What is Business English all about?
This is important!
English is typically taught to business
people who need to use it in their daily
duties. Sometimes they
purposefully take such a course to help
improve their performance on the job,
other times they are required to take it
and aren't always happy about being in
your classroom. In some countries
their performance in the English
classroom and successful completion of a
certain number of courses is a
requirement for moving up the career
So . . .
what this all means is that the people
in the classroom WANT or NEED or are
REQUIRED to learn Business English.
Motivation can be an issue in the
classroom as students are often
required to take classes early in the
morning, before their regular duties
begin, or late in the day following a
full day of work. Sometimes you
will even hear tummies rumbling as
they hope to get home to dinner soon . .
MOTIVATION issue means that lessons NEED
to be - MUST be - RELEVANT to what students do on a daily basis.
RELEVANCE is a critical issue in
Required for promotion at
Improve your ability to
communicate with your
Learn to do your job better,
by better understanding
foreign supervisors and
many unskilled EFL teachers who will say
that Business English is just like
teaching any other English class, except
you put it in a business context.
Half-way Right . . .
suggest that you simply change "The pen
is on the desk" to "The report is on the
photocopier" probably have not spent
much time in a Business English
classroom, nor have they been successful
at it. Nonetheless, there are
many teachers, websites, and even lesson
books that suggest that approach.
They are missing the boat in motivating
their students . . .
RELEVANCE = MOTIVATION
spend a long day at work, how would you
like to spend another hour - or two - in
a classroom? With, "The report is
on the photocopier"?
Think of the
frustrations of the day, demanding and difficult
clients and customers, unreasonable
supervisors - and now you have to deal
with that English teacher!
But . . . if
a student's lesson
is directly related to their work and their
success, there will be a team of people
EAGER for assistance in that classroom.
"authentic materials" are what create
relevance in the Business English
classroom. Teachers should talk to students,
ask them what they need help with.
Ask them about difficult conversations
they have had and what the problem might
have been. Ask them about writing
they need to do, emails they must answer
- and then fit your course book and
lessons into their specific needs.
should be encouraged
to bring their email, correspondence and
reports to the instructor so they can devise lessons
and tasks for everyone to work on - that
are relevant to their work place.
business communication is confidential -
or product information is proprietary -
should block out confidential
information. NO ONE
wants photocopied handouts to get
GET ON THE TEAM
If a teacher's PERSONAL GOAL is
to help students succeed, students
quickly get that the teacher is on their
team. Students quite easily pick
up if their teacher is there just for
the money, just for the "gig" - or to
REALLY help them.
Teaching is "helping profession" - when
a student's interests
are at heart, you will surprised how
much fun can be had and how well
classes will go.