5 helpful hints for teaching business ESL
Friday, March 26, 2021
Business ESL would fall under ESP (English for specific purposes) as learners make the transition from general language to the specific varieties necessary in their future lines of work.
The language taught in ESL classes needs to be relevant to the students’ interests. For business students, they need to get hands-on experience with the various aspects of the field and go beyond mere textbook examples (Magrath, D., February 24, 2020).
Teaching hint No. 1
Teachers new to the field or those who have L2 learners in a regular classroom may need some help along the way. Here are some ideas that current teachers can use to help their newer colleagues as they help second language learners with business writing.
New teachers will feel a lot of stress as must work through students, colleagues, staff and administration. The author is writing for regular teachers, but the advice is also applicable to ESL/ESOL instructors.
Many new teachers will find themselves in what can be an absolutely terrifying situation, not only learning to feel comfortable standing in front of students for the first time, but learning to navigate relationships with other teachers as well (DeBella, A., August 4, 2020).
Teaching hint No. 2
Heed the advice of experienced teachers in your school. Here is something veteran teachers can do to help the new ones acclimate:
…take an opportunity this year to integrate those new teachers into your school’s culture. How to foster a welcoming environment for new teachers (How to foster a welcoming environment for new teachers).
Teaching hint No. 3
Invite the new teachers to join you for lunch. “Give this opportunity to your new teachers, share a meal with them, and truly get to know them.” (How to foster a welcoming environment for new teachers)
The new person needs a friend who can provide advice and support.
Often what makes or breaks a school district for someone might just be that friend at the end of the hall, the person you go to when you're seeking advice, that person who really cares about how you’re doing. That person can make all the difference, so be that person for someone who may need it the most — a new teacher (How to foster a welcoming environment for new teachers).
The author cited above had a particularly rowdy class and received invaluable aid from one of her experienced colleagues.
The amount of unparalleled knowledge, discipline strategies, and classroom management skills learned that year — skills that I still use today — is invaluable (How to foster a welcoming environment for new teachers).
One needs to keep an open mind. “Listen, engage, and truly consider new ideas — while always keeping student success in mind.” (How to foster a welcoming environment for new teachers)
Encourage new teachers to engage their students with discussions in the classroom.
Teaching hint No. 4:Content
Programs providing content ESL often require that students understand a specific subject and perform specific tasks related to the subject, be it academic, literature for example or job-related, such as business ESL.
Although ESL instruction has changed greatly in a short period of time, one thing that has remained the same is the need for effective lessons that help students develop skills they can use outside the classroom (New Readers Press, 2013).
Teaching hint No. 5: Sales letters
One can set up a situation involving a business decision. The whole class can discuss the problem and write out the possible resolutions working individually or in groups.
Teacher will remind students about the sales letter they discussed in the last class about selling a multifunctional pen. Teacher will say, “Let us now suppose that someone else is selling that pen and we want to buy it, but we are not sure whether to buy it or not, so let’s ask the seller a few questions before buying. What are the questions you will ask from seller of such a pen?”
The teacher leads a discussion with the students. They want to get further information about the pen, so they work on sample letters of inquiry.
What corporations can do
Companies often have employees who speak English as their second language. Many are highly qualified in the fields, but they cannot advance because of the language problem. There are some ways to provide on-site instruction without interfering with the employees’ production.
The situation is not hopeless; it’s merely a bigger, more interesting challenge than creating training only for native English speakers (Mori, P., September 3, 2020).
You can teach “business English” as it is commonly called. In business it is referred to as “global English.” Here is a definition of “global English:”
Global English is English whose vocabulary and structure is aimed at achieving the greatest comprehension, across cultures, among people for whom English is not their first language. It’s not merely simplified English; in fact, well-written global English sounds natural to native and non-native speakers alike (4 actions to take to increase engagement among learners who speak English as a second language).
For example, the expression, “He really struck out on that one” would be confusing to someone not familiar with baseball, just as cricket terms like “wicket” are confusing to those watching BBC shows in the U.S.
For example, in addition to idioms, global English revisions edit for split clauses, indefinite pronouns, misplaced modifiers, acronyms and abbreviations, and in-crowd varieties of English like internet lingo and “business speak.” It also includes syntactic cues that native speakers drop and sticks to primary rather than secondary definitions of words (4 actions to take to increase engagement among learners who speak English as a second language).
Akhter, M., (July 15, 2019)Lesson Plans for Business Letter Writing, TESOL, https://www.tesol.org/connect/tesol-resource-center/search-details/lesson-plans/2019/07/15/lesson-plan-for-business-letter-writing-
DeBella, A., (August 4, 2020) How to foster a welcoming environment for new teachers, Teaching Channel, https://www.teachingchannel.com/blog/welcoming-environment-new-teachers
Magrath, D., (February 24, 2020) Teaching business English in the ESL Classroom, MultiBriefs Exclusive, http://exclusive.multibriefs.com/author/douglas-magrath
Mori, P., (September 3, 2020) 4 Actions to take to increase engagement among learners who speak English as a second language, Trainingindustry.com https://trainingindustry.com/articles/content-development/4-actions-to-take-to-increase-engagement-among-learners-who-speak-english-as-a-second-language/
Oddy, B., editor, (2013) Teaching Adults: An ESL Resource Book, New Readers Press
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