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Business English, Professional English, Legal English, Medical English, Academic English etc.
Online peer-reviewed Journal for Teachers

English for Specific Purposes World (ESP World)

English for Specific Purposes World

ISSN 1682-3257

English for Specific Purposes World (ESP World) Home    Information   ESP Encyclopaedia    Resources    Contacts

Learning Needs – A Neglected Terrain: Implications of Need Hierarchy Theory for ESP Needs Analysis

Adnan Tahir[*]

COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Wah


ESP, a well-groomed branch of ELT, is distinguished from General English due to its comprehensive needs analysis on the deliberate level. This study focuses on the viewpoint that learning needs, which deal with the psychological, social and methodological concerns of ESP learners and ESP classroom, are ignored or not given the due positions in needs analysis for ESP programs. However learning needs are equally important if not more than the target needs. Motivation constitutes a large part of learning needs.  Interactivity may be developed between the needs analysis and the existing work motivation theories, particularly Maslow’s Need Hierarchy theory.  This study theoretically analyzes the relationship of Need Hierarchy theory of work motivation and ESP needs analysis. It also suggests some areas for the analysis of motivational (learning) needs of learners if the theory of Need Hierarchy applied on overall ESP program, ranging from needs analysis to syllabus designing, ESP material selection, ESP classroom teaching, testing and evaluation and finally even ESP teachers’ training. This concludes that a very strong interactivity is present between ESP needs analysis and Need Hierarchy theory, raising the significance of learning needs in overall ESP program.

Key words: ESP, Needs analysis, Need Hierarchy theory, Communicative Need Processor, learning needs, target needs

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[*] Adnan Tahir is an Assistant Professor (Humanities) at COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Wah, Pakistan. He has a vast experience of teaching English as a Second Language, Technical & Research Writing and Business Communication at various levels, along with the experience as a teacher trainer. His research interests include teacher socialization and professional development, English for business purposes and adult education.


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