The thought of teaching business English can send a shiver down the spine of a plethora of English teachers, who are generally quite comfortable teaching regular English.
You might question that teaching Business English requires special qualifications, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Despite no business-related qualification or experience, you may well find yourself teaching English to successful business people in dynamic corporate organizations, students of business at colleges, or future entrepreneurs with a budding interest in Business English.
The demand for English teachers in the corporate world is high, and if you know how to teach English well, you can easily fill that demand. Read ahead to learn everything about teaching Business English and some useful tips to help you get started.
How is business English different from regular English?
Business English is a specialized form of the English language that focuses on business terminologies, jargon, business topics, and corporate culture. Business English is typically taught onsite to employees of large organizations, but it can also be taught privately in person and online.
How is teaching business English different from teaching regular English?
Teaching business English is considerably different from teaching other forms of the English language. Below are a few of the key differences:
1: Students and their goals
For starters, the students of business English would always be adults. In fact, ‘Business English’ is often used as an expression to refer to teaching adults rather than businesspeople. The students would generally have distinct motivations of joining a business English class than other courses. They have a specific, career-oriented aim in mind, and usually, the organization where they work would pay for the sessions.
2: Stakeholders in students learning
As mentioned earlier, organizations generally pay for Business English classes to assist an employee avail of a promotion, start a new position that deals with extensive communication, overseas travel, or help them better assist international clients. As a Business English teacher, you must report to the firm every so often to check-in and update them about the students’ progress. Business English courses are typically more costly than regular English courses, meaning that they would be eager to see real, documented results.
3: The classroom
Business English sessions also differ from other classes regarding location. It is normal to teach Business English learners on their worksite. This means you would most probably be working in a conference room, a large corporate building, or other meeting space. Due to this, you’d want to dress up more professionally than you’d when teaching regular English at a language institute.
4: Content material and resource
The content you’d teach would be linked to the business world. This could encompass business vocabulary, jargon, speaking with clients, phone etiquette, giving formal presentations, or building relationships with colleagues. While most of these subjects apply to any corporation, be sure to speak with the business stakeholder to figure out precisely what they expect you to teach to deliver optimal results.
3 Tips for first-timer Business English teachers
If it’s your first take on teaching business English, fret not, here we have three tips to ensure you tick all the right spots and conduct a successful, engaging, and productive business English class:
Tip #1: Always find out what your stakeholders and students expect out of the session
Like any other class, you must figure out what outcomes your students and stakeholders want to achieve through the session. Doing this will not only help you determine what material to cover, how to assess the progress of students, but it’ll also allow you to manage the expectations of your investors’ and students from the very beginning, leading to a successful and amicable relationship between each other.
Tip #2: Be professional but not boring
While you must strive for professionalism and bear in mind that the students come from a business environment, this does not necessarily mean that the teaching session needs to be boring. We understand that you might not possibly pull out all the same stops you’d with regular sessions, such as loud or physical games, but believe us, your adult students would highly appreciate you keeping things lively. You can try to bring in interesting resources, like podcasts about industry topics, current business magazines, or videos of market news reports to diversify your activities and keep things interesting.
Tip #3: Understand the students’ lifestyle
Unlike other English language classes, business English learners would most probably be attending class either before or after work. Due to this, your working hours might either be very early or late. Moreover, the students’ busy schedules may prompt them to often change or cancel their session hours at the last minute. Thus, try to be flexible and understanding, plus keep in mind that the higher pay for business English sessions typically makes up for any scheduling problems.
3 Activities for Business English students
Activity #1 Mock phone conversations
Model ideal business phone etiquette through this activity. Ask students to take turns role-playing with you or practice in pairs. You can either provide them with scripts or give them a scenario and ask them to create their own. Scenarios could involve phone calls between an employee and their boss, coworkers, client, and an employee or a manager and someone they supervise.
Activity #2: Drafting business emails
Have the students read numerous business emails and discuss the critical components, such as the subject line, greetings, or sign-off. Once that’s done, provide the students with a scenario and ask them to draft emails to a client, boss, or colleague. Conducting this activity would greatly expand the learner’s business vocabulary and would also improve their writing skills.
Activity #3: Practicing presentations
Almost any person working in a firm should be able to deliver presentations effectively. Through this activity, you can go over the different terminology associated with reading charts, graphs, and effectively sharing information. You can then hand out the actual chart/graph samples among the students and have them showcase their presentation skills in front of the class.
Teaching Business English is a unique offshoot of English language teaching that is particularly focused on business vocabulary, terminology, context, and corporate world culture. If you are planning to teach Business English, know that it can significantly enhance your teaching scope and thus make your marketability as a teacher more lucrative.
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