of error and bias, the decision to adopt it was informed both of logistical constraints faced in getting the right candidate for conducting the interventionist workshop sessions, and particularly of the larger potential benefits to be derived by an action research type of investigation effected by the researcher himself (who, in all modesty, had substantial experience teaching comparable content-based material to both undergraduates and postgraduates in an ESL environment). Perhaps the question of validity of the present study must be viewed in a slightly different light as one moves away from the quantitative end of the continuum towards the qualitative one of a case study in its naturalistic setting where the prior elimination of threats is less possible (Joseph Maxwell, 1992: 296, quoted in Norris, 1997: 3). This is not to say that anything goes (Norris, op. cit.: 4). Quite the contrary, we must take cognisance of the fact that all research must start somewhere. Researchers have to take some things for granted: to act they must accept much of the world as given (ibid.), and that the researchers suppositions tend to be paradigmatic in that they represent our preferred ways of solving research problems; preferences that are often as much to do with personal strengths and weaknesses as they are to do with determining the best match between methodology and problem even as these preferences can be challenged and the limitations of particular research designs or strategies acknowledged (ibid.). Accordingly, the present research effort addressed the related issues by minimising sources of potential error and/or bias within the limitations of an action research style of investigation as outlined in the foregoing paragraphs as well as in the sections below. The extent to which the present design choices and related threats to validity can be challenged must, however, take into account the limitations of the study as a whole which are acknowledged and discussed in Chapter 2. The TS task was used as both the pre- and post-test since a suitably long period of time (about 3 months) had elapsed between administrations and there was minimal likelihood of the subjects remembering enough of the source texts in the pre-test to be used as a clear pointer for attempting the post-test (which involves the same texts), eliminating, or at least reducing, the test effect threat to internal validity. On the other hand, the three other text processing tasks involving written recall, written summary, and responses to comprehension questions were used with both the comparison and experimental groups only at the post-test stage as an ad hoc measure to enable some form of 123

Assessing EAP Needs for the University methodological triangulation of the results obtained via the TS task. Accordingly, the schematic for this modified design is described in full as follows: G1 (intact group-random assignment) X1 --- T --- X2 G2 (intact group-random assignment) X1 --- 0 --- X2 where G1 = experimental group; G2 = control group; T = treatment by way of a series of workshops; 0 = no special treatment; X1 = pre-test (text sequencing); and X2 = post-tests (text sequencing, recall, summary, and comprehension) The dependent variables were represented by measures/scales concerning genre awareness in terms of genre-text sequencing. recall, summary, and comprehension by the two groups of subjects. The independent variable was experimental condition, that is, with or without expository input provided in the genre-based reading workshop about research genres as well as some principled practice in analysing the top-level move structure of genre-texts. The overall design schematic that explicates and summarises these relationships is as follows:
Figure 6.3 Overall Design Schematic of the Quasi-experimental Study (Dummy Table)

DEPENDENT VARIABLES Written Recall (RA Abstract) Written Summary (RA Introduction) Comprehension Score (RA Abstract and Introduction) Text sequencing (pre-test) Sub-task A (Abstract) Sub-task B (Introduction) Text sequencing (post-test) Sub-task A (Abstract) Sub-task B (Introduction)

Experimental Group

Comparison Group


The quality of subjects written recall as well as summary protocols were measured in terms of the number of moves used and the overall structure that reflected the original writers importance considerations, and in terms of four content accuracy scales. Comprehension test responses were scored using a marking scheme that highlighted genre awareness (see explication of these procedures in sub-sections [iii], [iv] and [v] below).


Materials and Methods (ii) The Workshop This section describes various aspects of the treatment given to the experimental group by way of expository input via workshop-based activities about the general application of a genre perspective to the reading of specialised academic genres essential in TESOL. These aspects comprise the context of the workshop, its rationale, materials used, and workshop structure and process. The limitations as well as advantages of the workshop based both on self-evaluation, and on the comments provided by the participants after the workshop will be addressed later on in Chapter 7 after the results of the quasiexperiment have been examined. Context From the outset, it must be reiterated (in the light of the foregoing discussion in Chapter 3 concerning target and present situation needs) that adult learners will be most inclined and receptive to new knowledge and skills when these are perceived to be immediately relevant to their personal, academic and/or professional needs. With direct regard to the needs of in-service trainees in education and professional development, Kirschner et al (1996: 87) observed that teachers will be more receptive to any staff development program if it addresses issues that arise from their own particular context and, more specifically, from their own individual work. The present group of in-service trainees immediate academic concerns clearly fitted such a context principally on the following counts: they were in their final year of their TESOL studies, and were actively reading various types of specialised materials, including research articles, in their field to complete their dissertation towards successful fulfilment the requirements for the award of the B.Ed degree. Rationale The over-riding rationale for the workshop was to raise in-service teacher trainees awareness for the generic structure of academic texts with special reference to the reading of the experimental research article (RA) in TESOL. It was envisaged that such an awareness would be essential to the process of acquiring a critical reading ability commensurate with the need to reflect on available research-based claims as solutions to problems in their field of specialisation. Further, in accordance with the purpose of the present investigation, the proposed workshop was designed to focus on the prototypical communicative move structures manifest respectively in the RA abstract and the Introduction, and on the link between the two research-process genres (Please see Structure of Workshop below.). This express purpose was to be achieved via introduction to the central concepts of genre, discourse community, and the problem-solution pattern in English discourse (after Hoey, 1983) to potentially engender appropriate schema-forming activities through analysing well-structured exemplars of whole RAs, RA abstracts, and RA Introductions. Models of prototypical rhetorical structure that were used comprised Weissberg and Bukers (1990) Abstract-Introduction-Method-Results-Discussion structure for the RA, Bhatias (1993) 4-Move structure for the RA abstract, and Swales (1981) 4-Move model for the RA Introduction. The approach to reading the research journal texts in question was to adopt a predominantly top-down perspective (after Nystrands (1986) wedge) to emphasise genre-text identification, and form-function relationships that help to guide a critical evaluation of text content 125

Assessing EAP Needs for the University and the writers ideas commensurate with communicative purpose(s). Several samples of written exemplars of generally unvarying complexity in terms of rhetorical structure were presented to the students for hands-on analysis of generic text structure, and discussion of writers purpose and/or rationale. Materials In the main, these comprised: a) summary notes; b) photocopies of text exemplars; c) worksheets; and d) sets of highlighter pens of various colours for marking texts. The notes, some produced on OHP transparencies and others on loose sheets of paper for distribution to individual students, concerned definitions of genre and discourse community, structural overviews of the research article, the abstract and the introduction, and the related movestructure models by Weissberg and Buker (1990), Bhatia (1993) and Swales (1981) respectively. As the notes were to be used to aid discussion and review of the main ideas about genre and the rhetorical structure of texts, they incorporated brief exercises as well as cloze-type blank-filling where there were stretches of continuous text so as to maximise active participation of participants. As it was envisaged that participants would come to the workshop with a greater gap in their knowledge about the generic features of the RA introduction compared with that about the abstract, the notes on the former research genre was necessarily more detailed and included salient information about language as well as information conventions relevant to the different stages/moves of the genre. While the information presented for discussion via the notes was gathered from a variety of sources, the main source of reference was Weissberg and Buker (1990) from which one source texts was also drawn for use in the workshop practice sessions. However, sentences or segments thereof, when provided to illustrate a particular structure or genre convention in the notes, were related to TESOL. Altogether five genre-text exemplars were selected and prepared for use in the workshop sessions as follows: Author(s) Acree, G. (1980) Title of Research Article English language acquisition: The effects of living with an American family The effect of the teachers reading aloud on the reading comprehension of EFL students See how they read: Comprehension monitoring of L1 and L2 readers Personality types and language learning in an EFL context Comparing teacher and student responses to written work Source Weissberg and Buker (1990) ELT Journal, 51(1) TESOL Quarterly, 26(2) Language Learning, 46(1): 75-99 TESOL Quarterly, 27(1) Part(s) Extracted whole (no abstract)

Amer, A. A. (1997)

whole Abstract & Introduction Abstract & Introduction Introduction

Block, E. L. (1992)

Carrell, P. L. (1996)

Caulk, N. (1993)


Materials and Methods Generally speaking, an attempt was made to select relatively short, well-structured research genre-texts from different sources so that they could be used to clearly exemplify and concretise the respective genre models in the workshop sessions. In the case of whole articles, the text conformed to the Abstract-Introduction-Method-Results-Discussion pattern. For the abstract and the article introduction, texts were selected on the basis how well-structured they were in terms of straightforward move sequences of the 1,2,3,4 pattern (as in Bhatia, 1993, and Swales, 1981). However, two texts that had more complex patterns were included as examples of the variation that can occur in the genres in question: the Acree (1980) exemplar had a somewhat scrambled move pattern, and the Block (1992) introduction used move 2 and 3 cyclically. Structure and Process The workshop, designed to comprise three 90-minute sessions, was held a session a day for three consecutive days. It was conducted as scheduled in early April, 1997 by the researcher as teacher. The students were working actively on their professional project and many were still doing reference work in the library as they drafted and/or edited their written reports. As they had very few formal classes to attend, participation in the workshop over three days as above was not expected to cause undue inconvenience (the dates had been set after consulting the students). The workshop used a series of exposition-discussion-analysis activities to introduce basic concepts central to a genre perspective on academic communication, to teach the top-level rhetorical features of selected genres, and to relate these as well as form-function correlations to students reading concerns. Consequently, the proposed content and activities were organised into five genre units as in Figure 6.4. Units 1 and 5 were essentially introductory and review/concluding units respectively. Units 2, 3 and 4 were relatively heavier in terms of content as well as activity load, and as might be expected more time was devoted to each of these latter units which corresponded to work on the whole research article, the abstract, and the article introduction in that order. Unit 1 was accomplished as outlined in the above figure. Subsequent to initial presentation and description of concepts, an interesting discussion ensued particularly about the difference between genre and text type, and the role of genre in the solution of problems within the discipline. The work done in Units 2, 3 and 4 followed a basic 6-step pattern or cycle which reflected the types as well as the sequencing of learning activities within each unit: Step 1: Introduce genre and discuss. Ps (participants) complete summary notes and/or review exercises as required. Step 2: Present appropriate move-structure model and discuss communicative functions of moves. Step 3: Distribute genre-text exemplar. Silent reading followed by class discussion of genres topic/overall content. Step 4: Ps work in pairs analysing structure but colour-code communicative moves individually. Step 5: Class discussion of genre structure. Step 6: Distribute another text. Ps attempt to find evidence of same structure and steps 4 and 5 are repeated. 127

Assessing EAP Needs for the University

Figure 6.4 Structure of Genre-based Reading Workshop for TESOL Students

Session 1

Unit 1

Workshop Organiser Present rationale for workshop Describe process of workshop Introduce major concepts of genre, discourse community, and suprageneric conceptual structure of discipline (problem-solution) Review Present overview/top-level structure of the experimental research article (RA) Present communicative purpose of each major section of RA

Participants Ask questions /discuss /review concepts

Match RA section title with communicative purpose Analysis: colour code structure of RA exemplar and comment on information structure Participate in review discussion/ask further questions Fill in slot diagram of RA abstract structure Analysis: Identify/colour code generic structure, specific moves and discernible form-function correlations in sample text (online genre analysis)

Initiate review of central concepts of genre and discourse community Review top-level RA generic structure and link with problem-solution pattern (Hoey, 1983) Present move structure of RA abstract (Bhatia, 1993) Overall rationale and link to problemsolution pattern Communicative purpose of each move/stage Some form-function correlations Present move structure of RA Introduction (Swales, 1981; 1990) Overall rationale for RA Introduction Communicative purpose of each move/stage and rhetorical acts Form-function correlations specific to each stage (move signals) Review of respective RA, Abstract, and Introduction move structures Reading genre-texts: Nystrands wedge (Genre, Topic, and Comment) Locating specific information

Fill in slot diagram of RA Introduction (list of options provided) Identify and colour code generic structure, specific moves and discernible form-function correlations in sample text (online genre analysis)

Comment on generic structure and writers moves in specific text exemplars Review/Comment on writers ideas and link to problem-solution pattern (RA abstract text) Critical evaluation of writers ideas and positioning of research effort (RA Introduction text)

Thus, Unit 2 involved the presentation and discussion of two texts, namely, Amer (1997), and Acree (1980) after the students had been introduced to the experimental research article and the related 128

Materials and Methods Abstract-Introduction-Method-Results-Discussion model (Weissberg and Buker, 1990: 3). Although the Amer text had many sub-headings, the major sections conformed to the AIMRD (AbstractIntroduction-Method-Results-Discussion) structure and students were able to identify these once the related areas of content had been discussed. However, some students found it difficult to demarcate Results from Discussion (both of which appeared in the final section subtitled as Results and Discussion). Similarly, the Acree text which had part of one move displaced in text initial position to reflect an MIMRD structure, also proved problematic to some extent. Some students correctly pointed out that this second text could not be an authentic journal article because, notwithstanding the fact that it had been word-processed, it appeared contrived (it was actually a rewritten version taken from a textbook). In Unit 3, Bhatias model (1993) was introduced and discussed briefly together with Weissberg and Bukers structure (1990: 186) which includes some background information before statement of purpose (move 1). Notes about related language conventions were also presented and discussed before students analysed the move structure of the Amer and the Carrell text abstracts, and colour-coded the various moves using the highlighters provided. They were also able to pick out particular expressions that signalled communicative moves in the text. With particular reference to the Carrell abstract, several students reported some difficulty in separating move 3 from move 4, that is, Summarising Results from Presenting Conclusions. To help resolve this problem, students attention was redirected to the notes on particular language conventions that normally apply to each major move: the simple past tense characterises the reporting verb in Results while the present tense, tentative verbs and/or modal auxiliaries tend to predominate in Conclusions. Moreover, in abstracts the concluding remarks tend to be proportionately brief in relation to the other sections. The students used both the criteria to solve the problem encountered in the Carrell abstract. As planned, Unit 4 centred around Swales (1981) 4-move structure model for article introductions which was compared with Weissberg and Bukers five stages (1990: 22) (which include optional value statements or justification for a study at the fifth stage). Notes concerning these stages were distributed before information and language conventions corresponding to each move/stage were discussed. The first text exemplar for subsequent reading, discussion and analysis was the Caulk (1993) article introduction. After some initial modelling by the teacher-researcher, the students attempted to identify the various text segments which depicted the communicative moves (which were then colour-coded appropriately). Students perceptively commented that this task was more easily accomplished by locating the review of previous research (Move 2) first before skimming the text before and after this move for moves 1 and 3 respectively, and then identifying move 4 towards the end of the introduction. However, they agreed that discourse as well as language conventions (including signals) also helped them to discern shifts in communicative purpose. For example, the expressions However, there remains a need for studies on ... and ... to fill this gap were used in conjunction with move 3. Next, working with the Block article introduction, the students discovered that it had a more elaborate pattern of moves mainly as a result of recurring move 2-move 3 combinations, thereby giving the pattern 123423234. 129

Assessing EAP Needs for the University Unit 5 was essentially a consolidation unit in that it served to review concepts and models of move structure previously introduced and discussed as well as to relate these to students academic reading needs, for example, to locate specific bits of information about a particular topic. The concept of Nystrands wedge was subsequently introduced to emphasise that genre identification and placement (and related schemata) would be crucial in that these foreground the general content/topic type as well as the nature of claims the writer is likely to make for his research effort. With reference to several text exemplars that the students had worked on in previous sessions, the link between the abstract and the article introduction was examined and discussed. Particular abstracts (and related whole articles as available) were examined in terms of the problem-solution pattern in TESOL, and the rationale for the article introduction in connection with the authors positioning of his research within the academic ecosystem was discussed. Finally, it had been envisaged from the outset that a useful immediate spin-off from the workshop would be the potential insights that the participants could gain into their own writing products. This came closer to reality when many students brought their professional project drafts in varying stages of completion to the final session of the workshop (actually they had been asked to bring along their own genre selections for analysis/discussion) armed with pertinent questions about how they could better structure their written pieces Some even volunteered useful suggestions when the work of others was being discussed, many of the related terms as move, setting, study purpose and structure being indeed evident in their metalanguage repertoire. As follow-up to the workshop, a questionnaire comprising four open-ended items was distributed to the workshop participants to assess their personal reactions to the workshop as a whole vis--vis any possible change to their reading strategies as a result of their participation, its usefulness for their purpose, its shortcomings and/or suggestions for improvement, and other summary comments about it (see Appendix B for a copy of the questionnaire.). Participants were asked to respond frankly and honestly as anonymous reviewers. Their comments are incorporated in the related discussion in the next section. (iii) Text sequencing Task (Pre- and Post Tests) The purpose of the TS task was to assess the extent to which students were aware of the rhetorical structure of two types of academic research genre-texts that they read regularly in the course of their studies. Sub-task A attempted to do this with the research article abstract, and B with the research article introduction. Both text types dealt with topics that were deemed to be within the students realm of academic and/or professional experience and interest. Materials Two source texts, Texts A and B, were selected and prepared for use in the text sequencing sub-tasks A and B respectively. These texts were well-structured exemplars of research genre-texts extracted from two general readership journals relevant to TESOL. Text A was a research article abstract entitled A longitudinal study of childrens early literacy experiences at home and later literacy development at home and school by Jo Weinberger (1996). Text B was a research article introduction 130

Materials and Methods from an article by M. Sasaki and K. Hirose (1996) entitled Explanatory variables for EFL students expository writing. Both texts were word-processed on the computer for ease of readability checks and subsequent preparation for the tasks. Text A had the word Abstract removed, and Text B the word Introduction. Thus modified, the sentences/paragraphs and title of each text were reordered randomly using a table of random numbers. Text A comprised a title and eight sentences, contained 205 words, and had a Gunning Fog Index of 14.0. Text B which consisted of a title and eight paragraphs had 54 sentences and contained 908 words in all. It had a Gunning Fog Index of 13.3. According to Alderson and Urquhart (1984: xxii), the FOG Readability Index should be interpreted as 12- = easy, 13-16 = undergraduate, 16+ = postgraduates, so on the basis of this index both texts were deemed to be well within the general reading ability of the target group of subjects The content of the source texts were also analysed for their communicative move structure to ensure that they were well-structured prototypical exemplars of the genres in question. Text A was analysed using Bhatias 4-move model for research article abstracts (1993: 78-9), and Text B on the basis of Swales (1981) model for article introductions. (see copies of the original source texts, the reordered/scrambled versions, the movestructure analyses, and the relevant task response sheets in Appendix C). Each response sheet contained appropriately headed spaces for the subjects identification number, rank-ordered task responses, and a record of the time taken to accomplish the task. A separate sheet was to be used for each sub-task relevant to the pre- and post-test phases. Procedure The procedure adopted for this task was similar to that extensively used by Swales (1990: 213) as a rhetorical consciousness-raising technique amongst both native and non-native undergraduate and graduate students (as well as language instructors and colleagues in workshops and presentations). In the present investigation, subjects were asked to complete the two sub-tasks i.e., the pre-tests (PreTA and PreTB) and the post-tests (PosTA and PosTB), adopting identical procedures in single sessions of administration. To attempt PreTA and PosTA, students were given the title of the article abstract and eight constituent sentences written separately on eight slips of paper which they were asked to reassemble in their original order. For PreTB and PosTB, students were given the title of the article introduction together with eight paragraphs written separately on nine slips of paper. Again, the students were required to reassemble the title and the paragraphs in their original order. For either subtask, the strip containing the last sentence/paragraph was numbered i.e., in the sub-task A set, the sentence beginning The findings underline the importance of ... was numbered 9, and in the subtask B set, the paragraph beginning The present study replicates ... was similarly so. In other words, in all the text sequencing tests position of the last segment was always supplied so that the subjects actually had to reorder the remaining eight bits of text to complete the sequence. The rationale for this intervention was to delimit the specific types of schemata for text that might be instantiated, thereby controlling to some extent for any confounding effects of disparate but competing schematic text structures that subjects might have become familiar with in their previous reading experience. 131

Assessing EAP Needs for the University Further, for each of the sub-tasks, students were also asked to complete a short debriefing questionnaire which had been incorporated in the response sheet. Besides the task responses (item 1), and time records (item 2) mentioned above, subjects were required to identify three general features of the genre-texts (items 3 and 4) i.e., the probable source material, the specific text-type, and the general topic of the text. Item 5 was about task difficulty on a 7-point scale (easy to difficult), and items 6 sought to elicit subjects description of any strategies that they used to complete each sub-task. Debriefing questionnaires given out at the pre-test stage also included a section at the end for subjects to list any difficulties encountered in completing the tasks. (Please see Appendix D for copies of materials given to subjects.) (iv) Recall, Summary, and Comprehension Tasks (Post-tests) The common purpose of the immediate recall task and the written summary task was to assess the extent to which students were able to use the structure of the source texts they had read to organise their recalled/written summary of the original authors main ideas. However, the two tasks were different in two fundamental ways: the recall task was based on the students reading of the abstract alone, and the recall protocol was to be recorded without access to the original text; the written summary task involved students writing out a summary of the authors main ideas contained in the longer article introduction with the source text remaining accessible throughout the writing process. Figure 6.5 Aspects of Genre Awareness Assessment in the Comprehension Task

Quest. No. 1 2 3 4

Aspect(s) of Genre Awareness Assessed Potential areas of relevance to reading purpose Locating information about general area of investigation (Move 1) Locating information about writers specific area of investigation (Move 1) Identifying research problem (Statement of purpose - Abstract Move 1) (Specific area of investigation - Move 1) (Gap statement - Move 3) Establishing link between genre and problem-solution pattern: information about research methodology - Move 2 addressing research questions - Move 4 Evaluating research outcomes - Move 3 Locating gap in previous research - Move 3 Evaluating writers claim to research space - Move 2 ,3 and readers knowledge of the research area/field Locating writers claim about research outcomes Critical evaluation of reported research (problem-solution) on the basis of received as well as experienced knowledge

Source Genre Abs.; Intro. Intro. Intro. Abs. Intro. Intro. Abs. Intro. Abs. Intro. Intro. Abs Abs.; Intro (Total) 132

Marks (X/62) 8 4 3 4

6 7 8 9 10

11 4 8 4 10 62

Materials and Methods

The comprehension task was aimed at assessing students ability to use knowledge of generic text structure to locate specific bits of information, and to evaluate the authors ideas critically with reference to the students simulated reading purpose. The test comprised a set of ten open-ended questions based on the information contained in the Mendona and Johnson (1994) texts and on the possible inferences that the readers could draw from it on the basis of their prior knowledge and professional experience (see Appendix E for a copy of the test). Since it would not have been realistic to expect students to read optimally in a contextual vacuum, a simulated context was outlined at the beginning of the comprehension test to relate the reading task to the genres at hand. This was followed with precise instructions as to how the test was to be attempted. More specifically, the students knowledge of various areas/elements of the genres in question were assessed via a set of individual questions. The respective rationale for these questions is presented in concise form as in Figure 6.5. Perhaps item 10 deserves a little further explication to put it in an appropriate perspective for the present study. With reference to TESOL as a discipline in its own right, the rationale for this item stated above would emanate from the argument that there are two theoretically dichotomised knowledge bases: received knowledge (only partly contributed to by the content of any particular instance of genre-text), and experienced knowledge related to professional competence vis--vis awareness of the teaching/learning situation. Assuming that this wide scope was potentially measurable in some way with reference to particular knowledge claims made in selected research genre-texts, the present item was in a sense an exploratory one. In other words, it sought to discover the extent to which newly-initiated readers would be able to relate research findings to their field of professional practice, the additional dimension being the possible impact of explicit instruction in the structure of the genres involved in the process. Materials The source texts for all three tasks above comprised the well-structured, published version of the abstract, and the introductory section of the same research article by Mendona, Cassia O. and Karen E. Johnson (1994) entitled Peer review negotiations: Revision activities in ESL writing instruction, and extracted from TESOL Quarterly 28(4): 745-60, a general readership journal relevant to TESOL education . The abstract text contained nine sentences comprising 183 words. It had a Gunning FOG Index of 15.5 (undergraduate level). The article introduction had 20 paragraphs (49 sentences) of 1075 words. The FOG Index was 14.3 (undergraduate level). The title was retained at the head of the respective article sections. The abstract text was to be used for the REC (recall) task, and the introduction for the written SUM (summary) task. Both texts were to be used separately or together, as necessary, by the students to complete the COMP (comprehension) task . The necessary materials given to all subjects included an instruction sheet briefly detailing the procedure for all three tasks, sheets of ruled paper on which to record their immediate recall protocols and written summary protocols, and the comprehension test of ten openended items. The relevant sets of materials were distributed in stages as the students completed the tasks in the following order: (a) REC task, (b) SUM task, and (c) COMP task. 133

Assessing EAP Needs for the University Content analysis of the texts involved a sentence by sentence process of determining the movestep structure of their so that the analyses could be used to guide task response assessment procedures. Again, the respective Bhatia (1993) and Swales (1981) models were employed as the bases of the text analysis. Procedure All the three tasks, in addition to the text sequencing post-tests, were administered to both the experimental and comparison groups of subjects in a single session of 2 hours and 30 minutes. Perhaps it must be noted here that these tasks were successfully conducted almost immediately after the genrebased reading workshop had ended i.e., after the experimental group had had a 15-minute break as agreed upon during an earlier discussion with both groups. The order in which the various tasks/tests were attempted as well as the time allotted for completion (including about 5 minutes administration time for each task) were as follows: 1. TS task: 50 mins. (Approximately 25 minutes for each sub-task) 2. REC task: 20 mins. 3. SUM task : 30 mins. 4. COMP task: 50 mins. Total time: 150 mins. Thus, immediately after the brief instructions had been given and the text sequencing post-tests completed, the abstract of the Mendona and Johnson (1994) article was distributed together with the blank protocol record sheets. The students were asked to read the abstract silently (5 minutes) and to recall and write down a summary of the authors main ideas in a single paragraph of not more than 70 words. Although subjects were allowed to make notes and/or mark the text, these were retained by the researcher during the recall writing stage. Recall protocols were collected at the end of the maximum allotted time. The written summary task required the students to read the article introduction text silently and quickly for about 10 minutes before they attempted to summarise the main ideas using not more than 200 words. The task was similar to a real-world summary writing task in that the student-writers had constant access to the source text. The written summary protocols were recorded on the ruled sheets provided. Once the protocols had been collected, the abstracts were returned to the students together with comprehension test sheet for the final task. Students were to write their answers in the spaces provided beneath each question or set of questions as might be the case on the basis of the information contained in the research article abstract and/or introduction. (v) Scoring Students Task Protocols It is acknowledged that readers approach texts differentially in particular situations commensurate with the different purposes that they might have for reading them in those situations (cf. for example Bazermans [1985] postulates of schema-laden purposes and purpose-laden schemas), and that readers are often involved in a text reduction process to decide for themselves upon the importance of the writers ideas and/or other aspects that might be important for them personally as readers (see Van Dijk, 1979, cited in Johns, A. M., 1985: 498). However, for the purpose of investigating particular 134

Materials and Methods behaviour in a deliberate test situation, what is expected of the reader can be usefully operationalised in terms of the writers intent or importance-consideration [as] the primary factor, since this is the factor which university instructors emphasise ... [and] a summary is correct when what the author of the original text probably considers important (determined by the judgements of... expert readers) is included (ibid.). As was earlier argued within a genre-based perspective of reading and writing, the writer makes use of specific generic conventions simultaneously to convey his private intents and to structure the resulting text. Accordingly, a summary of a text, whether recalled from memory or written out by readers in a simulated real-world task situation (Cohen, 1993, cited in Riley and Lee, 1994: 178), would be correct to the extent that its structure reflects the writers organisation of ideas as well as the accuracy of intended content subject to verification by expert readers in the field. Hence the summary protocols of genre-texts elicited from subjects in an experimental context would be amenable to assessment of structural features reflecting those of the source genre as well as of content considerations as accurate representation of original authors importance-considerations (Johns, A. M., 1985), balanced coverage of ideas, neutrality of presentation, and use of summary writers own words to condense source material (Swales and Feak, 1994: 105-6). The above concerns formed the bases of three assessment schemes for scoring students task protocols in the present study: 1. identification of distinct genre-specific moves and move sequences in each recall, and summary protocol; 2. ratings of genre-specific overall content accuracy of each recall, and summary protocol; and 3. ratings of students answers to comprehension questions based on aspects of genre awareness (as schematised in Figure 6.5). Subsequently, two scoring proforma were devised for assessing students REC task protocols and SUM task protocols respectively based on criteria (1) and (2) above. The first part of the assessment procedure sought to identify discernible moves in the protocols (to be judged by the raters, allowing for some distortion and/or lack of information required to flesh out move completely). The second part was aimed at determining the move pattern used by the students to organise their recall/summary, and the third at using a 7-point scale to rate impressionistically each of four different aspects of the protocols relating to overall content accuracy (please see Appendix F). Next, a marking scheme was prepared for rating COMP task protocols to reflect (3) above (Appendix G). The REC task and SUM task protocols were assessed simultaneously by two independent raters (Moray House lecturers) using the appropriate proforma. Each rater had been given duplicate sets of the protocols (photocopies), copies of the source texts and corresponding move-structure analyses; and schematised versions of Swales 4-move model of RA Introduction structure (1981) as well as Bhatias 4-move model of RA Abstract structure (1993). Students responses to the COMP task were assessed, also concurrently, by two other independent raters provided with duplicate sets of the students answer sheets together copies of the source texts and the marking scheme. Raters were urged to use their judgement to accept good paraphrases of the model answers; otherwise they were 135

Assessing EAP Needs for the University requested to follow the scheme closely. Marks awarded for each answer were recorded on a separate sheet for each student.

