Teaching Business English
Teaching Business English
An introduction to Business English for language teachers, trainers, and course organizers.
Mark Ellis and Christine Johnson
First Prize, English-Speaking Union's Duke of Edinburgh Book Award
Understand what makes teaching Business English different and how to analyse learners' needs and assess progress.
- ISBN: 978-0-19-437167-4
What makes teaching Business English different from general teaching? What approaches and techniques work best with job-experienced and pre-experience business learners?
These are key questions, whether you are new to the field, or are a practising, experienced teacher of Business English. Teaching Business English answers these questions by presenting an approach that puts learners and their specific needs at the heart of the teaching process.
- Provides a complete introduction for teachers new to the field, but also relevant for more experienced teachers.
- Explains techniques for analysing learners' specific needs based on the jobs they do and the tasks they need to perform
- Shows ways of assessing learners' performance and progress
- Looks at work-specific teaching materials and activities: how to select and develop them, and how to use them effectively
- Presents techniques for managing activities in the classroom
- Discusses similarities and differences between job-experienced and pre-experience learners.
The book is divided into three parts. Part One is especially useful if you are new to Business English teaching or are thinking of moving into it. Parts Two and Three will provide ideas for practising and experienced teachers, as well as newcomers.
- Part One gives a general background to the subject. It includes definitions of Business English, descriptions of different categories of learner, and of the types of institution where Business English is taught. It also looks at the various resources you will need to use as a Business English trainer, and at ways of setting performance objectives.
- Part Two focuses on the needs of the learners and shows you how you can analyse those needs in order to decide on the structure and content of a course. It covers ways of describing levels of performance and of analysing learners' jobs. It also explains what you need to know about your learners and how to set about getting the information you need. Finally there is an explanation of course design and how to decide on what to teach, based on what you have found out about learners' work and language needs.
- Part Three looks at materials and activities. It explains how to choose published materials and develop materials and activities of your own. It also gives suggestions about classroom management and strategies for dealing with different kinds of learners.
PART ONE: Introduction to Business English
1 What is Business English?
What characterizes the language of business?
- Sense of purpose
- Social aspects
- Clear communication
The Business English syllabus
- Business and General English courses
2 Who wants to learn Business English?
- Junior company members
- Learners who are moving jobs
- Reasons for learning English
- Characteristics of the learners
3 Where is Business English taught?
Types of institution
- Public and private sector educational institutions
- Adult learning centres and Chambers of Commerce
- British Council- and American-sponsored centres
- Language schools
- Training and consulting groups and individual consultants
- For the pre-experience learner
- For the job-experienced learner
- For the training manager
The Business English trainer
- Background and experience
- Personal skills
Acquiring the resources
5 Performance objectives for Business English
The need to emphasize performance
Skills training: basic principles
- The communicative approach
- Learner involvement in course design
- Input v. output
- Task-based learning
PART TWO: Analysing the needs of the learners
6 Describing levels of performance
Who needs to define levels of performance and why?
Testing and assessment
- Published tests and examinations
- Carrying out assessment yourself
The training gap
7 Job analysis
- Managers as learners
- Technical staff as learners
- Secretaries and clerical workers as learners
- Marketing and sales
- Human resources
8 Information gathering
What do we need to know?
- Information about the learner
- Defining the learning purpose
- Information about the learning situation
Ways of gathering information
- Job-experienced learners
- Pre-experience learners
Practical problems in needs analysis
Examples of interview task sheets
9 Determining the content of the course
Breakdown of performance areas
- Meetings and discussions
- Giving information
- Business correspondence
- Company documentation
- Learner output
- Training videos
The focus of training
PART THREE: Activities and materials
10 Published materials
Business English materials
- General Business English coursebook packages
- Supplementary materials
- Job-specific materials
- Reference books
- Self-access materials
Business skills training materials
- Video materials
- Business simulation games
Selection and evaluation
- Criteria for selection
11 Framework materials
What are framework materials?
When should framework materials be used?
Frameworks for different purposes
- Describing contrast and similarity
- Describing change
- Describing cause and effect
- Describing sequence
- The setting box
- For meetings and discussions
- A customer-supplier simulation
- Describing production processes
12 Authentic materials
Definition and use
Types and sources
Selection and exploitation of authentic materials
- Text materials
- Audio and video materials
Examples of tasks and activities
1 Using authentic materials to develop speaking skills
2 Using authentic materials to practise extracting information
3 Using authentic materials to develop listening skills
4 Using authentic materials to improve learners' comprehension of presentations
5 Using authentic materials to extend letter-writing vocabulary
13 Managing activities in the classroom
One-to-one v. group training
- Dealing with individuals
- Course design and the individual learner
- Some examples of learners' work
- Role play and simulation
- Setting up the activity
- What can go wrong?
- Strategies for reducing the risks
- Giving feedback
Course design: putting it all together
- An intensive general Business English course plan
- An extensive general Business English course plan
- Specific Business English course plans
14 Current trends in Business English
Language training v. skills training
The influence of management training
Suggestions for further reading
Suggestions for further viewing
Business English examinations
Business skills training materials: sources