How Taking a Business English Course Improved My Teaching Preparation
I have had the privilege of teaching English for 5 years in an Asian university setting, and I am now preparing to move to another country to seek employment. It is quite possible that I will teach English in a business setting in my new country, which is why I took the Certificate in Teaching Business English course.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Todd M. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
My Previous Struggles With Planning and Development
Teaching English has been an absolute joy as I have met many interesting people and learned so much through living in another country. However, the part of English teaching that I struggle with most is course development and lesson planning. When I am in the classroom I love it and I am “in my element”, but I find the preparation for teaching both laborious and time-consuming. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised and greatly helped by the content of the CTBE course. So how did the course inform my future teaching endeavors and how will the things I have learned enhance my students’ language learning experience?
Also read: How To Write The Perfect ESL Lesson Plan
New Ideas For Course Development
Unit 3 of the online business course walks through a logical and chronological process for course development. While I have previously found level testing to be commonly discussed in language teaching, needs analysis seems to be discussed much less. From this part of the course, I have come to understand how both needs analysis and needs negotiation will be very important and extremely useful as I prepare to teach business English in a variety of situations and contexts. As I reflected on this, it occurred to me that it might actually be that the needs and/or goals of three different parties might affect how a course is developed. Naturally, the students’ needs must always be considered, but it may also be advantageous/necessary to take into account the goals of the company they work for. Thirdly, if my employer has particular goals in mind, this may also have some impact on course development. For example, if my employer has certain teaching materials that they have developed or are marketing this could affect course development. Although this makes needs analysis sound quite complex, overall I find it helpful to have thought this through beforehand. Overall, I am encouraged by how both needs analysis and needs negotiation can be useful in helping to refine my course development efforts.
The Importance of Syllabus Design and the Use of Authentic Materials
There are two other topics from the course that will be useful for increasing the effectiveness of my course preparation, and they are syllabus design and using authentic materials. Of course, I have designed a syllabus before, but I can definitely improve in this area by being more intentional and structured at the beginning of the course, and being sure to put together a complete course syllabus including unit names, skills covered, grammar/vocabulary involved, tasks/functions of this language and resources to be used. I can see how improving my skills in syllabus design and taking the time to do this well will inform and make lesson planning a much more enjoyable process. Lastly, I found the discussion on using authentic and non-authentic materials to be a timely reminder for me as it showed me how authentic materials in particular can be very useful in a business English setting, especially as company documents can help lesson content be more relevant and applicable for my students and their needs.
Also read: Guide to Writing Your First TEFL Syllabus
Looking to the Future
This course has given me a multiplicity of tools for improving my teaching preparation, a few of which have been addressed above. Because of what I’ve learned in this training course, I am now even more excited for my next teaching assignment as this course has addressed some of the least enjoyable aspects of teaching English for me and given me hope and tools for improvement. I look forward to using needs analysis/negotiation, syllabus design and authentic/non-authentic materials in order to enhance both my teaching skills and my students’ language learning experience.
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