In carrying out our needs assessment, we wanted to be sure to consider the needs of all stakeholders. This included the owner of Project Romanian Rescue, the onsite directors at the orphanage, and the children. Our initial plan was to develop a summer camp and the needs assessment began with a brainstorming session of possible questions to ask the children about their various interests and experiences, including any activities and hobbies they enjoy. We also discussed questions for the orphanage directors to elicit information about any resources that may be available on the premises, as well as any thoughts or ideas they may have for what they would like to see in a summer camp. We felt that it was necessary to develop two different questionnaires, one specific to the children, and one specific to the directors.
Our questionnaires went through several brainstorming phases as we continued to brainstorm questions that would provide valuable information for designing a curriculum. We also felt that it was necessary to interview the director to discuss potential timeframes for a camp, its feasibility, and the best way to handle the vast span of ages (6-18) across a small number of youth (20 total). James conducted the interview and was able to gather information that helped us rethink our curriculum, focus it, and adjust our needs assessment questionnaires accordingly. The director also offered his perceptions on potential avenues for implementing a curriculum that may benefit the older children (those who will soon be graduating from secondary school). With all of this in mind, we were able to design a more useful questionnaire that would help us gather information about students’ goals, job interests, and how they see English benefitting them, in addition to the previously mentioned questions on hobbies and interests.
The survey also inquired about educational background, specifically regarding English language education.
Once our questionnaire drafts were completed, we submitted them to our professor, Peter Shaw, for review and he gave us feedback on wording and formatting which would make our surveys clearer, allowing for more specific answers. We were also offered advice on crafting our words to demonstrate appreciative inquiry rather than cold interrogation. With all of this feedback, we composed the final drafts.
The next phase of our needs assessment development was translating the questionnaires. Tim’s friend Elena, who lives in Rome, is from Romania. We asked her if she would be willing to help us in translating our two questionnaires, and she was thrilled to help. She said that she couldn’t resist being involved in a project that helped the children of her country. We sent her the questionnaires, and within the day, she had translated and returned them to us. After a final review, we posted them online so that they could be taken by all parties involved.
The questionnaires were posted in a Google form which enabled us to receive answers in real-time, thus eliminating the need to mail hard copies back and forth, reducing wait time. As the children only have access to one computer, it took a few weeks for all the children to fill out the questionnaires.