• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


Week 2

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 1 month ago

Week 2: Analyzing Needs


January 21-27, 2008





Exploring what we have, need and want






By the end of Week 2 we should all have:


  • Thought about the importance of Needs Analysis in our teaching practice after having watched a video.
  • Described our working situation using Google Docs.


  • Carried out group discussions (5-10 participants) with other teachers who have similar working situations to share students' profiles and their needs by posting threaded messages to Yahoo Group Messages at lesson_planning@yahoogroups.com .


  • Reported on other teachers in the group who share similar teaching situations and interests, teaching problems and concerns by uploading a file into our individual yahoo folder
  • Read the four online articles on Needs Analysis posted in the Needs Analysis Links folder .


  • Reflected on the information in those articles and the manner in which we can use needs analysis as the basis for our lesson plans.
  • Reflected on how our own needs united to our students' needs can affect and guide the planning of our lessons.
  • Written and discussed our reflections on needs analysis by adding new posts to our blog: Lesson planning and course design .
  • Had an introductory group chat in Yahoo Messenger for discussing and exploring our own needs and wants: who we are, what we do, the kind of students we have, our expectations, our own language learning experience.




Thinking about Needs Analysis (Introduction)





Look at these quotes taken from Teachnology: The Online Teacher Resource








Now, do you really think that planning lessons is not a difficult task? Is it true that effective lesson planning can be the solution to teachers’ problems and the answer to the question of students’ learning success?


This week we will be talking about the process of Needs Analysis (NA) as one of the most important steps in planning each one of our lessons.  To start brainstorming and approaching the context of NA, I would like you to concentrate and try to visualize your working environment and teaching activity while attempting to answer the questions below.


Please answer the questions by leaving a comment in our session blog post “Introduction to Needs Analysis”.  Click on the Comment button at the end of that post, and write your ideas.


What do you understand by planning? What does planning include?

What are your major concerns while planning a lesson?

What does a lesson or a course need to have in order to be labeled as “good”?

What are the characteristics of good teachers?

What is the real reason for the meeting between teaching and learning?










In her book Planning Lessons and Courses (2001), Tessa Woodward states that “the students we work with are the real reason for the whole learning/teaching encounter”.  For her, the most important thing we can do before, during, and after classes is to listen to students because this will give us the opportunity to know them better and to grasp information that can be really valuable at the time of choosing topics, designing activities, developing materials, and of course shaping lessons, and even complete courses.



Other authors like James Dean Brown in his book The Elements of Language Curriculum (1995) also consider that students’ needs are of great importance, but he highlights the fact that teachers, program administrators, employers, institutions, societies, and even whole nations also have needs which might as well play an important role in the language teaching and learning situation. For Brown (1995) the learner must be the focus of Needs Analysis, but “many other sources and types of information must be considered in doing a sound assessment of their needs”.


Look at the Week 2 illustration at the top of this page, and notice how different actors can perceive a project in so many different ways (customer, project leader, analysts, designers, programmers, business consultants, administrators), and what the outcome can be just by seeing others’ needs with the naked eye. Can you tell what happened?


The same thing can happen in education if we don’t know our students, if we don’t know who they are, or what needs and wants they may bear in mind.  Every time we start a new course, it is important to analyze what students already know, what they need to learn as well as what they want to learn.  Most of the times we teachers know what we want to teach our students, but is it what they really need to learn? Is it what they want to learn? (Reflection)




What is the basic difference between needs and wants?



“The term ‘need’ is not as straightforward as it may appear, and hence it is sometimes used to refer to wants, desires, demands, expectations, motivations, lacks, constrains, and requirements” (Brindley, 1984, 28).


A "need" is something you can't live without (water), and a "want" is something you don't have to have to survive, but something you really like (coke).


In the fields of language learning and teaching, a need is described in terms of what students lack, and thus can be interpreted as the difference between what a learner is able to do in the target language (what he already knows), and what he/she should be able to do in that language by the end of the school year, or language course.


Michael Wesch, an assistant professor of Cultural Anthropology currentlyexploring the impacts of new media on human interaction, in collaboration  with 200 students at Kansas State University created a short video summarizing some of the most important characteristics of today students: how they learn, what they need to learn, how they would like to learn, their goals, hopes, dreams, worries, frustrations, how they project their lives in the near future, and the changes they will experience in their lifetime.