6.7 Data Analysis 6.7.1 UK Survey Responses

Questionnaire responses were coded for statistical analyses and entered into a computer database file using the SPSS programme. In addition to examining overall frequencies, percentages, and other descriptive statistics, various statistical procedures for nonparametric data were applied to examine differences in survey responses across sub-samples measured at the nominal or ordinal level (Frude, 1993: 169-70). When the sample size was larger than 30, parametric procedure was used to isolate significant differences, if any, across sub-samples of the data. However, the particular statistical measure used for each set of questionnaire data is described and explained under questionnaire type below. Scales relating to the major constructs underpinning each questionnaire were subjected to reliability analysis using Cronbachs alpha as a correlation coefficient that represents the correlation between the items on a particular scale and all the other possible scales containing the same number of items, constructed from the same universe of potential questions that measure the underlying factor or concept (Rodeghier, 1996: 158). This coefficient ranges from 0 to 1, and the higher the coefficient, the greater the reliability of the scale as a measure of the particular construct it represents. (i) Student Needs Survey The responses made by the students to all the closed-ended items, and most open-ended items of the perceived needs questionnaire were coded and entered in a computer data file. The only open-ended items that were not coded (because distinct categories of responses would not be readily discernible) were Other [Reading] Materials and the final question concerning other comments and/or academic reading problems. These will, however, be looked at qualitatively at relevant points in the data commentary. The variables of interest in this part of the study were organised schematically as a) present situation variables (including demographic as well as study process-oriented variables), and b) target situation variables. The former category comprised variables measured on a nominal scale by items 2, 3, 5, 10a-b, 15a-c, 17a-c, and 26a-f, dichotomous variables by items 4 (gender) and 16 (radio listening), and variables measured on an ordinal scale as in items 6-9, 11a-f, 12-14, 18-25, and 27. The latter consisted of variables that aimed to measure on a 4-point ordinal scale perceived levels of need for selected academic materials as in items A1-7, and B1-15 (journal titles) as well as an item that asked respondents to prioritise A1-A7 in terms of the four most important types of materials commensurate with their need for help with comprehension.


Materials and Methods (ii) Survey Staff Perceived Student Needs The main variables of interest were as follows: a) Demographic variables: These comprised respondents TESOL institutional as well as departmental affiliation, level/type of TESOL programme and the courses they were teaching, and the various modes of delivery that they used in their classes. Responses under TESOL institution were coded into eight nominal categories, and the wide range of departmental names were coded into five arbitrary common denominators as International Education, English Language Studies, Linguistics, Education, and English Language Education. Similarly, the two course variables were summarily coded into 15 different TESOL course types to reflect the wide variety of courses cited by respondents. The eight level variables were dichotomously coded (Yes/No) as were the seven modes of delivery variables of lecture, lecture-discussion, seminars, laboratory work, workshops, tutorials, projects and tasks, and school placement respectively. b) Target Situation variables (Reading materials required for TESOL students): These variables were measured through questionnaire items C1 to C7, and C9 to C12 on a 4-point ordinal scale. Items C8 and C13 concerned other type of journal article/section, and any other materials respectively. c) Target Situation variables (Academic reading tasks): These were measured on a 4-point ordinal scale via items D1 to D9. D10 related to Any other reading task(s). d) Present Situation variables (Problems related to text processing): Questionnaire items that measured these variables were E1 to E8. E9 was about Any other task-related difficulty. Data description and display in terms of frequency counts and percentage of responses for all variables were carried out, and sets of null/alternative hypotheses were formulated to test for differences across sub-samples. The Kruskal-Wallis one-way analysis of variance for non-parametric data was used to test each of the above null hypotheses of no difference in the perceptions teaching staff over TESOL institution in relation to the three areas of perception.


Moray House Questionnaires

(i) Reading Tasks Questionnaire (Academic session 1996/97) Since almost all the variables measured via the items in this questionnaire paralleled a substantial number of those measured by the staff survey above (see section 6.6.2 above), the present data were coded and entered into the same database file to make for easier comparison at the analysis stage. Items A1 to A9, measured on the same 4-point ordinal frequency scale as used in the staff survey above, represented the following variables (summarised description): getting the main information, searching for specific information, reading theoretical position papers, checking sources of new information, preparing written summaries, distinguishing between fact and opinion, discussing in small groups, completing graded projects, and talking to lecturers about readings, respectively. Again, the last item in the list, A10, related to Any other reading task(s). Items B1 to B6 concerning taskrelated difficulties, were measured on the same 4-point scale as above. 137

Assessing EAP Needs for the University Frequencies and percentages of responses were calculated for each of the variables, and the resultant information was displayed together with the mean, median and standard deviation as measures of central tendency. Variables were rank-ordered by mean/median to make for comparison with similar data from the staff survey on a like with like basis. (ii) MCA Questionnaire The demographic variables were analysed to determine their distribution as well as to identify any differences that may exist between the sub-samples. These variables comprised age, sex, native language, ability to read in any other language{s}, other language{s} read, number of years studying in English in Malaysia, and number of years studying in English elsewhere. The remaining 36 items relating to statements of metacognitive awareness were coded X1 to X36 and classified under the various categories of reading strategies/difficulties as follows: confidence (X1 To X6); repair (X7 to X11); effective (X12 to X20, and X29 to X36); difficulty (X21 to X28); effective-global (X14, X17, X20, X31, X34, X36); effective-local (X12, X13, X15 to X19, X29, X30, X32, X33, X35); difficult-global (X26 to X28); and difficult-local (X21 to X25). Each of these subgroups of variables or macro variables were computed by summing up the responses under it and calculating the average. The last four sub-groups concerned perceptions that related to reading at a global or a local level as appropriately denoted by the term used. Accordingly, items under these groups were recategorised to compute two further variables, global and local, and used as bases (average responses) to reclassify subjects into global strategisers and local strategisers: if subjects average responses to effective items indicated that they tended to agree to a greater extent that global (i.e., average response being equal to or greater than 3.45) rather than local strategies were effective, they were classified as global strategisers; otherwise they were classified as local strategisers (3.44 and below). Likewise, subjects whose average responses to difficulty items showed that they were more inclined to disagree to a greater extent that global strategies as opposed to local strategies caused them difficulty were classified as global strategisers; otherwise they were classified as local strategisers. A simple SPSS programme was written to classify subjects thus, and respective mean scores on the associated reading test were computed. (iii) ASI Questionnaire Students responses to the ASI questionnaire were coded in terms of the following variables using the SPSSPC+ programme: a) Sample Number: This was the 3-digit sample number ascribed to each final-year TESOL subject at Moray House who responded to the questionnaire. This number was assigned and maintained consistently for all questionnaire, test and task data to make for ease of comparison between/among data sets. b) Sub-sample: This nominal variable distinguished the two intact groups of subjects at Moray House: 1 = In-service final year 1995/96 (MH Ins96); 2 = In-service final year 1996/97 (MH Ins97) c) Age of respondents in years d) Sex (dichotomous variable; 1 = Male; 2 = Female) 138

Materials and Methods e) Entry qualifications (SPM, STPM, Diploma/Cert. in TESL etc.) f) Background knowledge of TESOL g) Study skills already acquired (reading, listening/speaking, library/referencing skills, essay writing, etc.) h) Ability to organise and plan study on your own i) ASI Variables: The 38 ASI items that appeared in the questionnaire were coded X1 to X38. For the purpose of statistical analysis, each of the sub-scales was computed in the SPSS programme by summing up the respondents ratings for each item subsumed under the scale, and then calculating a mean rating i.e.: COMPUTE DA1 = (X30 + X19)/2 (Looking for meaning) COMPUTE DA2 = (X5 + X1)/2 (Active interest/critical stance) COMPUTE DA3 = (X13 + X25 + X28)/3 (Relating and organising ideas) COMPUTE DA4 = (X38 + X32 + X35)/3 (Using evidence and logic) COMPUTE DA = (X30+ X19+ X5 + X1 + X13 + X25 + X28 + X38 + X32 + X35) /10 (Deep Approach) and so on for the remaining variables/scales. (For displaying summary responses in frequency tables, the mean rating for each computed sub-scale was calculated as a round number.)


Quasi-experimental Data

(i) Text Sequencing Task The following excerpts from the respective sub-task response sheets indicate the correct position of each sentence/paragraph in the original text: a) Excerpt from task response sheet for Text A (TS pre- and post-tests): Reading Task A (Reassembling Scrambled Sentences) 1. Please transfer the numbers from the paper slips to the appropriate sentence fragments below (The first one has been done for you): ( 9 ) The findings underline the importance of home factors ... ( 7 ) Children with literacy difficulties owned fewer books, ... ( 6 ) Significant factors included having favourite books ... ( 1 ) A longitudinal study of childrens early literacy experience ... ( 3 ) The study reported here has sought not only to replicate ... ( 2 ) Studies of literacy attainment in the early years of school ... ( 8 ) Implications for teachers, highlighting the relevance of ... ( 4 ) Literacy experiences of 42 children at ages 3, 5 and 7 ... ( 5 ) Findings are reported concerning two outcome measures ...


Assessing EAP Needs for the University b) Excerpt from task response sheet for Text B (TS pre- and post tests) Reading Task B (Reassembling Scrambled Paragraphs) 1. Please transfer the numbers from the paper slips to appropriate paragraph beginnings below (The first one has been done for you): ( 9 ) The present study replicates the general design of the pilot study ... ( 3 ) If such a composing competence exists, it should be evoked when ... ( 1 ) Explanatory Variables for EFL Students Expository Writing ( 7 ) Although all these previous studies provided insight into the factors ... ( 8 ) With these methodological limitations in mind, we conducted ... ( 5 ) A fourth factor is knowledge of L2 writing. The knowledge of ... ( 2 ) Many researchers have investigated factors that could explain ... ( 4 ) Investigation of a third factor, L2 proficiency, has also yielded ... ( 6 ) Related to the above factors is the learners instructional ... All of the data from the subjects response sheets were first coded and transferred to a single SPSS data file using the following configuration/order: case number, sub-group membership (coded 1,2), numerical responses to pre-test A (in the order shown in the excerpt above, coded 1-9), time taken in minutes, and difficulty rating (coded 1-7), and so on to the remaining pre-test B, post-test A, and posttest B responses. Open-ended responses to items 3 (identification of source material, and text type), 4 (general topic), 6 (strategies used), and 7 (task-related difficulties) were examined and assessed qualitatively focusing the commentary on between-group differences at the post-test stage. Data about task performance, completion time, and self-ratings were compared across as well as within subject groups to examine if there were significant differences. The task data per se were recoded in dichotomous terms (yes/correctly ordered = 1; no/incorrectly ordered = 0) to produce eight separate data matrices that were then listed, each according to case/sample numbers, as a visual display of subjects performance on a before-after basis. The number of correct responses in each row of a given matrix of such ordered data was counted based on the original sequence of text segments (see excerpts [a[ and [b] above), and recorded against the row in question in the display as well as in the SPSS datafile. These frequency ratings, appropriately quantified as A, PA, B, PB in the command file to relate to pre-test A, post-test A, pre-test B, and post-test B mean scores respectively, were then used to compare subjects performance on the sub-tasks as schematised in the dummy table below:
SUB-TASK/STAGE Task A (scrambled sentences) Pre-test Post-test Task B (scrambled paragraphs) Pre-test Post-test TREATMENT CONDITION Experimental (N=9) Comparison (N=9) A PA B PB A PA B PB

INDEPENDENT VARIABLE (Genre-based Reading Workshop Input)

The Mann-Whitney U- Wilcoxon Rank Sum W Test for independent samples of non-parametric data was used to compare subjects performance on A, PA, B, PB by experimental groups. 140

Materials and Methods Subsequently, the Wilcoxon Matched-pairs Signed-ranks Test for related samples was used to compare performance within groups on a before-after basis. Actual Z and p values were noted, and related sets of hypotheses tested. Similar procedures were conducted to assess performance in terms of time taken to complete each task and of the related perceptions of task difficulty. (ii) Recall, Summary, and Comprehension Tasks Since REC task and SUM task protocols were analysed by one pair of raters, and COMP task responses by another pair, the data on subjects performance on the three text-processing post-tests collected from the respective pairs of raters were coded appropriately and entered in two separate database files using the SPSS programme. In each datafile, coded raw data were entered according to rater, and inter-rater reliability indices as well as average scores were calculated for data that involved rating scales/schemes. Data for this analysis comprised content accuracy ratings provided by raters for subjects performance on the REC and SUM tasks, and comprehension scores for the COMP task. Data concerning the presence of particular communicative moves (coded 2 = move present, and 1 = move not present) as well as the move order (1 2 3 4, 1 2 4, 3 4, etc.) discerned by each rater in every REC/SUM protocol were treated as nominal data to be analysed according to frequency and data listings. Subsequent to analysis on the computer, the outcomes of these procedures were organised by subjects treatment group membership. Rated data on the presence of moves, and on move order of subjects REC/SUM protocols were also analysed qualitatively to examine the data for approximations (e.g. three moves produced instead of the required four) to the target structures of the respective genres, and for differences that were found in the raters analyses. Because of the small number of subjects involved, statistical tests for non-parametric data were used to examine inter-rater reliability for the different data sets, and to determine significant differences in between-group performance on the tasks.



7.1 Introduction This chapter presents the first part of the outcomes of the study, incorporating as it were, description and related commentary regarding salient findings evinced via the UK survey data and other questionnaire data collected at MHIE. Thus it mirrors in part the structure of the previous chapter to examine each set of data specific to the instrument/procedure that was used to elicit them so as to test the relevant sets of hypotheses derived from the research questions in each case. Chapter 7 which deals similarly with the results of the quasi-experimental phase of the study, includes at the end a synoptic discussion of the results to address the research questions as well as to synthesise the findings of the whole study. Besides helping to stimulate a discussion of the main issues in the literature, the findings are envisaged as informing the shaping of an academic reading needs profile of the target population.

7.2 UK Student Survey A total of 197 Malaysian TESOL degree students in the UK returned the completed needs survey questionnaire (see distribution of sample across UK institutions in Table 7.1). Reliability analysis of questionnaire items involved two scales: a) a PSA (Present Situation Analysis) scale of 21 continuously measured (ordinal) variables, and b) a TSA (Target Situation Analysis) scale of 22 ordinal variables. The PSA scale had a Cronbachs alpha level of .7131 (N = 61), and the TSA scale, .7812 (N = 112). (Both scales combined: a = .7801, No. of items = 43, N = 45). Since these coefficients were clearly above 0.70 (see Rodeghier, 1996: 159), both scales were deemed reliable in measuring the respective sets of perceptions represented by the variables under study. Subsequent to this initial analysis of reliability, overall frequency and/or percentage of responses to all the items of the questionnaire were computed for commentary in terms of the PSA, and TSA macro variables. Respective sets of data were organised into frequency tables to make for comparison across institutional sub-samples, thereby enabling the testing of the null hypotheses of no differences among groups.


Present Situation Variables

(i) Demographic Profile of Respondents (Survey Part I) Of the 156 respondents of the survey, 43% were male and 57% were female with numbers more or less proportionately distributed over the UK institutions (X2 = 7.5193, p = 0.0581). However, gender was not considered an important variable towards establishing academic need, and observations to this effect will be made in subsequent analyses below. Perhaps more useful, however, would be language use patterns discerned in the data with reference to questionnaire items 5 and 10 as follows. A large proportion of the respondents said that they habitually spoke Malay at home in Malaysia (44%) while only 7% felt that they spoke English with the remaining half indicating as follows: 142

Needs Survey Outcomes Chinese dialects (5%), Tamil (3%), East Malaysian languages (1%), Malay and English (21%), Chinese and English (11%), Tamil and English (8%), and East Malaysian and English (1%). A vast majority of the target student population was ethnically Malay and this was clearly evident in the data, but an important point to be made here is that concerning the role that English plays in basic communication in the lives of these students, even at home as alluded to in more than 40% of the present sample (even if non-TESOL student populations might indicate lower levels of English language use). Given that code-switching is a common phenomenon in second language situations, the tendency to use English in day-to-day interaction in Malaysian settings, even amongst family members, is to be expected.

Table 7.1

Malaysian TESOL Student Survey Returns, Classified by Programme Type Study Programme Type Pre-service Pre-service In-service Total 6-year Link 2-year 15 15 14 14 12 41 53 14 14 20 20 13 13 17 17 18 18 14 14 10 10 9 9 12 29 156 197

UK Institution College of St Mark & St John Chichester Inst. of Higher Educ. Moray House College of Educ. University of Lancaster University of Birmingham University of Wales University of Strathclyde University of Leeds University of Bristol University of Manchester University of Nottingham TOTALS

However, a rather different pattern emerged in relation to oral as well as written communication amongst Malaysian TESOL students in the UK. When asked about the language(s) that they typically or most often used in oral interactions with course-mates, English accounted for 36.5% while a combination of English and L1 (mostly Malay) for more than 50% of the total responses. The ascendant role of the English language is more pronounced in written communication (snail-mail as well as e-mail), that is, 50% and 40% of the students claimed to use English and a combination of English and Malay, respectively, giving a total of about 90% of the students who used English to varying extents in their written communication with each other in a foreign setting. The three sets of findings about language use at home and abroad are summarised in the chart (Figure 7.1) for a clearer perspective on the situation. Related areas of English language use which point towards the extent of students contact with English culture in their new environment would be the extent to which students interacted with native speakers outside the classroom, and to how much they were exposed to the various mass media, both electronic and print (see questionnaire items 13-17, and 22). 60% of the students claimed that they 143

Assessing EAP Needs for the University came into direct contact with native speakers of English almost every day while 31% said they did so only occasionally. As might be expected, 80% of respondents said that they watched television regularly with the following programmes featuring prominently in their viewing pattern: the news (86.5%), weather (30.6%), movies (25.4%), and talk/game shows (27.5%), according to first, second and third rankings respectively. Most students (70%) apparently also listened to the radio on a regular basis, particularly to music programmes, the news, and talk/quiz/game shows in that order of preference. The figures clearly suggested that the present Malaysian students in the UK were selective in their television viewing as well as radio listening habits, as are probably most British viewers/listeners, even if certain genres as movies, drama, and sitcoms were not placed high in their prioritised list of programmes. Perhaps, these students were in some ways, after more than a year in UK, getting attuned to British culture in as much as was indicated by their expressed interest in news and weather (yes, the infamous British weather). Further, about half the students (48.1%) indicated that they daily read material of general interest in English, the rest ranging from occasionally (19.2%) to a couple of times a week (24.4%). Considering that these students were actually trained teachers of ESL, perhaps these rather depressed levels of general English language reading frequency must be viewed with some concern.

Figure 7.1

Language Use at Home and Abroad

(ii) English Language Proficiency The related items in the questionnaire were 6 and 7 concerning self-reports of English language grades obtained in Malaysian public examinations (SPM 1119, and SPM 122), and 11 which elicited students self-assessment of English language ability over six areas (sub-items a - i.e., listening, speaking, reading, writing, grammar, and vocabulary. The O-level equivalent English grades were recoded so that larger grade numbers reflected greater proficiency in terms of the following levels of ability: 8-9 = pass with distinction; 4-7 = pass with credit; 2-3 = pass; and 1 = fail. Simple percentage analysis to compare the three sets of grades/ratings indicated that SPM 1119 tended to resemble subjects selfratings more closely than SPM 122 (see Table 7.2).


Needs Survey Outcomes Table 7.2 Percentage Analysis of Measures of TESOL Students ESL Proficiency % Responses SPM 122 (N=122) 43.5 55.7 0.8 0

Proficiency Level Distinction/Excellent Credit/Good Pass/Average Fail/Weak

SPM 1119 (N=81) 19.7 72.9 6.3 1.2

Average SelfRating (N=156) 10.3 74.4 15.4 0

While SPM 1119 was found to be moderately correlated with SPM 122 (Spearmans rho = .4886, p = .000, N = 63), both public examination grades had rather low, even if statistically significant, correlations with subjects overall self ratings about their ability in ESL (rho = .3348, p = .002, N = 81; and rho = .2559, p = .004, N = 122 respectively). This relatively weak relationship with subjects present self-evaluation of their abilities was not entirely surprising because most public examination ESL grades were probably obtained by the students more than 10 years prior to their study in UK (cf. average teaching experience of subjects at 10-15 years below). When the three variables were entered into a regression equation with self-ratings as the dependant variable, it was found that taken together the two examination grades contributed to only about 11.6% of the total dependant variance (R square), the significant effect being really explained by SPM 1119 (Beta = .3186, p = .0281). However, because data on SPM1119 or the SPM122 was not available for all respondents, these variables could not be used as language performance criteria to be correlated with other potentially related data sets. Instead, the self-rating variable was used even if there were significant differences (possibly concerning Inst. A) among institutions (Kruskal-Wallis 1-way ANOVA, X2 = 21.3765, p = .0111). Similar differences for the examination grades were statistically non-significant.

Table 7.3 Language Ability Assessment by Area/Skill, UK TESOL Student Survey, N=156 % of Summary Responses Self-Rating Listening Speaking Reading Writing Grammar Vocabulary Overall Excellent 15.4 12.2 15.4 7.7 7.7 9.0 10.3 Good 71.2 71.8 73.7 62.8 57.1 66.7 74.4 Average 13.5 14.7 10.9 28.2 32.1 22.4 15.4 Weak 0 1.3 0 1.3 3.2 1.9 0 Table 7.3 displays the percentage of responses of the students for each of the discretely measured language ability areas. Self-ratings given by the respondents for each area had a high correlation (Pearsons r > .7000) with the overall self-rating (i.e., after the contribution of the part had been removed from the whole). In other words, students who had rated themselves high on the individual areas tended to do so similarly on the overall measure and vice versa. Further, the 1-way ANOVA procedure together with the Scheff range test showed that respondents ratings were non-significant across TESOL institutions at p <.05 for each of the skill/knowledge areas except for listening ability [Institution G was different from Institutions B, H, A, and C]) 145

Assessing EAP Needs for the University In response to a related item which asked how their self-perceived level of ESL proficiency compared with that of others in their class, about 80% of the respondents felt that they were as proficient as others while 10% thought that they were either more or less proficient, respectively. There was no significant variation over institutions (Kruskal-Wallis ANOVA: X2 = 5.0269, p = 0.8320). (iii) Teaching experience Most of the TESOL students who responded to the survey had been teaching ESL at primary school level in Malaysia (69.2%); some in lower secondary schools (17.3%), and the others in upper secondary schools (12.8%). (There was, however, one student from a teachers college.) On the average, they had had about 11 to 15 years ESL teaching experience (51.3%) among them although 38.4% reported 10 years or less, and 10.3% 16 years or more. However, on the whole, this population of TESOL trainees in the UK appeared to be a fairly homogeneous group in terms of teaching experience. (iv) General attitude to studying and study habits To a question about their self-perceived overall approach to studying (questionnaire item 18), most students (69%) felt that they worked hard towards securing good grades, and 25.2% conceded that they had tended to expend just enough effort to pass the course. The rest (5.2%) attributed their chances of success to either luck or existing intelligence on their part. Perhaps more reliably, the students indicated (item 19) that many of them spent about 10 hours (43.2%) or more (41.3%) on the average for private study each week, and most (75.6%) believed that they studied as efficiently as the others in their class. Finally, when asked categorically if they would be interested in TESOL postgraduate work, the majority of students (64.1%) answered in the affirmative, and only 10.9% in the negative, while 25% were not certain. Generally speaking, students assessed themselves as good ESL readers, that is, as being able to read fluently (37.2%) or with little difficulty (47.4%). A much smaller proportion (15.4%) perceived some difficulty in their reading. Almost correspondingly, more than 70% of the students claimed to understand completely the academic materials that they read even if their frequency of referencing materials for completing assignments seemed to show much more variability: rarely (2.6%), sometimes (23.1%), often (48.7%), and almost always (25.6%). To a related question about the proportion of discipline-specific materials desired in a TESOL study reading course, students indicated that they preferred between 50% and 75% (based on 37.5% and 41.4% of student responses, respectively) to be genuine materials taken from TESOL textbooks, journals, magazines, etc. (v) Language learning areas/skills prioritised The overall proportion of responses is shown for the first two rankings in Table 7.4. Students clearly felt that they needed to develop writing skills most, followed by reading skills (first ranking). This perception appeared in a somewhat reverse order in the second ranking where reading skills had been rated at a slightly higher level of priority together with writing and speaking. Since for both rankings there were no significant differences in students responses across institutional samples, it appeared likely that writing, reading, and speaking skills, in that order, had been prioritised as being more 146

Needs Survey Outcomes important for the students immediate academic needs than the other language learning areas listed for consideration. Table 7.4 Student Prioritised Language Learning Areas/Skills First Ranking N = 156 16.9 14.9 24.0 36.4 3.2 5.2 2nd Ranking N = 153 8.4 24.7 27.5 24.7 14.3 3.9

Language/skill area Listening Speaking Reading Writing Grammar Vocabulary

Further, taking into account all the institutional sub-samples, Table 7.5 shows the mean ranking for each of the six ESL learning need areas. This was calculated by assigning weighted values to the rankings made by respondents in relation to each area (e.g., 1 point for each 1 response; 6 points for each 6 response) and dividing the totals by the number of responses in each category. The resultant matrix of mean rankings against institutional samples shown in the table has been rank-ordered for reading; however, it can be reordered for each of the other areas/skills to give a different placement/position for a particular sample in the matrix relative to others and the total population. Thus, the table provides more detailed support for the generalised rankings that were observed in the foregoing section. In other words, writing and reading clearly enjoy higher priority for students from almost all the institutions, the MHIE samples being placed relatively high with respect to reading but towards the lower levels for writing even if they had in their own right prioritised these skills above the other learning areas. Table 7.5 Sample Inst C Inst H MH Ins96 Inst E Overall (N) MH Ins97 Inst D Inst B Inst G Inst F Inst A Mean Rankings of Required Language Learning Skills/Areas* Listening 3.6809 4.9390 3.4831 3.5570 3.7728 3.3294 3.9630 3.2958 4.3404 3.4138 3.8947 Speaking 2.6809 4.1463 3.4944 3.5949 3.2003 3.3059 2.7963 2.3239 3.6383 2.8448 2.5789 Reading** 1.4468 2.0854 2.2809 2.4937 2.5471 2.5529 2.7407 2.8732 2.9362 2.9828 3.2456 Writing 2.4043 1.9756 2.7303 2.1139 2.4096 2.9294 2.3333 2.9014 1.8936 2.4828 1.9825 Grammar 5.5319 3.2927 4.1236 4.4177 4.2272 4.0235 3.6481 4.9437 3.8298 4.3621 4.5439 Vocab 5.2553 4.5610 4.6629 4.8228 4.7549 4.5765 5.5185 4.6620 4.3617 4.6552 4.7544

*Mean rankings (sum of weighted rankings divided by total number of responses) on a 6-point scale (1 = most important skill/area; 6 = least important). **Matrix ordered (lowest to highest) according to mean rankings for reading.


Assessing EAP Needs for the University In connection with the present situation needs part of the first research question (see section 6.5), the following hypotheses stated in null/alternative form were tested: H0: There was no difference between sub-samples of Malaysian students in various UK TESOL institutions in terms of demographic and/or background variables. Ha: Sub-samples of Malaysian students in various UK TESOL institutions were different in terms of demographic and/or background variables. The Kruskal-Wallis One-Way analysis of variance for non-parametric data was used for variables measured on the ordinal scale to test the null hypotheses of no difference in students demographic attributes and/or perceptions over TESOL institution. However, significant differences, if any, were isolated using the Scheff post hoc procedure using the parametric One-Way ANOVA, ensuring first that the latter procedure gave similar results as the non-parametric test. Consequently, using this composite procedure, the null hypothesis was rejected for the following ordinal variables at the p <.05 level: Kruskal-Wallis (X2 ) (p) 40.7006 (.0000) 29.9947 (.0004) 20.5165 (.0050) Parametric ANOVA (F) (p) 5.3620 (.0000) 3.9375 (,0002) 2.6860 (.0065) Differences (Scheff) Inst C * F, G, MHIns 97, E Inst G * B, C, A, H Inst C * B

Variable Pre-study ELT level Self-assessed listening Preferred proportion of discipline-specific materials in course * = is different from

More importantly, the results of the above tests of significance show that the null hypothesis of no difference across institutions was rejected with respect to only three demographic/background variables (and with only one instance involving an MHIE sub-sample). Therefore, since the null hypothesis of no difference amongst institutional sub-samples was not rejected for the majority of the demographic and/or background variables at this phase of the study, it appeared that final-year Malaysian students studying at various UK TESOL institutions were likely to be similar with respect to their demographic/academic profile. For dependent demographic/background variables measured on a nominal scale, the Chi-square 2 (X ) test was used, having recoded some variables with a smaller number of categories to eliminate categories with observed cell values of less than 5. These variables included L1, which was recoded from nine categories into two categories i.e., 1 = Native language, 2 = Native language and English, ORALCOM (language used in oral communication in UK), and WRITCOM (language used in written communication in UK), both of which were also recoded from nine categories to two: 1 = English, 2 = English and L1. The results showed that the null hypothesis of no difference could not be rejected in connection with any of the three variables: L1 (X2 = 3.30907, p = .9508); ORALCOM (X2 = 11.5719, 148

Needs Survey Outcomes p = .2386); and WRITCOM (X2 = 10.84746, p = .2863). Cells with expected frequency less than 5 comprised 15% in each case.


