The main concerns of ESP have always been a focus on preparing students to communicate effectively to meet their needs in a particular task or situation.
According to Hutchinson and Waters, the ESP Teachers Are often adopting the content of the course to the reasons of learning English. Consequently, teachers are developing curriculum and teaching materials to fill the gap between student language level of proficiency before taking the course and at the end when they are supposed to achieve their goals and needs. Brown states that developing teaching activities and strategies of assessment are considered to be at the heart of students ‘needs in terms of goals and objectives.
The process of needs analysis aims at collecting information about the learner and the target environment of teaching ESP. In fact, it should be a procedure going on throughout the whole process of language development not just delivered at a particular period of time. The considerable difference between ESP and GE is the awareness of students’ needs with making efforts to properly meet them rather than being only at the stage of admitting their existence. Thus, the learner motivation of taking the course as well as the awareness of his communicative needs are leading factors to a successful teaching process.
According to Hutchinson and Waters, target needs are defined as necessities completely different from wants that learners believe they need. In this context, it is also necessary to distinguish between target needs and learning needs. The target needs refer to the target context of use that the learner is required to perform and the learning needs refer to the extensive efforts in order to make the learning happen.
In this regards, Berwick adds that needs are “the gap between what is and what should be “. The author draws a distinction between felt needs, which are needs that the learner have and the perceived needs, which are mainly about self-evaluation of other’s experiences.
Furthermore, Robinson draws a discrimination of objective needs which are defined as ” all genuine information about the learner ”
According to Alderson’s point of view, there are fundamentally four types of needs:
1) Formal needs
2) Actual or obligation needs
3) Hypothetical future needs
On the other hand, Altman calls for adjusting the learning resources according to the individual differences of proficiency level, age, maturity, goals and needs
According to Hutchinson and Waters and Robinson, needs analysis should be a continued process during all phases of each course to encourage students’ progress by identifying their needs and lucks. The key role of needs analysis in a skills centered approach is to discover students’ current abilities before taking the ESP course and enable them with the needed competence to communicate in a specific context of use
For Hawkey, needs analysis represent a tool for the development of the course design. Brindley also states that needs analysis are of paramount importance in setting goals throughout the learning process.
Hughes points out the necessity of the speaking activities in the learning process which serve to improve the quality of classroom interaction as well as the importance of writing activities including modals and texts classification.