What information do teachers need to know about their learners to prepare good lessons? (e.g. age, nationality, etc.)
The more information the better – but being cautious about making too many generalisations. Understanding the age group / age span can help in giving examples that are relevant to their likely experiences. Information about nationality could help – possibly to help students find a friend in the class, possibly to try to separate students so they don’t always gravitate to speakers of their own language. We may find information on gender of some relevance, being aware of the potential differences in speaking up.
Very similar thoughts to Yi-Hsuan Shih.
Why is it important for teachers to know about their learners’ characteristics and needs?
The more we know, the more we can tailor content to their requirements, within the overall framework of the course syllabus.
How can teachers find out about their learners?
There may be some broad biographical information available from the institution with which they have registered. Then more detail through conversation, observation, anything they submit in writing and so on.