Target Situation Variables

(i) Required Reading Materials (Survey Part IIA) A summary of students responses to items 1-7 in Part IIA of the survey, rank-ordered by mean, appear in Table 7.6. Since responses were measured using a 4-point ordinal scale ranging from no need (1) to great need (4), the median as a measure of central tendency is also given. Further, the differences in responses across institutions that proved statistically significant in the Kruskal-Wallis One-Way ANOVA as well as the results of the Scheff range tests (which require larger differences at p <.05)are also noted at the foot of the table. It can be seen that the median values reflect three perceived levels of need relative to material types: great need (median = 4) in relation to journal articles, textbooks, and duplicated notes; moderate need (median = 3) to seminar papers and dissertations; and a little need (median = 2) to magazines and newspapers, and notices and memos. Similarly, the computed mean response allowed material types to be ordered in terms of need priority. Clearly, the students greatest need in terms of the types of materials was for journal articles, textbooks, and duplicated notes, in that order. Further, almost all the students (97.4%) perceived moderate to great need for reading journal articles (of all genres contained therein; see account of staff survey that follows for the various journalbased genres). The distribution of responses over textbooks, and duplicated notes appeared to parallel this but with a slightly greater spread. While students generally responded homogeneously in relation to the three genres above, there was greater variability in responses (compare, for example, the differences in standard deviation [SD] in the table) to the others in the list probably as a result of individual preferences, reading habits, availability of materials etc. Although results of the Kruskal-Wallis ANOVA tests showed that there were significant differences across educational institutions in responses to items about journal articles (p= .0179) and duplicated notes (p= .0132), these differences were not large enough between any two institutions at the p < .05 level when the same data was subjected to Scheff range tests to locate them among the sub-samples. However, in view of the ordinal level of measurement used and the tendency for responses to be positively skewed for the variables in question, the latter result should perhaps be approached with some caution. With reference to the academic reading materials above, the following null/alternative hypotheses were tested to examine differences across institutional sub-samples: Ho: There was no effect of TESOL institution on Malaysian students perceived levels of need for the various types of academic reading materials. H1: There was a differential effect of TESOL institution on Malaysian students perceived levels of need for the various types of academic reading materials. As the range tests indicate, no two sub-samples of the target Malaysian undergraduate population were significantly different at the p<.05 level of confidence. Thus the null hypothesis was not rejected. 149

Assessing EAP Needs for the University Table 7.6 Academic Reading Materials Required for Malaysian TESOL Students, Rank-Ordered by Mean (Highest to Lowest), Student Survey Part IIA, N=156 Frequency of Responses (%) A Little Need Moderate Need Great Need Mean 4 (2.6) 11 (7.1) 9 (5.8) 42 (26.9) 60 (38.4) 78 (50.0) 83 (53.2) 51 (32.7) 53 (34.0) 67 (42.9) 73 (46.8) 73 (46.8) 61 (39.1) 30 (19.2) 101 (64.7) 91 (58.3) 80 (51.3) 38 (24.4) 21 (13.5) 13 (8.3) 2 (1.3) 3.622 3.500 3.455 2.936 2.724 2.532 1.955

Questionnaire Item Journal articles* Textbooks Duplicated notes** Seminar papers and/or proceedings Dissertations and/or term papers Magazines and newspaper articles Notices and memos

No Need 1 (0.6) 3 (1.9) 2 (1.3) 4 (2.6) 41 (26.3)

*Differences in responses across TESOL institutions (Kruskal-Wallis One-Way ANOVA); X2 = 2.3231, p = .0179 (ANOVA [parametric]: F = 2.3251, p = .0222). **Differences in responses across TESOL institutions (Kruskal-Wallis One-Way ANOVA); X2 = 2.4336, p = .0131 (Parametric ANOVA: F = 2.4573, p = .0158). Scheff post hoc comparisons: no two groups were significantly different at p< .05.

Interestingly, however, it appeared that the materials that were prioritised in terms of need to read did not commensurate with those ranked with respect to need for help in comprehending. This is because students, when asked to rank listed material types or genres in terms of most help needed, perceived the greatest need for assistance with the reading of textbooks above duplicated notes and journal articles. This information was obtained by calculating the frequency of responses for each type of reading material at three levels of importance or rankings (from more important to less important see Figure 7.2). In the first rankings, the percentage of responses for textbooks was the highest, followed by duplicated notes, and then by journal articles, and dissertations and/or term papers written by others. In the second rankings, the order of importance was similar except that notes were ranked higher than textbooks. Only in the third rankings were journals ranked higher than textbooks. Overall, it appeared that students needed most help with the comprehension of textbooks, duplicated notes, journal articles, and theses/term papers, in that order. (ii) TESOL Journal Reading Frequency Table 7.7 shows the rank-ordered responses of all students to items 1-15 in Part IIB of the survey, which asked them to indicate how often they read each academic/professional journal listed in the section. Percentages of responses in each category as well as the basic summary statistics are included in the frequency display. As before in the case of general reading materials, the Kruskal-Wallis test for differences across institutions in the present TESOL journals distribution showed that there was significant variation in the responses to the ten journal titles (see Table 7.8), but the Scheff results indicated that only five of these were significant at the .05 confidence level i.e., with respect to English 150

Needs Survey Outcomes Teaching Forum, Language Testing, ESP, and System. (The pairs of institutional groups that differed are listed at the foot of Table 7.8. (Perhaps it would be interesting to note that these journals, with the possible exception of ETF, are relatively more technical in orientation in their reporting of empirical research in TESOL.) In other words, differences in students responses about journal reading frequency were large enough to be significant only in relation to four out of the total of 15 journal titles tendered. Thus the 11 remaining journals may be considered general readership journals in as much as the present UK sample of Malaysian undergraduates was concerned albeit at varying levels of reading frequency with ELT, TESOL Quarterly, and Language Learning journals falling in the often read category (see median values).

60 50 40 % 30 Responses 20 10 0 1st Ranking 2nd Ranking Ranking Order 3rd Ranking Types of Academic Reading Materials: Duplicated notes Textbooks Journal articles Dissertations

Figure 7.2

Rankings of Most Important Academic Reading Materials

The hypotheses that were tested are as follows: H0: There was no effect of TESOL institution on students perceived reading frequency for the specified academic TESOL journal titles. Ha: The TESOL institution had a differential effect on students perceived reading frequency for the specified academic TESOL journal titles. As the statistical significance results in Table 7.8 show, the null was rejected with respect to students perceived reading frequency for only four of the journal titles listed, namely, English Teaching Forum, Language Testing, ESP, and System. In other words, the present sub-samples were different in terms of their reading frequencies across institutions for the four journal titles mentioned (i.e., the alternative hypothesis), but were probably similar as far as the remaining general readership journals in TESOL were concerned irrespective of institutional context.


Assessing EAP Needs for the University Table 7.7 Journal Reading Frequency of Malaysian TESOL Students, Rank-Ordered by Mean (Highest to Lowest), From Student Survey, Part IIB Frequency of Responses (%) Never Rarely Sometimes Often 5 33 117 (3.2) (21.3) (75.0) 11 10 49 79 (7.4) (6.7) (32.9) (53.0) 13 12 46 75 (8.9) (8.2) (31.5) (51.4) 11 28 56 55 (7.3) (18.7) (37.3) (36.7) 13 28 61 41 (9.1) (19.6) (42.7) (28.7) 8 36 76 25 (5.5) (24.8) (48.7) (16.0) 17 32 54 37 (12.1) (22.9) (38.6) (26.4) 23 34 51 40 (15.5) (23.0) (34.5) (27.0) 24 30 50 35 (17.3) (21.6) (36.0) (25.2) 13 52 53 28 (8.9) (35.6) (36.3) (19.2) 15 71 42 17 (10.3) (49.0) (29.0) (11.7) 23 53 43 15 (17.2) (39.6) (32.1) (11.2) 49 37 40 13 (35.3) (26.6) (28.8) (9.4) 61 45 25 7 (44.2) (32.6) (18.1) (5.1) 63 41 25 7 (46.3) (30.1) (18.4) (5.1)

Journal Title ELT Journal TESOL Quarterly Language Learning RELC Journal English Teaching Forum Applied Linguistics Reading in a Foreign Language English Teacher (MELTA) Language Teaching Abstracts. Language Testing English for Specific Purposes Discourse Processes System World Englishes International Review of Applied Linguistics

N 155 149 146 150 143 145 140 148 139 146 145 134 139 138 136

Med. 4.0 4.0 4.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0

Mean 3.723 3.315 3.253 3.033 2.909 2.814 2.793 2.730 2.691 2.658 2.421 2.373 2.122 1.841 1.824


Effects of Needs Variables on Self-Ratings and Academic Reading

To examine the effects of selected present situation and target situation variables on students overall self-ratings, and on their perceived academic reading competence, a series of multiple regressions were run using the SPSS programme. The procedures and the results were as follows: In the first regression equation which had students overall self-ratings as the dependent variable, the following 16 independent variables were entered: interest in postgraduate work, pre-study ELT level, frequency of interaction with native speakers, regular radio listening, study time per week, general reading competence, gender, frequency of reading general materials in English, intra-class study efficiency, previous ELT experience, TV watching frequency, overall attitude to studying, comprehension of academic material, comparing ESL proficiency, frequency of referencing, and 152

Needs Survey Outcomes preferred proportion of genuine materials in reading course. Inter-correlations among the independent variables were computed to examine for evidence of multicolinearity, and it was found that no two variables were correlated higher than at r = .5 (see Hatch and Lazaraton, 1991: 481; Hedderson and Fisher, 1993: 121). The dependent variable was checked for normality via the Normal-Probability-Plot command of the SPSS for Windows (Ver. 6.1) programme, and the residuals were found to be normally distributed. The regression analysis is shown in Table 7.9.

Table 7.8

Results of Kruskal-Wallis 1-Way ANOVA Tests: Differences in Journal Reading Frequency across TESOL Institutions (Journal Reading Frequency), Student Survey X2 29.6220 35.6261 11.8327 37.8336 28.9835 18.8582 11.1646 22.3084 7.6092 43.0815 31.1354 9.8154 42.1809 14.8156 3.7365 N 155 149 146 150 143 145 140 148 139 146 145 134 139 138 136 p .0005 .0000 .2229 .0000 .0007 .0264 .2646 .0080 .5740 .0000 .0003 .3656 .0000 .0961 .9279 p* .0002 .0005 .2667 .0000 .0010 .0259 .2888 .0092 .5475 .0000 .0001 .2811 .0000 .0390 .8493

Journal Title ELT Journal TESOL Quarterly Language Learning RELC Journal English Teaching Forum1 Applied Linguistics Reading in a Foreign Language English Teacher (MELTA) Language Teaching Abstracts Language Testing2 English for Specific Purposes3 Discourse Processes System4 World Englishes International Review of Applied Linguistics

*p value from 1-way ANOVA for parametric data Scheff range test results: 1 MH Ins97 (M=3.5238) different from Inst H (M=2.3125) 2 Inst D (M=3.6000) & Inst F (M=3.4615) different from MH Ins96 (M=2.1500) & MH Ins97 (M=2.1905) 3 Inst H (M = 3.200) different from Inst G (M=1.926), Inst E (2.0588), MH Ins97 (M=2.1053) 4 MH Ins96 (M=2.1500) and Inst E (M=2.9444) different from Inst H (M= 1.3750) and G (M=1.4167)

The results indicated that the strength of relationship between the dependent and the independent variables taken as a whole was relatively high (multiple R), and that the model therefore explained about 45% of the shared variance (R square). As the absolute T and the correspondent p values show, of the 16 independent variables describing various aspects of the respondents present situation, the following were found to have a significant effect on their self-assessed proficiency in English: a) comparing ESL proficiency; b) general reading competence; c) frequency of reading in English; and d) frequency of referencing academic materials. These outcomes showed that students who compared themselves favourably in relation to others in their class tended to rate themselves higher in terms of overall ESL proficiency. More importantly, students who perceived themselves as fluent as well as frequent readers of ESL materials were more inclined to rate high on self-ratings, lending some support, as it were, to the positive link between extensive reading and general language proficiency. 153

Assessing EAP Needs for the University Further, although students claimed levels of frequency of referencing appeared to be negatively correlated with their self-ratings (Beta = -.2103), a subsequent simple linear regression run to specifically test if referencing frequency might be predictive of students self-ratings in either direction showed the relationship to be non-significant (T = -1.136, p = .2579). Stated differently, it might be spurious to infer from the first regression result that students who claimed to read reference materials more often than others tended to assess themselves as less proficient in English. Perhaps there were other confounding influences like self-esteem or anxiety that contributed to the negative relationship in the first place. For example, given that the respondents were working on their professional projects, we could speculate within reason that certain students with a relatively lower level of self-esteem (or a higher level of anxiety) probably attempted to read more, regardless of ESL proficiency, to compensate for some perceived lack of knowledge in their chosen area of study (cf. the perception of a rather pronounced strategic orientation towards studying observed amongst both the MHIE sub-samples in section 6.6.3). In the second regression equation, the dependent variable was comprehension of academic materials, and the 16 independent variables listed in Table 7.10. Again, there was no undue multicolinearity and the distribution of dependent residuals was adjudged normal. As the outcome of the analysis show, frequency of referencing and pre-study ELT level, in that order, proved to be predictive of students perceived levels of academic materials comprehension. This probably meant that students who frequently referred to various types of academic materials to complete assigned tasks were more predisposed to be better comprehenders in their study contexts. Apparently, given that the respondents were all in-service TESOL/ELT trainees with varying levels of experience, those who had been teaching English at higher levels of education in Malaysia were probably more adept at understanding academic materials written in English than those at lower levels, particularly in Malaysian primary schools.

7.3 UK Staff Survey As outlined in the relevant section in the previous chapter, 45 completed questionnaire forms were received in batches over a six-month period. Respondents were from 11 of the 13 colleges/universities that were sent the questionnaire. However, responses from three institutions, the College of St Mark and St John, the Chichester Institute of Higher Education and St Marys College, were not considered in the data analysis because these did not have Malaysian students matriculated in the in-service TESOL programme Restricting responses to faculty teaching the target sample of students meant that only 35 out of the 45 questionnaire data sets were to be used for the subsequent analyses, that is, responses from eight institutions in the UK. with an estimated response rate of about 65%. This sample of 35 was deemed adequate for the survey given the circumstances mentioned earlier; however, it should also be noted that the sample size was indeed small in relation to the superpopulation of related UK TESOL faculty warranting, as it were, the usual need for some caution in the interpretation of the results.


Needs Survey Outcomes Table 7.9 Effects of Demographic Variables on Students Proficiency Self-ratings

Regression Model 1: Effects of Demographic Variables on Students Proficiency Self-ratings, UK Student Survey Part I Multiple R = .67390 F = 6.91568 R Square = .45414 Signif. F = .0000 Variable Interest in postgraduate work Frequency of reading general materials in English Previous ELT experience TV watching frequency Comprehension of academic material Preferred proportion of genuine materials in reading course Regular radio listening Overall attitude to studying, Frequency of interaction with native speakers Comparing ESL proficiency Pre-study ELT level Intra-class study efficiency Gender Frequency of referencing General reading competence Study time per week Beta .067894 .161927 -.040326 -.067905 .142401 -.072048 -.021523 .123078 -.101082 .380940 .063076 .104581 .010437 -.196462 .258212 -.022728 t 1.013 2.243 -.569 -.970 1.859 -1.057 -.322 1.708 -1.457 4.874 .901 1.438 .147 -2.421 3.274 -.274 Sig. t .3129 .0265 .5705 .3337 .0652 .2925 .7480 .0899 .1474 .0000 .3692 .1528 .8834 .0168 .0014 .7848

Table 7.10

Effects of Demographic Variables on Perceived Academic Materials Comprehension, UK Student Survey Part I

Regression Model 2: Effects of Demographic Variables on Perceived Materials Comprehension Multiple R = .56409 F = 3.87947 R Square = .31820 Signif. F = .0000 Variable Self-ratings of ESL proficiency Regular radio listening Frequency of interaction with native speakers Preferred proportion of genuine materials in reading course Study time per week Interest in postgraduate work Pre-study ELT level Gender Frequency of reading general materials in English TV watching frequency Previous ELT experience Overall attitude to studying Intra-class study efficiency General reading competence Frequency of academic referencing Comparing ESL proficiency 155 Beta .177863 .014260 -.013586 -.048531 .090092 .032499 .215270 .093487 -.083878 .039148 -.054855 -.100289 .114448 .170238 .275865 .122667 T 1.859 .191 -.174 -.635 .974 .433 2.824 1.184 -1.025 .499 -.693 -1.239 1.408 1.883 3.081 1.302 Sig T .0652 .8490 .8622 .5263 .3320 .6661 .0055 .2384 .3074 .6185 .4898 .2174 .1616 .0620 .0025 .1953

Assessing EAP Needs for the University A reliability analysis of the 11 ordinal variables measuring materials required for students gave a = .6765 (N = 25); and for the nine items covering necessary skills, a = .7080 (N = 28). However, when the items of both scales were combined to represent the target situation, as it were, the reliability coefficient improved to .8129 (No. of items = 20, N = 23). Next, although the number of items in the third scale (task-related problems observed among students) was small, i.e., eight items, it proved internally consistent with an a level of .7178 (N = 28). (Reliability of combined scales i.e., materials + skills + problems, a = .8119, N = 21, No of items = 29.). Nevertheless, even as the scales of the survey were deemed reliable for the present purpose, some reservation about the above analyses might be in order because of the small sample size. Consequently, the need to corroborate these outcomes with a larger sample that would probably be available in a different setting cannot be over stressed. The 35 respondents who participated in the present survey came from academic departments that went by various designations: 22.9% from International Education, 25.7% from English Language Studies, 14.3% from Linguistics, 22.9% from Education, and 2.9% from English Language Education. As might be expected, most individual faculty members taught different cohorts of Malaysian students within their own institutions. Table 7.11 gives an indication of the extent of contact the present sample had with the different types of TESOL programme involving Malaysian students in the UK: Table 7.11 Type of TESOL programme Distribution of UK TESOL Faculty across Programme Type/Year 2-Year Matriculation PrePreService Service Yr3 Yr4 Linked PreService Yr1 7 20.0% Linked PreService Yr 2 4 11.4% InService Yr1 InService Yr 2


No. of Respondents 0 (N=35) 0%

3 8.6%

3 8.6%

25 71.4%

28 80.0%

1 2.9%

Therefore, although the present respondents had varying levels of experience teaching on the different types of TESOL programme, most of them were clearly associated with the in-service groups of Malaysian students who were either in their first or second year (71.4% and 80% respectively). The sole respondent in the Other category reported teaching/supervising Malaysian post-graduate students. Item 5 of the questionnaire requested the title of the specific course/module that each respondent was teaching at that time, and many listed two and even three titles. A list of all courses cited was compiled that reflected the various aspects of TESOL as follows: Context of school experience, Varieties of English, Approaches to ELT, Applied Linguistics I (SLA & Methodology), Teaching English Literature Overseas, Current Issues in British Education, Drama, Language Learning in its Sociolinguistic and Sociocultural Context, ESP, Materials Design, System of English, Discourse, Innovation, CALL, TESOL Methodology (various modules), Language Awareness, Textbook Evaluation and Adaptation, Course Design and Evaluation, Writing Skills and Course Design, The Language Learner, Language and Society, ELT Administration, Innovation and Change, and 156

Needs Survey Outcomes Curriculum/Syllabus Design. Of these, TESOL Methodology accounted for 20% of the respondents, Language Learning for about 17%, Teaching Literature for about 11%, and Sociolinguistics, Linguistics, and Language Testing for 8.6% each. Each of the remaining courses explained less than 5% of the sample. In other words, more than 80% of the staff sample taught first choice courses that might be considered as addressing the central concerns in the TESOL programme for overseas (Malaysian) students. Item 6 attempted to elicit the nature of the delivery mode or type of teaching/learning activity that took place in the various courses/modules listed above. Responses are summarised as follows: lecture (42.2%), lecture-discussion (75.6%), seminar (62.2%), and laboratory work (6.7%). Under the Other category, respondents specified workshops (13.3%), tutorials (8.9%), projects and tasks (6.9%), and school experience placement (2.2%). Perhaps it must be noted here that a higher proportion of responses would probably have been elicited for these Other types of activity if these activity types, particularly projects and tasks, had actually been listed for respondents to tick in the questionnaire. Nevertheless, an important observation would be that the lecture-discussion as well the seminar appear to be the preferred type of teaching mode as these usually make for optimum student participation in classroom learning.


Target Situation Variables

(i) Required Reading for Malaysian TESOL Students A summary of the responses of TESOL faculty to items in Part C of the survey is provided in Table 7.12 with the only significant result obtained via the Kruskal-Wallis ANOVA tests reported at the foot of the same table. Since the items in the table have been rank-ordered by mean response, from highest to lowest, it can be seen that university faculty teaching Malaysian students tend to place duplicated notes and textbooks above journal material and other genres related to the undergraduate TESOL academia. However, even if both written lecture notes given to students, and textbooks could be classified as often required reading as indicated by the respective median values, there seemed to be some variability in the frequency with which these materials might actually be required, that is, between sometimes and always. Perhaps this range in perception was to be expected given the diverse orientations of courses/modules aimed at developing students academic and/or professional competence as might be the case in a particular course (e.g. less emphasis on academic reading and more on developing professional classroom skills). In fact, because this was a survey of TESOL students needs, in the sometimes category, journal accounts of classroom practice topped the list followed by the more academic genres of empirical research reports, position papers, and review articles. Understandably, journal editorials tended to be viewed as least (almost never) required probably because these were considered more appropriate in the reading lists of more advanced levels of studying as were seminar papers and dissertations written by others. Magazines and newspaper articles were probably, and perhaps rightly, considered as peripheral genres that compete with other core genres for students limited reading time; thus these were thought to be required between sometimes and never (or occasionally as one respondent appropriately pointed out). 157

Assessing EAP Needs for the University Table 7.12 Academic Reading Materials Required for Malaysian TESOL Undergraduates, RankOrdered by Mean (Highest to Lowest), From Faculty Survey, Part C Frequency Responses (%) Reading Materials Duplicated notes given by lecturers Textbooks Journal accounts of classroom practice Journal reports of empirical research* Journal theoretical position papers Journal review articles Magazine and newspaper articles Notices and memos Seminar papers /proceedings Dissertations and/or term papers Journal editorials Never 2 (5.7) 6 (18.8) 7 (22.6) 8 (25.8) 7 (22.6) 10 (33.3) 13 (44.8) 16 (57.1) 15 (57.7) 19 (73.1) Sometimes 10 (28.6) 13 (39.4) 15 (46.9) 17 (54.8) 15 (48.4) 19 (61.3) 17 (56.7) 11 (37.9) 11 (39.3) 11 (42.7) 7 (26.9) Often 9 (25.7) 8 (24.2) 9 (28.1) 5 (16.1) 6 (19.4) 3 (9.7) 2 (6.7) 3 (10.3) 1 (3.6) Always 14 (40.0) 12 (36.4) 2 (6.3) 2 (6.5) 2 (6.5) 2 (6.5) 1 (3.3) 2 (6.9) N 35 33 32 31 31 31 30 29 28 26 26 Med. 3.0 3.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 Mean 3.000 2.970 2.219 2.065 2.065 2.000 1.800 1.793 1.464 1.423 1.269

*Kruskal-Wallis 1-Way ANOVA (X2 = 16.3939, N = 31, p = .0218); No two groups were significantly different at p <.05 level (Scheff range tests)

Item 8 (Other journal/article) and 13 (Other materials required) in the questionnaire were not coded like the others because they were open-ended. There was only one response to the former: state of the art articles, probably of the kind that appear in the Language Teaching (Abstracts) journal. Item 13 elicited a wide range of material types that were not readily classifiable into any manageable number of closed categories. Those that had multiple responses (including semantic equivalents) were (audio) visual materials as video and computer screen information (5 responses), official documents such as government reports, syllabuses, curriculum specifications etc., (3 responses), language data comprising assorted written text samples and transcripts of spoken language for research purposes (5 responses), sample ELT materials (published or in-house- 3 responses), photocopies of literary texts as objects of study (3 responses), and sample tests and sundry assessment tasks (3 responses), reflecting, as it were, a broad spectrum of genres that might be expected in a multi-disciplinary, pedagogyoriented field as TESOL. (ii) Required Academic Reading Tasks Responses to items 1-9 in Part D are presented in summary form in Table 7.13. Based on median responses, the academic reading tasks that teaching staff appeared to consider most important for their students were related to reading for gist, searching for specific information required for a particular 158

Needs Survey Outcomes task, and completing out-of-class library research projects. All other tasks listed might be classified, according to comparably proportionate responses, under the sometimes category. However, in view of the apparent consensus among faculty respondents concerning the need for developing students critical reading skills (see sections on academic reading difficulties, and summary comments below), it was a little surprising that evaluation skills vis--vis a writers stand on a given issue or problem in TESOL (item 3) had not been rated higher in terms of requirements for effective academic reading. This item was checked in the never category by 27.3% and in the sometimes category by 54.5% of the sample. However, as one might say, there are many ways to skin a cat. Criticality is admittedly a higher order skill which need not be confined to relatively difficult reading matter involving complex theoretical issues and positions (which might sometimes prove problematic at undergraduate level). Rather it can be subtly imbued by via more everyday activities and tasks or sub-tasks, some of which have been ordered in the Table 7.13 (e.g. distinguishing between fact and opinion), and others which have been usefully suggested by some of the respondents as follows in the next paragraph. Table 7.13 Academic Reading and Related Tasks Required for Malaysian TESOL Students, RankOrdered by Mean (Highest to Lowest), Staff Survey, Part D. Response Frequency (%) Never Sometimes Often Always 6 18 9 (18.2) 4 (12.9) 3 (9.1) 5 (15.6) 8 (24.2) 9 (27.3) 11 (34.4) 9 (26.5) 11 (35.5) 18 (54.5) 22 (71.0) 16 (50.0) 18 (54.5) 18 (54.5) 15 (46.9) (54.5) 15 (44.1) 11 (35.5) 8 (24.2) 8 (25.8) 9 (28.1) 6 (18.2) 5 (15.2) 4 (12.5) (27.3) 10 (29.4) 5 (16.1) 4 (12.1) 1 (3.2) 2 (6.3) 1 (3.0) 1 (3.0) 2 (6.3) 32 2.0 33 2.0 33 2.0 32 2.0 31 2.0 33 2.0 31 3.0 34 3.0 N 33 Med. 3.0 Mean (sd) 3.091 (.678) 3.029 (.758) 2.548 (.925) 2.394 (.827) 2.323 (.541) 2.250 (.803) 2.000 (.750) 1.939 (.747) 1.906 (.856)

Task Getting main ideas about topic Searching for relevant information Completing graded library research projects Distinguishing between facts/opinions Talking to lecturers about materials read Discussing assigned reading material (group) Checking sources of new information Evaluating writers stand in paper Preparing written summaries of texts

Results of Kruskal-Wallis One-Way Analysis of Variance Tests: no significant differences in responses across educational institutions


Assessing EAP Needs for the University

Item 10 asked respondents to specify other reading tasks that might be required. The result was a list of 11 items that was compiled, again probably reflecting different aspects of TESOL specific to individual respondents teaching concerns. Notable tasks involved reading sets of short questions and/or controversial excerpts etc. for seminar discussion, reading other students work as models for essay writing, writing answers to text-based questions, identifying authentic texts amenable to adaptation for teaching purposes, analysing text samples, and converting numerical/graphic data into verbal text.


Present Situation Variables

(i) Academic Reading Difficulties Responses to the items in this part of the survey are summarised in Table 7.14. Not unexpectedly, the main problems associated with students evident lack of critical reading of written material are foregrounded in their teachers responses to the eight items listed here. Going by the preponderance of these responses in the often and sometimes categories, indicators of students academic reading difficulties might be ordered in the following order of decreasing gravity from presenting chunks of unanalysed text to working in small groups in-class as in Table 7.14. There were no significant differences in faculty responses to all these items across institutions (Kruskal-Wallis 1-way ANOVA), a finding that pointed to some general agreement amongst the teaching staff about the common academic reading difficulties faced by their Malaysian students.

Table 7.14

Difficulties in Academic Reading and Related Tasks, Rank-Ordered by Mean (Highest to Lowest), From Staff Survey Responses, Part E.
Frequency of Responses (%) Sometimes Often Always 14 18 (42.4) (54.5) 21 11 1 (63.6) (33.3) (3.0) 23 10 (69.7) (30.3) 25 6 (75.8) (18.2) 21 8 (63.6) (24.2) 20 7 (62.5) (21.9) 18 3 (52.9) (8.8) 20 (66.7) N 33 33 33 33 33 32 34 30 Med. 3.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 Mean (sd.) 2.515 (.566) 2.394 (.556) 2.303 (.467) 2.121 (.485) 2.121 (.600) 2.063 (.619) 1.706 (.629) 1.667 (.479)

Task Difficulty Never Chunks of unanalysed text Problem reporting materials read Insufficient academic reading Chunks of unrelated text Evidence of plagiarism Problems talking to lecturers about reading Working in small groups in class Working with other students out-of-class 1 (3.0) 2 (6.1) 4 (12.1) 5 (15.6) 13 (38.2) 10 (33.3)

No significant differences in staff responses across educational institutions


Needs Survey Outcomes Other task-related difficulty (Part E, item 9): These included, among others, students not having a deep enough understanding of the topic to synthesise readings, accepting what they read uncritically, presenting insufficient evidence to back claims in their writing, making appropriate application of theory, incorporating their reading in argument, and a general difficulty in processing academic texts. In relation to the three major areas of information that were elicited via the staff survey, the following sets of hypotheses were tested: Ho: There is no effect of TESOL training institution on staff-perceived frequency of need for the various types of academic reading materials required for Malaysian undergraduates. Ha: There is a differential effect of TESOL training institution on staff-perceived frequency of need for the various types of academic reading materials required for Malaysian undergraduates. H0: There is no effect of TESOL training institution on staff-perceived frequency of academic reading and related tasks required for their Malaysian undergraduates. Ha: The TESOL institution has a differential effect on staff-perceived frequency of academic reading and related tasks required for their Malaysian undergraduates H0: There is no effect of TESOL training institution on staff-perceived frequency of academic reading task related difficulties among Malaysian undergraduates. Ha: There is a differential effect of TESOL training institution on staff-perceived frequency of academic reading task related difficulties among Malaysian undergraduates. None of the above null hypotheses were rejected because no significant differences were found across institutions in terms of staff responses concerning academic reading materials, tasks nor perceptions of students reading difficulties (see Tables 7.12, 7.13, and 7.14 respectively). Put differently, the results of the faculty survey showed that the UK university staff members teaching Malaysian TESOL undergraduates appeared to be strikingly comparable in their perceptions of their students target- as well as process-oriented academic reading needs. (ii) Summary Comments Generally speaking, these comprised a wide variety of insightful observations concerning Malaysian TESOL students ability (or rather the lack of it) to come to grips with reading for academic purposes, and relating it to other tasks required of them. This was in addition to the request in Part F of the survey for comments about expectations, specific difficulties encountered by students, and how academic reading courses could better prepare them for mainstream courses/modules. While some of these useful comments will be incorporated into the discussion of the implications of the study in the next chapter, perhaps it would be helpful to foreshadow an important point that was clearly a recurrent feature of the comments made by the respondents. This was the perceived need for students to be critical in their reading (in fact the word as well as its sundry derivative forms appeared more than 14 times throughout the list of comments that had been compiled). Perhaps the following verbatim comment expresses the problem more succinctly: 161

Assessing EAP Needs for the University One problem which appears to be common to all the Malaysian groups I have taught relates to your items 3 and 6 under section D above, but it is not directly stated there. This is the issue of applying a critical perspective to reading tasks: most students accept published source material (i.e. the views/theories expounded in such material) too easily - if it has been published by experts, it must be true. On the other hand, if ideas presented in readings are perceived to conflict with deep-rooted beliefs (socio-cultural, religious), they are rejected out of hand without due thought (Case 15); As does the following: Students tend to believe that literature is a kind of gospel and accept what they read uncritically. They find it difficult to understand that when they write assignments, projects and dissertations, they are functioning in the same role as the writers they are reading (Case 23).

