Albert's Engineering students' needs analysis task, where his students went out and visited an IT company to talk to company employees to find out exactly what its employees used English for, is an excellent example of a real-world task with an outcome that is both useful and sharable with others.

The students were able to make recommendations to their teacher about what to include in their course. So it gives them a feeling of empowerment and this should raise individual motivation.

This was quite a complex task and since it could have so many different stages I would call it a project. Here is the project outline - divided into separate tasks.

  1. Identify company and arrange a time to visit to explain the goals of the project and to set up interviews with company employers, asking permission to record them. (Admin task) Make notes of main points agreed and send letter of confirmation to the company.
  2. Carry out the interviews and take notes of main points
  3. Listen to recordings of interviews; discuss and analyse findings, transcribe relevant extracts.
  4. Plan first Draft of report including data from interviews; pass this around for comments and editing
  5. Plan a 'launch' for the report and invite relevant people: teachers, head of department, a rep from the company, other classes of students
  6. Write up final report for 'publication' / display on the 'launch' day and plan how to present it (Power point ?) - divide it up and share out the sections to be presented orally by different students
  7. The launch event itself - with recommendations for future action and question time and summing up time
  8. Write a letter of thanks to the company who took part and enclose a copy of the report.
  9. Discuss and write an action plan to ensure the recommendations can be put into practice. Put this (and teh report) on to the web-site of the institution.
  10. Evaluation and feedback

So a ten task project and it occurred to me this can be done by ANY students anywhere. Whatever their field. Even for EAP.