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Week 2 - Charles and Marjorie

Page history last edited by Claire Hart 7 years, 2 months ago

Welcome to Week 2! This week we´re looking at two different but closely connected topics: needs analysis and learning styles.


No two classes are the same, just as no two learners are the same.  The ability to adapt teaching practice and course content to fit the learners is a key skill in Business English. Regardless of whether we are facing a large class with a formal syllabus or a one-to-one class, we have to make sure we are meeting the needs of the learners both in material and technique.  This week, we will focus on these two aspects by examining learning styles and needs analysis with the understanding that no class is "one size fits all".


Needs analysis is the road map to success.  At the core, it is about finding the performance gap, the difference between what the learners can do now and what they should be able to do in the future.  It is the main driver of syllabus design, course planning, individual lessons, and assessment.  While learning styles can give us insight on how to teach, needs analysis tells us what to teach.  In short, an effective needs analysis is a process which makes it easier for teachers and administrators to design a relevant course and meet the expectations of the customer.  In this session, we will look at various approaches to needs analysis, turn needs information into lesson ideas, and discuss how to keep our course on track.


The goals of the needs analysis module are:

  • To compare at least two different approaches to initial needs analysis.
  • To create an in-class activity to conduct feedback on progress and reassess needs during an ongoing course. 


Tasks 1-3 (Monday- Thursday)


- Task One: To start this week, we will examine three different approaches to needs analysis.  First watch the video for an overview of the three approaches.  Then follow the links to learn more about these various approaches.  Please keep in mind that teachers may use a range of need analysis tools which take elements from each approach.



  • The task approach - There are many examples of the task approach.  Here is a link to TEFL Boot Camp an online teacher training company.  The page includes a link to their needs analysis (word document).  It is a classic example of the task approach in practice.  
    Note:  I am not affiliated with TEFL Boot Camp and I am not promoting the company.  I simply feel that their approach to needs analysis reflects what I see in many organizations and Business English teacher training materials.
  • The job function approach - This blog post from Evan Frendo, author of How to Teach Business English (Pearson/Longman), describes how he applies the job function approach.  His example shows the approach for a single learner, but it can also be applied to job families and departments.
  • The situation approach - This blog post is a recap of my presentation at the BESIG Annual Conference 2012 on Communicative Event Analysis.


Write a post to Edmodo which...


  1. Describes a current class you are teaching (number of participants, level, duration, frequency, setting e.g. in-company, private language school, educational, etc.).
  2. Outlines which approach to needs analysis would work best for this class.
  3. Explains why your selected approach would be more effective than the others.
  4. Offers any real world feedback on your use of these approaches - what works well and what could be improved. 


Note:  If you do not want to use a current class, you can use this example class


- Task Two:  Your colleague is taking vacation and you have been asked to substitute for three lessons.  Read this email from your colleague and write a post in Edmodo which describes what your three lessons will cover and why 


- Task Three:  During the live session, we will focus on the performance gap and refining needs analysis.  For needs analysis to be effective, it must be constantly refined and updated.  Based on the live session and your experience, describe a 30 minute in-class activity to gain feedback on the class so far and refine the needs analysis.  Post your activity idea to Edmodo for peer feedback.  You may want to revisit your tasks in Week 1 on reflection for this task.


You can watch the recording of the live session by clicking on this link: Recording of the live session on needs analysis with Charles 


Part 2 - Learning styles in the business English classroom


Teachers increasingly deal not only with mixed-ability classes, but also with very diverse learning approaches and strategies employed by their learners. Teachers are aware of this but may not have the background information or the time to search for appropriate material and methods of getting their message across, especially when learners have a different style than the teacher has. In this session we will start off with an article describing one model of learning styles and its use in the business English classroom.  Then, in preparation for the live session, participants will fill out three surveys to determine their own learning styles.  The session will wrap up with suggestions of activities that can be carried out in the business English classroom.


The goals of the session are:

  • to clarify what learning styles are and what they are not
  • to discover your own style and the impact it has on your teaching
  • to become aware of learners’ styles and the diversity of styles in the classroom
  • to discover ways to make use of this information in the classroom


Tasks 4-6 (Thursday - Sunday)


Before the live session on Thursday, 23 January 2014, 6pm GMT

- Task Four: Do these three surveys in preparation for the live session on Thursday, 23 January. (6 pm GMT)  


You can watch the recording of the live session by clicking on this link: Recording of the live session with Marjorie Rosenberg

You can download the slides from Marjorie´s live session here: Spotlight on learning styles slides 


After the live session on Thursday, 23 January 2014, 6pm GMT

- Task Five: Read this article on learning styles and the business English classroom and give your feedback on this in a post on Edmodo.  


- Task Six: Using Edmodo, describe an activity which is geared towards a particular style. Take into consideration the three different learning styles models presented in the live session and explain why the activity would especially appeal to those learners. IAs an alternative, you can comment instead on ideas for activities presented in the article and how you could use them in your own teaching.


- Optional follow-up activity: Listen to an interview with Marjorie about learning styles in this podcast

- Additional document on learning styles from Marjorie: Spotlight on learning styles strategies 


Live Sessions (Wednesday and Thursday)


Charles Rei

22 January 2014, 6pm GMT

After the Needs Analysis


Marjorie Rosenberg

23 January 2014, 6pm GMT

Spotlight on Learning Styles 




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