Top Tips For Teaching Business English Abroad In Japan
What does it mean to teach Business English? And how does it differ from normal classroom-style English teaching? Many adult students choose to take English classes to help support their business and activities as well as to advance their careers. However, business English doesn’t take place in just a classroom-style setting. There are “teacher dispatch” companies that offer several important key factors that set them apart from a traditional teaching school.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Zachary B. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
First and foremost, Business English classes are usually held at the place of business. This can range anywhere from a corporate office, to a factory, a convention center, or anywhere with a business atmosphere. Teaching times and class sizes can also vary greatly depending on the situation. Most commonly teaching sessions will happen during the business workday or after the employees have punched the clock. Sometimes teaching sessions will happen in the early morning before the workday also. Class sizes are usually a small to a medium-sized group of 5 to 20 or so employees. However, class sizes can be larger, and also teachers may find themselves doing one on one lessons to employees too.
When it comes to the classroom itself and teaching there are some notable differences in the way a corporate teaching session functions compared to a traditional classroom session. Usually, during the first lesson, a representative of the company will make the necessary introductions and go through the initial expectations. Afterward, the teachers are mainly on their own and will be responsible for checking in with their managers for feedback and student assessments. Teaching in these corporate environments also means that the teacher is exposed to a variety of different situations. Good organizational skills, planning, flexibility, and willingness to adapt to sudden changes are important skills to possess.
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Another difference in the corporate setting is the difference regarding formality. The instructors should dress and act as formal or more so than the students they are teaching. Suits and ties will be much more common in these types of settings over a traditional conversation school. A large benefit of teaching in this setting is the motivation factor of the students. It’s highly unlikely you will encounter unmotivated learners in this type of corporate space as employees that are enrolled in English training have particular goals in mind which could range from an upcoming international business trip to a growing need to communicate internationally with business partners. These corporate students are very eager and motivated to learn because the future success of their career is directly impacted by taking the English classes seriously.
Considerations to take into account while teaching in a corporate environment as mentioned earlier are many. Instructors will encounter times where an important work meeting or event will cause several employees not being able to attend the lesson and the instructor will find the glass half empty. Special traits that instructors need to focus on are reading the room and determining when the students have had a particularly long or difficult day and adjusting the course content accordingly. In Asian countries a term called “saving face” is a serious consideration when there are multiple levels of students in the room, they may even have their managers in the same class so instructors need to be careful to not call out or embarrass any of the employees.
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Lastly, developing a good rapport with the students is essential to having a happy class. Working with adult students means that you can usually cover more content at a faster pace. There is usually a time to adjust for the teacher and the students which can vary from class to class and teacher to teacher. The more experience that any instructor has the quicker they can pick up on what can be covered in a lesson and this will quickly establish a rapport with the class.
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