7.4 Students Reading Tasks Questionnaire Completed questionnaires were collected from 20 final-year in-service TESOL students at Moray House (MH Ins97). Reliability analysis of the scale represented by items A1 to A9 (required reading tasks) revealed a slightly depressed a level of .5206 (N = 20, No. of items = 9). Items B1 to B6 measured students perception of academic reading task-related difficulties on the same four-point scale of frequency of occurrence as in the foregoing section. This scale had a higher reliability coefficient of .6912 (N = 20, No. items = 6). Again, as in the case of the staff survey that used a sample size of 35, the above reliability coefficients (Cronbachs alpha) are not without reservation because of the relatively small number of cases involved. However, the present student survey was deemed suitable for its modest purpose of simple frequency analysis of the main factors, and subsequent comparison of related responses with those of the staff survey using statistical procedures for non-parametric data. Students responses to individual items in each scale was summarised and displayed in a frequency table (see Table 7.15). Variables in each table were rank-ordered by mean to reflect the level of importance students attached to each task or difficulty relative to others in the set. Subsequently, students perceptions of target tasks, and academic reading difficulties/problems were compared with those of UK TESOL staff to identify areas of mismatch, if any. The Mann-Whitney independent samples test for non-parametric data which compares ranked data rather than distributions was used to test for differences between the two samples. Students responses to items 1-9 in Part A of the reading tasks questionnaire are displayed in summarised form in Table 7.15. In comparing these in terms of the rank-ordered tasks with those perceived by TESOL faculty in Table 7.13 (Staff Survey), the following observations might seem transparent: students perceptions concerning the frequency with which they needed to get things done by way of reading and related tasks did not appear to be far removed from related requirements perceived by their lecturers as a whole.


Needs Survey Outcomes Table 7.15 Academic Reading and Related Tasks Required for Malaysian TESOL Students, RankOrdered by Mean (Highest to Lowest), Student Survey Responses, Part A. Frequency of Responses (%) Sometimes Often Always 7 13 (35) (65) 3 8 9 (15) (40) (45) 7 9 4 (35) 45.0 (20) 5 14 1 (25) (70) (5) 9 10 1 (45) (50) 5.0 10 8 1 (50) (40) (5) 12 6 1 (60) 30.0 5.0 14 6 (70) (30) 11 6 1 (55) (30) (5)

Task Never Searching for relevant information Getting main ideas about topic Completing graded library research projects Distinguishing between facts and opinions Evaluating writers stand in paper Discussing assigned reading 1 material (group) 5.0 Checking sources of new 1 information 5.0 Preparing written summaries of texts Talking to lecturers about 2 materials read 10.0

Med.* 4.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0

Mean 3.650 3.300 2.850 2.800 2.600 2.450 2.350 2.300 2.300

*Median: 1=Never; 2=Sometimes; 3=Often; 4=Always

More specifically, all four tasks that appeared at the top of the matrix ranked by mean in Table 7.13 also appeared at similar levels in the present list albeit in reverse order for the first two tasks. Students seemed to view searching for relevant information for a particular task/project at a higher frequency than getting the main ideas/information about a topic. Perhaps some explanation lies in the fact that these were final-year students who were very focused (unduly?) on specific tasks as the professional project, and as a result were actively checking out various sources of relevant information for their literature review at the time they responded to the present questionnaire. Other notable exceptions between the two related sets of perceptions were evaluating a writers stand on a given issue in TESOL, which appeared relatively higher in the students task order, and talking to lecturers about materials read, which seemingly figured last in the same. However, these initial observations did not entirely commensurate with the results of the Mann-Whitney test that was run to examine differences between staff and student perceptions on an item by item basis. These results are provided in Table 7.16 which lists for each questionnaire item the Z value, mean ranks (faculty rank listed first in each pair), number of cases, and the p value. Areas of divergence in perceptions concerning four out of the nine tasks listed were found to be significant at the p <.05 level. The four tasks were searching for relevant information, distinguishing between fact and opinion, evaluating the writers stand on theoretical issues, and preparing written summaries of texts previously read.


Assessing EAP Needs for the University

Table 7.16

Results of Mann Whitney U - Wilcoxon Rank Sum W Test for Differences between Staff and Student Group Responses to Reading Tasks Surveys Z -2.9615 -1.1124 -1.1247 -2.2144 -3.1924 -.9756 -1.7310 -2.2359 -.0573 Mean Rank* 23.01 35.13 25.32 29.77 24.23 28.75 23.64 32.55 22.17 34.97 25.02 28.88 24.44 31.23 23.16 31.85 26.08 25.88 N 34 20 33 20 31 20 33 20 33 20 32 20 33 20 32 20 31 20 p .0031 .2660 .2607 .0268 .0014 .3293 .0835 .0254 .9543

Reading Task Searching for relevant information Getting main ideas about topic Completing graded library research projects Distinguishing between facts and opinions Evaluating writers stand in theoretical position paper Discussing assigned reading material (group) Checking sources of new information Preparing written summaries of texts4 Talking to lecturers about materials read

*Group 1 (staff) ranks appear first in each pair

First, with reference to required academic reading tasks, the following set of null/alternative hypotheses was tested: Ho: There is no difference between the perceptions of TESOL faculty and those of students with reference to academic reading and related tasks required for final-year Malaysian undergraduates. H1: The perceptions of TESOL faculty are different from those of students with reference to academic reading and related tasks required for final-year Malaysian undergraduates. The null hypothesis of no difference between groups was rejected in four out of nine tests of significance (see Table 7.16) in favour of the alternative hypothesis. As alluded to in the frequency analysis earlier, TESOL staff and students did appear to be divergent in their respective perceptions of requirements with regard to searching for relevant information, distinguishing between fact and opinion, evaluating writers position in texts as well as to preparing written summaries from readings with students consistently attaining higher ranks in the analyses. Second, to examine differences concerning reading difficulties in the academic context, the hypotheses tested were: H0: There is no difference between the perceptions of TESOL faculty and those of students with reference to task-related academic reading difficulties encountered by final-year Malaysian undergraduates. Ha: The perceptions of TESOL faculty are different from those of students with reference to taskrelated academic reading difficulties encountered by final-year Malaysian undergraduates.


Needs Survey Outcomes Differences in responses between students and staff were not statistically significant in each type of reading difficulty listed. The null hypothesis was therefore not rejected, thus pointing towards the likelihood that TESOL faculty and students were similar in their perceptions about task-related reading difficulties that the latter were apt to encounter in the course of their studies in UK.

Table 7.17

Difficulties in Academic Reading and Related Tasks, Rank-Ordered by Mean (Highest to Lowest), From Moray House Student Survey Responses, Part B.

Task Difficulty Difficulty in critical evaluation of writers viewpoint in materials Problem reporting ideas from materials read for assignments/projects Insufficient academic reading Problems talking to lecturers about text content or a problem

Frequency of Responses (%) Never Sometimes Often Always 1 5.0 2 10.0 1 5.0 3 15.0 8 40.0 10 50.0 11 55.0 11 55.0 12 60.0 8 40.0 11 55.0 7 35.0 8 40.0 6 30.0 1 5.0 1 5.0 -

N 20

Med. 3.0

Mean (sd) 2.500 (.607)



2.350 (.745)

20 20

2.0 2.0

2.350 (.587) 2.150 (.671)

Working with other students 7 out-of-class 35.0 Working in small groups in class 12 60.0

20 20

2.0 1.0

1.700 (.571) 1.400 (.503)

Mann-Whitney U tests- differences in responses of staff and students not significant.

7.5 Metacognitive Awareness and Reading Performance Several tests were run to examine the reliability of the various scales in the questionnaire (associated SPSS variable codes in brackets): confidence (X1 to X6), repair strategies (X7 to X11), effectiveglobal strategies (X14, X17, X20, X31, X34 and X36), effective-local strategies (X12, X13, X15, X16, X18, X19, X29, X30, X32, X33 and X35), global difficulties (X26 to X28), and local difficulties (X21 to X25). Cronbachs a of the confidence scale was .7933 (6 items), repair .6142 (5 items), effectiveglobal .6285 (6 items), effective-local .7692 (11 items), difficult-global .6355 (3 items), and difficultlocal .5151 (5 items). Given the relatively small number of items per scale and the number of cases (41), these scales were considered appropriate for the present purpose. (The internal consistency index for the whole set of metacognitive awareness items was, however, sufficiently high at .7877.) 165

Assessing EAP Needs for the University


Demographic Variables and Metacognitive Awareness Judgements

The demographic information elicited from respondents included native language, gender, reading ability in language(s) other than English, and number of years studying in English both at home in Malaysia and abroad. 68% of the students said they spoke Malay, 17% Chinese dialects, and about 15% Tamil. 61% of the sample was women. Not surprisingly, all of the respondents said that they were able to read in another language: 85% in Malay (probably including non-Malay native speakers who were not able to read in their own L1), and the remaining 15% in Malay as well as in the L1. Further, the average number of years the students had studied through the medium of English in Malaysia was 13 (with a range of 5 to 20 years), and none of them had studied in a foreign environment other than the two years in the UK. Table 7.18 presents a summary of students responses to the metacognitive awareness items of the questionnaire administered at Moray House. As probably evident in section 7.5.1, the six major variables listed in the table are summative combinations of appropriate sets of items (after Carrell, 1989) that were envisaged to provide insight into students awareness of strategies and/or difficulties they associated with reading in ESL at global and local levels. It would be useful to note here that both MHIns96 and MHIns97 were not significantly different in terms of their performance on the 10item MCA test (Z = -.7409, 2-tailed p = .4588). The mean scores were 7.4500 and 6.8095 respectively. The only strategy awareness variable that appeared to differentiate between the two TESOL cohorts was repair strategies. Although the majority of responses of both groups fell into the middle categories, respondents in MHIns97 tended to agree to a greater extent (compare group median values) that they used repair strategies as persistent reading (tolerance of ambiguity?), rereading problematic parts, and looking up words in the dictionary. In fact, further examination on an item by item basis of the repair components revealed that the groups were statistically significant on the above three aspects but not on the remaining two i.e., regressing to a point before the problematic part, and giving up reading altogether. The majority of MHIns96 respondents were quite clearly undecided on all counts. However, all respondents agreed to some extent that they were comparably confident readers in ESL who used global strategies effectively by reading for meaning, relating text to background knowledge, and focusing on text organisation. Accordingly, they were inclined to be rather circumspect in relation to items about the effective use of the more local strategies like focusing on word sounds and word-level meaning, and preoccupation with content details rather than overall meaning. This overtly expressed awareness about word- and syntax-based strategies seemed to be echoed in students general disagreement to statements about related difficulties in their reading. In other words, they tended to disagree that word pronunciation, recognition nor grammatical structures caused them difficulties in ESL reading. Perhaps predictably, global difficulties did appear to pose some problems in as much as these involved the use of background knowledge of topic as well as toplevel rhetorical processing and text organisation.


Needs Survey Outcomes Table 7.18 Malaysian TESOL Students Metacognitive Awareness of Reading Strategies Summary Responses Med. 1* 2 3 2 3 5 4 12 15 27 5* 6 3 19 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.200 4.000 4.098 .616 .548 .583 Mean sd.

Awareness/ MH Cohort/ (Significance) Confidence MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Totals (p= .2626) Repair strategies MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Totals (p= .0376) Effective-global MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Totals (p= .0504) Effective-local MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Totals (p= 1197) Difficult-global MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Totals (p= .1491) Difficult-local MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Totals (p= .4104)

12 7 19

8 10 18

4 4

3.0 4.0 4.0

3.400 3.857 3.634

.503 .727 .662

1 1 2

15 9 24

4 11 15

4.0 5.0 4.0

4.150 4.476 4.317

.489 .602 .567

6 5 11

13 9 22

1 7 8

3.0 3.0 3.0

2.750 3.095 2.927

.550 .768 .685

1 4 5

12 3 16

7 12 19

2 2

3.0 4.0 4.0

3.300 3.571 3.439

.571 .926 .776

6 3 9

11 15 26

3 3 6

2.0 2.0 2.0

1.850 2.000 1.927

.671 .548 .608

*Key: 1 = Strong Disagreement; 5 = Strong Agreement Mann Whitney U - Wilcoxon Rank Sum W Test was used to test for differences in students responses across groups/cohorts


Effects of Metacognitive Factors on ESL Reading

These were examined in two ways: a) Separate multiple linear regressions were first run for the whole group on the SPSSPC+ programme with the MCA test performance as the dependent variable and the four different metacognitive awareness categories (Confidence, Repair, Effective, and Difficulty) as the independent variables in four corresponding equations/models. In other words, the individual items composing each category were entered in each respective equation to see if there were any significant effects on subjects ESL reading comprehension; and b) A different regression was then run with the MCA test performance as the explained variable, and the six macro metacognitive awareness variables as the explanatory factors. Each of these computed independent variables represented 167

Assessing EAP Needs for the University subjects average responses to the items subsumed under it (see 7.4.1). In each set of results, the T, Beta, and p values were noted. Residual analysis involved the use of normal probability plots of nonstandardised residuals to test the normality of the dependent variable in relation to the independent variables in the equation (The normal probability plot shows the cumulative distribution of residuals on one axis and the normal distribution on the other. If the residuals of the observed dependent variable were normally distributed, the points plotted should be close to the diagonal from the bottom left to the top right of the graph. From SPSSPC+ Version 4.01 On-line Glossary). A level of .05 was set as the significance level. Non-significant results are indicated by n.s., but reports of significant effects include the exact probability level. The results of both sets of procedures above are reported in Table 7.19.

Table 7.19 a)

Regression Effects of Metacognitive Factors on ESL

Regression Model: ESL Reading as a Function of ESL Metacognition (Item Categories) Repair n.s. Effective (X15) Able to pronounce each whole word T = -2.113; p = .0395; Beta = -.4091 Difficulty (X21) Sounds of individual words T = -2.238; p = .0323 Beta = - .5104

Confidence (X3) Relate information in text to previous information in text T = 2.195; p = .0351 Beta = .5273

b) Regression Model: ESL Reading as a Function of ESL Metacognition (Macro variables) Confidence n.s. Repair n.s. Effectiveglobal n.s Effective-local T = -2.618 p = .0131 Beta = -.4701 Difficult-global T = -3.170 p = .0032 Beta = -.4814 Difficultlocal n.s

The results in Table 7.19 (a) show that none of the repair strategies was significantly related to reading performance. It is noted, however, that one item in each of the remaining three categories of awareness, Confidence, Effective and Difficulty, indicates a significant relationship with the dependant variable in question. In other words, for the present group of subjects (N = 41), perceptions concerning repair strategies as persistent reading, regressing to problematic parts in text, looking up unknown words in the dictionary or giving up reading entirely were not predictive of their reading performance. Further, subjects who tended to agree more with the statement that they were able to relate information in text to previous information in the same text (coded as a Confidence strategy) tended to be better readers. However, if they tended to disagree that the ability to pronounce each whole word was an effective reading strategy, they read better in ESL. Similarly, if they were more inclined to disagree 168

Needs Survey Outcomes that sounds of individual words caused reading difficulty, they were probably good readers. In the second set of results in Table 7.19 (b), none of the Confidence, Repair, Effective-global, and Difficultlocal macro-strategies was found to be statistically significant in relation to reading performance. Only the remaining Effective-local and Difficult-global were correlated to the dependent measure, albeit negatively so. This means that subjects who disagreed that what might be called local, bottom-up, decoding types of reading strategies (Carrell, 1989: 125) were particularly effective, and that global, top-down types of reading strategies (e.g. text gist, background knowledge, and text organization) (ibid.) caused them particular difficulty, tended to be better readers. Carrell has further noted in her own study that Interestingly, what we might characterise as awareness of the more global, top-down types of reading strategies [examples as above] were not significantly related to ... reading performance ...., attributing the result, apparently within reason, to the relative lack of variability in her subjects metacognitive judgements (i.e. they generally tended to agree with the global strategies) (ibid.). Carrells report, being part of a journal article, does not provide tables of subjects response frequencies, but in the present study perhaps such a limitation can be seen in Table 7.18. Compare, for instance, the relatively narrow spread of subjects total responses elicited for Effective-global strategies (SD = .567) and Confidence (SD = .583) with that for Effective-local (SD = .685) and Difficult-global (SD = .776) strategies. Clearly this might well have been contributed to and compounded by the relatively small number of cases. Carrell had two groups of Spanish L1, and English L1 subjects comprising 45 and 75 students respectively in the study cited, and consequently found a broader spectrum of significant effects of metacognitive factors on reading performance for reading in a second/foreign language. However, the type of effect obtained in each metacognitive category, especially in the Effective and Difficulty judgements of students, was sufficiently similar to those procured in the present study. To this extent, it can be said that the findings with the Malaysian ESL readers support those obtained by Carrell with English and Spanish L2 readers.


Global and Local Strategisers

Of the 41 subjects who responded to the questionnaire, 39 were classified as global strategisers with the remaining two as local strategisers on the basis of their perceptions of agreement to global versus local reading strategies and difficulties (see section 6.7.2 [ii]). The mean score of the whole group on the 10-item reading test was 7.122, and was 7.154 and 6.500 for the global strategiser and local strategiser sub-groups respectively. However, these scores were not statistically significant between groups (Mann-Whitney U test, Z = -.2763, 2-tailed p = .7823) probably because of the lack of variability in responses within each group, and particularly as there were only two local strategisers. Again, these results were concordant with Carrells findings. To conclude, the relevant set of research questions that is addressed by the present study are: What are TESOL students metacognitive conceptualisations about reading in ESL? What is the effect of these awareness variables on their actual reading performance? The first question has been dealt with in section 7.5.2, and will be reviewed in the summary at the end of the next chapter. It is now possible 169

Assessing EAP Needs for the University to present some answers to the second question via the testing of the related set of null/alternative hypotheses: H0: Students metacognitive awareness judgements about reading in ESL had no effect on their actual reading performance. H1: Students who agreed more with confidence in reading statements tended to be better readers. H2: Students who disagreed more that they used repair strategies tended to be better readers. H3: Students who agreed more that global strategies were effective in reading comprehension were inclined to be better readers. H4: Students who disagreed more that effective local strategies were useful were likely to be better at their reading. H5: Students who disagreed more that global difficulties caused problems in reading tended to be better readers. H6: Students who disagreed more that local difficulties made reading difficult were likely to be better readers. With reference to the findings presented in Table 7.18 (b), the null hypothesis was rejected in connection with subjects metacognitive judgements about two out of five awareness categories i.e., effective local strategies (T = -2.618, p = .0131), and global reading difficulties (T = -3.170, p = .0032). Thus the results of the study provided support for H4 and H5 above. Since some comment has already been made concerning these two significant outcomes in the foregoing section, perhaps it would be useful to list the component strategies of the two macro categories in question so that related issues can be discussed in the final section of this chapter. The following presumably local as well as generally text-bound processes which were classified under effective strategies comprise mentally sounding out parts of the words, understanding the meaning of each word, being able to pronounce each whole word, focusing on the grammatical structures, looking up words in the dictionary, recognising words, guessing at word meanings, and focusing on the details of the content. However, as the results in Table 7.18 (a) showed, three micro elements of metacognitive awareness also proved significant as predictors of reading performance. Interestingly, these comprised one element each from the Confidence, Effective, and Difficulty categories. Stated more positively, these elements of metacognitive awareness would be reading confidence related to being able to understand informational relationships in the same text, being aware to some extent that pronouncing each word is an ineffective strategy, and correspondingly that difficulties arising from word pronunciation would be inconsequential in the process of comprehending meaning.

7.6 Approaches to Studying Reliability tests were run on the computer for the two scales, demographic variables and ASI variables. For the demographic scale, Cronbachs alpha was .8687 (N = 41, No. of items = 4), and for the ASI scale the same index of internal consistency was .7030 (N = 41, No. of items = 38). Thus the scales were adjudged to be adequate for the purpose at hand. 170

Needs Survey Outcomes For an overall percentage analysis of the responses vis--vis the computed ASI variables, students responses were summarised in a frequency table that was also used to display and examine the differences, if any, between the two Moray House cohorts (MH Ins 96 and MH Ins 97) in terms of total responses as well of measures of central tendency. The Mann Whitney U - Wilcoxon Rank Sum W Test was used to test for differences in students responses between the sub-samples. An identical procedure of analysis was adopted for the demographic variables: entry qualifications, background knowledge of TESOL, study skills acquired, and ability to organise and plan study.


Students ASI Profile

Table 7.20 displays a summary of the responses elicited from intact groups of final-year Moray House TESOL students over two academic years, previously designated in this report as MHIns96 and MHIns97. As indicated in the table, responses to this part of the ASI questionnaire represent respondents perceptions of how well they compared, on a 5-point scale, on each attribute with others in their respective groups. A comparison of the groups mean age is also provided at the foot of the table, and perhaps it should be noted at the outset that they did not differ significantly (mean age of all respondents = 35.6 years). Further, an examination of the computed median and mean provided in the table would indicate that these values for a particular set of responses are sufficiently close to each other, and therefore could be used together or separately to gain insight into and/or to compare levels of perception of the groups concerned on a given sub-scale. In other words, when the median values of the groups on a sub-scale are identical, the respective means could be compared to discern any finer distinction that might exist between groups One would normally expect some variation, random or otherwise, in each set of such perceptions given that each of the two groups was comparing personal attributes independently of the other. However, while it can be seen from the information in the table that MHIns96 had rather consistently scored higher than MHIns97 on all the four variables, the differences in perception were only significant for study planning and not for the others. This final variable related to students comparing their ability to plan and organise their studying effectively with that of their course-mates Notwithstanding this statistical difference, the fact remains that a very large proportion of responses fell in the quite well and well categories, suggesting that students regarded themselves in relatively good standing as far background variables for undergraduate study were concerned.


ASI Sub-scales

Students responses to the 14 sub-scales and three composite scales on the ASI questionnaire are provided in Table 7.21. The data are displayed as frequency counts together with the computed mean, median and standard deviation for each group on each of the scales mentioned above. An examination of the median values (and the mean and standard deviation) of each set of responses relative to group, revealed a discernible trend in the differences between the two sub-samples on the scales. To start with, although both groups tended to agree on DA1, DA2, DA3, and DA4, differences in their 171

Assessing EAP Needs for the University responses were found to be statistically significant (Mann-Whitney U) at p <.05 (observed p values are provided in the table for responses to each sub-scale). As the median and mean for these items show, MHIns96 recorded stronger agreement than MHIns97. This trend appeared to be broken briefly with SA1 (relying on memorising - both groups seemed relatively uncertain whether they depended on this mode of studying even if MHIns97 appeared less so), but continued with SA2 ,SA3, and ASC (academic self-confidence). Interestingly, the two groups emerged in the analysis as being similar in terms of STA1-4 which measure strategic-achieving orientations to studying, and in relation to LOD (lack of direction). The above findings are appropriately reflected in the composite scales of DA (Deep Approach), SA (Surface Approach), and STA (Strategic Approach) which refer to overall orientations to or styles of student learning. This meant that although both Moray House cohorts tended to agree that that they adopted a deep approach to learning, the level of agreement to the related statements in the questionnaire was significantly greater in the case of MHIns96. This type of difference in perception about studying approach was, however, more profound in statements concerning the surface approach. Here, while MHIns96 cohorts appeared uncertain whether they were debilitated in some way, their Ins 97 counterparts tended to agree to statements to that effect. In any case, both groups agreed that they were inclined to rely on a strategic approach to studying in their field. This last finding vis--vis results of STA1-4 mentioned above would seem to indicate that the present groups of respondents generally agreed that they were determined to excel in their studies, expended much effort studying, were organised learners, and managed their time well.

Table 7.20

Selected Demographic Information about Malaysian TESOL Students at Moray House by Academic Year, ASI Questionnaire Part I Frequency of Responses: In relation to other students, I compare ... Badly Not so Quite Well Very well well well 3 3 1 5 6 3 3 7 7 5 8 13 5 6 11 8 10 18 10 8 18 14 8 22 13 9 22 11 8 19 8 6 14 1 2 3 1 1 2 1 1 2 2




Profile Variable 1. Entry Qualifications MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Totals 2. TESOL Knowledge MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Totals 3. Study skills acquired MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Totals 4. Study planning* MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Totals

4.0 3.0 4.0 4.0 3.0 4.0 4.0 3.0 3.0 3.5 3.0 3.0

3.800 3.429 3.610 3.700 3.286 3.488 3.650 3.238 3.439 3.600 2.952 3.268

.523 .870 .737 .657 .902 .810 .587 .700 .673 .681 .805 .807

Test for differences: Mann-Whitney U - Wilcoxon Rank Sum W Test: *Mean ranks: MH Ins 96 = 25.30, MH Ins 97 = 16.90; Z = -2.4034, 2-tailed p=.0162.


Needs Survey Outcomes

Age MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Overall

Mean 35.3500 35.8571 35.610

sd. 3.345 3.877 3.591

Independent Samples T-test (t = -.45; df = 39; p= .656)

In sum, based on the respondents responses to the various ASI sub-scales, it seemed clear that the two groups were different, however marginally, on some of the measures but were rather similar on others. More importantly, while MHIns97 students conceded a few surface processing tendencies, both groups claimed to be deep processors in general with an overall strategic orientation to studying in that they perceived themselves to be determined to excel in their studies, working hard in an organised manner, and often managing their time well. Correlation analyses using Spearmans rho were conducted to explore the extent to which students perceptions on the demographic as well as the ASI sub-scales were related to measures of general language ability and reading competence in ESL. This measure of correlation for nonparametric data was used because the sample size was relatively small; further, the dependent variables were not found to be normally distributed in relation to the independent variables, effectively eliminating the possibility of employing regression statistics. Thus, correlations were first run for both groups taken as a whole with language and reading ability (ELSCALE and READ respectively; see 5.6.6) on the one hand, and entry qualifications, TESOL knowledge, study skills, SA1, SA4, STA1-4, LOD and STA on the other (i.e., variables on which the groups were not significantly different). The results showed that all three demographic variables were correlated with both language ability and reading competence with moderate correlations for entry qualifications and TESOL background knowledge (rho close to .5, p<.01), and with low correlations for study skills acquired (rho less than .4, p < .05). As might be expected, components of a surface orientation to studying (SA1 and SA4) were found to be negatively correlated with the performance measures even if the correlations were low at p<.05, meaning that reliance on memorising, and having problems coping in studies tended to be related to weaker ability in the English language as well as in reading. The remaining independent variables were not significantly related to the performance criteria except STA3 (organised studying) which was positively related to reading (rho = .3383, p = .031; but note the low correlation). A pertinent point that might be made here was the observation that relying on memorising (SA1), and concern about coping (SA4) were found to be related to lack of direction (LOD), but only SA4 was significantly (negatively) correlated with STA4 (Time management); SA1 was not. Correlations were then run for MHIns97 with reading performance (the READ97 composite score which included reading ability self-ratings, and the MCA test and IELTS scores) , and the gamut of background variables as well as the ASI sub-scales/study orientations to explore if there were any significant relationships. The confidence level was set at p <. 05 (2-tailed) with the result that students reading ability appeared to correlate moderately with entry qualification ratings (rho =.4603, p = 173

Assessing EAP Needs for the University .041), relying on memorisation (rho = - .5517, p = .012), and concern about coping (rho = - .5789, p = .003). So, while students favourable comparison with other students in terms of TESOL entry qualifications tended to go together with observed reading ability, their perceptions of reliance on rote-memorisation, and problems with coping did not. Put simply, if they said they tended to depend on memorising information to do well in their studies, they probably were not good readers; likewise for coping problems. In fact, in terms of students overall orientations towards studying, only Surface Approach was of apparent significance in relation to their reading ability in a rather negative way (rho = - .6371, p = .001). As might be expected, the surface processing style of learning was negatively correlated to efficient reading for the group of undergraduates in question. Notwithstanding the rather small sample size, and consequently the decision to use simple correlation rather than regression analysis, these results must be viewed as suggestive to some degree of significant findings in the Kember and Gow (1994) study noted earlier (section 4.4.3 [iii]), that ESL students performance on the ASI sub-scales was correlated to a greater extent to their reading skills rather than to general language abilities so much so that the researchers concerned viewed deep/surface processing in terms of corresponding top-down/bottom-up modes of text processing. Finally, the following two sets of hypotheses derived from the relevant research questions were tested on the basis of the above findings: H0: There were no differences between the MHIE sub-samples in terms of perceptions about background variables measured on the ASI. Ha: The MHIE sub-samples were different in terms of perceptions about background variables measured on the ASI sub-scales. H0: There were no differences between the MHIE sub-samples in terms of learning styles measured on the ASI sub-scales. Ha: The MHIE sub-samples were different in terms of learning styles measured on the ASI sub-scales. The null hypothesis in the first set was rejected in only one out of the four background variables listed (see Table 7.20) i.e., study planning (Mann-Whitney U test; Z = -2.4034, p = .0162). Hence, it appeared unlikely that the two sub-samples were different in terms of their overall responses to the variables concerned. However, in the second set of hypotheses, the null was rejected at p < . 05 level in seven of the 14 sub-scales, and in two of the three composite scales (p values listed below each scale in Table 7.21). Therefore, it appeared that the two groups of consecutive academic year cohorts tended to be different in a large number of factors measured by the ASI, notably with respect to the deep approach and the surface approach even if they might be presumed to be similar in their strategic approach towards studying in a foreign environment. The next chapter presents the results of the quasi-experimental phase of the case study at MHIE to seek answers to the last set of research questions, and to consider contributions of the findings as a whole to the proposed academic reading profile of Malaysian TESOL students in UK. Implications for the genre-based EAP reading programme development will be considered in the final chapter of the thesis.


Needs Survey Outcomes Table 7.21 Approaches to Studying of Malaysian TESOL Students at Moray House by Academic Year; Summary Responses to ASI Questionnaire Summary Responses 1* 2 3 4 5 Med. Mean sd.

