Effective Planning for Inclusive Business English Lesson
The demand for teaching business English has been dramatically increased following the globalization of business. Many people think teaching business English requires detailed knowledge in the field where students are working. However, many students take business English classes because they want to learn and improve their communication skills with customers and coworkers, such as presenting a new product or describing the information to consumers, more than learning about their own business. Therefore, having special knowledge of the student's business is not necessary for teaching business English.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Kayoko S. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Students’ Age and Abilities
Having said that, the majority of the students are not children or adolescents but are mature adults. Therefore more detailed and structured lesson planning is required because their expectations and motivation to learn are generally quite high. In the following, I describe the importance of lesson planning and discuss how to construct effective lesson plans.
In the field of business English, the students are generally all adults, and the advantages of teaching business English are different from teaching children or adolescents. For example, adult students have only minimal behavioral problems, or none, when compared to young learners, and their level of motivation is much higher with greater attention spans than younger students. Therefore, there are fewer issues in classroom management in business English.
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However, there are also potential challenges in teaching business English, not only teaching during working hours on-site at a company but also when teaching in private at the student’s home. Some adult students may have had a long period from when they last studied, so they may need to adjust or refresh their academic skills.
Furthermore, students may also have other concerns that impact their ability to focus on lessons, for example, they may have a business meeting or a presentation following a lesson. Likewise, family responsibilities which negatively affect their ability to concentrate, such as their children having health or education problems, with these sorts of issues impacting the business English student no matter where the lessons take place, in private or in a corporate environment. These internal pressures are a greater consideration for mature students when compared to young learners, therefore the lessons should be planned to effective, intense, and mindful of students’ limited time.
Before starting lesson planning, the level test and need analysis must be completed to identify the level of students (Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Low-advanced or Advanced), and to ascertain their individual needs. By conducting a need analysis, student’s previous learning experience, what they are using business English for, the beneficial subject area can be chosen for them, which are essential factors in lesson planning.
Considering this data, as well as the requirements from their company or employer, a syllabus can be designed, including the number of lessons, the content of each lesson, resources required. All of this is fundamental in the structuring of one term of a business English course. Based on this syllabus, lesson plans can then be designed, which should include basic information such as date, time, class level, teaching aids, learner objectives, personal problems, and anticipated problems, plus proposed solutions for both students and teachers. In lesson planning, the most significant parts are Procedures, Phases, and Timing, taking substantial time to complete.
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Teaching models such as Case studies, Frame-working, problem-based learning, Computer-aided language learning (CALL) and games need to be determined depending on the students’ language level or the outcomes that are being aimed for by the end of a given lesson. Afterward, the procedure can be minutely structured by using ESA (Engage, Study and Activate) methodology and the styles of ESA form consist of Straight arrow lesson, Boomerang lesson, and Patchwork lesson may also need to be selected. By including these considerations and methodological factors, lesson planning will be better suited and more effective for students.
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Teaching business English has both advantages and potential problems, as with any English teaching. The main advantage of teaching business English is that there are minimal or no problems relating to classroom management. The main potential issue is that the students may be negatively affected by internal pressures and unable to focus purely on the lesson. Therefore, lesson planning has to be effectively conducted to ensure each lesson occurs within a limited time and is designed to build towards achieving the end goals of the entire business English course. By using teaching models and ESA methodology, depending on the language level of students and aims of the lessons, the lesson planning is better suited for each teaching groups of students and can accomplish satisfactory outcomes for individual students and their companies.
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