Meeting Students’ Needs

Our lives are full of challenges and demands.

As a teacher, I feel myself in constant hunt for new materials and methods. This inner state of searching is quite stressful itself. In addition to it, we have students with different needs. Sometimes to hear their needs & objectives in learning and stick to them while teaching is hard work.

Recently I have met adult people who are successful in their careers. They are aware of business procedures of goal setting and getting specific results. In other words, adult students from international companies realize what they want to achieve in short-term milestones.

  • Do we plan our lessons in accordance with our students’ objectives?
  • Do we adjust our plans and methods to students’ needs?
  • Do our students feel satisfied with the progress?

I think it is important to ask yourselves these questions from time to time. Having some plan for teaching, the material taken from some excellent book cannot be just good enough.

Make a map of students’ expectations.

At the very first lesson, ask your students what their objectives are. I think it is very fair to discuss it with your clients. Let’s say you have a group of adult students of 4 people. The work in the same company but in different departments: Sales, HR, IT and Administration. Their needs in class will differ. Sales and HR employees will stress on communication, because this skill they need for work. While IT and Administration colleagues will need to develop writing skills more. Mapping their goals along with your professional assessment of the students will help you to see better way of organizing studying plan.

Develop a studying plan based on the idea of 80/20.

You have already mapped your goals for the group. Now you know what they want from this class and what you need to give them. At this point, you are ready to make up a plan. Most often, you do not have to do it every time on your own. There are many wonderful resources out there waiting for someone to use them. My idea is to develop a studying plan based on 80% of the awesome manual (with preplanned schedule and great teacher’s resource pack) and 20% of students’ goals. Actually, it is a way to outsmart your students. They feel their needs taken into consideration and you are just doing your work.

Set milestones for students’ assessment.

Daily, weekly, once a fortnight, monthly, etc. Choose whatever regular period you like, but your students’ should be assessed regularly. I worked for a company, which provided corporate clients with English classes. One of the requirements was to fill in the online students’ progress monthly. It was a good motivating factor for teachers and students to do their best.

Review your studying plan regularly.

Having a plan is not enough as usual. You need to check if your plan is still real and achievable for both sides.

Originally published at on November 12, 2015.