This process will give you, your colleagues, administrators, and most of all, your students great confidence in what you and your colleagues are teaching your students. It will serve as a legitimate basis for the goals and outcomes of your courses.
This empowering process is called a needs analysis. It is one of the most important things I have ever done as a professional, and I’ve done this everywhere I’ve taught.
And on top of all that, it can be stimulating and rewarding to do.
In brief, a needs analysis in an ESL context means finding out what skills students will need in order to be successful in the future. The future can be the following term when they will be in the next level of a program; it can be when they finish their ESL instruction and will be in college courses (e..g. English Comp); it can be when they are traveling abroad; it can be when they enter the workforce.
These range from simple surveys of a small group of former students to more involved interviews with college instructors.