7 Tips for Teaching Business English Like a Professional
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The thought of teaching Business English is enough to strike fear into the hearts of even the most experienced English as a foreign language (EFL) teacher. Thank goodness we’re superheroes who can accomplish anything given a few hours of prep time! Teaching Business English is no joke considering the importance of the lessons and the nature of the content, so Business English teachers have a responsibility to take these lessons seriously. Considering that not all of us have actual experience in a corporate environment, we thought we’d share with you our top tips for teaching Business English like a professional – because that’s what you are, right?
1. Fake it til you make it
Before we say anything, we need to say this. Many TEFL teachers feel they are not adequately qualified to teach Business English. We wish to disagree. There are any number of English for Specific Purposes classes which we might be asked to teach and there is no way we can be qualified to teach all of them. Teaching Business English is the same.
While it is obviously beneficial to have worked in the same profession as your students or worked in a corporate environment, this is not to say that you can’t teach Business English (just like you don’t have to be a doctor or nurse to teach Medical English). There are coursebooks to help you and endless online Busuiness English resources and there’s no doubt you’ll get the hang of it after your first lesson.
2. A needs analysis is essential
In a Business English class, it is highly likely that your students will need to use the language they learn in your lessons in real life. After all, that is why they are taking Business English lessons, to prepare them for their working environment. As such, it is vital that you do a thorough and effective needs analysis with your students.
Find out exactly what it is they will need for their jobs, as well as what they are already capable of doing in English. Make sure you know their work experience and their learning experience. Lastly, ask them what they expect from your lessons, how best they learn, and what they would and wouldn’t do in your lessons.
Personalising your lessons like this will help your students improve their English and also help them notice their improvements, which is important. After all, happy students makes a happy teacher!
3. Be professional
Because of the context, it is more important than usual for the EFL teacher to be professional when teaching Business English. This is in terms of dress as well as behaviour. While your students definitely need opportunities to collaborate and work together during the lesson, Business English lessons are often not the place for the usual fun and games we are used to.
Business English lessons are a serious matter and need to be treated as such. Of course, you can be light-hearted and crack a joke or two, but make sure your lessons are focused and on-topic. There is no room for fluffy lessons or doing activities just to pass the time. Activities need to have a purpose. Also, make sure you communicate clearly with your students and follow up with the appropriate assessments and feedback.
4. Be motivational
Bear in mind that your Business English students might only see you after a long day at work, or they may be taking time out for your lessons. Consequently, they may be tired or distracted. Even worse, even though they may have a lot of extrinsic motivation to learn Business English this does not necessarily translate into intrinsic motivation – they may be in your lessons purely because they’ve been told they need to be. It is part of your job to keep the energy levels in the class up and make the lessons entertaining and engaging enough to help your students focus on the lesson at hand.
5. Use authentic texts
Because our Business English learners are in the classroom for their real-world experiences at work, it makes sense to use authentic materials in your lessons. Coursebooks are quite general in their topics (so as to appeal to a wide audience) but this means that the topics may not appeal to your Business English students. Rather than use a coursebook (unless it’s a Business English coursebook), find authentic materials which relate directly to your students. The best way to do this is to actually source the materials from your students themselves, in the form of emails, Powerpoint presentations, leaflets, company papers etc. Just make sure it’s not confidential information that you’re dealing with!
6. Teach language as an afterthought
This might sound counterintuitive but when you think about it, Business English students are there for a very specific purpose, be it to write emails or speak on the phone or communicate with customers. Of course there are language elements to all of those but focus on the outcome rather than the language and your students will better feel they are accomplishing their goals. If you teach a lesson on expressions of purpose, your students may feel demotivated because they cannot see the relevance to their work, but if you deconstruct an email and introduce expressions of purpose to be used in the email then you are killing two birds with one stone.
7. Have fun!
Even if you find the topic boring, fake it so that your students are none the wiser. Engagement and participation are key to success in a language learning situation, and if your students see that you are bored they will be bored too. You are by and large responsible for the mood in the classroom, so suck it up and put a smile on your face! If you loosen up and do what you do best (teach English) you should find yourself genuinely enjoying it anyway!
Let’s face it, in the EFL world you never know what is going to be expected of you, and there’s actually quite a good chance that you will end up teaching some sort of English for Specific Purposes class – and it could very well be Business English! If this is the case for you and you find yourself teaching Business English, hopefully these tips will help you be the best Business English teacher you can be.
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- Right to restrict processing of personal information
- In some situations, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of your personal information. We may restrict your personal information by temporarily moving the information to another processing system, making the information unavailable to users, or temporarily removing published information from a website. We may also use technical methods to ensure the personal information is not subject to further processing and cannot be changed. When we have restricted processing of personal information, this will be clearly indicated on our systems.
- You can require us to restrict processing in the following circumstances:
- You are concerned that the information we hold about you is inaccurate. You can ask us to restrict the information until we can determine whether the information is accurate or inaccurate.
- We are processing your personal data unlawfully and you do not want us to delete the information but restrict it instead.
- We no longer need the information for the purposes for which we collected it, but they are needed by you for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
- You have objected to the processing (see below), and we need to decide whether the legitimate grounds we have to process the information override your legitimate interests.
Processing you think is unlawful
- If you tell us that you think we are processing your personal information unlawfully, but you do not want the information to be erased, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of that information.
- We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the processing is unlawful, and may also ask that you provide evidence to support this view.
Processing of personal information you think is inaccurate
- You can tell us if you think the personal information we are processing about you is factually inaccurate. You can require us to restrict how we use your personal information until we can verify the accuracy of the information. We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the information is inaccurate, and may also ask that you provide some supporting evidence of the alleged inaccuracy.
- If we find that the personal information we are processing about you is inaccurate, we will take appropriate steps to correct the information.
Personal information is no longer needed by ELEARNING FUTURES LTD but needed by you in connection with a legal claim
- In most circumstances, we will securely delete or dispose of personal information when we no longer need it for our legitimate business purposes. Our approach to retention is outlined in our corporate retention schedules.
- However, if the personal information we no longer need would assist you in establishing, exercising or defending a legal claim, you can require us to keep the information for as long as necessary. We may ask you to provide an explanation and any available supporting evidence that a legal claim is ongoing or contemplated.
Right to erasure of personal data (“the right to be forgotten”)
In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.