1.1 Welcome to the forum

What's happening in this topic?

Start thinking about learners and start using the forums

Time to complete: approximately 20 mins

Study note: The value of forums

During the course, we really want you to be able to share ideas and compare notes about the topics covered in the TKT exam. Discussing the topics with others will help to develop a deeper level of engagement, which will help you with recall during the exam. One way we will do this is through forum tasks so let’s get started with some questions to be answered in the forum.

Some advice for posting on forums

  • Get the ideas there early. If you are the first person to post, just get the conversation started, don’t worry about writing full posts.
  • Regularly check the forums and ask and answer questions, help develop the conversation. Don’t just post and forget about it.
  • Be respectful of others.
  • Remember you don’t need to write full essays. In general, try to contain your writing in the space you are given.
  • Try to acknowledge what other people have written but don’t feel obliged to respond to every post.
  • Get in touch in a private email if you have a personal matter to discuss.


Manuel Flores, Course tutor

To participate in our first forum discussion, please read Manuel’s post, which you will find at the top of the forum below. You can then respond to Manuel and other course participants using the box at the bottom.

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    • #2115

      Let’s get started with our first forum discussion. The topic of this unit is learner characteristics and needs so let’s reflect on some questions related to this topic: 

      1. What information do teachers need to know about their learners to prepare good lessons? (e.g. age, nationality, etc.)
      2. Why is it important for teachers to know about their learners’ characteristics and needs? 
      3. How can teachers find out about their learners? 

      Write your ideas below and come back regularly to comment on what other people have posted and to add any follow-up questions you may have. 

      Please add your ideas before Monday 10th May.

    • #20869

      1. What information do teachers need to know about their learners to prepare good lessons? (e.g. age, nationality, etc.)

      For me, first of all, I will say age, because children of every age have different interests. It will be better if teachers based on their interests to prepare.  Secondly, gender, I remember when I was young, some teachers will let boys and girls do the different task. Thirdly, which language do the learners speak. Last but not the least, maybe know the learners’ name is also important.
      2. Why is it important for teachers to know about their learners’ characteristics and needs?

      Because if the teachers know nothing about that, probably the learners will not have any interest to pay attention and they will learn nothing. If teachers know more about learners’ characteristics, teachers can know which way can let them learn better since every child has different personality.

      3. How can teachers find out about their learners?

      Through their participation in class, the reaction/ answer they have during the class, after class activity , and the homework they hand in.

    • #20870

      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.

       

    • #20915

      1. What information do teachers need to know about their learners to prepare good lessons? (e.g. age, nationality, etc.)

      I think there is more than one information that teachers need to know in advance. Firstly, the teacher needs to know the learner’s age as different ages have different characteristics. For example, if the learners are children, they tend to shorter concentration, not vary able to control their behavior, and need to move, which means the lessons should more activities and more pictures. Secondly, the teacher needs to know their nationality. That’s because as a teacher, we should respect their local cultural background and their customs. Besides, as a teacher, we should meet their needs. For instance, if the learners are an adult and their goal are to learn business English, the teacher does not have to teach their other irrelevant knowledge.

      2.Why is it important for teachers to know about their learners’ characteristics and needs?

      As I am mentioned, it could help the lessons more efficient.  And the teacher would make a lesson plan for different age periods. The learner would learn more knowledge in the class and would not feel boring.

      3.  How can teachers find out about their learners?

      For me, I thought there are many methods, such as questionnaires or discussions with them.  Moreover, the teacher could talk with children’s parents or their friends, which also could know their learning habits.

    • #20959
      Jessie
      Participant

        1. What information do teachers need to know about their learners to prepare good lessons? (e.g. age, nationality, etc.)

        Personally, I would say, the background of all the learners is the key information for teachers to prepare good lessons.  Such as educational background, interests in teaching, work experience (if they have), etc.

        2. Why is it important for teachers to know about their learners’ characteristics and needs? 

        Everyone is unique, they have diverse characteristics, backgrounds, and also different needs in taking this course. It would be helpful for teachers to get to know that earlier, then they could develop the syllabus step by step and adjust it in time. In my mind, it’s a win-win for both learners and teachers, because learners could have access to more specific and tailored course content that can meet their needs. At the same time, the teaching effect would be more efficient.

        3. How can teachers find out about their learners?

        I think teachers could get to know that by the following steps:self-introductions of learners, interactions through the course, questions and answers.

      • #20975
        Hongjian Shao
        Participant

          1.What information do teachers need to know about their learners to prepare a good lesson?

          age, learning style(or which way of learning do they prefer), level of languages, language learning experience

          2.Why is it important for teachers to know about their learner’s characteristics and needs?

