Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My Plan - Introduction: My Needs

Let’s Talk
I loved working a few years ago with several learners who needed some language learning coaching. One member was brand new on the field – had arrived about 2 days earlier.  Let’s call her Jane.  The other, let’s call him Louis, had been on the project for several years but was at a bit of an impasse, and would now also be working with Jane.

The first thing we did was to set aside time, about a week, to really focus on the planning.  We were all staying together – with the rest of Louis’ very energetic (4 kids!) family.  So, as we lived together that week – fixing meals, making some fun daily trips, sharing close quarters - we got acquainted, and I was able to get a good idea of what the dynamics had been to date, and would be into the future, for the Team’s program in the context of their real LIFE!

We spent several hours through the week talking about what the team, each individual and as a Team, brought to the project and wanted to see accomplished (reviewing their Mission and Vision, doing some needs anlaysis), setting Goals and looking at some reasonable time-tables.  This was exciting for Jane as she could see how her recent training would be put into action right away.  The input was encouraging for Louis, because after several years and some very tough times, he felt somewhat discouraged.

We then got real specific, talking about how each Goal they had chosen could be strategically tackled.  We set up a schedule for each of them which would enable them to pursue a realistic language program tailored to their needs, alongside their other commitments.  We also set up accountability for reporting, review and revision which assured them their work would be followed and supported.  Over the next 18 months, Jane and Louis implemented the plan, tweaking it when needed, working along consistently.  Regular self-assessments and occasional assisted evaluations indicated they were making good progress. It went really well and we all appreciated the planning we had done.

Have you had a similar experience…or perhaps one which was not as successful – but through which you learned how to do some things better the next time around?

Please share your comments below.
The Task

Planning a strategic language program involves a number of steps.  It can be simple, if you follow the steps, or really overwhelming, confusing and complicated, if you decide to just kind of wing it.  Let’s set up the steps, and commit to following them…you’ll like the results.  I guarantee it.

1.  set aside a time to focus on your planning
2.  work with your team members
3.  define your Mission and Vision
4.  determine what your needs are
5.  set specific goals (short, medium and long range)
6.  choose objectives and strategies which will guide you in meeting your goals
7.  plan specific activities to move forward
8.  plan review and revision times to keep track of both your progress and your process.

This coming week, let’s work on Steps 1, 2 and 4. Step 3 has already been covered
(see “Defining My Mission and Vision” posting) 
** For Steps 1 and 2, be intentional about setting aside the time, and be sure your team is ready and able to work with you.  Your team may include colleagues or friends, like Jane and Louis. It may include your Host or you may not have that set up at this point.  It may include a supervisor, or a coach.  If you are working alone, find someone you can just talk some of this over with from time to time, who will be willing to help you with being accountable.

** For Step 4, to determine what your needs are, spend time thinking about and noting down what you want to see accomplished: short term (in the next year), medium term (in the next 2 to 3 years) and long term (in the next 3 to 5 years, or for the duration of the program).  This is called by some a “Needs Analysis”.  It is a start.   You’ll be adding to this as you go along.

Please share your comments below.

We’ve already looked at these, which form your program foundation:
Learner ID & Learning Styles Index:
(Review “Dimension #1: HOME” & “Principle #1- Motivation at Home” postings)

Host Profile:
(Review “Dimension #2 – The HOST” & “Principle #1 – Motivation & My Host” postings)

HARBOR planning:
(Review “Dimension #3 – The HARBOR” & “Principle #1 – Motivation in the Harbor” postings)

We’ve also talked about having a well defined Mission and Vision Statement, to start you on the right track. (Review “My Mission and Vision” posting)

Now let’s add another useful tool:  Needs Analysis Chart (TL = your “target language”)

** Keeping your Mission and Vision statements in mind
** Check out these samples and see what you need in your own program to fulfill your Mission by
     accomplishing your Vision

Samples of short term needs for a beginning language learner: 
My Mission: To integrate into my Host community so I can work there effectively.
My Vision:
   I will able to use my TL well enough to build and maintain relationships,
   to function comfortably and to carry out my work in my Host community.

Role /activity
Describe briefly
Details of language use
General needs

1. Review what I have
    learned/covered in
    classes, etc to date
Evaluate how well I have mastered this material & plan for further study if I need it
May - June
2. Greetings and
Being able to go beyond the basics into different contexts with different people

3. Introductory
    information about
Where they come from (family, clan, village, region…); what they do

4. Introductory
    information about me
Where I come from; my family, home country/culture

5. Introductory
    information about my
Formal (giving an presentation to a meeting; informal (chatting with people I meet in the village

6. Starting a
Finding out things like: where someone is coming from or going to, what they are doing or have just done

Samples for specialized language learning, to fulfill specific roles:

Role-specific needs
Details of language use

Dates to study
1.  (for the agricultural worker)
understanding basic gardening traditions
Interviewing people asking things like: Do you have a garden? Where is your garden?  What do you plant?

2.  (for the micro-enterprise worker)
understanding what people usually do for income
Interviewing people asking things like:
How do you earn cash (women/men)?
Are there things you’d like to learn to do/make/provide which the community would pay you for?  How are work groups set up in your community?

Please share your comments below.
See you next time!

No comments:

Post a Comment