Needs Analysis

Category: Education

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Why needs analysis? : 

Why needs analysis? What if not? Who decides what to learn?

A Key Issue to ESP Course Design : 

A Key Issue to ESP Course Design learners’ survival needs (academic, occupational, vocational ) Problems: oversimplified language, inauthentic communicative structure, unrealistic situational content, etc.

How to conduct needs analysis? : 

How to conduct needs analysis? Sources for NAs Methods of NA What information can we get from each source and each method?

Sources for NAs : 

Sources for NAs Published & unpublished literature Learners Teachers & applied linguists Domain experts Triangulated sources

Published & unpublished literature : 

Published & unpublished literature detailed job descriptions for employees (from union offices, contracts, sectors, institutions, etc.): manual, lists of tasks, performance standards, training exercises *Do they contain any specific language to be used while doing the task?

Learners : 

Learners pre-experience learners (unreliable?) experienced in-service learners What information can they provide? Do they have enough knowledge about the content of the job and language needs? Are they familiar enough with a target discourse domain to provide usable, valid information?

Teachers & applied linguists : 

Teachers & applied linguists What do they know better than domain experts? Many studies show serious mismatches of understanding between applied linguists and domain experts (Huckin & Olsen, 1984; Selinker, 1979; Zuck & Zuck, 1984).

Domain experts : 

Domain experts What do they know better than teachers and applied linguists? What about their knowledge of language needs? (unreliable both on detailed linguistic level & discourse events)

Triangulated sources : 

Triangulated sources Combining domain experts and language experts in a team can produce successful task-based language NAs (Lett, 2005).

Methods of NA : 

Methods of NA Non-expert & expert intuitions Interviews Participant observation & non participant observation Questionnaires Triangulated methods

Non-expert & expert intuitions : 

Non-expert & expert intuitions non-expert intuitions (common for many commercial textbook writers): being notoriously unreliable on the language of target situations expert intuitions: not clear whether domain experts can do any better.

Interviews : 

Interviews Structured semi-structured unstructured/open-ended Unstructured interviews: time-consuming, no fixed format, allowing in-depth coverage of issues than the use of pre-determined questions, categories and response options once unstructured interviews are done and the data from them analyzed, semi-structured or structured interviews may follow.

Interviews : 

Interviews Establishing access to, making contact with and selecting interviewees Interviewing as a relationship listen more, talk less follow up on what the interviewee says, but don’t interrupt Ask the interviewee to reconstruct, not to remember

Interviews : 

Interviews keep the interviewee focused and ask for concrete details do not take the ebbs and flows of interviewing too personally follow your hunches

Participant observation & non participant observation : 

Participant observation & non participant observation non participant observation: no involvement with the people or activities studied (collecting data by observation alone) participant observation: degree of involvement Can we get specific languages from it?

Questionnaires : 

Questionnaires might be designed for broad coverage of representative members and numbers of each category specific, measureable objectives choice of population or sample reliable and valid instruments

Triangulated methods : 

Triangulated methods A questionnaire, used as the basis for in-depth structured interviews, etc. Lots of introspection & retrospection needed to be cross-checked against results of participant observation &/or non participant observation of actual language use

Approaches to course design: What is important to a course designer? : 

Approaches to course design: What is important to a course designer? Language-centred course design Skills-centred course design Learning-centred course design

Language-centred course design : 

Language-centred course design The learner is used as a means of identifying the target situation/a way of locating the language area. The analysis of target situation data is at the surface level. viewing learning a logical, straightforward teaching as an externally-imposed (p.68) Learning needs are not accounted (e.g., motivational attitude of the students). Too much focusing on language data, itself, not taking being interesting into account. Designing process is static, inflexible.

Skills-centred course design : 

Skills-centred course design taking the learner needs more into account than the language-centred approach viewing any language behavior as skills and strategies, which the learner uses in order to produce or comprehend discourse focusing more on performance and competence viewing the learner as a user of language rather than as a learner of language the teaching and learning process focus more on language use, not language learning.

Learning-centred course design : 

Learning-centred course design There’s more than just the learner to consider. Concern more on how someone acquires that competence Course design is a negotiated, dynamic process.

Syllabus : 

Syllabus The evaluation syllabus: listing what should be learnt (official assumption) The organizational syllabus: stating the order of items to be learnt (the contents page of a textbook) The materials syllabus: how learning will be achieved (e.g., how vocabulary items are presented in texts to involve more learners’ attention)

Syllabus : 

Syllabus The teacher syllabus The classroom syllabus The learner syllabus