A needs assessment of teachers and students from engineering and tourism departments for designing a communicative ELT curriculum
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In this study it has been claimed that the English language curriculums should match the needs and expectations of the learners from the program. As curriculum designs are mostly planned by administrators and teachers, students can not participate in designing their own curriculum. For that reason, this study demonstrates the differences in perceptions between the teachers from two departments (engineering and tourism) and the students from the same study areas. The subjects' preference for expressions representing specific language functions at two different style levels (formal and informal) is also examined. In analyzing the data statistically t-test and Chisquare tests were run. The research conclusions have indicated many significant differences between the perceptions of the different groups of subjects. Some of these differences were found as the functions of status (teacher or student) and some of them were found as the functions of department (tourism or engineering). For example, while the students believe that the speaking skill is the most important skill for their preparatory classes, the teachers do not agree. Another item related to speaking is that the students think they will be using English mostly with native speakers of English in their career but the teachers disagree. The difficulties that the students will meet in their subject field classes are also perceived differently by teachers and students. While the students think that understanding the complexities of academic prose will be a problem for them, the teachers do not see this as a problem. The teachers state that their students have to answer essay type questions in the examinations, but the students think that they will not need to take such examinations. On the other hand, the difficulties that the students will probably meet in their subject field classes are perceived differently by the subjects from each department. For example, the engineering subjects think that taking part in discussions and seminars, and writing efficiently will be difficult for the students, whereas the tourism subjects disagree with them on these items. Also, engineering subjects believe that students will continue to write academic papers and theses after their graduation from the faculty, but tourism subjects disagree. As for the style levels, the informal style of speech was chosen more by the students than by the teachers. This shows that the students think they will use informal sentence patterns more than the formal ones in their future careers. Consequently, some specific proposals are made that may lead to more effective curriculum programs. It was suggested that students' perceptions should be taken into consideration in designing English language curriculums in order to meet the students' felt language learning needs.