          The characteristics of learners will influence the content and the way of teaching. for example, teachers decide their teaching material and activities according to different age group and the level of languages; teachers adjust their teaching methods according to learners preference (e.g. visual, auditory, learn individually or learn in a group)

          3.How can teachers find out about their learners?

          Teachers can ask learners relevant information directly, learn about learners from the feedback in class or homework, be a careful observer, observe which teaching method learners are more interested in.

        • #20977
          Xinyi Chen
          Participant

            Q1:What information do teachers need to know about their learners to prepare good lessons? (e.g. age, nationality, etc.)

            The name, age, gender, nationality, the previous English learning experience, the English level, the reasons why they want to learn English

            Q2:Why is it important for teachers to know about their learners’ characteristics and needs?

            To some extent, first, characteristics and needs may influence the preparation before class, for example, what are the better and suitable teaching method will apply in this class? Second,  learners’ characteristics will influence interactions between teachers and other learners in class. Third, the needs are the motivations that encourage learners to come to learn, therefore, it is significant to cater to these needs to protect their motivation and encouragement.

            Q3:How can teachers find out about their learners?

            1. Discuss with learners. 2. if learns are too young, it is essential to discuss with their parents. 3. observation in the informal learning after class

          • #20978
            Anna Paoli
            Participant

              What information do teachers need to know about their learners to prepare good lessons? (e.g. age, nationality, etc.)

              Why is it important for teachers to know about their learners’ characteristics and needs?

               

              How can teachers find out about their learners?

              I believe that setting up profitable lessons does involve carrying out well thought- out needs analysis which take into consideration: the learners’ specific goals, their learning backgrounds, their learning styles (Visual  Aural  Verbal  Physical Logical), as well as their cognitive preferences (this relats to how a person prefers to process information; in fact each quadrant of our brain is responsible for a unique set of functions: logic, imaging, sequencing & feeling).

              I’ve been working on personal cognitive preferences and learning styles a great deal, focusing on how to integrate them within my lessons.

            • #20980

              Thank you very much for getting the conversation started. You have made very insightful comments using your experience as a learner or teacher. If you have not contributed yet, you may feel that perhaps you have nothing ‘new’ to say. Don’t worry about this, explaining that you agree or disagree with some comments or adding some follow-up questions of comments you find interesting is enough to keep the conversation going.

              If you have not contributed yet, please keep adding your ideas to the initial questions. In addition, whether you have contributed already or not, you can consider the questions below based on the posts written here already:

              1. Given that strictly speaking a person’s name does not affect what we teach, is it important to know our learners’ names? Why/ why not?
              2. In her post, Jennifer talks about being careful with making too many generalisations about our learners. Can you think of any generalisations we should be careful about? Why?
              3. Several of you mention that it is important for teachers to know about the learners’ previous learning experience. How does previous learning experience influence our teaching and our students’ learning?
              4. Very often in the same classroom, we’ve got learners with very different characteristics. How can we consider individual learners when teaching a whole class? For the sake of simplicity, should we assume that they are all more or less the same?

              (feel free to answer as many or as few questions as you want)

            • #21071
              Emma Maerz
              Participant

                1.  What information do teachers need to know about their learners to prepare good lessons?

                Age, nationality, previous learning experiences and how the student likes to learn are all important factors.  However, I believe the most important factor is a student’s motivation.

                 

                2.  Why is it important for teachers to know about their learners’ characteristics and needs?

                The teacher is then able to tailor lessons towards the students and make them relevant and sustain their motivation by enabling personal engagement.

                3.  How can teachers find out about their learners?

                A detailed needs analysis will provide a lot of information for teachers.  By doing this on a one-to-one basis the teacher is also able to pick up on errors made by the student and use this information for future lessons. Indeed, every lesson is an opportunity to notice  students individual strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes.

              • #21081
                Emma Maerz
                Participant

                  1. Given that strictly speaking a person’s name does not affect what we teach, is it important to know our learners’ names? Why/ why not?

                  It is of primary importance to know the learners’ names and also how to pronounce them.  Using a persons name is encouraging  for students and will therefore increase class participation and support learning.  Zoom is great for this!

                • #21153

                  Very good points Emma. Let’s see what other people think about all this.

                • #21194

                  1.  What information do teachers need to know about their learners to prepare good lessons?

                  I agree with Jennifer. It´s important to know their age just to give them examples that they can understand better but I think gender is not something important because under my point of view doesn´t affect to learn.

                  2. Why is it important for teachers to know about their learners’ characteristics and needs?

                  Characteristics and needs are two points to take into account to create a right method to teach based in learners lacks.

                  3. How can teachers find out about their learners?

                  Well, I think that it could be useful to start the first lesson introducing ourselves. That is to say, learners and teacher should have a talk just to create a comfortable atmosphere and like that getting great information about them.

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