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Needs analysis

Penulis : citra priski on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 | 10:06 AM

1.  Brief background and definition

(1)    Needs analysis was introduced into language teaching through the ESP movement, in particular, the “needs-based philosophy” of language teaching (See, Hutchinson & Waters, 1987).
(2)    It was later realized that all language learners (including those learning languages for general purposes) have unique needs and all sound language education programmes should be based on an analysis of the learners’ needs.
(3)    In the beginning, during the ESP movement, learners’ needs mainly referred to the language knowledge and skills that are needed for certain target situations purposes. Now the term “needs” has become a much broader concept, referring to demands, lacks, wants, desires, expectations, motivations, constraints and requirements, which could be linguistic, affective, material or institutional.
(4)    Therefore, Needs analysis refers to the procedures used to collect information about the needs of learners (Richards, 2001). A more sophisticated definition is given by Brown (1995): needs analysis refers to “the systematic collection and analysis of all subjective and objective information necessary to define and validate defensible curriculum purposes that satisfy the language learning requirements of students within the context of particular institutions that influence the learning and teaching situation.

2.  Whose needs are analysed in needs analysis?

(1)    Learners’ needs (the focus of needs analysis)
(2)    Teachers’ needs
(3)    Sponsors’ needs
(4)    Administrators’ needs

3.  Types of needs

(1) Brown (1995) proposes three dichotomies to categorize needs:

Situation needs vs. language needs

Objective needs vs. subjective needs

Linguistic content vs. learning processes

(2) Hutchinson and Waters’s (1987) proposed a simpler categorization of needs:

Can you guess what these types of needs refer to?

4.  Ways to collect information in needs analysis

(1)    Questionnaires
(2)    Interviews
(3)    Meetings
(4)    Observation
(5)    Collecting learners’ language samples
(6)    Tests
(7)    Existing data

5.  Source of information (Population targets)

(1)    Learners: goals and objectives; expectations; learning background; individual factors, etc.
(2)    Teachers: professional qualities; ethic devotion; work load; expectations
(3)    Policy makers/Administrators: plans and policies
(4)    Academics/researchers: views on language education
(5)    Employers: expectations of employees’ language ability
(6)    Parents: concern of the children’s development
(7)    Community agencies: the contribution that language education makes to the community.

6.  Making use of the information obtained

(1)    percentage information (closed items), including norm distribution
(2)    frequency information (open-ended items)
(3)    Comparison and discrepancy information

7.  Sample instruments for needs analysis


Questionnaire used in needs analysis of learners of English in Senior High School in Pare Kediri

Part A
In what situations is English (or would English be) useful for you?
Please check the appropriate column.
Al. Buying things in stores and supermarkets.
A2. Buying things in the market place.
A3. Getting information about services and goods I want to buy.
A4. Ordering food in a restaurant/canteen/cafeteria.
A5. Taking a taxi.
A6. Taking other public transport.
A7. Asking for directions.
A8. Talking to colleagues at work.
A9. Talking to office personnel at work.
A10. Talking to neighbours.
All. Talking to children.
A12. Talking to friends.
A13. Having casual conversations with people.
A14. Talking to students.
A15. Talking to a (English-speaking)domestic helper.
A16. Talking to workers in my place of residence.
A17. Talking to electricians, plumbers, etc.
A18. Receiving telephone calls.
A19. Making telephone calls.
A20. Joining hobby or interest group.
A2l. Playing sports and participating in social clubs.
A22. Watching TV or movies.
A23. Listening to the radio.
A24. Listening to English music.
A25. Visiting friends' homes.
A26. Visiting different parts of the territory.
A27. Visiting Guangdong province.
A28. Making travel arrangements.
A29. Using English in situations related to my work.
Please explain: __________________

Part E
Have you ever used the following activities in studying English? If you indicate yes, how useful were they?

E 1. Practising dialogues from a book.
E2. Practising drills on tones, sounds, and grammatical patterns.
E3. Free conversation with native speakers.
E4. Free conversation with other learners of English.
E5. Memorizing bilingual vocabulary lists.
E6. Studying English textbooks at home.
E7. Studying the grammar of English.
E8. Studying the tone system of English.
E9. Studying the difference between English and English.
E10. Doing pair-work exercises.
Ell. Doing group-work exercises.
E12. Doing translation exercises.
El3. Writing down English using a Romanized system.
El4. Watching TV in English at home.
El5. Watching or listening to people speaking English around me.
E16. Using cassettes at home.
E17. Talking to friends in English.
El8. Trying to use English whenever I have the opportunity.
El9. Putting myself in situations in which I will be forced to speak in English.
E20. Making myself understood even if I make a lot of mistakes.
E21. Speaking a good English without making mistakes in grammar or pronunciation.
E22. Studying with a private tutor.

Part F
In class or with a tutor, I would like my teacher to:
Fl. explain new grammar points before practising them.
F2. practise before explaining new grammar points.
F3. correct any mistakes I made in front of others immediately.
F4. correct my mistakes of grammar.
F5. correct my mistakes of pronunciation.
F6. use English only.
F7. use both English and English.

Part G
What are your feelings about English as a language?
Gl. English is a language with a rich vocabulary.
G2. English is made up of many colloquial expressions.
G3. English is made up of many idioms.
G4. English is a very difficult language.
G5. English is a language with a lot of grammar.
G6. English is a language where pronunciation is very important.
G7. English is a language where rhythm and intonation are important.
G8. English is a very useful language in Hong Kong.
G9. English is a fascinating language.
G10. English is a beautiful sounding language.
Gil. English is a polite language.
G12. The rhythm and intonation of English are pleasing to my ears.
G13. English is a harsh sounding language.
G14. English is a vulgar sounding language.

Assignment for this topic:

Choose one of the following learner groups and analyse their needs based on the ideas presented in this lecture. You may focus on ONE category of needs.
-  primary school students
-          junior high school students
-          senior high school students
-          College non-English majors
-          College English majors
-          Post-graduate students (non-English majored)
-          Evening school learners (you may need to be more specific)
-Any other group that you are familiar with.
Write a 2-page summary report of your analysis.

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