ASI Sub-scale/ MH Cohort/ (Significance) Look. for mean. (DA1) MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Totals (p= .0431) Int /Critical (DA2) MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Totals (p= .0248) Rel. and organ ideas (DA3) MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Totals (p= .0011) Using evid and log. (DA4) MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Totals (p= .0380) Rely on memorising (SA1) MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Totals (p= .2863) Diff in making sense (SA2) MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Totals (p= .0240) Unrelatedness (SA3) MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Totals (p= .0162) Con. about coping (SA4) MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Totals (p= .1582)

6 13 19 5 9 14 8 14 22 10 13 23 6 5 11 6 2 8 5 4 9 4 6 10

14 8 22 15 9 24 12 3 15 10 5 15 4 7 11 1 6 7 1 7 8 4 7 11

5.0 4.0 5.0 5.0 4.0 5.0 5.0 4.0 4.0 4.5 4.0 4.0 3.5 4.0 4.0 2.5 3.0 3.0 3.0 4.0 3.0 3.0 4.0 4.0

4.700 4.381 4.537 4.750 4.238 4.488 4.600 3.905 4.244 4.500 4.095 4.293 3.400 3.810 3.610 2.750 3.619 3.195 2.000 3.714 3.268 3.400 3.857 3.634

.470 .498 .505 .444 .831 .711 .503 .700 .699 .513 .625 .602 1.188 1.030 1.115 1.209 .973 1.167 1.105 1.102 1.184 1.046 1.014 1.043

1 1 1 1 4 2 6 7 1 8 7 3 10 4 2 6

2 2 3 3 3 3 5 7 12 3 12 15 5 7 12 8 6 14

1 1 3 3 2 2 -

*Key: 1 = Disagree 2 = Disagree Somewhat 3 = Unsure 4 = Agree Somewhat 5 = Agree Mann Whitney U - Wilcoxon Rank Sum W Test was used to test for differences in students response between Moray House groups/cohorts


Assessing EAP Needs for the University Table 7.21 (continued from previous page) ASI Sub-scale/ MH Cohort/ 1* 2 (Significance) Determination to excel (STA1) MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Totals (p= .7351) Effort in studying (STA2) MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Totals (p= .6200) Organised studying(STA3) MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Totals (p= .0510) Time management (STA4) MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Totals (p= .1850) Lack of direction (LOD) MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Totals (p= .5553) Academic selfconfidence (ASC) MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Totals (p= .0359) Deep approach (DA) MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Totals (p= .0172) Surface approach (SA) MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Totals (p= .0286) Strategic approach (STA) MH Ins 96 MH Ins 97 Totals (p= .2911)




1 1

5 5 10

15 15 30

5.0 5.0 5.0

4.750 4.667 4.707

.444 .577 .512

1 2 3

5 4 9

6 9 15

8 6 14

4.0 4.0 4.0

4.050 3.905 3.976

.945 .944 .935

4 4

3 5 8

12 9 21

5 3 8

4.0 4.0 4.0

4.100 3.524 3.805

.641 .981 .872

7 5 12

1 3 4 3 11 14

4 6 10 9 4 13

13 11 24 1 1 2

2 1 3 -

4.0 4.0 4.0 2.5 2.0 2.0

3.800 3.476 3.634 2.200 2.048 2.122

.696 .814 .767 1.005 .805 .900

1 1 7 1 8

2 8 10 1 1 6 9 15

15 10 25 7 14 21 6 5 11

3 2 5 13 6 19 1 6 7

4.0 4.0 4.0 5.0 5.0 4.0 3.0 4.0 3.0

4.050 3.619 3.829 4.650 4.238 4.439 3.050 3.762 3.415

.510 .740 .667 .489 .539 .550 .945 .944 .999

1 3 4 176

12 13 25

7 5 12

4.0 4.0 4.0

4.300 4.095 4.195

.571 .625 .601


8.1 Introduction As indicated at the outset in the preceding chapter, the forthcoming sections provide an account of the findings obtained from the quasi-experimental data. The final-year TESOL group who had been randomly assigned to two experimental groups attempted four text-processing tasks in all. Although only the TS task was completed on a pre-/post-test basis, the data analysis revealed some interesting results which are commented on and subsequently discussed in relation to the research question(s) concerned followed by a section (8.5) exploring inter-/cross-task relationships within each sub-group. The advantages and the limitations of the treatment process are also addressed, to a large extent based on evaluative comments from the strategy group, before summing up the results of the study and discussing the issues in the final section. However, it is necessary to note at this juncture that the randomised sub-groups of the MH Ins97 cohorts who completed the tasks below turned out to be significantly similar over all but two interval/ranked measure observed via the comprehension tests as well as the needs, metacognitive awareness, and ASI instruments Mann-Whitney U test). The two differentiating variables were perceptions about ability to organise and plan study (ASI demographic variable; Z = -2.4772, p = .0132), and about frequency of reading general materials in English (Z = 2.0266, p = .04310). The comparison group had perceived themselves more favourably at study planning, but the experimental group felt that they read more frequently in English.

8.2 Text Sequencing Task Tables 8.1 and 8.2 represent a graphic display of how the experimental groups performed on the TS sub-tasks on a before and after basis: 1 indicates that a correct rank was assigned to a particular text segment by the subject, 0 an incorrect rank. Each row in each matrix of such dichotomous coded represents the original sequence of text segments comprising the subjects identification number, the title of the source text (S1, and P1)., correctly or incorrectly ranked text segments, and the subjects score (A, PA, B, PB) representing the frequency of correct responses. S2 to S9 refer to sentences while P2 to P9 indicate paragraphs of the source texts. The matrices of coded data are organised by treatment group and by task so that related groups of subjects performance on sub-task can be visually compared before differences are considered statistically. The correct original sequence of text segments in the source texts are presented below for reference: Task A: RA Abstract (Reassembling Scrambled Sentences) (Title/S1) ( S2 ) ( S3 ) ( S4 ) ( S5 ) ( S6 ) A longitudinal study of childrens early literacy experience ... Studies of literacy attainment in the early years of school ... The study reported here has sought not only to replicate ... Literacy experiences of 42 children at ages 3, 5 and 7 ... Findings are reported concerning two outcome measures ... Significant factors included having favourite books ... 177

Assessing EAP Needs for the University ( S7 ) ( S8 ) ( S9 ) Children with literacy difficulties owned fewer books, ... Implications for teachers, highlighting the relevance of ... The findings underline the importance of home factors ...

Task B: RA Introduction (Reassembling Scrambled Paragraphs) (Title/P1) ( P2 ) ( P3 ) ( P4 ) ( P5 ) ( P6 ) ( P7 ) ( P8 ) ( P9 ) Explanatory Variables for EFL Students Expository Writing Many researchers have investigated factors that could explain ... If such a composing competence exists, it should be evoked ... Investigation of a third factor, L2 proficiency, has also ... A fourth factor is knowledge of L2 writing. The knowledge of ... Related to the above factors is the learners instructional ... Although all these previous studies provided insight into ... With these methodological limitations in mind, we conducted ... The present study replicates the general design of the pilot ...

Thus, a visual comparison of the coded data matrices (see Tables 8.1 and 8.2) showed that the experimental group generally performed better than the comparison group in both the post-tests (relatively more 1s than 0s in corresponding sets of data). To see if these perceptually observed differences were significant enough to say that the two groups performed differently on the tasks, the Mann-Whitney U test was used to compare proportions of correct responses across groups, and the Wilcoxon Matched-pairs Signed-ranks test to compare across tasks. Students self-reports of time taken to complete the various sub-tasks and their perceived difficulty levels were also compared in a similar manner.
Table 8.1 TESOL Students Performance on RA Abstract Text Sequencing Pre/Post Tests, Grouped by Treatment Condition

Task A (RA Abstract) EXPERIMENTAL ID Title 180 1 181 0 183 0 185 1 186 0 190 0 192 0 197 0 (Total) 180 1 181 1 183 1 185 1 186 1 190 1 192 1 197 1 (Total) S2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 S3 S4 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 S5 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 S6 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 S7 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 S8 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 S9 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 No. of Moves 8 2 1 3 0 1 1 2 (18) 8 6 5 6 4 6 4 6 (45)

Pre-test (A)

Post-test (PA)

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0

1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1

1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0

1 1 1 1 0 1 0 1

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1


The Case Study

COMPARISON ID Title 178 0 179 1 187 0 188 0 189 1 191 1 193 1 194 0 (Total) 178 1 179 1 187 0 188 0 189 1 191 1 193 1 194 0 (Total) S2 0 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 S3 S4 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 S5 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 S6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 S7 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 S8 S9 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 No. of Moves 0 3 1 3 4 4 4 1 (20) 3 4 0 1 4 6 3 1 (22)

Pre-test (A)

Post-test (PA)

1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1

0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0

0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0

0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0

0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0

1 1 0 1 0 1 0 0

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

Table 8.2

TESOL Students Performance on RA Introduction Text Sequencing Pre/Post Tests, Grouped by Treatment Condition

Task B (RA Introduction) EXPERIMENTAL ID Title P1 180 1 181 1 183 1 185 1 186 1 190 1 192 1 197 1 (Total) 180 1 181 1 183 1 185 1 186 1 190 1 192 1 197 1 (Total) 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 P2 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 P3 P4 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 P5 P6 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 P7 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 P8 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 No. of Moves 3 3 6 4 5 4 3 1 (29) 8 8 6 5 8 8 6 8 (57)

Pre-test (B)

Post-test (PB)

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1

1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1

1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1


Assessing EAP Needs for the University


ID Title P1 178 0 179 1 187 1 188 1 189 1 191 1 193 1 194 1 (Total) 178 1 179 1 187 1 188 1 189 1 191 1 193 1 194 1 (Total) 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

P2 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0

P3 P4 P5 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0

P6 P7 P8 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

No. of Moves 0 5 4 3 8 8 5 2 (36) 4 4 1 3 6 6 6 2 (33)

Pre-test (B)

Post-test (PB)

1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1

1 1 0 0 1 1 1 0

0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0

0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0

1 1 0 0 1 1 1 0

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1


Comparison of Target Order Performance

The results of the statistical tests reported in Table 8.3 show that the experimental group performed better than the comparison group in both tasks involving the reading/sequencing of the research article abstract and introduction text segments given to them. The difference in performance indicated by the mean ranks in the pre-test (A) row was non-significant, but a similar difference at the post-test stage was significant at p <.05. This was also true for task B. An examination of within-group performance using the Wilcoxon Matched-pairs test revealed that the subjects of the experimental group who had attended the genre-based reading workshop performed significantly better over both sets of tasks than did those of the comparison group who had had no such expository input about generic structure. Nevertheless, no such pattern emerged in group performance, whether within or across them, in terms of the time subjects took to complete each sub-task except that the comparison group took relatively longer (12.17 minutes on the average) than their experimental counterparts to sequence the paragraphs in pre-test B. Since this happened at the pre-test stage of the experiment, and given that there were no other systematic differences in temporal terms, the effect in question was probably random. Again, in examining the difficulty ratings on a scale of 1 - 7 (easy to difficult) that subjects assigned to each sub-task, there was only one significant task effect: the comparison group subjects appeared to find post-task B easier to accomplish relative to the perceptions of the other group for which there no significant difference in ratings. Subjects identification of external genre features and general topic/content, strategies used, and difficulties encountered in completing the tasks (i.e., the remaining debriefing questionnaire data) are considered qualitatively in sections 8.2.3 and 8.2.4. Before that, the results of a move analysis of the TS task data are reported in the next section. 180

The Case Study

Table 8.3

TESOL Students Performance on Genre-text Sequencing Tasks, Grouped by Treatment Condition Treatment Condition Experimental Comparison (N=8) (N=8) (Mean Rank) 8.89 12.61 Z = -2.5205 p = .0117 9.06 13.17 Z = -2.5205 p = .0117 (Mean time) 13.11 14.56 n.s. 12.22 11.89 n.s. (Mean rating) 5.44 4.44 n.s. 5.22 3.78 n.s. (Mean Rank) 10.11 6.39 n.s. 9.94 5.83 n.s. (Mean time) 13.56 12.11 n.s. 17.67 14.44 n.s. (Mean rating) 5.44 5.22 n.s 5.78 4.67 Z = -2.3664 p = .0181 n.s. Z = -3.0037 p = .0027

Sub-task/Stage Task A (RA Abstract) Pre-test (A) Post-test (PA)

Significance (p) n.s. Z = -.2.5292 p = .0114

Task B (RA Introduction) Pre-test (B) Post-test (PB)

Time (minutes) Pre-test A Post-test A Pre-test B Post-test B

n.s. n.s. Z =-2.1833 p = .0290 n.s.

Difficulty level (1 - 7 scale) Pre-test A Post-test A Pre-test B Post-test B

n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s.


Results of Move Analysis

A further move-by-move analysis of the TS data was attempted to observe specific areas of divergence across group performance. This was achieved by running on the computer programme frequency of correct responses by sentences/paragraphs associated with each underlying communicative move specific to task. In sub-tasks A (RA abstract), besides the title (S1, P1), the surface textual realisations and related underpinning moves were as follows: S2 (Optional Background Information); S3 (Introducing Purpose), S4 (Describing Method); S5, S6, and S7 (Summarising Results); and S8 and S9 (Presenting Conclusions). Similarly in sub-tasks B, the surface-deep relationships were: P2 (Establishing Field); P2, P3, P4, P5, and P6 (Summarising Previous Research); P7 (Preparing for Present Research); and P8 and P9 (Introducing the Present Research). The results of the aforementioned frequency analysis are given in Table 8.4. Number of occurrences of each complete move as in the original texts is listed (post-test frequencies in brackets) across subject groups for 181

Assessing EAP Needs for the University comparison. In both Task A and Task B, pre-test frequencies of all moves by group were found to be statistically non-significant. Results of significance tests of post-test frequencies (Mann-Whitney U test) are reported in the last column. With reference to the earlier overall analysis of subjects performance on the TS tasks, the present significant differences in between-group attempts across most of the task-specific moves were to be expected; however, it was interesting to observe areas of similarity where both groups of subjects had apparently performed comparably, either in terms of problems encountered in identifying from-function correlation (Move 3, Task A) or of accomplishing the task with varying degrees of success (Move 4, Task A; Title, Moves 3 and 4, Task B). This was particularly so in the case of the experimental group which had had some exposure in this respect, but in which only one subject had managed to sequence the required Move 3 (post-test A) component sentences in the correct order as follows: (S5) Findings are reported concerning two outcome measures ..., (S6) Significant factors included having favourite books ..., and (S7) Children with literacy difficulties owned fewer books,.... An examination of the observed sentence sequences of subjects showed that four of the remaining seven students had ranked S5 correctly (probably taking the cue from the signal Findings), but had got S6 and S7 in reverse order. Further, since the last paragraph of text B (S9 in post-test B i.e., an explicit statement of purpose) had been appropriately indicated as such (given), one would have expected all experimental group subjects to have recognised P8 as foreshadowing Move 4 (Introducing Purpose) as in With these methodological limitations in mind, we conducted a precursor of the present study as a pilot study... to be followed by The present study replicates the general design of the pilot study ... (P9). Perhaps the students lacked understanding of the lexis (e.g. precursor) or were confused with the reference conventions (present study, pilot study), but clearly this example underscores to some extent the problems that students encounter in reading at lower levels of the rhetorical hierarchy of genre-text structure which appear to have implications for the higher levels.


Identification of Genre, and Content Features

Experimental and comparison group responses to the above features were analysed according to the grids similar to those shown in Tables 8.5 and 8.6. For the present analysis, genre features referred to aspects of rhetorical structure, topic type, language style of source materials, and to the rationale for/purpose of the text while non-genre, content features related to the texts informational quality rather than rhetorical elements (Hyon, 1995: 166). Thus, the former type of features related to In what kind of academic reading material would you expect to find such a text? and Can you name this type of text?, and the latter to What is the general topic of the passage? Students descriptions of these genre, and content features were marked for whether they were appropriate (A) or inappropriate (IA) for each of the genres that the students processed (see ibid, pp. 167-68 for a description of a similar procedure). Responses to the first question that were considered appropriate included journal(s), research journal(s), (experimental) research, and other expressions that denoted published or unpublished accounts of empirical research related to language and/or education. Acceptable answers to the second question were more tightly defined: in Task A these were abstract, 182

The Case Study summary or report (adjudged equivalent to the first two in terms of self-sufficiency), and in Task B introduction, allowing for qualifiers as (experimental) research or article (abstract, summary and introduction only). Answers to the third content question were deemed appropriate or otherwise on the basis of whether or not they adequately reflected the gist of each passage students read. Thus, in Task A, an appropriate response would have been the importance of home factors for childrens literacy development, and in Task B, factors that explain EFL students expository writing.

Table 8.4

Frequency of Communicative Moves in Text Sequencing Pre/Post-Tests by Treatment Group Move Frequency Experimental Comparison (N = 8) (f) (N = 8) (f) 2(8)* 1(8) 3(8) 1(8) 1(1) 6(6) 4(3)* 4(3) 4(0) 2(0) 4(2) 2(4)

Task A (RA Abstract) Title

Significance (p) Z = -2.6112 p = .0090 Z = -2.6112 p = .0090 Z = -3.8730 p = .0001 Z = -3.8730 p = .0001 n.s. n.s

Presenting Background Information (optional move) Move 1 (Introducing Purpose) Move 2 (Describing Method) Move 3 (Summarising Results) Move 4 (Presenting Conclusions) Task B (RA Introduction) Title Move 1 (Establishing the Field) Move 2 (Summarising Previous Research) Move 3 (Preparing for Present Research) Move 4 (Introducing the Present Research)

8(8) 6(8) 1(7) 0(5) 3(5)

7(8) 2(3) 2(1) 3(3) 4(3)


Z = -3.5252 p = .0004 n.s. n.s.

*Numbers in brackets are post-test move frequencies. Pre-test A and pre-test B move frequencies by group were all non-significant (Mann-Whitney U).

It should be noted that the questions allowed some leeway as far as appropriate responses were concerned so as to elicit students perceptions about features related to the texts under study (and perhaps other similar texts they read on their own) without providing explicit prompts. This resultant potential for diversity in responses suggested the need for caution when comparing within and across groups. However, even if this does not eliminate the possibility of a direct pre- and post-test comparison of the results, for reasons of economy and for the observation that the assessment of the 183

Assessing EAP Needs for the University comparison groups responses provided some indication of how the experimental group performed in the pre-tests, the present commentary/discussion centres on performances at the post-test stage only. Table 8.5 presents the results of the analysis of subjects text feature descriptions in connection with the RA abstract. The simultaneous presentation of processed data obtained from both groups makes for comparison on a like-with-like basis. Total frequencies of appropriate and inappropriate responses by feature have been inserted at the bottom of the table to facilitate overall similarities/differences between groups. With respect to the first feature i.e., the probable source of the abstract, both groups were almost perfectly matched with the exception being that one comparison subject did not respond to the item in the questionnaire (which. of course, could have been due to reasons other than comprehension or conviction). As can be seen, the largest perceptible difference between groups appeared to be in their responses to text type. In other words, the experimental group was clearly better placed to identify the generic status of the text although only one student (case 180) actually cited the word abstract, the other appropriate responses being report. This was a surprising result considering the fact that the students concerned had actually analysed clearly labelled exemplars in the workshop! (See similar comment for RA introductions below.) Nevertheless, the omission of the responses by two comparison subjects might yet be significant. Next, both groups were found to have performed rather comparably in terms of their description of text content with the experimental group emerging slightly more superior in terms of responses deemed appropriate. Could this small edge in performance have been due to better comprehension of content because of higher awareness of rhetorical structure? That probably remains an open question as far as the present results are concerned. We have to examine the results in Table 8.6 to discern if there might be a similar pattern there.
Table 8.5 Descriptions of Genre, and Content Features in RA Abstract Text (TS Task A), Classified by Treatment Groups Experimental Group Source Text Material type A A* IA IA A A A A IA IA A A A A A IA 6A 5A 2 IA 3 IA Comparison Group Source Text Material type A IA A IA A A IA A IA IA A A IA 6 A 1 A 1 IA 5 IA 1 2 -

ID 180 181 183 185 186 190 192 197 Totals

Topic A IA A A IA IA IA IA 3A 5 IA

ID 178 179 187 188 189 191 193 194


A=Appropriate; IA=Inappropriate * Abstract

Indeed, the pattern of performance appeared patently similar in the results obtained for TS Task B (Table 8.6). As before, the experimental group seemed a little more accomplished at identifying the generic source as well as the general topic. As the coded data in the table show, this group gave eight 184

The Case Study appropriate responses to the item about source genres, and six appropriate ones to the topic item in contrast to the respective five and four appropriate answers by the comparison group. However, the expected advantage in terms of text-type identification had not emerged in this groups responses for the reason mentioned in the foregoing paragraph. Again, the sole student who cited abstract in Task A gave the correct introduction. Others in the group supplied rather indistinct names as a study, a report, or the suprageneric experimental research paper. Quite clearly owing to the lack of knowledge about genre and related concepts, those in the comparison group produced even more general terms as academic text, research text or the irrelevant long text. Perhaps responses such as these were a function of the open-endedness of the questionnaire items. In any case, given the limitations of the reading workshop, the results of this part of the present study would at best be regarded as inconclusive, as was similarly noted earlier.
Table 8.6 Descriptions of Genre, and Content Features Classified by Treatment Groups, RA Introduction Text (TS Task B) Comparison Group Material Text type A IA IA IA A IA A IA A IA A IA IA IA IA IA 5A 8 IA 3 IA

Experimental Group Material Text type A A* A IA A IA A IA A IA A IA A IA A IA 8A 1A 7 IA A=Appropriate; IA=Inappropriate *Introduction ID 180 181 183 185 186 190 192 197 Totals

Topic A A A A A A IA IA 6A 2 IA

ID 178 179 187 188 189 191 193 194

Topic A IA A IA IA A A IA 4A 4 IA


Perceived Strategy Use/Difficulties

At the debriefing stage of every sub-task that the subjects attempted, they were asked to describe briefly any particular strategy that they used to complete the task. In both pre-tests, subjects had additionally been requested to list any difficulties that they encountered in completing the tasks. This section begins with an account of the problems all subjects said that they faced in attempting the tasks for the first time as well as the strategies they claimed to use. Next, the strategies of both the experimental and comparison groups will be compared to see if there were any general propensities specific to group that could be discerned from their self-reports. With respect to Task A (RA abstract), it appeared that the main areas of difficulty encountered by the subjects concerned: a) lexical items (unknown words: n = 11) and the concepts they signalled in the given scrambled texts (difficult concepts: n = 10); b) lack of markers of cohesion/coherence (insufficient cohesive devices: n = 11; difficult to link sentences: n = 11); c) complex sentence structure (n = 5); and d) lack of background knowledge (n = 5). Other statements that were more 185

Assessing EAP Needs for the University anecdotal included difficult to skim for ideas, topic not familiar and even nature of reading task too academic (?). While (a) and (c) would probably relate to text processing difficulties inherent in any reading situation depending upon the readers vocabulary knowledge and syntactic maturity, (b) and (d), potentially involving difficult concepts as well, appear to loom large within the current genre perspective. RA Abstracts are usually crisp, concise records of empirical effort that are almost devoid of obvious sentence connectors, and students difficulties referred to above were perhaps to be expected in the absence of related schematic knowledge needed to process the exemplars given to them. As one student remarked, Task [was] difficult because sentences were short with no markers. Going by the strategies reported for pre-test A, the majority of students appeared to have performed rather dismally because they did not have the requisite structure strategy appropriate for the task at hand. Both groups of subjects were clearly similar in their attempt to sequence the scrambled sentences of the abstract text in that they apparently resorted to traditional, common sense (in fact one student actually declared, Use common sense) strategies. Consequently, 10 students stated that they looked for the topic sentence first and/or scanned the text bits for cohesive devices and other important keywords (n = 10). While it was not clear what the keywords were, it was evident that several students had attempted to use some previous knowledge of rhetorical functions underlying different segments/sentences of the text. However, the strategy appeared to have been unsuccessful (as their task performance showed) because it was not based on a congruous conceptualisation of the genre as a whole. Besides, the students in question appeared to be somewhat befuddled by other intervening, inappropriate strategies. The following cases, quoted verbatim, would serve to exemplify this point: Task A (abstract): Firstly, find the topic sentence. I do relate the earlier sentence to the later one. I read more than once, to see the continuation or linkage of the sentences. I did follow/based on my experience, we usually begin with the introduction of the topic, follow by the content, implication and finally the findings. (Its usually found in the abstract of an article). (Case 185) Identify problems as main topic sentence. Then elaborate further giving situations. Subjects of the study. Variables or correlating one thing to another [?]. Findings. Implications. Conclusions. (Case 186) Task B (introduction): - identify main topic sentence - look for discourse markers/cohesive devices - identify sources of information - what is the investigation about. Outcome of investigation. Limitations - solutions. Summary. (Case 178) To compare subjects statements of strategy use between groups on each of the sub-tasks, first every strategy reported was listed separately by group for each post-test task. The lists were then examined in impressionist fashion to explore if there were clear allusions to the use of genre-based schematic knowledge as a problem-solving strategy. As a result, the strategies and/or text sequencing techniques mentioned by the comparison group were found to be very much similar to those elicited during the pre-test stages of both Task A and B, particularly of the read, arrange, check and linking between sentences kind. Even students who cited reflecting on readings of data analysis articles (presumably research articles) (case 194) or using title, type of research, participants, actual findings, 186

The Case Study reasons/implications, and solution to the problem (case 178), did not perform well on post-test A (one and three correct responses respectively - see Table 8.5). Similarly in post-test B (RA introduction), the comparison student who claimed to have been guided by the title, the main focus of research, its supporting details, the findings and implications, and an overview of the research managed only four correct responses. Perhaps these students had got the rhetorical functions right but failed to order them correctly. On the other hand, the experimental subjects generally appeared to have taken cognisance of the hierarchical structure of the genres concerned when sequencing the sentences/paragraphs in the given tasks. Thus, for post-test A, claimed strategies included the straight forward use genre structure (five correct responses) to the elaborative using knowledge of the moves; keywords e.g. findings, implications; isolate title sentence first (case 190: all correct), and the explicit use Bhatias model to identify structure - title, background, purpose, method etc. (case 180 - correct sequence). Again, in post-test B the experimental group appeared to be citing the right strategies as in used rhetorical functions: setting, past research, gap, value; also linkers e.g. first, second etc. related to the above (case 190). Nonetheless, the examples presented in the foregoing paragraphs must be viewed as illustrative only for strategy use in reading is necessarily a complex process specific to the cognitive domain. Certainly, there is much need for some kind of triangulation via other elicitation techniques, particularly those that are introspective and process-based in nature.

8.3 Recall, and Summary Tasks It is perhaps important to note at the outset that the two types of summaries were procured via two different elicitation modes using correspondingly different text-types of varying length. Therefore, at this stage comparison was not made of subjects performance across mode nor text-type (see section 8.5 for cross-task comparisons). That being the case, Table 8.7 provides a move-by-move analysis of each type of protocol with respect to the number of moves judged by the raters to be present to facilitate comparison across the experimental groups. Table 8.8 presents the move order used by subjects to organise each of the two types of protocol. Put differently, the analysis was based on the assumption that subjects who recognised structural elements in specific genre-texts would use them to structure recalled/summarised information in their written summaries. However, as clearly evident in the way the information is displayed in both the tables (8.7 & 8.8), there was some disagreement between the two raters as to the number of distinguishable moves present, and their sequence in a number of subjects protocols. Three options were thought to be open towards resolving the problem: first, the protocols could have been returned to the raters so that they could come to a consensus on the points of divergence in their respective analyses (if they had the time, that is!). The second option would have been to disregard divergence and examine further cases that reflected agreement, and the third alternative was to analyse both areas of convergence as well as of divergence in tandem towards discovering a possible pattern that characterised students performance on the tasks. Ultimately, the first two were deemed inappropriate because going back to the raters would have meant necessary conferencing between them on a substantial number of scripts 187

Assessing EAP Needs for the University and subsequent reassessing of ratings already given in other parts of the task while option two appeared to entail the discarding of potentially useful data not to mention a much diminished resultant sample. Further, with respect to the former, one of the raters had intimated that he had counter-checked the student data to ensure some measure of consistency in his analysis (some of his related observations are explored below), and therefore it did not seem appropriate to force an improbable consensus between raters.


Move Frequency Analysis

Table 8.7 summarises the frequency of the various moves judged to be present in subjects recall, and summary protocols by both raters on the one hand, and by either one of the raters on the other. In other words, for each genre-specific move listed, the first figure indicated in columns 2 and 3 of the table refers to the frequency agreed to by both raters in their respective independent analyses while the second in brackets additionally denotes that assigned to the same move by one of the raters. In this way, it was possible to compare the between-group performance protocols of subjects, taking into account both convergence as well as divergence in rater judgements. However, as might be expected, tests for significant differences were focused on the frequencies common to both rater analyses. Outcomes of these non-parametric tests (Mann-Whitney U) are shown in the last column.
Table 8.7 Comparing Between-Group Performance of Subjects on Recall and Summary Tasks Experimental Group BR (OR) 8 7 7 (1) 7 (1) 5 (2) 7 (1) 4 (2) 5 Comparison Group BR (OR) 1 (2) 2 (4) 5 (3) 4 (2) 1 (6) 6 (2) 5 (3) Significance (p)

Task Protocols /Communicative Move Recall (REC) task: Move 1 (Purpose) Move 2 (Method) Move 3 (Results) Move 4 (Conclusion) Summary (SUM) task: Move 1 (Establish Field) Move 2 (Review Literature) Move 3 (Indicate Gap) Move 4 (Present Purpose)
Key: BR = Both Raters

Z = -3.3029 p = .0010 Z = -2.1096 p = .0349 n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. Z = -2.9277 p = .0034 n.s.

