Conducting a Needs Analysis
Conducting a needs analysis is a way in which you can find out more about the needs of your students.
EFL teachers may find it useful to devise a needs analysis questionnaire, before designing a teaching programme, to make sure that their lessons address the students’ particular needs and individual learning styles.
Performing a needs analysis can be an excellent way for EFL teachers to find out more about their students and make devising lessons for them much easier in the long run.
Why perform a needs analysis?
It is always helpful to find out about students’ motivation, their prior learning experiences, the situations they are likely to use English in and which skills/language items they need to extra practice with.
Armed with this information, the teacher can select and create the most appropriate and useful learning materials and activities.
The needs analysis questionnaire
When creating a needs analysis questionnaire, it is best to use open question forms such as What…? Why…? How…? When… ? rather than closed questions which are likely to result in only ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers.
It might also be a good idea to ask for a piece of English writing. The more students express themselves, the easier it is to deduce their capabilities and requirements.
What questions to ask in your needs analysis
A needs analysis questionnaire is often a good way of finding out about your students’ English language experience, their current level of English and their English language requirements.
For example, it is useful to know a little about their job, their company and their responsibilities at work.
If the student is not at work, you need to know where they use English, whether that is at university, at college, at home and/or socially.
You should include questions which allow you to get to know more about them and their interests, so you can make lessons more personally relevant and stimulating.
Example needs analysis questionnaire
Suggested questions for a needs analysis questionnaire:
What experience do you have of learning English?
When do you normally use English?
Who do you communicate in English with?
Do you use English at work? What for?
Do you use or need to use English in these situations:
- social situations
- meetings and discussions
- telephone calls
- report writing
- essay writing
- letter writing
How advanced are you using English generally, on a scale of 1-5? (1= beginner; 2= basic; 3= intermediate; 4= advanced; 5 = very advanced)
How confident are you using English in these situations?
- Introducing yourself
- Ordering food in a restaurant
- Asking for directions
- Talking about your job
- Making general conversation
- Writing a postcard
- Writing a letter of complaint
- Using the telephone
- Disagreeing with someone
What experience do you have of learning other languages?
What are your main 3 reasons for learning English?
What do you find most difficult when learning English? (e.g. speaking, writing, reading, listening)
Share your ideas about the needs analysis for TEFL
Do you think that it is always necessary to perform an in-depth needs analysis with a new student?
Are there any other questions you feel should be included in a needs analysis questionnaire for TEFL?
Do you have any tips or advice about lesson preparation?
What are the most common student goals in your experience?
Share your thoughts in the comments box below!