Analyze this: finding out your learners’ strengths


For many English teachers around the world, summer is here and with it the end of the academic year. As the end approaches, it can be a good time to get students to reflect on their English learning. In order to give this reflection some structure and fun, why not get your students to do a SWOT analysis of their performance. Favoured by big businesses, a SWOT analysis is a planning method used to evaluate Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats which is then used to come up with an informed objective. For an example of how companies use it watch-

For a student an effective SWOT analysis might look something like this-

Strengths: Good at grammar, wide vocabulary

Weaknesses: Selecting correct past tenses, phrasal verbs

Opportunities: Watch movies in English, travel to the UK for 2 weeks, sometimes required to communicate in English at work.

Threats: Very busy at work, lack of confidence speaking

Objectives: Take the First Certificate next year.

Once each student has drawn up their analysis, put them in small groups to discuss their objective and how they are going to manage the weaknesses/threats and capitalize on the strengths/opportunities to get there. If you’re feeling brave you could even take the opportunity to hear from your learners what they want from the classes and ask them to draw up a SWOT analysis of the class. For a fun finish get them to do the same for a well-known person and see if the rest of the class can guess from their analysis who it is.

To carry on the theme of analysis and evaluation these exercises on Macmillan English Campus serve as a great follow up:

An analysis This business sample essay is a written analysis of a problem. You do the task and then look at a model answer and comments.

Can I make the grade? In this English for Academic Purposes (EAP) vocabulary activity you read a text about some of the different types of assessment used within different levels of courses at university. You then match each type of assessment to its description.

The credit boom: evaluation in academic writing This English for Academic Purposes (EAP) sample essay about the issues surrounding the credit boom shows how we include evaluation in academic writing.


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