Teaching

Education - Teachers
By: - at May 26, 2013

How to Teach Business English in ESL Setting

The Need to Study English for Business
english as a second languageTeaching English is becoming more specialized. In fact, there are many demands for those who possess the skills to teach the language for special purposes. With many companies requiring their employees to have at least a decent grasp of English, jobseekers with trainings and knowledge in communicating for business take every possible opportunity to enhance their skills. To get the best of what globalization can offer, many are willing to invest time and money to get into a more competitive job market.

Getting ready for a more competitive world of business and economies is the driving force for the influx of students in business English classes. Acquiring knowledge and experience about corporate correspondence and the cultural and political diversity can be one of the reasons some students even invest so much to study abroad. With the expertise on understanding and getting into business in a diverse world market they can bring home, they sure can land the best jobs than the more conventional workers.

Teachers of Business English Communication
Being a bit advanced compared to that of general English language classes, expectations are higher and teachers need to pull resources and talents to deliver the goals of the curriculum in business classes through English as a second language. This is true as dealing with those in the industry requires special skills, deeper knowledge of the subject matter, and interest to learn what might be foreign for a language teacher. Since most students in this kind of classroom are mature and motivated to achieve specific goals, they expect expert opinions and lectures.

learning business english teaching goals

Looking at a different perspective, teaching business English as a regular language teacher can make way to new learning and wider opportunities. Consequently, those who wish to venture in this branch of ESL must be flexible, and able to meet the specific needs of the students given the limited time.

Many teachers might be challenged in determining which points are needed to prepare the students for the real world. With world markets getting more and more interdependent, students are to be instructed with diversity in mind. This means that teaching should not only focus on facilitating improvement on business language skills but also for a multi-cultural workforce where differences in communication, conversation styles and social practices are present.

Tips for Teaching Business English in ESL Setting
Teaching Business English in ESL Classrooms Classes There is no doubt that regular ESL teachers may be intimidated by the topic on choice of words and the context where they are used. This might be due to the fact that lessons are professional in nature just as the activities are too technical. Native or near-native teachers must understand though there are goals to be set and kept the moment they step in the classroom, the class still functions as to assist students to improve their communication skills just like any ESL session. The only difference might be the strict corporate atmosphere not present in every day informal set-ups of language classrooms.

Here are the ways to go along your English business classes:

1. Get to know the class members.  Yes, this might be one specialized class but getting to know your students is one of the best ways to get started. Though some of these classes might be done one-on-one, many would go for group classes with about 8 to 15 members, depending on where you are. Despite the difference in the class setting, remember that they all attend with one goal in mind: to be able to communicate for business. While some were financed by their companies, others are fresh graduates looking forward to arming themselves with abilities for job applications.

know your esl classroom indivdual learning needs

These people may have one common purpose but they differ in their needs. Those who attend classes at their expense are likely to be more motivated and interested to probe on things than those who have to comply with their companiesí demands. It is essential that you know them to make sure you keep the balance.

2. Begin with goal setting.  Before you plunge into the first topic, make sure the goals of the class are clear to all members. When everyone understands the purpose of being in your class, they are likely to be more interested, working harder to hit the target.

goal setting potential successful planning confidence proficiency

Generally, business English classes are expected to build confidence and proficiency, so make sure the students are ready to keep up with the demands. Consequently, this could mean that they have to take most of the talk time from the teacher except the first few days of introduction and concept mapping. It is essential to make it clear to all members that the goal is to develop them into more independent and creative communicators, as speaking requires more from them.

3. Prepare a bag of interesting topics.  Since the focus of the class is getting acquainted with and surviving in the real world of work, you can begin facilitating discussions on their views about being employed. Start asking about their most common schedules and demands of the workload. Everyone will have their own share of things to say, and others will be amazed to realize the similarities they share, and the differences they have to deal with.

hot topics for group speaking exercises

When some of the class members are inexperienced or fresh graduates, opinions on internship or job hunting can be solicited. Neophytes can learn from their experienced classmates, while older ones can gain insights on younger membersí perspectives. When choosing a topic, be sure everyone can relate to, or others would be interested to know them.

4. Keep your focus.  Donít be tempted to pry into your studentsí experiences with their companies. Keep on track even if topic starts to get juicy as it goes deeper into sharing confidential information. Lead students to more positive facets of their employment. Make them stick to the discussions by exposing them to terms they must familiarize.

keeping focused lesson experiences

Discuss vocabulary used for business like contract, inter-office communication, letterhead, and the like. Design your discussions in a way that they will find ways to use the words tackled in class. Help build vocabulary by soliciting questions, and making them answerable by class members. Assist in getting into the correct word for a specific business transaction.

5. Provide opportunities for practice.  After discussions of words or phrases related to work, help students retain information better by simulation activities. As they have enough words in their business vocabulary, come up with activities like mock interviews where they have to take turns as employees and employers. When available, play a video about a typical office day conversation, muting some parts of the sentences for them to supply the correct words. They are not only given the chance to speak but also to decide how and when words are supposed to be used.

practice information simulation vocabulary conversation group work

You can also make them work in pairs assigned to discuss a certain topic. This will encourage independent thinking and learning rather than just mere spoon-feeding.

6. Impose an English-only policy.  When teaching in a country where all class members speak the same language, this will have to be strictly implemented. Additionally, though there might be very little chance to have international class members of the same nationality or language, make sure they only communicate in English. While giving them freedom to work on their own, roam around and make sure they only communicate in the target language.

esl class english only policy no native tongue permitted

This will expose them to the possible experience of having to exclusively talk in English to close a business deal or get a job. Inculcate in their minds that the class should be an avenue to get real-life communication styles they may not enjoy when they go back to their home country or finish the course.

7. Help them gain confidence.  Perhaps the best thing you will have to impart to your students in business English classes is the confidence to use the language. This can be made possible with frequent guided practice or activities. Instead of just memorizing and using words in sentences, give them the chance to steal the limelight and the center of attention in the class. Let them lead business presentations. Depending on your studentsí status, assign topics that are useful for their careers.

gaining confidence practice using words in sentences

When one student is a supervisor, give the freedom to present to the class things that involve the actual work. Make sure they use the correct vocabulary for a specific business scenario. Make them experience how it feels to be in front of a culturally or socially diverse audience, talking about the things they do best, but this time in English. This will give them the chance to develop their strengths in communication, and find out their weaknesses and the possible remedy with your help. Donít hesitate to give honest opinions, and student praise if you have to.

Concluding Thoughts
ESL students attend business communication classes to develop literacy on the international workforce. Though many are highly motivated, some would not be as active as others as they are left with no choice but to study. This is especially true when their classes are funded by the company. It is then expected that the teacher will devise ways to keep students interested. Instead of reading boring texts or business magazine articles exclusively, integrate real-life scenarios in the workplace. Relate topics to the studentsí employment background and design exercises that cater to almost all aspects of business English. Let them interact or have their time to give information to the class. Lead discussions that will give everyone the chance to speak and share information with each other.

language teacher and student

Being a regular language teacher challenged to teach business English should cause no alarm. Remember that despite the levels and experience of the students, you are giving instructions on using the language to convey meaning based on a specific manner expected of every worker. Everyone who speaks English and has experience working has the chance to learn. You are not expected to coin new words but to bridge the gap between what they know in general language classes and that of business. Background on the topics you must teach is a must, so researching and getting yourself equipped for the topics will save you time feeling more at ease in front of the class.


 

 

 

 

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