How to know the characteristics and needs of your students before the first class

08 June, 2020

Would you like to know what your students' needs are before first class to make a better quality planning and have more time to prepare it?

Spanish for Foreigners teachers are used to knowing the needs of their students in the first class,
regardless of whether this first meeting takes place in a school, a university, a private language institute or
an online class.

The teacher introduces himself to the class and takes out some cold and extensive forms that he gives to anxious and sometimes fearful students, to fill out with their data and preferences, giving them a limited time to do it.
The teacher, based on general planning, must then adapt his program to the needs of his students according to the answers turned out by them in response to the questionnaires.
We all know that time is money, that our students when they enroll in a language course want to learn; and, in many cases, as quickly as possible.
But, what would happen if each teacher knew what the characteristics and needs of their students werebefore that first class? The consequence would be that you could prepare your lesson planning with thatvaluable information before starting the course.
In the case of an individual (particular) class, it allows us to prepare a class tailored to our student.
In case of group classes allows us in advance to include the topics of greatest interest of our students.
I am aware that I am new to this profession but I have been thinking a lot about this. Maybe what I am going to propose is a utopia, but why wait to learn about the needs of our students in the first class?
Why not know what our students are like before we start sessions?
My idea is as follows, I don't know if it's possible in all cases but at least I think it's worth a try. At the moment in which the student enrolls in the course, the questionnaire with the questions is given to them so that they fill it out and deliver it before starting the course. Enrollment can be face-to-face or online,
both forms are valid today, both for classes of one student or many. In the case of colleges and universities the same. For example, submit the forms personally or by e-mail for students, in time.
Complete it. Obviously the longer before the first class much better, it gives us more time (which is always appreciated!) to prepare us.
Of course, it is essential to explain to the student what are the reasons for the questionnaire that you are going to fill out. It should be clarified that this questionnaire is not an interrogation but is an instrument to better understand what its characteristics and needs are for preparing a quality class.
In this way, as teachers we have very valuable information when preparing the first class. We know at least in theory, as will the students be before whom we will work. We will be better prepared to meet from
the first class, the needs of our students.
In this way already in the first session we can develop the contents of the program from the beginning.
So we would undertake our task from a solid foundation from the starting point…

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