OR = One Rater (either)

The BR frequencies in Table 8.7 are clearly greater in the experimental group column (except SUM task, Move 4 where these are comparable) than those in the comparison group one. In other words, both raters judged more of the respective genre moves to be present consistently and at a larger proportion in the protocols of the former group than in the latter. However, differences were large enough to be significant only in connection with Moves 1 and 2 (REC task), and Move 3 (SUM task). In the light of the earlier observations expressed in the paragraph, this would not be a surprising result 188

The Case Study because of the small number of subjects in each group and the resultant lack of variability especially where REC task Move 3 and 4, and SUM task Move 1 are concerned. Perhaps a more interesting observation would be in terms of the distribution of move frequencies in the structural hierarchy of each text-type, and the point(s) in the distribution at which the significant between-group differences lie What this means is that the relatively high frequencies of the experimental group are more or less uniformly distributed from Move 1 through Move 4 in REC task , and to a lesser extent in Move 1 to 4 in SUM task ( a finding positively reflected in the groups higher content accuracy ratings below). On the other hand, the comparison group scored low on the first two moves of REC task (where they were significantly different) but did better on the next two, a distribution that points to incomplete coverage of the text content; in SUM task there seems to be a simple alternating low-high frequency distribution that might arguably be seen as suggestive of a lack of genre awareness i.e., in relation to Moves 1 and particularly Move 3 where the real differences between groups appear to be manifest for this task. Earlier in this section, a case was made for looking at areas of divergence in rater judgements. First, simply counting the number of instances where rater disagreement appeared to have occurred specific to task and group in Table 8.7 would show that in the recall task there were only two such instances for the experimental group (concerning Moves 3 and 4) while there were four (all moves) for the comparison group. Adding up the related frequencies involved in these instances gives two and 11 respectively. Viewed proportionately, therefore, there was clearly more disagreement between raters in their analyses of comparison group protocols probably because these were less structured in generic terms and thus contributed to some rating difficulty. The same observation would apply in the case of SUM task protocols. In fact, rater divergence appears to have occurred in all the comparison group protocols, and in the absence of deeper analysis of individual rater processes any other reasons that might be read into the above differences are bound to be spurious.


Move Order Analysis

Table 8.8 presents move order data listed according to rater and task by treatment group. All the various combinations of moves independently judged to be present by individual raters are listed, and the correct move order is marked with an asterisk to make for comparison between groups of subjects as well as between raters. Further, the number of subjects who produced the correct move order is indicated in brackets. Hence, in examining the distribution of both correct and incorrect/incomplete responses adjudged separately by the raters, two factors of comparison appear to be eminently clear. First, the number of correctly ordered responses by rater as well as across groups will show that each rater isolated relatively more correctly ordered responses in the protocols elicited from the experimental group in both tasks. It should be noted that there are no correct responses of the 1234 order assigned by either rater to the comparison protocols in the SUM task. The second factor concerns the extent of agreement, or disagreement as the case might be, between raters as manifest in their ratings. This factor might be construed as the degree of structuredness that the raters were able to discern in the protocols taken as a whole. Quite clearly, there seemed to have been more agreement 189

Assessing EAP Needs for the University between raters as far as the experimental groups output was concerned. For example, in the REC task, there was only one deviant rating (124) between raters for this group whereas there were at least six such instances for the comparison group not to mention the three no distinguishable moves ratings. A similar observation can be made in the SUM task case. In other words, there was relatively so much variability in the responses of the comparison group that their overall performance tends to be reminiscent of the default list strategy of readers deficient in text structure knowledge (Meyer and Rice, 1982). Finally, in order to compare differences statistically, each set of move sequence comprising at least two consecutive moves discerned by either rater was given a rating based on the following scheme: 1234 = 4; 123 = 3; 234 = 3; 12 = 2; 23 = 2; missing = -4; all else = 0. Ratings assigned thus were summed between raters for each subject, and the Mann-Whitney U procedure was used to test for significant differences between subject groups. The results showed that the groups differed on the REC task (Z = -2.5317, p = .0114) in favour of the experimental group. However, there was an apparent lack of variability in the ratings of the comparison group on the SUM task (note the much diminished number of correct sequences in the appropriate columns in Table 8.8), and this probably resulted in the non-significant outcome of the test procedure for this task (Z = -1.8177, p = .0691).

Table 8.8

Move Order Analysis of Subjects Recall, and Summary Task Protocols, Classified by Rater/Treatment Group Task REC task Experimental Group 1234 (7)* 134 Comparison Group 1234 (1)* 123 134 234 (3) 323 43

Rater 1

1234 (1)* 234 23 34 43 No distinguishable moves (3) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1 SUM task 1234 (5)* 42 (5) 424 (2) 12 42 2 No distinguishable moves (1) 2 SUM task 1234 (4)* 42323 424 (2) 42 (4) 23 12 No distinguishable moves 2 (1) No distinguishable moves (1)

REC task

1234 (6)* 124 134

*Correct move order (number of cases)


The Case Study 8.3.3 Content Accuracy Ratings

Raters had also assessed protocols for content accuracy by assigning ratings on a scale of 1 - 7 (poor to excellent) on the basis of four evaluation criteria summarised here as: a) main idea content; b) balanced coverage of original text; c) neutrality of presentation; and d) idea combination. However, inter-rater reliability tests using Spearmans correlation coefficient (rho) showed that only the ratings of (a) and (b) above produced significantly high correlations to warrant these sets of ratings to be averaged reliably, and subsequently compared between subject groups. Perhaps not surprisingly, this was true both of the recall as well as of the summary protocols. With REC task ratings, the computed coefficients were: a) rho = .7562, p = .001; b) rho = .8525, p = 000; c) rho = .2918, p = .273; and d) rho = .3109, p = .241, and with SUM task ratings: a) rho = .8366, p = .000; b) rho = .7869, p = .000; c) rho = .3966, p = .072; and d) rho = .1658, p = .277 (N = 16 in all). The rather depressed correlations for the neutrality (c), and the non-verbatim/idea combination (d) factors could perhaps be attributed to the fact that the raters had not been able to assess subjects scripts with as much objectivity as they would have liked to. However, it was not clear whether this problem was entirely due to the stipulations of the assessment procedure. For instance, one of the raters voiced the following reservations regarding his ratings based on both the aforementioned criteria:
With regard to the 'neutrality ' estimate - I found this very difficult. There was really very little evidence of student interpretation and certainly not enough to distinguish on a 7 point scale. By and large I rated this at 7 to mean absence of comment. In a very few cases the material seemed to have been misunderstood to the point where it could be considered personal interpretation, but it seemed a rather strained way of looking at it. The other difficult part was the verbatim issue - in general students who tried to condense it down in their own words really distorted the original quite severely.

Hence the results of the main idea content , and balanced coverage evaluation are presented in Table 8.9 together with the usual significance levels for differences across treatment groups in relation to task-type. Since both types of ratings were also positively correlated, the overall content accuracy ratings are also reported. Based on these sets of statistical outcomes, it was concluded that the two groups were significantly different in terms of the main ideas that they recalled/summarised from the source genre-texts as well as in terms of comprehensive coverage of the original content. The greater mean ratings of the experimental group are quite clearly indicative of its superior performance. Stated differently, the experimental group appeared to have recalled and summarised more original information than the comparison group probably as a direct consequence of the former groups greater awareness of genre structure as evinced in the foregoing section.

8.4 Comprehension Task The inter-rater reliability for the two sets of total scores on the comprehension task obtained by the respective groups of subjects was suitably high (Spearmans rho = .8992, p = .000). The maximum score was 62 marks and after the raters independent scores had been averaged for each subject, the related group means were 23.7500 (experimental group) and 18.0556 (comparison group). However, 191

Assessing EAP Needs for the University the differences in performance indicated by the means were not significant at the p <.05 level of confidence (Mann-Whitney U test). It was subsequently argued that the total score attained by each subject could not be an equitable reflection of his/her response to the comprehension test since individual items measured ability concerning relatively different aspects of genre-text comprehension. Thus differences in responses were compared on an item-by-item basis (related moderate to high correlations between raters were significant except for item 10; rho = .4661, p = .059), and the results were as provided in Table 8.10:

Table 8.9

Comparison of Between-Group Content Ratings of Subjects on Recall, and Summary Tasks

Task / Content Accuracy/ Criterion Recall (RA Abstract) (a) Main idea content (b) Balanced coverage Total Summary (RA Intro.) (a) Main idea content (b) Balanced coverage Total

Experimental Condition Experimental Comparison Group (N = 8) Group (N = 8) Mean Rating (sd) Mean Rating (sd) 4.125 (1.575) 4.438 (1.821) 4.281 (1.655) 4.625 (1.061) 4.125 (1.356) 4.375 (1.203) 1.938 (.863) 2.000 (1.225) 1.969 (1.039) 2.357 (.748) 2.071 (.607) 2.214 (.668)

Significance (p)

Z = -2.8914 p = .0038 Z = -2.9183 p = .0035 Z = -2.9382 p = .0033 Z = -3.0224 p = .0025 Z = -2.7542 p = .0059 Z = -2.9036 p = .0037

Viewing the tabulated data above as a composite whole, we can see as expected that differences in performance between the two groups are generally skewed in favour of the experimental group for most of the items, but large enough to be significant in only three assessment areas. In fact, interestingly, in two areas differences in mean scores point in the reverse direction, rather marginally in one (item 2) and significantly in the other (item 10). However, positive treatment effects will be examined first before these exceptions are addressed. To start with, the gap in item (1) appears to be consequential for a genre perspective on global text comprehension in that the underlying strategic competence alluded to (i.e. relating aspects of genre to reading purpose) was not given explicit focus in the treatment process, yet the experimental subjects were apparently better placed to indicate relevant rhetorical aspects adequately in their answer to the question. For example, these students mentioned key textual content areas as purpose of study, result of the findings (sic), and ways of investigation whereas their comparison counterparts generally described the physical text (first and last paragraph or opening sentence or topic sentence) and/or areas of content as subject matter (?), benefits of peer review and perhaps the more acceptable findings and ideas. 192

The Case Study Table 8.10 Mean Scores of Subjects Performance on the Comprehension Post-test, Classified by Treatment Group and Assessment Area
Treatment Condition Experimental Comparison Group (N = 8) Group (N = 8) 1.5000 1.8125 1.8750 2.9375 2.7500 3.8333 2.8125 2.1875 2.3125 2.3750 .4444 1.9444 1.0000 1.2222 .3333 3.1875 2.0556 1.7778 2.2778 3.1667

Assessment Area (1) Determining relevance to reading purpose (2) Identifying general area of investigation (3) Recognising specific area of investigation (4) Identifying research problem (5) Linking genre and problem-solution pattern (6) Evaluating research outcomes (7) Locating gap in previous research (8) Evaluating writers claim to research space (9) Reviewing claims about research outcomes (10) Relating reported research to ESL teaching/learning situation Total score (Items 1 -9 Total score (Items 1 - 10)

Significance (p) Z = -2.6319 p = 0085 n.s. n.s. Z = -2.1311 p = .0331 Z = -2.7510 p = .0059 n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. Z = -1.9947 p = .0461 n.s. n.s.

21.3750 23.7500

14.8889 18.0556

With respect to item (4), the striking contrast in students answers were evident in the way experimental subjects attempted to highlight the writers statement of the research purpose, the perceived gap in previous investigations or the research questions. On the other hand, the comparison group tended to have been led astray to a large extent (six out of eight cases) by the word problem (some evidence of text-bounded, localised reading?) as they tried to describe the various problems cited by the writers in their review of literature in relation to the peer review process (cf. Mendona and Johnson, 1994: ... and some recent research has begun to investigate not only ... but also the range of problems that tend to arise during the peer review process [p. 746]. Emphasis added.). The need for some awareness on the part of TESOL student-readers of the link between a research genre and its underlying suprageneric problem-solution pattern cannot be over stressed. Accordingly, the substantial difference in between-group performance vis--vis responses to item (5) would appear to accentuate traces of this awareness in the experimental group. A related analysis of students answers revealed that all except one (no response) of the students who had attended the workshop gave responses outlining the research methodology of the genre in question albeit at varying levels of accuracy. In the comparison group, three students had failed to answer the question, one did mention


Assessing EAP Needs for the University the investigation method while the rest yet again sought to address the type of problems mentioned in the above paragraph. As noted earlier, item (2) discriminated slightly against the experimental group as the small difference in the mean marks show; however, the effect was non-significant. The answers of students in both groups tended to reflect the title of the article, and/or the initial statements of the introduction or the abstract with rather subdued accuracy in relation to the required beneficial effects of peer reviews in L2 writing instruction. So, there were answers such as peer reviews among L2 learners from the experimental group, and types of negotiations in peer reviews in L2 writing from the comparison group, both of which were awarded 2 marks (i.e. approximating the mean marks of either group). The best answer was to be found at the beginning of the first paragraph of the introduction (Move 1: Establishing the field), and apparently the experimental group had been unable to discern the transition from general to specific statements within the move underlying the paragraph. The result obtained for item (10) proved to be a revelation in more ways than one. First, the relatively low inter-rater correlation for this item was non-significant (rho = .4661, p = .059) indicating, as it were, that the respective sets of ratings procured were not ranked as consistently as those for items 1-9 of the test. In fact, separate tests of significant differences in subjects performance between groups run according to individual rater assessment showed that the groups were statistically different on one set but similar on the other. Secondly, when the ratings were averaged between raters, group means as reported above were rather low (i.e., on a scale of 10) with the comparison group emerging as the better performer on the item. However, considering the disagreement between the raters on this item, the finding would at best remain moot until further evidence is adduced via a similar experiment. As a matter of fact, despite producing the expected significant results in group performance in three arguably crucial assessment areas vis--vis a genre-perspective on reading specialised texts, the comprehension test appeared to have indicated a general trend rather than conclusive proof of the expected effects of the experiment with the present sample of subjects. Compare, for instance, the difference in mean scores between the groups on items 1 -9 taken together. Perhaps similar scores with a larger sample size (and probably greater variability in potential scores) would have produced results significantly different in the expected direction; but again, perhaps the answer lies in the treatment process given the proviso of a longer duration so that proportionately more time and pedagogical effort could be devoted to the content of the genres prioritised vis--vis students target needs as well as areas of processing difficulty.

8.5 Relationships in Task-based Performance Finally, Spearmans correlation coefficients were calculated separately for each sub-group to explore relationships between pairs of variables measured on the text-processing tasks. These variables comprised move frequency ratings obtained in tasks A and B (TS post-tests), correct move order frequency ratings as well as content accuracy ratings in the REC and SUM tasks, and scores recorded in relation to items 1, 4, and 5 (i.e. questions on which the two groups were found to be significantly 194

The Case Study different; see Table 8.10) as well as the total score (items 1 - 9) of the COMP task. It should be noted that the two sets of content ratings (authors importance-considerations, and balanced coverage of original content) assigned to each subject on the REC and SUM tasks were added together to give a single rating on each task, and that each variable, whether frequency ratings or interval scores, was deemed indicative of a subjects performance on a given task. Further, since the experimental group was expected to perform better in terms of the measures mentioned (as was indeed the case when the task performance was observed separately in the foregoing sections of the chapter), 1-tailed probability values were used in the computation (SPSS for Windows Version 6.1), and confidence levels were set at p <.05. The results obtained for the experimental group showed four pairs of significantly correlated interand cross-task variables as follows: a) REC content ratings were correlated to COMP item 4 score (rho =.8788, p = .002), and COMP item 5 score (rho =.7656, p = .013); b) SUM move order ratings were correlated to COMP item 4 scores (rho = .8171, p = .007); and REC move order ratings were related to SUM move order ratings (rho = .5916, p = .041). As already classified, the first two sets of relatively high correlations in (a) appear allusive of a crucial aspect of genre-based comprehension of the type-type in question (i.e. the RA abstract read in the recall task). More specifically, the REC content ratings relate to the quantity as well as the quality of the information recalled from the abstract while items 4 and 5 of the COMP task concern the level of comprehension of important components of the generic structure of the same text i.e., identifying the research problem and linking the problem to the proposed solution (or methodology) respectively. Other than noting the more obvious relationship of correlated performance of subjects in separate tasks, it is also useful to note that the experimental group performed significantly better than the comparison group in this respect. In a similar vein, it can be explained that the rather high correlation in (b) between recognition of text structure (RA introduction) and identification of the research problem in COMP item 4 (we note that item 5 does not directly relate to the introduction text) also has important implications for a genre perspective on academic reading. The second significant correlation coefficient in (b) appears to underscore consistency of performance over tasks, given that the subjects concerned performed relatively well over both tasks. For the comparison group, there were three pairs of correlated phenomena: REC move order ratings were related to SUM move order ratings (rho = .7443), TS task B (post-test) performance was negatively correlated to REC content ratings (rho = - .6997, p = .027), and SUM move order ratings similarly so to COMP item 5 score (rho = -.8093, p = .007). Considering the lack of variability in move order ratings noted at the end of section 8.3.2 (SUM task), the first, and third correlation coefficients above appear to be random phenomena as seems obviously the case with the second (which implies a relationship that seems more specious than plausible because the tasks involved would entail quite different abilities).


Assessing EAP Needs for the University 8.6 Advantages and Limitations of the Workshop As the title indicates, this section considers an evaluation of the academic reading workshop on the basis of the post-workshop questionnaire data as well as on the teacher-researchers self-evaluation. There were four sets of questions in the questionnaire, the first two broadly dealing with advantages and/or benefits potentially derived by the students, the third with shortcomings and suggestions, and the fourth with further general comments that were applicable (see copy of questionnaire in Appendix B). Taking the cue from the generally favourable results in the foregoing sections, the advantages of the workshop will be explored first before looking at the brickbats, as it were, so that implications for programme design are appropriately informed. Except for one student who said that s/he had not been doing any serious reading after the workshop, students generally felt that their reading habits/strategies had changed to varying extents as a result of attending the sessions, and related the changes positively to being able to read more efficiently: skimming through journal articles when time is limited, tackling text in more efficient and practical ways, and knowing exactly what to focus on i.e., looking for specific information in specific sections of articles. As one student noted in retrospect, Previously, I dont know (sic) that the abstract and introduction are important and I ignored them. An additional comment that centred around the potential impact of a genre-based approach on writing strategies in that it [genre structure] seems to provide a better way to present our dissertation. The second set of questions concerned the usefulness of the workshop and students comments reflected those above in terms of both their immediate as well as projected future needs. As might be expected amongst teacher participants of any pedagogyrelated workshop, two students opined that the present one was useful experience for teachers who needed to guide their own pupils towards improving their reading skills. One could not agree more. Nevertheless, a recurring critical remark was about time, that is, both the timing of the workshop sessions in relation to the participants own academic schedule especially in so far as the professional project was concerned as well as of more time needed to complete the genre-based activities. Without claiming too much credit for the utility of the workshop, it appeared that they were relating to it in real-time terms commensurate with their most pressing need at that time. (While analysing the students written comments as well as during informal conversation with individual students much later, it became clear that the workshop had to some extent satisfied a real need. In other words, it was apparently more than mere participation in a research project as the following unsolicited verbatim comment would seem to indicate: As a whole, the workshop exposed us to interesting genre sections that I feel everyone should benefit. To select just a few of us for this section seems to be quite unfair. I feel that everyone should be given this workshop for their future progress or self-improvement.) This explained the students constant reference to its poor timing in connection with reading for and/or writing up their project paper, that the workshop should have been conducted much earlier, preferably before students started working on their projects. In fact, many suggested that similar workshop sessions ought to be an integral part of the pre-sessional study skills module. With respect to the above, the following summary comment appeared to have encapsulated the majority view: The shortcomings are the time constraints - it should be presented in a longer stretch of time or a series of


The Case Study workshops instead of just one lesson. It should be more useful if presented as a module in our study at Moray House. It is acknowledged that limitations of time described above were directly related to probable inadequacies in workshop content presentation and thoroughness of analysis/discussion of selected genre-texts. As noted by a student, There should [have been] a complete and detailed session on each research abstract and introduction in order to make us understand better. In other words, there was only so much that could be achieved in three 90 minute sessions in terms of the theory as well as the working principles underlying genre and genre analysis respectively using only a small number of exemplary texts in each session. This problem was somewhat compounded by the participants lack of basic knowledge about genre/text-types, and about the rudiments of conducting empirical research in their field. As one participants indicated, I wish to know more about the difference between library research and action research in more detail. Perhaps the point needs to be belaboured no further. Time was clearly of the essence in the conduct of the workshop and, with the benefit of hindsight, similar workshops in the future will have to make adequate provision for this important factor as well as for the related aspects of content if the sessions are to make any significant headway in terms of participants genre-text comprehension outcomes.

8.7 Synoptic Discussion This section presents a summary of the main findings of the study procured via the use of various methods of data collection. It does this by directly addressing related sets of research questions presented earlier in section 6.5 above, and subsequently framing the generalised academic reading needs profile on the basis of the proposed model for EAP reading programme development that was foregrounded in Chapter 2 (Figure 2.1). Related issues in the literature are discussed as they impinge on particular areas of the findings. Perhaps it should be reiterated at the outset that the present investigation was designed as a case study to address the academic needs of final-year in-service TESOL students at MHIE. As noted at the beginning of Chapter 6 (Materials and Methods), the overall research approach was focused on investigating various aspects of the academic reading needs of the group(s) of undergraduates concerned via questionnaires and strategic text-processing tasks and tests from a predominantly genrespecific perspective. This type of focus on a single instance has been the hallmark of case study methodology (Hakuta, 1986; Johnson, 1992; Wong Filmore, 1987, cited in Hyon, 1995: 155). Like other case studies, different instruments were used to address the research questions, and to achieve some measure of between-methods data triangulation (Cohen and Manion, 1989: 275) mainly through a quasi-experimental procedure aimed at observing the phenomenon of genre awareness in different task settings. Further, the ex-post facto nature of the UK survey design added an important dimension to the design of the case study in relation to the potential generalisability of the MHIE findings to the UK population even as it tended to compel a somewhat quantitative bent in the methods of evaluation of the data. 197

Assessing EAP Needs for the University The first set of research questions concerned student-perceived needs (mainly estimations of population parameters in terms of necessities and wants; see Hutchinson and Waters, 1987; and Allwright, 1987, cited in Jordan, 1997: 27), how these compared across the nine UK TESOL institutions, and the extent to which present situation factors were correlated to students self-assessed general language proficiency as well as perceived academic reading competence. The two MHIE subsamples from consecutive academic sessions, MH Ins96 and MH Ins97, were treated as separate institutional samples in the comparison procedures so that differences between them, if any, could be discerned together with the other eight sub-samples in cost-effective fashion, and implications for generalisability assessed. So, while the first and second questions in the set addressed the above aspects, the third sought to explicate relationships between TSA, and PSA elements that probably existed i.e., How are selected demographic variables and/or need variables related to students perceived overall proficiency as well as reading competence? In the present study, such relationships involved the TSA variables as required genres, and particularly PSA factors such as general/academic reading frequency, interacting with native speakers, and even listening to the radio, all on the one hand, and perceived academic reading competence as well as proficiency self-ratings on the other. Robinson (1991: 9) echoes the general view that the TSA can help the course designer establish initial teaching/learning objectives and which may be modified as the course progresses (see also Brindley, 1989: 64; Richterich, 1983). Nevertheless, even at the early stages of course planning, some aspects of the PSA can provide invaluable insight, not so much into the what of objective specification but more in terms of the how of tasks and other supportive learning activities. Therefore, if one is to engage these latter learning-oriented factors effectively in the proposed design, meaningful relationships between relevant sub-sets of variables would have to be explored for a given set of learners. For example, in long, full-time EAP courses which can last up to a whole year, problems relating to motivation and sustaining student interest (Jordan, 1997: 71) can be alleviated to some extent by incorporating learning materials and activities that are consonant with learners interests and subjective wants. At least at the initial stages, in most settings this can be achieved while maintaining focus on the requisite academic skills and tasks, say, through small-scale out-of-class library/field survey projects. The added intrinsic value of such methodological considerations in EAP courses for teachers of English cannot be emphasised enough. The TSA sector of the algorithmic programme design model that has been proposed in the present study involves both the perceptions of students as well as those of their lecturers, particularly in relation to genres and/or text-types that are required as well as the necessary tasks that mediate the overall learning process. Again, as Robinson (1991) (and probably many others) has rightly noted, Many ESP students do often have a clear perception of most of their objective needs (p. 8). Thus target reading materials and skills/tasks are addressed in both the first and second sets of research questions. However, taking cognisance of the fact that the two main parties would necessarily contribute differentially because they tap rather different (though not diametrically opposed) areas of knowledge- and experience-based perception, the relevant instruments were designed appropriately. It was thus possible to elicit an optimum amount of information given the pragmatic constraints that go with mailed questionnaires (except for the MHIE reading tasks questionnaire). The student-sourced data helped to establish the various types of TESOL academic materials and journal titles that students 198

The Case Study said they read, and the materials they felt they needed help with in terms of comprehension. TESOL faculty aided by fine-tuning such perceptions, and by providing insight into specific types of journal articles required as well as particular problems that students faced in their reading and related tasks. However, the methodological need for surveys of this nature to compare the perceptions of staff and students on a like with like basis (see Jordan, 1997: 43-4) was also recognised, and responses concerning academic reading tasks together with related difficulties were elicited from an MHIE sample. The resultant collective academic reading needs profile was further fleshed out via answers to the third and fourth sets of questions that were indirectly tested in the data analysis, that is, those dealing with students strategic text processing strengths and/or deficiencies underpinning their metacognitive awareness judgements about reading strategies and difficulties, and their estimations about learning styles/strategies. Perhaps it is pertinent to observe at this point that the UK survey results have generally demonstrated that the generalised academic reading needs profile of the Malaysian undergraduates at MHIE, being composed mainly of target necessities and present background attributes, lacks, and wants, was similar to that of their counterparts in related UK institutions. Probably because of the way in which the surveys had been designed, there were not that many areas of mismatch, especially between students and staff, as might have been anticipated. Some aspects that did not correspond tended to be connected with issues of priority rather than exclusion of perceived elements of need. In any case, the staff survey produced a wealth of information about students needs that has been incorporated into the proposed profile at appropriate points. Another issue that did not surface in the analysis of students responses was that of the almost universal phenomenon (in language needs analysis) of the tendency for learners to prioritise the speaking skills above the other basic language skills (Alan Waters, personal communication) regardless of real needs in pragmatic terms. Perhaps owing to the fact that the present set of target EAP learners was in fact experienced teachers in their final year of studies, they had developed a clearer sense of what they actually needed to succeed at tertiary level (which also explains the absence of extensive mismatch in expectations noted in the foregoing paragraph). Consequently, they overwhelmingly endorsed the need for writing and reading skills (although this has been entered as subjective present situation wants under Learning skills/areas in the profile). The profile is now presented below before the results of the remaining MHIE questionnaires in relation to the third and fourth sets of research questions, and the findings of the quasi-experimental study are reviewed for some related discussion: TESOL ACADEMIC READING NEEDS PROFILE a) Present Situation Attributes 1. Contact with Local Culture/Language: regularly communicate in English, both in the oral and written modes, with course-mates in UK. ; most students interact daily with native speakers; listen to music, local news, weather reports and talk shows on the radio; watch television often - news, weather, movies, and game shows 199

Assessing EAP Needs for the University 2. Language Proficiency: homogeneously self-rated as proficient in ESL and overall proficiency commensurate with individual areas/skills; Malaysian public examination grades (O level equivalents) - 93% and 99% obtained above average passes (credit/distinction) in the SPM 1119 and SPM 122 respectively 3. Professional Standing: Average 11-15 years teaching experience, mainly at Malaysian primary school level; generally compare with each other well in terms of entry qualifications, TESOL background knowledge and requisite study skills; interested in postgraduate work in TESOL 4. Basic Reading and Study Habits: almost all students able to read in Malay; claim to be relatively fluent readers in ESL, but only about 50% read daily; claim to comprehend academic materials completely; only 50% do referencing regularly; study an average 10 hours or more per week; most believed they worked hard at their studies and studied as efficiently as other course-mates 5. Metacognitive Factors: generally aware that text-based local reading strategies are ineffective and that global difficulties might impede comprehension 6. Approaches to Studying: some strategic orientation to studying; organised studying; reasonably confident about background knowledge in TESOL and requisite study skills for academic study

b) Present Situation Wants 7. Learning Skills/Areas: Writing, reading, speaking, listening, grammar, and vocabulary in that order (reading and writing high in all institutional rankings) 8. TESOL academic reading course content: 50 - 75% of content preferred to be genuine subjectspecific texts 9. Help needed with comprehension: textbooks, duplicated notes, and journal articles in that order c) Lacks/Difficulties 10. Text-Processing Abilities: critical evaluation of writers viewpoint, reporting materials read and incorporating related ideas in argument, sufficient academic reading, talking to lecturers about reading issues, working with other students outside class, working in small groups in class, chunks of unrelated and/or unanalysed text in written assignments, plagiarism, deep understanding of topic to synthesise readings, presenting sufficient evidence to support claims in writing, making appropriate application of theory 11. Metacognitive Awareness Factors: reading confidence localised to textual information; need greater awareness concerning non-effective local strategies other than word-level strategies e.g. focus on grammatical structures, local difficulties that do not hinder comprehension of meaning, and strategies that promote effective reading and confidence 200

The Case Study 12. Approaches to Studying: surface processing tendencies: some reliance on rote-memorisation, concern about coping with study demands; lack of direction ; some of these correlated to repair strategies (metacognitive awareness) 13. Genre Knowledge and Strategies: awareness of generic structure, identification of features of genre and content; knowledge about basic empirical research; skill with comprehension of rhetorical acts and form-function correlations. c) Target Situation Needs 14. Prioritised Academic Reading Materials (Students): journal articles, textbooks, duplicated notes, seminar papers, dissertations, magazines and newspapers, notices and memos (most homogeneity for journals); (Materials prioritised by faculty/staff): duplicated notes, textbooks, journal accounts of classroom practice, reports of empirical research, position papers, review articles, magazines/newspapers, notices/memos, visual materials as video and computer screen information, official documents such as government reports, syllabuses, curriculum specifications etc., language data comprising assorted written text samples and transcripts of spoken language for research purposes, sample ELT materials (published or in-house), photocopies of literary texts as objects of study, and sample tests and assessment tasks relevant to TESOL 15. Most Frequently Read Journal Titles: English Language Teaching Journal, TESOL Quarterly, and Language Learning; other less frequent titles include RELC Journal, Journal, English Teaching Forum, Applied Linguistics, Reading in a Foreign Language, English Teacher, Language Teaching Abstracts, and Language Testing. 16. Prioritised Academic Reading-related Tasks: searching for information relevant to a task, getting main ideas, completing graded library research projects, *(distinguishing between fact and opinion), (critical evaluation of writers position), discussing assigned reading in groups, checking sources of new information, (writing summaries of readings), and talking to lecturers about materials read *Areas of student-staff mismatch in perception in brackets. With regard to the various categories of metacognitive awareness that were measured, a number of observations were made. Subjects degree of agreement or disagreement was used as the basis to arrive at a posteriori decisions about the presence of awareness about six general constructs relating to reading strategies and difficulties (Carrell, 1989a). Accordingly, it was discovered that most of the subjects in the study tended to claim that they were predominantly confident, global strategisers who read for meaning by focusing on text organisation, who use prior knowledge and experience to understand content, and who generally used top-down strategies effectively without being unduly hampered by global nor local difficulties. However, the present sample of MHIE students 201

