DIY Needs Analysis lesson

Level: good pre-intermediate to advanced.
Ages: older teens and adults.
Type: student-generated needs analysis questionnaire for regular use in class.
Skills: reading; writing; speaking; listening; pronunciation.
Language focus: talking about learning English; grammar and vocabulary as arise from the lesson.

DIY Needs Analysis worksheet

Note: this is one way of squeezing as much as possible out of a needs analysis questionnaire, rather than simply handing one out and asking students to fill it in for homework.

Materials:

  • double-sided copies of this worksheet, one per student;
  • A1/A2/A3 card – one piece per group of 4 students in your class;
  • some marker pens to go with the card;
  • some blu-tack or similar to stick the card on your classroom walls.

Preparation: stick the large pieces of card in different places around your classroom.

Procedure:

Warmer and advance organiser

  • Board or dictate the following: “are English learning Why you ?” and elicit the correct word order (“Why are you learning English?“). Divide your class into pairs and allow a few minutes for them to discuss their answers to this question.
  • Nominate a couple of students to give you their answers and board them if you like.
  • Explain that, in this lesson, you’ll be finding out what they want from their English classes and how they are getting on with learning English. Tell them you’ll be asking them to write questions so they can interview each other.

Making needs analysis questions

  • Give out the worksheet, “A”, “B” and “C” activities facing up. Ask your students to write their name and today’s date at the top of the page.
  • Ask them individually to unscramble the words to make questions; then put them in pairs and ask them to check their questions together. Elicit these questions from the class:
    1. How can you improve your English outside the classroom?
    2. What was the most useful thing you learnt in class this week?
    3. What would you like to write about next week?
    4. What do you find most difficult about learning English?
  • If necessary, check your students understand the vocabulary in part B of the worksheet. Then ask them to match each question with one or more categories from the list. When they’ve finished, nominate different students to tell you which categories the questions belong to, in each case asking them to justify their choices. You should get something like the following (but accept all well-justified answers!):
    1. homework; motivation
    2. your needs
    3. writing; your needs; motivation
    4. weaknesses; your needs
  • If you like, ask your students to swap partners. Then, in pairs, ask them to use the listed categories to make more questions they can ask their classmates about their classes, and to write these questions in part C of the worksheet.
  • Ask each pair to swap sheets with another pair. This other pair checks the grammar and vocabulary, making any changes they want, and ticks any questions they like.
  • Put the pairs in groups of 4, so they are working with the pair they swapped sheets with. Ask each group to discuss any grammar or vocabulary changes they made and to say which questions they ticked.

Pronunciation practice; grammar and vocabulary focus

  • Nominate one student from each group of 4 to stand up. Give them a marker pen and ask them to stand in front of the large sheet of paper on the wall furthest from their group. Ask the sitting students to call out their questions, and ask the standing students to write their group’s questions on the sheet of paper. Elicit the student’s writing should be big enough so the whole class can read it. If you like, set a time limit for this activity (perhaps 3 or 4 minutes).
  • Thank the standing students and ask them to return to their seats. With the paper on the walls, allocate each group a different sheet to look at. Ask them to discuss any grammar or vocabulary changes they would like to make. Again, you could set a time limit for this.
  • With the whole class, go through the changes your students suggest for each sheet on the walls. Elicit and make corrections where necessary.

Needs analysis interviews

  • Ask your students to stand up and find a new partner. Ask them to look at the different sheets around the walls and decide which questions they want to ask each other.
  • When they have decided, ask them to sit down and turn their worksheets over. They should write their partner’s name at the top of this side of the page, and write notes summarising their partner’s answers underneath, leaving a gap between each answer. Set quite a long time limit for them to ask their questions and discuss their answers (e.g., 20 minutes, or 10 minutes per student).
  • As your students interview each other, take down the sheets of paper from the walls, or turn them over. You can also monitor your students’ language here.
  • When they have finished, you could get some content feedback: for example, you could nominate a few students to tell you one thing they learnt about their partners, and find out if this opinion is widely shared by your class.

Revising grammar and vocabulary

  • Ask each pair to try to remember the questions they asked each other and to write these above their partner’s answers on their worksheet. After a while, board the large sheets of paper and ask your students to check the questions they wrote and to write any corrections.

Follow-on

  • Collect the worksheets and use them to plan the next week’s lessons. You could also give some delayed feedback, either now or in a future lesson (I have some ideas about how to give delayed feedback here).

Acknowledgement: thanks to Jason Renshaw, whose video series on materials design inspired me to write this post (and to try and make my worksheet look nice – any failures remain my own, of course!)

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