Needs analysis and instant personalised practice (TEFLtastic Classics Part 50)

Back when I was studying to teach English for Business for the first time, what I most appreciated and gained from were lessons on doing needs analysis and on planning first lessons that cover things that most students are likely to need like practice of English numbers. When I then started teaching Business English and ESP, it slowly dawned on me that however good your guesses about those students, it would make more sense to use what you learn about their needs in the first class to get straight down to those things. For example, if they tell you that they most need emailing, you can move straight onto eliciting typical work emails for them onto the board, at least in one-to-one and other small classes.

It took me longer to work out how to set up instant personalised practice in bigger groups, especially if you want to cover each student’s biggest needs all in that first class. However, it is worth the effort, as it helps students appreciate that different people have different needs, and can help bond them as a group as they work together to improve everyone’s English.

The necessary steps to be able to do instant personalised practice in first classes with groups are:

  • get them to interview each other on their jobs, uses of English, previous studies, etc
  • give them more ideas for kinds of communication, functional language, levels of formality, etc that they might need to add to their needs analysis discussion
  • ask them to choose one particularly common, important and/ or difficult situation in which they communicate in English (or a similar situation in other languages if they don’t yet know how they will need to use English)
  • roleplay that situation with them as themselves and their partner as the person or people that they will have to communicate with
  • give feedback and/ or input on that kind of/ those kinds of communication

Here are some of the many possible materials using that approach:

Photocopiable needs and instant personalised practice activities

Needs analysis extended speaking and instant practice

Personalised instant roleplays

Personalised instant practice for logistics staff

Needs analysis extended speaking and instant practice

Business communication needs analysis and instant personalised practice

English for logistics needs analysis and instant personalised practice

Different kinds of meetings needs analysis and instant practice (in this very cheap e-book)

Emailing needs analysis and instant personalised practice (in this very cheap e-book)

Discuss and practise your priorities

Telephoning in English discussion and personalised practice

Telephoning and teleconferences discussion and personalised practice

Needs analysis and small talk (in this very cheap e-book)

Academic Writing needs analysis and defining your terms phrases

Personal information in academic writing (for academic applications, academic bios, etc)

Writing academic bios lead-in/ needs analysis (a good first lesson for Academic Writing classes)

If that’s not enough, a few more needs and instant practice worksheets coming soon, and 49 other TEFLtastic Classics here.

Updated 15 July 2022

This entry was posted in Business English and ESP, Needs analysis and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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