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Damaris Amaranto e Ivanna Diaz

Report on ESP Materials Design for Audiovisual Communication


The purpose of the present report is to analyze and explain the procedure carried
out to develop ESP material for the required task. The task consisted in the design of a
worksheet for a reading comprehension course, for students of Audiovisual
Communication in their third year of studies at Blas Pascal University. The students
are proficient L2 readers. Taking this into account, we will refer to the theoretical
framework underpinning teaching reading comprehension and as a consequence of our
work, the needs analysis done prior to text selection and the rationale and the steps we
followed to design the activities. We will also justify our choices referring to the
theory on principles and roles of materials.
According to Dudley Evans and St John needs analysis is the process of
establishing the what and how of a course (1998, p.121). Therefore, through the
needs analyses carried out we first established the role of scenographers and we also
determined the reasons why they need English. Audiovisual communicators are
specialists in the creation and production of information in different digital mediums
such as television, radio and cinema. Taking this into account, we considered that they
need to investigate and be updated with the constant developments in science and
technology; so they also need a reading comprehension course to develop the skills
necessary to understand and interpret texts on Audiovisual Communication. In
addition, before finishing their course of studies, the students may need to read texts in
English as part of their academic studies.
Reading is then the means for learning and acquiring new information.
Furthermore, the ability to read requires that the reader draws information from a text
and combine it with information and expectations that the reader already has. (William
Grabe and Fredricka L. Stoller). For this reason, the Text As a Vehicle of Information
(TAVI) approach was implemented for text selection. By means of the use of the TAVI
approach, authentic texts are selected, importance is given to pre, while and post
reading activities and to links between meaning and form; therefore, the activities are
designed to awaken interest and to establish purpose. (Dudley Evans and St John,
1998, p.97). We selected these two texts because they both come from authentic
sources and their genres are academic, which make them appropriate for students of
Audiovisual Communication. On the one hand, the first text belongs to a book called
Space, Time and Movement in Theatre Productions by Bergman, Ingmar, who was a
Swedish director and producer that achieved world fame with very renowned films
and today is regarded as one of the greatest directors in the history of motion pictures.
On the other hand, the second text is the abstract of an article that presents a speech by
scenographer Pamela Howard, delivered at the U.S. Institute for Theatre Technology
(USITT) Conference and Stage Expo, Long Beach, California, March 21, 2001, in
which she discussed scenography and the tasks of scenographers. Furthermore, the
author of the text, Pamela Howard, is a renowned professor and practicing
scenographer, director, curator, teacher and writer in the in the UK, Europe and USA
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Damaris Amaranto e Ivanna Diaz


since 1960; therefore, she is well-known and highly popular for audiovisual
communicators. Besides, the carrier content might be highly important for these
students since they have an essential role in the creation, edition and production of
information and the real content we needed to introduce is clearly exemplified in both
texts. We had to introduce the reading strategy of previewing, the analysis of suffixes
and the study of noun phrases in English.
As regards the development of materials for this worksheet, we are going to
describe the stages of the material development process provided by Dudley Evans
and Saint John (1988, p177). The starting point was the search for carrier content
suitable for the presentation of basic reading strategies (previewing), the analysis of
suffixes and the study of noun phrases. After consulting the program curricula in
Audiovisual Communication at the Blas Pascal University web site, we read many
texts about scenography. We decided that Scenography in action taken from the
book Space, Time and Movement in Theatre Productions was especially suitable not
only in terms of content, since we considered the topic as one particularly interesting
and with which the students would be familiar (part of their curriculum/training), but
also in terms of structures, as the constructions we needed to introduce, explain and
exemplify, that is noun phrases, were clearly present in the text. With respect to the
second text in part II called What is scenography? or What's in a Name by Pamela
Howard, the reason why we chose it was more associated with structures rather than
with content since we needed a text that included instances of suffixes in order to
introduce such constructions and the first text did not have many.
The second stage involved designing the reading comprehension activities and
the closing task. In Part I, in the first activity, the pre reading activities aim at
developing reading strategies, particularly previewing, which helps students to activate
concepts, background knowledge and experience before they read and ,at the same
time, it serves to preview and predict the topic of the text. Then, in the second activity,
students are asked to write the equivalent of a phrase taken from the text and then they
are encouraged to work with some other cases of noun phrases. Next, a short
explanation of noun phrase is included. In Part II, in the first activity, students will
have to preview and predict the topic of the text. In the second activity, they will have
to read and confirm if their predictions were right or not. Finally, students are asked to
write the equivalent of some words taken from the text and indicate the suffix in such
words. Next, a short explanation of suffixes is included. The closing activity (activity
4) helps students to synthesize the most important context of the text by answering
questions. To perform the activity, students need to re-read the text and finally, they
have to relate the topic of scenography to their own experience.
The tasks were designed following the two principles of material development:
first, materials should help learners feel at ease, and second, materials should require
and facilitate learner self-investment. This is why the tasks aim at a challenging but
achievable content and at a friendly format. This is achieved through a gradual
approach to the text, from the known to the new information, from the simpler to the
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Damaris Amaranto e Ivanna Diaz


more complex activities. In addition, the students are addressed using the Spanish
pronoun usted since it is widely used in this type of courses and it is suitable for
university students. As regards the second principle, the tasks also aimed at helping
students become autonomous so that they can read in English to keep updated and to
keep on studying. This can be observed in the activity where suffixes are in bold type
and surrounded by supportive and self-explanatory context that favors self-discovery
and inductive reasoning. In the last activity, the students are asked to reflect upon and
go back to the text so as to grasp the main points of it and, at the same time, they are
encouraged to think about their future professional life.
As a conclusion, we will reflect upon our learning outcome arising from the
development of the worksheet. First, we consider that the selection of the right text
was fundamental for the development of meaningful activities as well as the close
relation of the carrier content to the area of expertise of students. This was not an easy
task since it involved extensive research and consulting different theories on material
design as well as taking into account the checklist for text selection provided by the
chair. Second, we consider that designing activities based on a careful needs analysis
is very important to help students acquire skills that after doing a course of study they
will continue to use as autonomous learners, and also to evaluate the effectiveness of
the material in order to make changes if necessary. Finally, we believe that it has been
very useful for our future career as it has given us greater insight on materials
development. As teachers, we should find ways to provide students with the necessary
tools to become autonomous learners following the principle of learning to learn.
Therefore, creativity is essential in order to take out the most of materials to make
them appealing to learners and useful for future reference. According to Brian
Tomlinson (1998), "To be successful, a materials development project needs not only
to produce a quality product but to provide a quality learning experience for the
developers too".

Damaris Amaranto e Ivanna Diaz

References
Dudley-Evans, T. & St John, M. J. (1998). Developments in English for Specific
Purposes. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Hutchinson, T. & A. Waters. (1987). English for Specific Purposes. Cambridge,
England: Cambridge University Press.
Tomlinson, Brian. (1998). Materials Development in Language Teaching. Cambridge,
England: Cambridge University Press.
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Damaris Amaranto e Ivanna Diaz