Assessing EAP Needs for the University perceptions when correlated with their actual reading ability proved significant in rather restricted areas of their metacognitive judgement indicating, as it were, certain macro and micro areas of difficulty awareness that informed their reading behaviour, and of awareness of reading strategies that were of potential use in their reading. The macro areas in question were local difficulties that did not appear to impede students reading, and local reading strategies that they considered ineffectual. Similarly, the micro elements of difficulty and strategy that students were aware of in relation to their reading performance comprised word-level difficulty/strategy awareness, and a relatively higher level (but still text-bound) reading confidence strategy. It was concluded that students needed to develop awareness of a broader range of reading difficulties and strategies so that they can control and/or use them to effectively monitor comprehension of meaning in text as part of their strategy schemata, ... in addition to schemata for content and form (Cassanave, 1988: 283). The implications of this conclusion are considered in the final chapter, but the findings have been inserted appropriately at two points in the needs profile above under present situation attributes and lacks/difficulties to describe observed strengths and weaknesses respectively. The fourth set of investigative questions pertained to MHIE students perceived background attributes as well as approaches to studying in their field, and how these correlated to reading ability. With regard to background variables that were measured on the ASI questionnaire, MHIE students generally compared themselves well-equipped in terms of the knowledge and the necessary skills required for academic study in their discipline. However, there was some mismatch between perceptions of study approaches and the composite reading, and self-rated proficiency scales in that the claimed deep, and strategic approaches did not correlate significantly with the scales. The observed correlations pointed to components of the surface, and strategic orientations towards studying in which reliance on rote-memorisation and concern with coping, and organised studying respectively, emerged as significant features. In fact, in the case of the MH Ins97 sub-sample which participated in the quasi-experiment, surface processing components were correlated positively to lack of direction and negatively to reading ability suggestive, as it were, of the link between surface processing and the bottom-up mode of processing in ESL reading alluded to by Kember and Gow (1994). In the quasi-experiment, the experimental or genre-strategy group performed better than the comparison group on two text sequencing tasks (pre- and post tests), the first of which was based on an RA abstract, and the second on an article introduction, both texts having been extracted from general readership journals in TESOL. In post hoc comparisons that were made between the same groups in relation to their performance on three other text-processing tasks (recall, summary, and comprehension based on RA abstract, introduction, and abstract + introduction texts respectively), the experimental group again emerged superior in terms of recall as well as summary of number of communicative moves, correct order of moves, and original content of the source texts. However, differences between groups did not appear to be significant when identification of genre, and content features were examined. Further, although overall comprehension scores did not discriminate significantly between the groups, the experimental group was clearly better at identifying, and comprehending, crucial aspects of generic structure of the texts they had read, particularly in relating the research problem to the solution proposed by the texts writers. The advantages observed in the performance of the genre strategy group was attributed to the expository input by way of knowledge 202

The Case Study about genre as well as simple analysis of its structure imparted earlier via the genre-based reading workshop. On the other hand, areas of non-significance and/or inconclusive evidence were discussed with reference to the limitations of the workshop. It might be concluded that the results of the experiment showed that short term training in genre awareness tends to enhance knowledge of certain features, perhaps those relating to structure, but not others that are probably necessary for deeper comprehension of content. Hyons experiment with post-graduate students indicated a similar tendency (1995: 273). In sum, it can be said that the variety of survey and small-scale questionnaire analysis as well as data generated through a quasi-experiment has indeed produced a sufficiently rich aggregation of findings that would appear, in Swales words, to offer a modus vivendi for the programme designer (1990: 84) in the face of some criticism concerning the utility of needs analysis in language teaching as well as the validity and reliability of its findings (see e.g. West, R., 1994: 13-4 for a consideration of the main issues), and correspondingly on the grounds that the data is amenable to empirical validation. As Christison and Krahnke (1986: 78, cited in Swales, loc. cit.) view the issue: We believe that sound curriculum design in ESL programs for academic preparation would be based on empirical data that reflect what is really useful to students and not only on the intuitions and the expertise of the teaching personnel. The preliminary academic reading needs profile that has been developed on the basis of the present findings will be seen to reflect the concerns of the proposed genre-based model for EAP programme development (Figure 2.1) with clear implications for the design of suitable learning tasks that promote the acquisition of required genres, literacy skills, and language. In subsequent stages of programme evaluation, these tasks can in turn be further refined for appropriacy and relevance on the basis of related genre, literacy, and second language acquisition theories. Perhaps a notable exclusion in the study and/or the foregoing discussion would be the consideration of constraints or means (Holliday and Cooke, 1982; Holliday, 1984, 1994; Jordan, 1997: 64-5) in the needs analysis process. This has not been undertaken empirically by the researcher for pragmatic reasons related to the provision of time and other resources that were available, given the wide range of potential research initiatives relevant to a genre perspective on reading that were open when the study was being planned. Moreover, it would appear to be more practical to sort out present situation constraints at the course design stage after the main components of the syllabus [have] been agreed upon, and the objectives outlined for each section (ibid: 64). Having said that, we now proceed to the concluding chapter to examine general conclusions and implications for EAP reading course design that emanate from the model that has been proposed in the present study, and to address wider issues that impact genre-based pedagogy in EAP.



9.1 Introduction As indicated earlier, this concluding chapter discusses the major implications of the case study findings and/or the academic reading needs profile within the broad framework of the proposed genrebased model. The chapter begins by describing this framework extensively, looking at the relationship between/among its major components and drawing relevant conclusions on the basis of information collected via the present study. The chapter then considers the relevance of the model for EAP reading course design in TESOL. The subsequent section suggests implications for genre-based pedagogy in other areas of EAP, particularly in writing pedagogy, addressing the major issues in the process. Finally, it evaluates limitations of the study and outlines areas for further research.

9.2 Major Conclusions It is acknowledged at the outset that the proposed model for academic reading programme development (see Figure 1.2 at the end of chapter 1) derives substantially from previous work in ESP, particularly that of Hutchinson and Waters (1987), and Swales (1990). Indeed, at a glance it would appear very similar to the learning-centred framework for course design proposed by the former writers in their English for Specific Purposes (p. 74). Advocating, quite rightly, that the learner has to be taken into account at every stage of the design process, Hutchinson and Waters tender two important implications for course design: that the learning situation as well as the target situation will determine the whole process of syllabus specification, material design, methodology, and evaluation; and that channels of evaluative feedback must be available to allow the design process to be sensitive to changes in needs and necessary provisions (ibid.). Besides these central considerations, their model recognises the need to consult theories of learning on the PSA side, and theoretical views of language on the TSA side. However, it is argued here that the model in question represents a framework for developing some kind of general competence (cf. their avowed purpose for ESP to develop the learners underlying competence) in that it quite clearly lacks the principle of restriction of language needed for learners to function appropriately in real-life situations (see comments by West, 1994, Tarone and Yules [1989] four levels of needs analysis, and Coffeys [1984] model for course design in section 4.4.2). Thus, in view of the crucial need for the EAP reader to acquire well-developed schemata for academic discourse and clear and stable views of what is appropriate (Silva, 1990, cited in Jordan, 1997: 166) in the academic context, Hutchinson and Waters model was further sensitised for a genre perspective by taking into account Swales pragmatic notions about academic genre, literacy, and language acquisition, and about the centrality of learning task (1990: 69; see also section 4.2 for related discussion).


Conclusion The resultant model is sufficiently broad-based and dynamic to accommodate the hidden agendas (Nunan, 1989) and/or differing views of learner needs often expressed by the various organisational units of the host EAP institution "which fit together in a complex web" (Coleman, 1988: 155). For instance, the main components of the present model that are shown as being joined by bi-directional arrows in Figure 1.2 must be seen as informing other components, and in turn be informed by theories and/or empirical findings emanating from them. To a certain extent, the theoretical as well as methodological framework, and the findings of the present study might be taken as illustrative of the models functionality of purpose. It has served to guide the procurement of relevant information about the target group/population of students so that an empirically valid EAP needs profile could be assembled. In line with what has been said about task-based language learning/teaching in sections 4.1.2 and 4.2 above, the next step would be to specify the topics, and target and pedagogic tasks that will form the basis of syllabus content in a programme of reading instruction for Malaysian TESOL undergraduates at MHIE with implications for the larger UK population. However, in the absence of a principled investigation into the existing TESOL programme structure, particularly in the region of specific provisions for academic skills and institutional constraints and/or means (see Jordan, 1997: 64-5 for a comprehensive list of such variables), only general implications will be considered from a genre-specific perspective together with some illustrative detail.

9.3 Implications for EAP/ESAP Reading Instruction in TESOL Australian genre theorists have defined genre as a series of staged social processes while those working within the ESP tradition have similarly conceptualised it as a series of structured, communicative events. This general focus in the two schools of thought and practice is useful for EAP applications of genre theory and pedagogy because it helps to sensitise instructors to links between formal and functional properties of texts that they teach in the classroom (Hyon, 1996: 712). Specifically in relation to the findings of the quasi-experimental case study at MHIE, it was found that such focus on form was of intrinsic value to TESOL students in a similar way with regard to their professional role as teachers of English. Indeed, this was noted by several students in their postworkshop debriefing questionnaire responses. Further, the New Rhetoricians focus on genre as social action (Miller, 1984) has served genre scholarship by drawing attention to the sociocontextual aspects of genre in terms of discourse communities, that is, the actions that genres perform in the activities of specific interest communities and how these groups of individuals use and value certain text types for communication. As Hyon (1996) has observed, Language instructors can use these insights in planning classroom discussions and other tasks that help students recognize the purposes of genres in their own disciplines and professions and the relationships between these functions and the larger goals and activities of their communities (p. 713). 205

Assessing EAP Needs for the University The value of facilitating awareness of generic structure, and of instruction in identifying the relationships between linguistic form and communicative function of moves for students academic reading (and writing) needs would appear beyond question. For example, in the workshop activities conducted at MHIE, the participants worked with the teacher-researcher, after the introductory knowledge input as well as initial modelling by the latter, to analyse the global generic structure of a number of exemplar texts using a 6-step cycle (as reported earlier in section 6.6.7 under The Workshop). In the course of the analyses, participants attention was also explicitly directed at regularities of linking between form and function. In retrospect, that this type of online genre analysis activity had indeed created some awareness of global structure as well as form-function connections appeared to be evident in the students performance on the text-processing tasks, particularly in the text sequencing, recall, and summary writing. Further, even if the workshop task itself might be deemed structure- or product-oriented, the process through which it was accomplished certainly included several activities of the types advocated by Flowerdew (1993: 309) for a more educational approach to teaching genres, that is to say, students analysing genres on their own, using the results of their analysis, online genre analysis, and metacommunicating i.e. simply talking about genre exemplars using the appropriate terminology, to refer to but three of the activity types he has suggested. Although the participants of the workshop did not actually create their own texts on-line based on the results of their modest analyses of the given exemplars, they did in fact use their findings to review their own written drafts of their professional project which they had brought along. This activity occurred individually or in pairs (i.e. with another student or with me), and as a result formed the basis of some substantial revision especially of the structure of the project report. Again, in relation to these observations, this type of communicating ideas about the analyses (both the process and the product of analysis) using a small repertoire of terms might be seen as playing an important role in using genre analysis as a heuristic device in pair/group reviews of specialised, written genre-texts. The other related types of activity that Flowerdew has proposed are concordancing of texts, and translation of given genres in the mother tongue to the target language. These latter activity types are probably worthy of consideration in properly instituted longer ESAP courses, provided sufficient practice has taken place in the recognition and identification of the prototypical features of genres in the students field of study. The genre-driven experimental study focused explicitly on research article abstracts and introductions even if the structure of the whole research paper was reviewed and two short exemplars of it were analysed in the initial sessions. However, potential applications of explicit teaching of generic structure must take into account the range of genres that enjoy currency within the target discourse community (see key genres under target situation analysis in the proposed model in Figure 1.2). This is important in view of the required academic reading materials and tasks, and task-related difficulties that were prioritised and/or highlighted via the UK staff and student surveys as well the MHIE student questionnaire. First, tasks worthy of mention here will be searching for information relevant to a task, getting main ideas, completing graded library research projects, and critical evaluation by students of the writers or writers position in the academic texts that they read; and difficulties rating high on both students and lecturers respective agendas would be critical evaluation of writers viewpoint, reporting materials read and incorporating related ideas in argument, and doing 206

Conclusion sufficient academic reading in the reading to learn mode to continue developing increasingly complex sets of the requisite schemata (cf. Grabes critical mass hypothesis [1986]). Second, particular genres or text types that would apply include, in the main, journal articles (reports of empirical research, review articles, accounts of classroom practice, and theoretical position papers), textbooks, duplicated notes, seminar papers, and dissertations or term papers produced by other students, notices/memos, government reports, syllabuses, curriculum specifications etc., sample ELT materials, and tests and assessment tasks relevant to TESOL. Students would also need to be instructed accordingly about the different types of information that is potentially retrievable from each genre or sub-genre as the case might be, particularly where macrogenres as the research article, and the textbook are concerned (in the sense that these generally comprise component genres as abstract, introduction, method, results, and discussion in the former, and introduction, content, summary, and concluding chapters in the latter). There would seem to be some confusion about the terminology used to refer to genres and/or text types in the genre analysis literature. Kays (1994: 63, in Hyon, 1995: 3) difficulty in this respect as noted earlier in Chapter 3 is perhaps exemplary. Robinsons comment on the use of the terms sub-genres and text types by Salager-Meyer et al. (1989a, 1989b) to refer to editorials , research papers, and case reports from medical English is a case in point: ... they see editorials etc. as sub-genres of the genre of medical English, thus taking discipline or domain as the primary distinguishing factor between texts. For other researchers, text type is superordinate to domain, so that the text type or genre of editorial might have the sub-genres of medical editorial, physics editorial, economics editorial and so on. (Robinson, 1991, p. 25). Certainly, the latter type of classification appears to be the more popular one since Swales (1981) research with the research article introduction as a distinct genre. . Again, the list of material types may be further prioritised taking into account constraints of the learning context as might be the procedure with required journal titles considering the fact that different journals solicit and report quite variable material in TESOL (note, for instance, the different types of articles that appear in TESOL Quarterly, and Language Testing on the one hand, and ELT Journal, and English Teaching Forum on the other). Common to the above necessary tasks, difficulties, and related material types would be the need for students to learn to locate and process information from a variety of sources in as efficient a manner as might be possible (given that time tends to be available only at a premium) as well as the need to critically evaluate whatever they read. These essential academic reading needs on the part of students, be they for the purpose of producing acceptable library research reports and professional projects or of meeting the reading requirements of other academic tasks where the synthesis of theory and practice in the field is paramount, would arguably hinge on an awareness of genre. More specifically, students need to be trained to be rhetorically conscious of the structural aspects of the genres that they have to read as well as the socio-conceptual roles that they play in the furtherance of the discourse communitys concerns. Perhaps this might be deemed anecdotal, but it is worth repeating here what most students opined had happened as a result of attending the workshop in the present 207

Assessing EAP Needs for the University study, that their reading habits/strategies had changed positively to some extent in being able to read more efficiently, skimming through, for example, journal articles when time was limited, generally tackling the text in more efficient and practical ways, and knowing exactly what to focus on i.e., looking for specific information in specific sections of articles. The need for criticality in reading was pointed out as a serious lack amongst the present sample of students by their lecturers who responded to the needs survey. Some of their comments were noted in section 6.3.5 (Summary Comments), and further commented on in section 7.7 in relation to present situation lacks. However, what is of importance at this juncture is the potential link between the higher order faculty in question and global approaches to genre-based inquiry and correspondingly, related training in reading/writing strategies. We saw how Hall et al. (1986) addressed this link via their information structuring course by explicitly teaching students to critically evaluate the structural connections between the research article abstract and the introduction (see section 4.3.4). Atkinson (1997) presents a pedagogical model called cognitive apprenticeship for teaching thinking skills to non-native-English speaking students. He explains that in the model, the teacher-learner relationship is largely recontextualised as an expert-novice(or master-apprentice) relationship, and the learner is as much socialized into a particular worldview (operating on a particular content domain) as taught particular ways to think (pp. 87-8). While natural arenas for cognitive apprenticeship in formal school settings would include discipline-specific writing and reading (ibid.: 88), full length textbook treatments of the model can be found, to a variable degree, in Swales and Feak (1994)... (ibid.: 72), a work acknowledged to be based on a strategic, genre-based approach to the purposes, structures and styles of particular kinds of texts (Swales and Feak, 1994: blurb on back cover). In fact, one other appropriate set of materials that embraces a similar approach, and perhaps more apt for the needs of undergraduate students, will be Weissberg and Buker (1990) which illustrates activities for helping students acquire an awareness of the communicative purposes and linguistic features of the texts that they need to read extensively in their discipline and/or profession. Needless to say, compilations of inhouse materials will have to be drawn from subject-specific authentic sources (Bhatia, 1991: 153-4) although some allowance may be made initially for general interest content to accommodate learner wants (say, 25-30% as in the present study) and/or language level depending on the type of EAP course and its duration (Jordan, 1997: 71). The above discussion of implications for genre-based reading would therefore emphasise the pragmatic exigency of prudent dissemination of knowledge of the conceptual structure of the students discipline (cf. Hoeys problem-solution pattern [1983] discussed in conjunction with the reflective practice model for TESOL espoused by Wallace, M. J. [1991] in Chapter 3) through lecturediscussions, seminar etc., highlighting, as it were, the roles enacted by genres towards solving problems. In addition, students will have to be trained to use appropriate metacognitive strategies based on knowledge of generic structure in their reading so as to help engender more effective, deeper styles of processing of meaning (Carrell. 1989b: 662-3). Accordingly, the value of strategy-based intensive and extensive reading of a variety of genres, preferably integrated within a TBLT framework cannot be emphasised enough if the students are to be fully prepared to manage the reading demands of actual academic classes (Carrell, 1997: 56), and to enter the academic fray of their chosen 208

Conclusion profession even if only to undertake informed classroom-based action research that promotes effective practice. To sum up, it might be reiterated that the model for developing an EAP reading programme in TESOL proposed in the present study is necessarily based on the referencing of tasks against real world concerns. Long (1985) has proposed a four-stage procedure in the development of language programmes: identifying learners needs, defining syllabus content, organizing language acquisition opportunities, and measuring student achievement (p. 89, cited in Nunan, 1993: 63). However, the actual shape as well as the timing of the prospective programme for a target set of learners would depend crucially on the available resources and constraints inherent in the situation concerned. For example, in the context of the present case study, it might be proposed, all important factors being subject to verification, that the intended genre-based academic programme of reading instruction be instituted as a full-time adjunct course or module to run at the beginning of the second year in a twoyear in-service TESOL programme.

9.4 Limitations of the Study and Suggestions for Further Research This study has attempted to investigate the academic reading needs of Malaysian final-year in-service TESOL students in the UK from a genre-specific perspective on the basic premise that the domainspecific academic and/or professional needs of the undergraduates concerned are best addressed through a genre-based EAP programme of instruction. The dissertation aimed to contribute to this area of knowledge along two dimensions. First, it has striven to critically review the literature in relevant areas of scholarship/research to illuminate a proposed model for genre-based EAP reading programme design that sought to reconcile two hitherto divergent approaches to EAP instruction (Hutchinson and Waters, 1987, and Swales, 1990 respectively). Secondly, although the study was designed basically as a case study to elicit questionnaire responses concerning perceived needs, metacognitive awareness of reading in ESL (Carrell, 1989a), and approaches to studying (Entwistle, 1994) as well as to generate a set of quasi-experimental data at MHIE, two separate surveys were conducted among TESOL staff and students in nine UK universities respectively. It was hoped that this combination of designs would make for some measure of generalisability in the findings, and ultimately proffer an empirical validation of the needs analysis. Thus, the findings of the study were expected to provide several implications for genre-based reading programme development in TESOL, and perhaps for other discipline-specific EAP settings. The thesis, however, has left several areas open for further research, including thematic as well as methodological aspects of the problem that was investigated. These areas would include the following: 1. The population of Malaysian students who are currently studying in UK comprise two distinct age groups who appear to be significantly different in terms of TESOL experience and other demographic variables. The present study has investigated the genre-based needs of the older, more experienced in-service training group. However, relatively little is known about the pre209

Assessing EAP Needs for the University service trainees, and a similar investigation would contribute to our knowledge of their academic needs which could then be addressed appropriately. 2. The approaches to studying questionnaire was administered in the present study to a sample that was relatively small compared to the larger population studying in the various institutions that provide training in TESOL. This sample size effectively constrained the robustness of the analytical procedures that could otherwise have provided more information and a richer, more meaningful interpretation about students learning styles and strategies. The same observation could be made about the metacognitive awareness instrument. More specifically, instead of using correlational procedures for non-parametric data, a substantive student sample of at least the size that responded to the survey would have allowed the use of the more powerful parametric statistics as factor analysis with deeper implications for the constructs under consideration as well as for the instruments as valid and reliable measures of the same constructs. 3. Only two text-genres were used in the quasi-experimental study. In view of the wide range of the text types that TESOL faculty and their students had prioritised as important for academic study, there is certainly a need to replicate the investigation with other genres as the textbook, duplicated notes (if some prototypical format can be established for these), and standard assessment tasks given to students. Correspondingly, the investigative need to produce thick descriptions (Geertz, 1973, cited in Bhatia, 1991: 153) of key genres in TESOL, and of their use in the disciplinary discourse community cannot be over stressed. Besides analysis of generic structure, the research initiative could involve ethnographic research into the discourse community culture e.g. shadowing, interviewing members about their perceptions and their use of texts, exploring members reading and writing processes, analysing texts, examining communicative patterns and social hierarchy etc. The resultant descriptions could then be used to make important decisions about course design and pedagogy, having taken into account a richer variety of genres and their associated social functions within the discourse community. 4. By way of an extended methodological initiative, an effort should perhaps be made to investigate the genre reading strategies and/or processes of TESOL students in greater depth via introspective techniques. These will probably include eliciting think-aloud protocols, and self-reports in relation to specific key genres. Besides providing insight into the black-box of genre-text processing, such techniques will also help create awareness amongst students concerning their own processing strategies. 5. Finally, in view of the reservations expressed concerning constraints of time encountered for the conduct of the genre reading workshop in the study, it would appear to be imperative that a similar investigation be conducted over a longer period of time, perhaps as a regular course or module covering a whole academic term.



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Assessing EAP Needs for the University Shih, M. 1992. Beyond comprehension exercises in the ESL academic reading classes. TESOL Quarterly, 26(2): 289-318. Skills for Learning. 1980. Walton-on-Thames: Nelson & University of Malaya Press. Skinner, C. J., D. Holt & T. M. F. Smith. (Eds.) 1989. Analysis of Surveys. London: John Wiley. Smith, E. E. & D. A. Swinney. 1992. The role of schemas in reading text: a real-time examination. Discourse Processes, 15: 303-16. Smith, F. (Ed.) 1972. Psycholinguistics and Reading. New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston. Smith, F. 1971. Understanding Reading. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. Spack, R. 1988. Initiating ESL students into the academic discourse community: How far should we go? TESOL Quarterly, 22(1): Spiro, R. J., B. C. Bruce, & W. F. Brewer. (Eds.) 1980. Theoretical Issues in Reading Comprehension. Hillsdale, N. J: Erlbaum. Stanovich, K. E. 1980. Toward an interactive-compensatory model of individual differences in the development of reading fluency. Reading Research Quarterly, 17: 157-59. Stanovich, K. E. 1990. A call to an end to the paradigm wars in reading research. Journal of Reading Behavior, 22(3): 221-31. Strevens, P. 1988. ESP after twenty years: A re-appraisal. In M. L. Tickoo (Ed.) 1988: 1-13. Strevens. P. 1980. Teaching English as an International Language. London: Pergamon Press. Swales, J. M. & C. B. Feak. 1994. Academic Writing for Graduate Students: A Course for Nonnative Speakers of English. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Swales, J. M. & H. Mustafa (Eds.) 1984. English for Specific Purposes in the Arab World. Birmingham: Language Studies Unit, Aston University. Swales, J. M. & H. Najjar. 1987. The writing of research article introductions. Written Communication, 4: 175-92. Swales, J. M. (2004). Research genres: Explorations and Applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Swales, J. M. 1981. Aspects of Article Introductions. Aston ESP Research Report No. 1, Language Studies Unit, University of Aston in Birmingham. Swales, J. M. 1984. Research into the structure of introductions to journal articles and its application to the teaching of academic writing. In R. Williams, J. M. Swales & J. Kirkman (Eds.): 77-86. Swales, J. M. 1985. ESP - The heart of the matter or the end of the affair? In R. Quirk, & H. G. Widdowson (Eds.) English in the World: Teaching and Learning the Language and Literatures. Cambridge: The British Council: 212-24. Swales, J. M. 1986. A genre-based approach to language across the curriculum. In M. L. Tickoo (Ed.) 1986: 10-22. Swales, J. M. 1987. Utilizing the literature in teaching the research paper. TESOL Quarterly, 21(1): 41-68. Swales, J. M. 1988. Episodes in ESP. London: Prentice Hall. Swales, J. M. 1989. Service English programme design and opportunity cost. In R. K. Johnson (Ed.): 79-90. Swales, J. M. 1990. Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Swales, J. M. 1993. Commentary/PostScript on A. M. Johns. 1993: 100-101. Swales, J. M. 1994. From John M. Swales (Editorial). English for Specific Purposes, 13(3): 200-203. Tadros, A. A. 1984. Predictions as an aspect of the structuring of didactic text and its implications for the teaching of reading and writing. In J. M. Swales & H. Mustafa (Eds.): 52-67. Tarantino, M. 1991. English for science and technology: a quest for legitimacy. English for Specific Purposes, 10: 47-60. Tarone, E. & G. Yule. 1989. Focus on the Learner: Approaches to Identifying and Meeting the Needs of Second Language Learners. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 222

References Tarone, E., S. Dwyer, S. Gillette & V. Icke. 1981. On the use of the passive in two astrophysics journal papers. ESP Journal, 1(2): 123-40. Thomas, S. 1991. A merging of voices: an investigation of the way discourse is reported in medical research articles. Unpublished PhD thesis. Birmingham: University of Birmingham. Thomas, S. 1994. A discourse-oriented approach to ESP. RELC Journal, 25(2): 94-122. Thompson, S. 1994. Frameworks and contexts: a genre-based approach to analysing lecture introductions. English for Specific Purposes, 13(2): 171-86. Thorp, D. 1991. Confused encounters: differing expectations in the EAP classroom. ELT Journal, 45/2: 108-18. Tickoo, M. L. (Ed.) 1986. Language Across the Curriculum. Selected papers from the RELC Seminar on Language Across the Curriculum, Singapore 22-26 April 1985. Singapore: SEAMEO RELC Tickoo, M. L. (Ed.) 1988a. ESP: State of the Art. Singapore: SEAMEO Regional Language Centre. Tickoo, M. L. 1988b. Introduction to Tickoo (Ed.) 1988: iv-xii. Tickoo. M. L. 1993. 20 years on: a view of responsibilities. ESP Malaysia, 1(1): 43-60. Tinberg, R. J. 1988. The pH of a volatile genre. English for Specific Purposes, 7: 205-12. Tribble, C. & G. Jones. 1990. Concordances in the Classroom: A Resource Book for Teachers. Harlow: Longman Group. Trimble, L. 1985. English for Science and Technology: A Discourse Approach. London: Cambridge University Press. Urquhart, A. H. 1984. The effect of rhetorical ordering on readability. In J. C. Alderson & A. H. Urquhart (Eds.): 160-76. Vijchulata, B. & S. L. Gan. 1984. A study of the needs and motivation for learning English amongst students in the Universiti Pertanian Malaysia. Unpublished research report. Project No. 1709 1 473. Faculty of Educational Studies, UPM, Serdang, Malaysia. Voracek, J. 1987. ESP- superstructure and microlanguage. English for Specific Purposes, 6(1): 53-56. Wallace, C. 1992. Reading. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Wallace, M. J. 1980a. Study Skills in English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Wallace, M. J. 1980b. Study Skills in English: Tutors Book. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Wallace, M. J. 1988. First language listening comprehension: validating exemplar graded materials (with expository inputs) for Scottish S3/S4 pupils. Unpublished PhD thesis. University of Edinburgh. Wallace, M. J. 1991. Training Foreign Language Teachers: A Reflective Approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Waters, A. (Ed.) 1982. Issues in ESP. Oxford: Pergamon Press. Waters, M. & A. Waters. 1992. Study skills and study competence: getting the priorities right. ELT Journal, 46(3): 264-73. Weir, C. 1988. The specification, realisation and validation of an English language proficiency test. In A. Hughes (Ed.) Testing English for University Study. ELT Documents 127: 45-110. Weissberg, B. 1993. The graduate seminar: Another research-process genre. English for Specific Purposes, 12: 23-35. Weissberg, R. & S. Buker. 1990. Writing up Research: Experimental Research Report Writing for Students of English. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. West, R. 1994. Needs analysis in language teaching: state of the art article. Language Teaching, 27(1): 1-19. Widdowson, H. G. 1978. Teaching Language as Communication. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Widdowson, H. G. 1981. TESOL and English for specific purposes: the curse of Caliban. In Fisher et al. (Eds.) On TESOL '80: Building Bridges: Research and Practice in Teaching English as a Second Language. Washington, DC: TESOL: 50-60. Widdowson, H. G. 1983. Learning Purpose and Language Use. Oxford: OUP. Widdowson, H. G. 1984. Explorations in Applied Linguistics 2. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 223

Assessing EAP Needs for the University Williams, E. 1987. Classroom reading by activating content-based schemata. Reading in a Foreign Language, 4: 1-8. Williams, R., J. M. Swales & J. Kirkman. 1984. Common Ground: Shared Interests in ESP and Communication Studies. ELT Documents 177. Oxford: British Council & Pergamon Press. Zubir, R. 1988. Descriptions of teaching and learning: a Malaysian perspective. Studies in Higher Education, 13(2): 139-49.

