ESP Development in Kuwait: Teachers and learners cascading perceptions of needs, quality & value

  • Hanan Alkandari

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The basic concept underpinning the teaching of ESP is preparing learners to interact successfully in target communities after the completion of their course. Many ESP classrooms however still lack the ability to achieve such a mission. Only a few studies have attempted to examine these courses in light of the perceptions of both teachers and learners to understand their experiences and how the ESP courses can effectively serve in catering for the target needs of the learners. This study explores the ESP courses in one college in Kuwait from the perspectives of the key stakeholders, teachers and learners. The main aim of the present study is to probe into the teachers’ and learners’ views regarding several aspects of their ESP experiences in order to pinpoint the factors that impact their attitudes and performance in the context of ESP courses with the intention of informing future improvements. This study can be helpful for ESP practitioners, course designers, and program managers in different contexts to understand the nature of the realities experienced by both teachers and learners in the ESP courses and how they understand their impact on their teaching and learning experiences in the ESP courses.
The study follows an exploratory approach within the interpretive paradigm. Individual interviews with seven ESP teachers and five focus groups with 32 learners were conducted following a qualitative approach aimed at finding rich data to support ESP teaching and learning developments. The transcripts from the interviews and focus groups were analysed to identify the key themes and issues emerging from the data.
The findings unveil the complex cognitive and environmental forces as factors which have a significant influence on the teachers’ and learners’ ESP experiences in the investigated context. Findings from this study suggest that cognitive factors such as the teachers’ and learners’ conceptualisations of the nature of ESP and ESP instruction, as well as their conceptualisations of learners’ future needs were significant factors which shaped their experiences of the ESP course. The study also revealed that environmental factors like teachers’ and learners’ perceptions of issues related to social categories as well as perceptions related to the planning and management of the ESP courses also influenced their attitudes and practices in the ESP courses.
The study provides a better understanding of the ESP courses in the investigated context and provides insights into the complex nature of the relationship between the teachers and learners. Based on the findings, there are several implications for ESP teachers, course designers and program managers in relation to pressing issues such as pre and in-service teacher education, ESP awareness, learner preparedness and empowerment.
Date of Award4 Nov 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorGail Forey (Supervisor) & Reka Ratkaine Jablonkai (Supervisor)


  • ESP,
  • Perceptions
  • cognitive
  • environmental
  • ESP conceptualisations
  • ESP needs
  • Social categories
  • ESP course management
  • TE
  • PD

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