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March 28, 2007

Teacher Development- Needs Analysis

Hello Readers,

In the last few months, a needs analysis has been mentioned a few times, so I thought it might be a good idea to discuss it in a bit more detail.

A needs analysis is basically the first step that should be taken when working with individuals or group classes. Sometimes this is done for you by someone in admin, but if you don't get the results of the needs analysis, you might want to...

... think about doing one for the class- even an informal one would do.

So what's included in a needs analysis? There are basically two parts: the Present Situation Analysis (PSA), which tells you about where the student is now and the Target Situation Analysis (TSA), which is where the student hopes to be (with his/her language skills) in the future.

A needs analysis can be formal or informal and can be administered in a class, in an interview, or even through a simple form that the student fills out by him/herself at home. It can be done for every individual or by the class as a whole (ie. in a group discussion) and can be done before the class starts and/or on a continuous basis. It can be a few questions or enough questions to fill four pages of a form.

The best needs analysis is one that is tailor-made so that it answers the questions that you need answered. If you're teaching a Business English class, you might have the student tick the skills that they want to work on (eg. talking on the telephone, giving a presentation, writing emails, etc.). If you're teaching a group of students who just want to learn General English skills, you might ask them to tell you what they're interested in so that you can find topics that they will find both motivating and interesting.

Here's a basic sample:

Personal Details:
Main Language:
Date of Birth:
Contact telephone number/email address:

Professional Details:
Current Job Title:
Basic Duties:

English Language:
Number of years you've studied English:

Rate your skills in the following (1-10, 1 being poor, and 10 being excellent)

Which of the following would you like to improve:

What is your main goal in studying English?
Is there anything that you'd like to focus on specifically?

Other comments:


I hope that helps.

Good luck!

Carol Rueckert
Writer, ESL Lesson Plan
E-mail: crueckert@eslemployment.com
Blog: www.esl-lesson-plan.com

"I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand." - Chinese Proverb

*Looking for more articles that spotlight Teacher Development in the ESL industry? Click HERE!

About the author of this entry:
Carol, a native English-speaker who hails from the small town of St. Joseph in Minnesota, USA, and lived and worked in China for more than 7 years. During that time, she worked with students that range in age from three to more than sixty years old. She worked in universities, private language schools, grade schools, international schools, as well as private tutoring. Besides teaching, she also worked as a head teacher, an education manager, and a material development manager. In addition to working on this newsletter, she currently writes a monthly column for Time Out Beijing. Carol is also currently working on her MA in TESOL at the Oxford Brookes University in England. Look for her posts on the ESL-Jobs-Forum discussion boards!

Posted by crueckert at March 28, 2007 03:38 AM

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