Teaching Business English


businessman1.jpgWhile many classes or books are called business English, this is basically general English with business vocabulary and topics. Common textbooks include Market Leader and In Company. Business Roles has a number of good supplementary activities.

You don’t need to have a background in business to teach business English — you need to prepare yourself as you would for a general English lesson and be familiar with what you are teaching — but if you don’t know much more than that, that’s usually okay. Your students are the ones who presumably know about business — and having them explain in English, to you, is a realistic situation.

One Intermediate Market Leader lesson on Strategy, for example, includes a reading by a Cisco executive about the advantages and disadvantages of mergers. There is a short vocabulary section which includes terms like cost cutting, demerger, sell off, disposal, rationalisation, acquisition, and economy drive; the teachers’ book has a short explanation of each.

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Many teachers report that there are differences in student motivation and attendance between general English classes and business or in-company classes. On the one hand, employees may be happy to get an hour off work to study English, on the other, if the company is paying for their lessons, they may not be quite as motivated as students who are shelling out their own hard-earned money. You may also be in a position to deal with social dynamics which are different from those typical of a group of students who don’t know each other; people may only want to work in pairs with certain other people or the boss may not want to volunteer an answer he isn’t sure about, especially if the secretary’s English is better than his.

Find some Resources for Business English here.