Thursday, 7 August 2014

Needs Analysis For The Real World

I would be the first to admit that I haven't taught Business English lessons to classes on behalf of language schools or as a freelance for a while - this year (2013/4) I've been studying full-time for an MA in ELT at Warwick University (with a specialization in teaching with ICT), and the two years before that, I taught Business English/ESP to pre-experience learners in higher education.

However, the practical aspects of how courses are planned and delivered to corporate clients still interests me! The following presentation was therefore given to fellow students on a Teacher Education & Development module during the second term of the taught course that preceded our research dissertation in Term 3:

Of course, the above presentation is aimed at teachers whose job is to teach language school students, rather than concern themselves with questions such as how groups are formed or placement tested!

In recent months I've been influenced to quite an extent by Charles Rei, whose blog and presentation at the 2014 Graz Summer Symposium I've been following. His observations on pre-service learners transitioning from formal education to the workplace are well worth a read, and underline that often learners need a lot more than simply to be taught straight from a textbook.

Needs analysis is an important part of the freelancer's job, and it's arguably crucial that Business English trainers know how to get it more or less right. The following books are also very helpful:
  • Frendo, E. (2005). How To Teach Business English. Pearson Education Limited.
  • Long, M.H. (ed.) (2005). Second Language Needs Analysis. Cambridge Applied Linguistics.
  • Barton, D., Burkart, J, & Sever, C. (2010). The Business English Teacher: Professional Principles and Practical Procedures. Delta Teacher Development Series.
  • Huhta, M., Vogt, K., Johnson, E. & Tulikki, H. (2013). Needs Analysis for Language Course Design: A Holistic Approach to ESP. Cambridge Professional English.
So how about you? How do you get started with new corporate classes? I'd be interested to hear from you.

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