Source Texts: Acree, G. (1980). English language acquisition: The effects of living with an American family. TESOL Quarterly, 14(3): 388-89. Shortened version reprinted in Weissberg & Buker. 1990: 196-7. Amer, A. A. (1997). The effect of the teachers reading aloud on the reading comprehension of EFL students. ELT Journal, 51(1): 43-47. Block, E. L. (1992). See how they read: comprehension monitoring of L1 and L2 readers. TESOL Quarterly, 26(2): 319-23. Carrell, P. L. (1996). Personality types and language learning in an EFL context. Language Learning, 46(1): 75-99. Caulk, N. (1993). Comparing teacher and student responses to written work. TESOL Quarterly, 27(1): 181-82. Mendona, C. O. & K. E. Johnson. (1994). Peer review negotiations: revision activities in ESL writing instruction. TESOL Quarterly, 28(4): 745-812. Sasaki, M. & K. Hiroe. (1996). Explanatory variables for EFL students expository writing. Language Learning, 46(1): 137-74. Ventola, E. Functional and Systemic Linguistics: Approaches and Uses (Trends in Linguistics Studies and Monographs 55). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter & Co. Weinberger, J. (1996). A longitudinal study of childrens early literacy experiences at home and later literacy development at home and school. Journal of Research in Reading, 19(1): 14-24. Weissberg, R. C. & M. Stuv. (1979). Differential gain rates in intensive ESL programs: who gains the most? System, 7(1). Abbreviated version reprinted in Weissberg & Buker 1990: 61-3.



APPENDIX A MALAYSIAN TESOL STUDENTS ACADEMIC READING NEEDS (Questionnaire Survey) A. Academic Reading and Related Tasks Please answer these questions with respect to the TESOL programme you are following at Moray House. Please make a check mark (X) under the appropriate heading for each task below, including the one(s), if any, that you specify: Reading or Related Task 1. I get a general idea or the main information about a topic or area of interest, e.g. general background reading or skimming to follow up to lectures and/or tutorials I search for information specifically required for a particular assignment e.g. homework task, classroom presentation or professional project work (including `literature review') I read theoretical position papers to evaluate the writer's stand or position on a given issue or problem in TESOL I check sources of new information in the library (including the use of electronic media as ERIC, BIDS etc.) to see how useful they are to an academic task or project I prepare written summaries of the writer's main ideas, viewpoints and/or claims in a given piece of text I can distinguish between facts and opinions/claims presented by a writer I discuss assigned reading material with colleagues in small groups during class time I work on my own or with other students outside of class to complete graded projects based on library research I talk to my lecturer/tutor about academic material that I have read with specific reference to a class assignment or outside class project Any other reading task(s)(Please specify): (a) (b) Always Often Sometimes Never




5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.


Assessing EAP Needs for the University

B. Difficulties in Academic Reading and/or Related Tasks Again, please respond to the following items with a check mark (X) in the appropriate column. Task-related Difficulty 1. I have difficulty working with other students in small groups during class. I have difficulty working with other students on outof-class projects I think I do not read enough academic material to complete particular assignments that require such reading I have problems talking to lecturer/tutor about what I have read in relation to a given topic or problem I have problems reporting material that I have read in my written assignments and projects I find it difficult to critically evaluate and/or to question the writers viewpoint in the academic materials that I read Any other task-related difficulty (please specify below): (a) (b) Always Often Sometimes Never







C. Summary Comments Are there any other comments that might be helpful to your TESOL institution in assessing what academic reading skills that students like you need or expect to acquire? Do you have any suggestions about how academic reading/study skills courses could have better prepared you for TESOL subject matter courses? (Please continue on the next sheet if necessary.)

Thank you & Good luck!

Mohd Faiz Abdullah Moray House 1997



APPENDIX B (Post-workshop questionnaire)

GENRE-BASED READING WORKSHOP Post-workshop Questionnaire Based on your participation in the three sessions of the above workshop, please give your frank and honest answers to the following questions. This is because I think your views will be very useful to me for planning and conducting similar workshops more effectively for other students. (If necessary, please continue any of your answers overleaf.) 1. Do you think your reading skills, strategies or habits have changed at all since attending the workshop? If yes, could you briefly explain how they have changed? If no, why do you think they havent changed?


Do you think the workshop has been useful in any other way(s)? Very useful, useful in some ways, not useful? Please give any reasons that come to your mind.


What do you think were the shortcomings of the workshop? Or how could the workshop have been more useful?


Is there anything else that youd like to say about the workshop as a whole, or about specific aspects of it?

THANK YOU VERY MUCH Mohd Faiz Abdullah


Assessing EAP Needs for the University

APPENDIX C Text Sequencing Task - Scrambled Texts and Move-Step Analyses Text Sequencing Task A (scrambled abstract) Source text: Weinberger, J. 1996. A longitudinal study of childrens early literacy experiences at home and later literacy development at home and school. Journal of Research in Reading, 19(1): 14-24.

The findings underline the importance of home factors for childrens literacy development.

Children with literacy difficulties owned fewer books, were less likely to read to themselves or their parents, and generally had less support for literacy at home. ( )

Significant factors included having favourite books at age 3; letter knowledge and parents reading to children at school entry; and at age 7, access to home computers, and parents knowledge of literacy teaching in school. ( )

A longitudinal study of childrens early literacy experiences at home and later literacy development at home and at school. ( )

The study reported here has sought not only to replicate earlier findings but to investigate home factors from a younger age. ( )

Studies of literacy attainment in the early years of school have identified various measures at school entry which predict later attainment. ( )

Implications for teachers, highlighting the relevance of home literacy, are discussed.

Literacy experiences of 42 children at ages 3, 5 and 7 were investigated, and the relationship of home factors to literacy development explored. ( )

Findings are reported concerning two outcome measures at age 7; childrens reading level, as determined by the difficulty level of their school reading book, and whether or not children at age 7 were judged to have literacy difficulties. ( )


Move-step analysis (Based on Bhatia, 1993) TS Task A: Abstract Text: Weinberger, J. 1996. A longitudinal study of childrens early literacy experiences at home and later literacy development at home and school. Journal of Research in Reading, 19(1): 14-24. Move-Step 1-2B 1-2A 2-1A 3-1A Sentence No. S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 4-2 4-1 S7 S8 Signals (my emphases) Studies of literacy attainment in the early years of school ... The study reported here has sought not only to replicate earlier findings ... Literacy experiences of 42 children at ages 3, 5 and 7 were investigated ... Findings are reported concerning two outcome measures at age 7; ... Significant factors included having favourite books at age 3; ... Children with literacy difficulties owned fewer books, were less likely ... Implications for teachers, highlighting the relevance of home literacy ... The findings underline the importance of home factors ...

Text Sequencing Task B (scrambled article introduction) Source text: Sasaki, M. and K. Hiroe. 1996. Explanatory variables for EFL students expository writing. Language Learning 46(1): 137-74. If such a composing competence exists, it should be evoked when learners write in both L1 and L2, and there should be a high correlation between the quality of L1 and L2 writing. Thus, a second variable, L1 writing ability, has been investigated in relation to L2 writing products. However, the results of recent studies are mixed. Cumming (1989) reported that participants with professional-level writing expertise (p. 87) in L1 (French) wrote significantly better in L2 (English) than those with no such expertise. The effect of this writing expertise was consistent over the quality of three different types of writing (i.e., letter, argument, and summary). In contrast, Carson, Carrell, Silberstein, Kroll, and Kuehn (1990) found no correlation between the quality of L1 and L2 compositions written by 48 Chinese students, and only a weak positive correlation (0.23) for compositions written by 57 Japanese students. Similarly, Pennington & So (1993) did not find a clear relationship between L1 and L2 writing products in their investigation of six Singaporean university students writing behaviour. [ ] Explanatory Variables for EFL Students Expository Writing [ ]

Although all these previous studies provided insight into the factors contributing to L2 writing ability, their designs were not without limitations. For example, most lacked control for such intervening variables as learners L1 and educational/cultural background (see Krapels, 1990). In addition, they seldom controlled for the effects of other explanatory factors (cf. Cumming, 1989). As a result, it is not clear whether focal factors had true effects or spurious effects caused by other factors (Bohrnstedt & Knoke, 1988, p. 352). Furthermore, most participants were learning the L2 in L2 environments (e.g., Arndt, 1987; Carson et al., 1990; Raimes, 1985; Zamel, 1982). Possibly, explanatory variables for L2 writing differ if the participants learn the L2 mainly through formal instruction. [ ]


Assessing EAP Needs for the University

A fourth factor is knowledge of L2 writing. The knowledge of what is expected in a given writing task seems to help L2 writers (e.g. Raimes, 1985; Reid, 1984). Reid (1990) speculated that successful writers might know what is socially and culturally appropriate in terms of the writer roles, audience expectations, rhetorical and stylistic conventions, and situational and contextual features of written text (p. 201) in the target language. This might be especially true when learners L1 has different writing conventions from those of the L2 (see Hinds, 1983; Kaplan, 1988). [ ] The present study replicates the general design of the pilot study (Hirose & Sasaki, 1994), investigating factors that might influence the quality of L2 writing products. These factors include the students L1 writing ability, L2 proficiency, writing strategies in L1 and L2 (e.g., planning, revising), metaknowledge of L2 writing, past writing experience, and instructional background. [ ] Many researchers have investigated factors that could explain second language (L2) learners writing products. These factors include learners writing strategies, first language (L1) writing ability, L2 proficiency, knowledge of L2 writing, and instructional background. First, several studies have found that learners writing strategies relate to the quality of L2 composition (but see Pennington & So, 1993, for contradictory results). Some of the reported strategies of skilled writers are planning (see e.g., Jones & Tetroe, 1987; Lay, 1982), revision (e.g., Hall, 1990), focus on content (e.g., Zamel, 1983), and the use of the L1 (Friedlander, 1990; Lay, 1982; but see Chelala, 1981, for contradictory findings). Because these strategies are used when students are writing in both L1 and L2 (e.g., Cumming, 1989; Pennington & So, 1993; but see Raimes, 1987, on differences between L1 and L2 writers strategies), some researchers have hypothesised the existence of a composing competence that transcends L1 and L2 differences (see Krapels, 1990). [ ] Investigation of a third factor, L2 proficiency, has also yielded mixed results. Several studies have reported that learners writing did not seem to be influenced by their L2 linguistic proficiency (e.g. Raimes, 1985; Zamel, 1982). These studies found that some students wrote well and some did not, regardless of their L2 proficiency. Because the L2 skilled writers appeared to have special writing strategies/behaviours, these researchers have maintained that the determining factor of L2 writing quality is not the learners linguistic competence, but their composing competence. Other studies, however, have suggested that L2 proficiency is one of the explanatory factors for L2 writing products, including two recent studies, Cumming (1989) and Pennington & So (1993). In his statistical analysis of 23 Francophone students English L2 compositions, Cumming found that L2 proficiency was a distinct factor that influenced the quality of L2 writing; Pennington & So found that students L1 proficiency was in fact the only factor, among several investigated, that distinguished good writers from weak writers. [ ] With these methodological limitations in mind, we conducted a precursor of the present study as a pilot study (Hirose & Sasaki, 1994). It examined Japanese university students learning English as a foreign language (EFL), with appropriate controls for educational and cultural background. It included as many factors as possible that seemed relevant to explaining the quality of the participants L2 writing. However, the pilot study was exploratory; its results needed to be confirmed with a larger sample. [ ] Related to the above factors is the learners instructional background. Some studies have reported that teaching emphasis on a particular aspect of writing could affect the end products of the learners writing (e.g., Mohan & Lo, 1985). If some writing strategies and knowledge of the target language writing are teachable (Bereiter & Scardamalia, 1987; Fathman & Whalley, 1990; Spack, 1984), learners experience with L2 composition instruction could be counted as a potential explanatory factor for L2 writing quality. [ ]



Move-step analysis (based on Swales, 1981) TS Task B: Article Introduction Text: Sasaki, M. and K. Hiroe. 1996. Explanatory variables for EFL students expository writing. Language Learning 46(1): 137-74.

Para. 1

Move-step 1-1A 1-1B 2-1B 2-1C 2-1A

Sentence S1 S2 S3-5 S1-2 S8-11

2-1C 2-1B 2-1A

S1 S2-5 S6 S3 S2 S3 S4 S1 S2-3 S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S1 S2 S3 S4 S1 S2

2-1C 2-1B 2-1A 2-1B

2-1C 2-1B 3-1A

4-2B/2C 4-1 4-2 3-1C 4-2A 4-2

Signals (my emphases) Many researchers have investigated factors that could explain ... These factors include learners writing strategies, ... First, several studies have found ... (but see Pennington & So, 1993 for contradictory results). If such a composing competence exists, it should be evoked ... Cumming, (1989) reported that participants with ... In contrast, Carson, Carrell, Silberstein, Kroll, and Kuehn (1990) found no correlation ... Investigation of a third factor, L2 proficiency ... Several studies have reported that learners writing did not seem to be influenced by ... In his statistical analysis of ... Cumming (1989) found that L2 proficiency ... A fourth factor is knowledge of writing. The knowledge of what is expected ... help L2 writers (e.g. Raimes, 1985; Reid, 1984) Reid (1990) speculated that ... This might be especially true when ... (see Hinds, 1983; Kaplan, 1988). Related to the above factors is the learners instructional background. Some studies have reported that ... (e.g. Mohan & Lo, 1985). Although all these previous studies provided insight ... their designs were not without limitations. For example, most lacked control for such intervening ... In addition, they seldom controlled for ... As a result, it is not clear whether ... Furthermore, most participants ... Possibly, explanatory variables for L2 writing differ if ... With these methodological limitations in mind, we conducted ... It examined Japanese university students learning ... It included as many factors as possible .... However, the pilot study was exploratory; its results needed to be confirmed with a larger sample. The present study replicates the general design of ... These factors include ...


Assessing EAP Needs for the University

APPENDIX D Text Sequencing Task Instructions

Malaysian In-service TESOL Undergraduates in UK Academic Reading Tasks

Introduction: I thank you in advance for your participation in this research. As always, your identity as well as any record of your performance in these tasks will be treated with the strictest confidence. Therefore, please attempt both tasks to the best of your ability, and answer the follow-up questions honestly.

General Directions: 1. Together with this introductory sheet, you should have received the following materials: a) an envelope marked Task A containing 9 slips of paper with a sentence or an expression written on each of them; b) an envelope marked Task B containing 9 slips of paper with a paragraph or an expression written on each of them; and c) two debriefing questionnaires, one to be completed for Task A and the other for Task B. Attempting the tasks: a) b) Do Task A first. For each task, read and reassemble the slips of paper given, noting the time you took to complete it.. Number the slips from 1 to 8 in the spaces provided (No. 9 has been done for you). Then answer the questions in the debriefing questionnaire for that task.



Attempt to complete both tasks and the questionnaires within 60 minutes. It is suggested that you allow 20 minutes for each task and 10 minutes for the related questionnaire. Respond to the questionnaire immediately after (not before) you have completed each task. Please put the numbered slips of paper into their respective envelopes. Write your matric. no. at the top right-hand corner of the envelope. Good luck!

4. 5.



Task A Response Sheet Your Matriculation No.: ................................. Reading Task A (Reassembling Scrambled Sentences) 1. Please transfer the numbers from the paper slips to the appropriate sentence fragments below (the first one has been done for you): ( 9 ) The findings underline the importance of home factors ... ( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( 2. 3. ) Children with literacy difficulties owned fewer books, were less likely ... ) Significant factors included having favourite books at age 3; ... ) A longitudinal study of childrens early literacy experiences at home ... ) The study reported here has sought not only to replicate earlier findings ... ) Studies of literacy attainment in the early years of school have identified ... ) Implications for teachers, highlighting the relevance of home literacy ... ) Literacy experiences of 42 children at ages 3, 5 and 7 were investigated ... ) Findings are reported concerning two outcome measures at age 7; ... .................... minutes

How long did you take to complete the task?

In what kind of academic reading material would you expect to find such a text? Can you name this type of text? (Be as specific as you can.) Kind of academic material: Type of text/writing: ........................................................................



What is the general topic of this passage? (maximum 5 words) .....................................................................................................................


On a scale of 1 - 7, how would you rate the difficulty level of the task? (Circle the appropriate number on the scale below:) 1 Easy 2 3 4 5 6 7 Difficult


Briefly describe any particular strategy or strategies that you used to complete the task. (You need not use complete sentences nor paragraphs. Please continue overleaf if necessary.)


Assessing EAP Needs for the University

Task B Response Sheet Your Matriculation No.: ................................ Reading Task B (Reassembling Scrambled Paragraphs) 1. Please transfer the numbers from the paper slips to appropriate paragraph beginnings below (the first one has been done for you): ( 9 ) The present study replicates the general design of the pilot study ... ( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( 2. 3. ) If such a composing competence exists, it should be evoked when ... ) Explanatory Variables for EFL Students Expository Writing ) Although all these previous studies provided insight into the factors ... ) With these methodological limitations in mind, we conducted ... ) A fourth factor is knowledge of L2 writing. The knowledge of ... ) Many researchers have investigated factors that could explain second ... ) Investigation of a third factor, L2 proficiency, has also yielded mixed ... ) Related to the above factors is the learners instructional background. ... .................... minutes

How long did you take to complete the task?

In what kind of academic reading material would you expect to find such a text? Can you name this type of text? (Be as specific as you can.) Kind of academic material: ............................................................................. Type of text/writing: ..............................................................................


What is the general topic of this passage? (maximum 5 words) ...........................................................................................................................


On a scale of 1 - 7, how would you rate the difficulty level of the task? (Circle the appropriate number on the scale below:) 1 Easy 2 3 4 5 6 7 Difficult


Briefly describe any particular strategy or strategies that you used to complete the task (You need not use complete sentences nor paragraphs. Please continue overleaf if necessary.)


APPENDIX E COMPREHENSION TASK Reading Context: Suppose that you are planning an academic project about the process approach to teaching ESL writing. You have just finished reading the abstract and the introduction of a research article entitled Peer Review Negotiations: Revision Activities in ESL Writing Instruction by Mendona and Johnson (1994) in the TESOL Quarterly. You reflect/wonder if a similar study could be carried out in the Malaysian ESL situation, and with what outcomes. Instructions: 1. Based on your reading of the Abstract and/or the Introduction to the research article by Mendona and Johnson (1994), give BRIEF answers to the following questions. You may use words taken from the texts in your answer. 2. The phrase present research refers to the investigation reported in the research article excerpts that you have been asked to read. Accordingly, the term writers refers to C.O. Mendona and K. E. Johnson (1994). 3. Write down your answer to each question in the space provided below it. _____________________________________________ Please give brief answers to the following questions: Q.1 If you were reading the abstract and the introduction sections of the article very quickly, which specific bits of the text would you look at first to see if the content was immediately relevant to your project? E.g. the title

Q.2 What is the writers general area of investigation in the present research? Q.3 Which sentence in the Introduction indicates the writers specific area of investigation? (Write down the first five/six words of the sentence.)

Q.4 Briefly state the research problem if this is indicated in the text. Q.5 Q.6 How have the writers attempted to solve the research problem? The writers list three research questions at the end of the Introduction. Have they attempted to provide the answers? Briefly list any of these answers that you can locate in the texts given to you. The writers think that there is a gap in the research area that needs to be filled. Locate the sentence in the text where the writers indicate this. (Write down the first six words of the sentence.) Which particular word/phrase in the sentence helped you recognise the sentence? Do you think that the writers have established that there is a genuine gap to be filled? Is it important to fill this gap? Give brief reasons for your answer. According to the writers, what is the contribution of their research to ESL writing instruction? Would you consider using peer reviews in your own teaching situation in Malaysia? Support your answer with reference to the Mendona and Johnson research.



Q.9 Q.10

THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP WITH THIS RESEARCH. Best wishes and Good luck! Mohd Faiz Abdullah Moray House 1997


Assessing EAP Needs for the University

APPENDIX F SCORING STUDENTS RECALL PROTOCOLS Research Article Abstract Sample No: _____________ Use of Specific Moves to Organise Recall Based on your reading of the whole protocol, please place a cross (X) against the particular communicative move that is clearly present in the students text, allowing for some distortion and/or lack of information required to fill out the move completely (i.e. with reference to original writers importance-considerations). ( ( ( ( ( ) Move 1 (Introducing Purpose of Study) ) Move 2 (Describing Methodology) ) Move 3 (Summarising Results) ) Move 4 (Presenting Conclusions) ) No Distinguishable Moves Present

Order of Moves in Recall Please state the order in which the student has presented the moves, if any, in the protocol E.g. 1 2 4 3, 2 3 4, 1,2 etc. Move order: _______________________ Accuracy of Overall Content of Recall Please use the following scale to rate each aspect of the students recall protocol that is stated below it. Write down each rating number against the factor or aspect being assessed. Poor ====||=====||=====||=====||=====||===> Excellent 1 2 3 4 5 6 7


Factor/Aspect of Students Recall Protocol Authors importance-considerations reflected accurately and coherently Inclusion of all main ideas and relevant supporting ideas. Free from inaccuracies and/or distortions. Balanced coverage of original No tendency to focus only on the earlier parts of original text (especially the first half) Source material presented in neutral fashion No personal comments/metastatements about the content and/or the research reported by the original writers. Source text generally condensed in students own words. New combinations of ideas rather than verbatim reproductions of chunks of material


SCORING STUDENTS SUMMARY PROTOCOLS Research Article Introduction Sample No: _____________ Use of Specific Moves to Organise Recall Based on your reading of the whole protocol, please place a cross (X) against the particular communicative move that is clearly present in the students text, allowing for some distortion and/or lack of information required to fill out the move completely (i.e. with reference to original writers importance-considerations). ( ( ( ( ( ) Move 1 (Establishing Field) ) Move 2 (Summarising Previous Research) ) Move 3 (Preparing for Present Research) ) Move 4 (Introducing Purpose) ) No Distinguishable Moves Present

Order of Moves in Recall Please state the order in which the student has presented the moves, if any, in the protocol E.g. 1 2 4 3, 2 3 4, 1,2 etc. Move order: _______________________ Accuracy of Overall Content of Recall Please use the following scale to rate each aspect of the students recall protocol that is stated below it. Write down each rating number against the factor or aspect being assessed. Poor ====||=====||=====||=====||=====||===> Excellent 1 2 3 4 5 6 7


Factor/Aspect of Students Recall Protocol Authors importance-considerations reflected accurately and coherently Inclusion of all main ideas and relevant supporting ideas. Free from inaccuracies and/or distortions. Balanced coverage of original No tendency to focus only on the earlier parts of original text (especially the first half) Source material presented in neutral fashion No personal comments/metastatements about the content and/or the research reported by the original writers. Source text generally condensed in students own words. New combinations of ideas rather than verbatim reproductions of chunks of material


Assessing EAP Needs for the University

APPENDIX G COMPREHENSION TASK (Marking Scheme) Reading Context: Suppose that you are planning an academic project about the process approach to teaching ESL writing. You have just finished reading the abstract and the introduction of a research article entitled Peer Review Negotiations: Revision Activities in ESL Writing Instruction by Mendona and Johnson (1994) in the TESOL Quarterly. You reflect/wonder if a similar study could be carried out in the Malaysian ESL situation, and with what outcomes. Instructions: 1. Based on your reading of the Abstract and/or the Introduction to the research article by Mendona and Johnson (1994), give BRIEF answers to the following questions. You may use words taken from the texts in your answer. 2. The phrase present research refers to the investigation reported in the research article excerpts that you have been asked to read. Accordingly, the term writers refers to C.O. Mendona and K. E. Johnson (1994). 3. Write down your answer to each question in the space provided below it. ____________________________________________ Please give brief answers to the following questions: Q.1 If you were reading the abstract and the introduction sections of the article very quickly, which specific bits of the text would you look at first to see if the content was immediately relevant to your project? E.g. the title Students Answer the title the purpose of the study the method the results/findings conclusions/implications specific area of investigation review of past research statement of the gap research questions Marks 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 (8 marks max.) Q.2 What is the writers general area of investigation in the present research? (the) beneficial effects of peer reviews in L2 writing instruction (4 marks) OR (the) effects of peer reviews in L2 writing instruction (3 marks) OR peer review negotiations in L2 writing instruction (2 marks) (Deduct 1 mark if L2 writing instruction is missing in any of the above responses) (4 marks max.) Q.3 Which sentence in the Introduction indicates the writers specific area of investigation? (Write down the first five/six words of the sentence.) Because peer reviews have become a common activity ... OR This study describes the negotiations that ... OR We explore the following research questions ... (3 marks max.)


Q.4 Briefly state the research problem if this is indicated in the text. to describe the negotiations that occur during ESL students peer reviews and their effects on writing revision activities (purpose of study stated in abstract) OR the nature of face-to-face interaction between ESL students and the use of feedback from peers to revise written texts (specific area of investigation in introduction) OR the nature of the interactions that occur during peer reviews and the extent to which such interactions shape L2 students revision activities (gap statement in introduction) OR the types of negotiations L2 students engage in during peer reviews, how they use their peers comments to revise their writing [and their perceptions of the usefulness of peer reviews - optional] (summary of research questions) (Accept paraphrase of any one of the above - a max. of 4 marks depending upon accuracy of answer. Award 2 marks for part answers.) (4 marks max.) Q.5 How have the writers attempted to solve the research problem? by outlining the relevant research methodology (RA abstract) i.e. analysis of audio-taped transcripts of peer reviews, students first and revised drafts, and Postinterview data to address/answer the research questions (or paraphrase - 6 marks) OR [research] methodology (3 marks); OR addressing the research questions (2 marks); AND/OR analysis of audiotaped transcripts of peer reviews (1 mark); AND/OR students first and revised drafts (1 mark); AND/OR postinterviews (1 mark) (6 marks max.) The writers list three research questions at the end of the Introduction. Have they attempted to provide the answers? Briefly list any of these answers that you can locate in the texts given to you. Students asked questions (1 mark), offered explanations (1 mark), gave suggestions (1 mark), restated what peers had said (1 mark), and corrected grammar mistakes (1 mark); Most negotiations were generated by reviewers (1 mark); Certain patterns of negotiations were more frequent in dyads from different disciplines (1 mark); AND Students used peers comments selectively to revise their own writing (2 marks); OR Students used peers comments (to revise their own writing) (1 mark) AND Students found peer reviews useful for revising their written work (2 marks). (If student has given a Yes answer and nothing else, award 1 mark) (11 marks max.) Q.7 The writers think that there is a gap in the research area that needs to be filled. Locate the sentence in the text where the writers indicate this. (Write down the first six words of the sentence.) Although peer reviews are widely used ... (2 marks) Which particular word/phrase in the sentence helped you recognise the sentence? Although ... (1 mark); OR ... little is known about ... (2 marks); OR



Assessing EAP Needs for the University

Although ... little is known about ... (2 marks) (4 marks max.) Q.8 Do you think that the writers have established that there is a genuine gap to be filled? Is it important to fill this gap? Give brief reasons for your answer. Yes (they have established it to be so) (1 mark); AND Because the writers have reviewed relevant previous research in the specific area of investigation to show that there might be a real gap in our knowledge of how useful peer reviews are. (Or paraphrase 3 marks); AND Yes (it would be important to fill the gap that has been established) (1 mark); AND Because it is necessary/important to investigate the nature of the face-to-face interaction between L2 peers and how they use the feedback to revise their written texts. (Or paraphrase - 3 marks; 1 mark for incomplete answer.) OR No (1 mark), it is not clear if the gap might be an important one to fill because other researchers have begun to explore similar concerns (references from text optional) and have probably arrived at similar conclusions about the nature of peer reviews and their effects on L2 writing activities. (Or paraphrase 3 marks; 1 mark for incomplete answer). (8 marks max.) Q.9 According to the writers, what is the contribution of their research to ESL writing instruction? (research evidence that) peer reviews/interactions are important in ESL writing instruction and provide valuable feedback on students essays. (4 marks) OR (research evidence that) peer reviews/interactions are important in ESL writing instruction ( 3 marks) OR peer reviews provide valuable feedback on students essays (2 mark) (4 marks max.) Would you consider using peer reviews in your own teaching situation in Malaysia? Support your answer with reference to the Mendona and Johnson research.


The overarching criterion here would be the students ability to apply some level of critical judgement to evaluate the whole research on the basis of intuitive knowledge of their own ESL teaching/learning environment. Bearing in mind that the written response was apt to be brief relative to the time available for the whole task (50 minutes), some assessment considerations in qualitative rather than quantitative terms might be as follows: 1. Various potential benefits of peer reviews within the context of ESL writing activities and the larger context of language acquisition supported by the findings of the Mendona and Johnson research, i.e. support for the use of peer reviews in L2 environments in general: Students learn to be critical of written material and their own writing Students play an active role in their own learning Increased opportunity for students to interact socially in pairs/groups using unrehearsed language Feedback important in SLA as students need to test/revise hypotheses about L2 in meaningful contexts Integration of basic language skills in a more meaningful way and within a non-threatening atmosphere Peer correction of written work helps to reduce errors that would otherwise take too much of teachers time (which could be better spent on the larger areas of language and content organisation) Peer review interactions compatible with concerns of communicative English language teaching in Malaysia (Assess on a scale of 0 [no response] to 5 [excellent[)



2. Reservations about the use of peer reviews in Malaysian schools: Since the reported research was conducted with advanced ESL learners, the technique assumes certain communicative abilities (especially aural/oral) and related linguistic competence on the part of the student-negotiators and reviewers. Therefore, the use of peer reviews in ESL writing instruction would probably be more appropriate in certain settings than in others in Malaysia, particularly in upper secondary schools in semi-urban or urban settings, and at tertiary levels. Need for further investigation both in terms of wider reading and classroom-based research in Malaysian schools that addresses issues of peer group/dyad configuration and level of teacher control. (Assess on a scale of 0 [no response] to 5 [excellent[) (10 marks max.)