I asked how many of us used some form of Needs Analysis with our adult students and received a variety of answers.
to get them to where they want to be.
whole range of questions about whether Syllabus Design was taught to teachers these days.
More of this later..
@esolcourses: IMO, it's important to focus on learner needs rather than course/org
requirements - otherwise, there is little (if any) point to doing them.
@jankenb2 made a good point re different types of NA--formal ( to help get Ss to meet standards) and informal ( to help direct the class) When it comes to NA how much tacit knowledge of teaching is needed ?
What are the Difficulties?
so I can be ready - can be risky though
@theteacherjames: I had some trouble with negotiated syllabus. "You're the teacher,
tell us what to do!" I had to explain, "sorry, not my style!”
@PatrickAndrews: people are not always linguistically aware of their needs.
@barbsaka agreed, and said that her students loved to be asked about their needs
but their perception didn’t match the reality. I think most of us had experienced this
scenario at some time. She mentioned that her older kids were more aware, in many cases,
than the adults. @michaelgriffin recommended a need for training the learners to recognise
not always placed to offer what they require.
and also takes time away from lessons. Many tests are made to test the grammar and
vocabulary and it isn’t always easy to test the writing.
that has been tailored for them.
including the teacher. He suggested that the sponsors might observe a class so that everyone could agree on the priorities.
to choose, select or rank for later work. @DebCapras reminded us to check the students’ access
to technology and their comfort level with it as well as their language needs. She suggested that it might be possible to customise an off-the-shelf- company-driven course by using a good NA.
Regular feedback - not just at end
What do you do with the results?
Personally, I design a syllabus and then take it back to the student for modification or agreement.
This provides you with a working contract. I also think that you must revisit the NA later in
the course to see if needs have changed-as Marisa called it ‘stocktaking’!
This safeguards the teacher from problems and any changes can be negotiated with the student.
It seems that it is not unusual for students to change their priorities in the middle of a lengthy
course – it was suggested that this could be caused by: promotion, a new job, a new boss,
changedexpectations or insight! @Shaunwilden pointed out that this was a problem for
inexperienced teachers to recognise. We came back to the problem mentioned before:
What skills do our newly- qualified or still-in-training teachers have access to?
@Marisa_C asked whether all teachers had test and syllabus design skills. @esolcourses agreed
that it would be wrong to make assumptions as it was not always focussed on in training.
@evanfrendo suggested that few teachers have studied discourse analysis and would find it
difficult to analyse future language needs.
@theteacherjames taught himself and puts it to use, designing as and when he needs to.
Marisa offered to provide examples of syllabus designs done by her Delta Candidates, providing
they were happy to do so as it is now covered in DELTA and DIP level syllabi.
A final point from @theteacherjames:
Whatever the result of a Needs Analysis is, we shouldn't underestimate
the effect of simply asking the students what they want.
It's all too rare.