THE EFFECTIVENESS OF A PROPOSED ESP PROGRAM FOR ISLAMIC STUDIES MAJORS AT THE GIRLS' FACULTY OF EDUCATION IN RIYADH IN PROMOTING THEIR ACADEMIC AND VOCATIONAL SKILLS

J. Maashi

Princess Norah University (SAUDI ARABIA)
The main objective of this study was to measure the effectiveness of an academic/ vocational ESP program for the Islamic Studies Department ( ISD) students at the Girls' Faculty of Education in Riyadh (GFER). To achieve this, the students' English language needs were identified, and the existing course was evaluated. To analyze the students' language needs, three questionnaires and a structured interview were prepared and administered to students, subject teachers, EFL teachers, and personnel working in Da'wah offices. A pre/ posttest was also prepared and administered, and original ESP materials were designed and taught.

The needs analysis revealed that (1) there were no specific, written objectives for teaching English at the ISD; (2) the students' needs for English included ESP and a little GE; (3) the existing course did not meet students' language needs; (4) the students' level of English was very low at the start of the program. Independent-samples and paired-sample t-tests respectively revealed that there were statistically significant differences between the experimental and control groups on the post-test and between the experimental group's pre- and post-test scores, thus indicating some effect of the proposed program on the learners' English language development. However, this effect seemed to be diminished by the fact that the achieved mean scores were below average, due to students' very low level of English to begin with, and by the limited time and length of the course which undermined any lasting impact on the learners.

Recommendations and suggestions included extending the proposed program for all the academic two years at the ISD, designing similar ESP programs for other content departments, developing an up-to-date Islamic English dictionary, proposing such an Islamic English program for English major students,as well as for postgraduate studies programs.
keywords: esp program.