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Business English First of all, my choice of topic stems
First of all, my choice of topic stems from the fact that my long term plan is to teach Business English in China. Since my wife is Chinese I now have family ties to China and an outstanding network of professionals to help me gain employment. I also completed overseas military duty in numerous locations during my 20 years in the U.S. Navy and made lifelong friends during my four years in Japan, where I enjoyed teaching conversational English informally. I perceive a particular demand for English proficiency among various business professionals. These people have a great desire to perform and succeed, and English proficiency seems to be a necessity for their further advancement, particularly the specialized English, idiomatic expressions, and vocabulary commonly seen in their line of work. Unlike Basic English, the topics, visual aids, role-playing scenarios, and resources in Business English certainly seem to be less varied, and, as one would expect, consist of business related topics (investments, banking trends, buying stocks). This provides the students practice in the functional language and vocabulary they will require to communicate in the international business arena. Role playing also promotes oral fluency and provides more real- world relevance to the students. The students also learn to express themselves 'on-the spot', being able to perform during 'impromptu' or improvisational situations which are frequently encountered in the business world, particularly when performing real world sales calls, telephone calls, negotiations, and meetings. Besides vocabulary there are numerous examples of 'phraseology' and idiomatic expressions that English Business students would need to be familiar with in order to communicate and understand concepts put forth during commonly encountered business interactions. The students must be familiar with those examples commonly encountered and utilized to function in the business world. This will enable them to express agreement, disagreement, doubting, resisting, persuading, concern, conceding, downplaying, suggesting, recommending, bargaining, socializing, introductions, presentations, and so forth. When role playing different sides of a negotiation, the relevance of these commonly encountered phrases and expressions will become readily apparent to the students. Although the students are learning Business English, review and drills to maintain and increase proficiency in Basic English should be included in the curriculum. The students themselves can bring real life scenarios to the class which can be supplemented with real world audio/visual examples of Business English interactions to test the students' comprehension of exactly what transpired. Many of the methods used for teaching Basic English still apply, such as not correcting on the spot, but taking notes to find general error trends and pointing them out during the next day's or end of class correction/review session, using that trusty old standby, the dictionary, and encouraging the use of English and discouraging the use of native languages in the classroom, even during the review and discussion periods. And, of course, continued emphasis of those basic abilities such as reading, writing, listening and speaking, although in a more specialized context. Certain considerations must be part of a Business English class, such as the possible range of ages, and the class may be given at the end of the working day so you may have tired students with family commitments which would make homework completion difficult. You may also encounter possible sporadic attendance due to company requirements, and must perceive and cope with group dynamics since seniors and subordinates may be attending the same session. There may be diversity in proficiency due to attendance being driven by economic and company priorities, so the teacher must uncover the reasons behind the students attending the class. Also, flexibility is crucial, and the specific student needs and progression of the class may require recap and highlight sessions as well. The needs of your clients and company must also be considered as you are performing in a business environment where academia is less emphasized than results and practical application. Business English is one example of English for Specific Needs (ESP) with its own unique requirements and considerations in order to satisfy the client, students, and the company. Topics and material can be more specifically oriented but Basic English will still be an integral part, including those teaching methods common to both Basic English and Business English. It promises to be challenging and rewarding to both the teacher and the students. References: www.learnbusinessenglish.com/teachers.html Introducing Business English into the ESL Classroom: A Simple Approach Linda Cypres, M.B.A., Ph.D., author www.englishmaze.com/in_companies.htm www.business-english.com ITTT Unit 19