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Evaluating the language improvement courses in the undergraduate ELT curriculum at Eastern Mediterranean University: a case study

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2005
Erozan, Fatoş
The present study evaluates the language improvement courses in the undergraduate curriculum of the Department of English Language Teaching (ELT) at Eastern Mediterranean University. The language improvement courses are: Oral Communication Skills I and II, Reading Skills I, II, and Advanced Reading Skills, Writing Skills I, II and Advanced Writing Skills, and English Grammar I and II. In this evaluation study, the adapted version of Bellon and Handler̕s (1982) curriculum evaluation model was employed. The participants of the study were six instructors teaching the language improvement courses and students enrolled in these courses. The data, both qualitative and quantitative, were collected through course evaluation questionnaires for students, interviews with students and teachers, classroom observations, and examination of relevant written documents such as course policy sheets, course materials, and assessment tools used in the courses. The results of the study show that generally the language improvement courses were effective in terms of five aspects specified in the evaluation model employed in the study, as perceived by the students and the instructors. However, the students and the instructors suggested making some changes to the existing language improvement courses to make them more effective and better adjusted to the students̕ needs and expectations. Some important conclusions drawn and recommendations made were: Practice (i.e. practice and production) component in the language improvement courses should be enhanced, a wider variety of authentic materials should be used in the courses, various methods and activities should be utilized in teaching-learning process, and intra-subject and inter-subject relationships (i.e. continuity and coherence) between or among the courses need to be strengthened.