The language advisor’s role : identifying and responding to needs
Reinders, Hayo; Hacker, Penny; Lewis, Marilyn
Citation:Reinders, H., Hacker, P. & Lewis, M. (2004) The language advisor's role : identifying and responding to needs. Language Learning Journal 30: 30-35. NOTE: This is research undertaken prior to the author being affiliated with the Unitec Institute of Technology.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/2443
Tertiary institutions increasingly offer language advisory sessions for second language students and staff. Advisors help students to identify language and learning needs, they recommend resources and strategies, and they provide feedback and encouragement. Especially in the first few sessions, identifying and prioritising needs is arguably among the most important goals, but there are few guidelines for advisors on how to elicit information from students or how to respond to learners’ self-reported needs. In fact, little is known about the processes through which advisors and students come to an agreed set of needs and solutions. This article reports a two-stage professional development project between an adviser and two other researchers. At the first stage the adviser recorded three initial sessions with one student. This was followed by a transcription and analysis of the sessions and discussion with the other two researchers. One of the main outcomes was that the advisor felt she had to be more directive. The second stage involved a session with a different student. Here the adviser’s aim was to be more specific and guiding, while encouraging the student to initiate topics and ideas. The findings from the two stages are analysed and compared.