The professor opened a document in Google docs and invited his students of Introduction to Cultural Anthropology class of Spring 2007 to edit it.


Let’s watch the video to figure out the message they wanted to transmit.

What are they trying to tell us?


Feel free to make comments about it in our session blog.  Remember to click on the Comment button at the end of the Mo-Time (Videos Post). 



YouTube plugin error


Describing our working situation



A message will be emailed to you with an invitation to share the spreadsheet "EVO_LP_Week 2_Working Context_&_SP".  

That spreadsheet is stored online at Google Docs.


  • This document has been published in the web so we all can see it. 
  • To see it, click on the link above.
  • To edit it and add your information you will be requested to register in Google Docs. (It takes less than 3 minutes to do so!!!)


Please enter your working situation information there as a previous step before moving on to Activity 3.



Carrying out small group discussions to discuss students' profiles and their needs



Once we all have  added our working situation to EVO_LP_Week 2_Working Context_&_SP, open the spreadsheet in search for a group of other teachers (5-10) who have a teaching situation similar to yours, contact them and start a new mesage thread in our Yahoo Group Messages.


Subject of your Message:


Make sure the topic or subject of your message is clear enough to easily follow the thread by clicking on Group by Topic in our YG message folder.


Topic for discussion of your Message:


Exchange information about your working environment, students' profiles, special interests, weaknesses and strengths, students' language and situational needs, their greatest challenges and achievements, and also share some of the problems and difficulties you encounter in your classes.



Reporting on your group discussion findings


In a word document, report what you found out in your group discussions. How many other participants share your same teaching situation? How many have students with interests and/or problems similar to yours? How many work in your same country?


Upload your documents to our individual yahoo folder . You can use any other word processor in case you do not use Word.



Reading about Needs Analysis



Now that we have been introduced to the topic of Needs Analysis, we will read four articles that will provide more specific information on the topic. These articles cover areas such as what the process of NA is, why it is important in any teching-learning situation, how students' needs can be assessed, and also teachers' experiences with NA case studies).


Try to keep in mind your teaching situation as well as your students' needs as you read the articles and try to figure out different ways to assess the needs of your students in your particular teaching context.




You can click on the individual links to go to each article or you can access all four from our Yahoo Group Needs Analysis Links folder.



  • Needs Analysis (by Dr. Strong-Krause) 

     What is it? Why do we need it?


  • How to do a needs analysis ( by Carol J. Orwig, method adapted from Dickenson, 1987)

     Steps in the process


  • Needs assessment for adult ESL learners (by Kathleen Santopietro Weddel and Carol Van Duzer)

    What it is? Why it is important? How can needs be assessed?


  • Listening to learners: Needs analysis in an EFL classroom  (by Keita Kikuchi & Matthew Apple)

    Teacher's experience with needs analysis in Japanese classroom





    Writing of our own needs




    After having thought about our students' needs, shared our experiences with other teachers and read the four articles about Needs Analysis, we are ready to do an interesting exercise. Open a word document and write your answers in paragraph form, upload your documents to our individual yahoo folder .

    You can use any other word processor in case you do not use Word.




    • Place yourselves in the shoes of a student as part of this EVO session "Lesson Planing Folowing the Principles of Course Design",  and tell us:



      • Before joining this session, did you think about what you needed to get out of it?
      • Why are you here?
      • How have you helped moderators determine what your real needs are?
      • Can you tell which activities were intentionally planned to make your needs known?


    Reflecting on Needs Analysis while having our first Chat session



    Our first Chat session will be held at Yahoo Messenger. If you have a microphone and speakers or headphones, you will be able to have a voice chat; if not, a text chat will do anyway.  In this conversation (Chat) we will reflect on the following issues: 

    • Our own needs as teachers

    • Our teaching situations

    • Our students' needs

    • Considering needs when planning our lessons

    • Different forms to conduct Needs Analysis





    We don't want to let Week 2 go without sharing "The Selfless Teacher"video with you.

    We hope you enjoy it.  Feel free to make comments about it in our session blog in Mo-Time (Videos Post)


    YouTube plugin error







    •  Think of how Needs Analysys can help us set goals and write instructional objectives in our lesson plans?
    • State your time preference for our second synchronous session (Week 3) by answering the poll posted in our YG









    Comments (0)

    You don't have permission to comment on this page.