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Teaching Business English with no teaching certificate
Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:47 am
I sort of have the opposite problem other people have. I was offered a job today teaching business English by virtue of my business background and degree, but I have no ESL teaching certificate. I know little or nothing about the fine art of teaching and am considering this offer to be tantamount to being thrown into a fire.
The recruiter tells me it's up to me to design lesson plans. Can anyone suggest a website where I could find business English lesson plans for intermediate students? I did a preliminary search but the results were not very promising. I see there are books on the subject as well, but I'm a little uneasy stealing other people's creations. Perhaps I could modify them or mix them in with my own. Any suggestions? Are there such things as ESL mentors/coaches that could bring me up to speed and teach me the bare minimum I should know in a day or two?
Also, given the lesson plans I've seen, it appears to me, the layperson, that English learning for intermediates is nothing more than playing games. Is that the case? Every lesson, every day of the week? Is there no formal structure?
Thanks for any input.
Re: Teaching Business English with no teaching certificate
Posted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:18 am
I can understand your surprise at all the game playing! However if you change the word "game" to "drill" or "exercize" you probably would not find that unusual. In fact games are a framework to use language, either in strict drills where accuracy is paramount, or in freer speaking activities where fluency is more important than accuracy.
For students to learn vocabulary and grammar they need to be immersed in it with endless repetition. Games provide an engaging way to repeat things until they are known without it being a dull task.
That said it is a lot of work making lessons from scratch every time, and in a way it's pretty silly to re-invent the wheel. I recommend that you take a textbook out of the library and test a lesson with your class. If it fits well you could buy that textbook for youself and use it as a guide to take you through different vocabulary themes and grammar points in a logical order. The advantage of following a curriculum (textbook) is that you won't leave something important out.
My own book of classroom activities is great and goes with any textbook, and I recommend it to you. You can read the reviews on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/ESL-Classroom-Act ... 1478213795
I have many more reviews on my website, since the book is also there in PDF (whereas on Amazon it's a paperback).
Re: Teaching Business English with no teaching certificate
Posted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:13 pm
I would like to share my experience with you. During one period of my life, I desperately needed to earn money to maintain me and my four teenage-aged children. At this time I was without any EFL-teaching certificate, but I had a general teaching certificate for German and special education. I did not even know very much about teaching English, and, frankly, neither was my English very good at that time. In addition to these defaults, the business world and all what is connected with economics was and is something very alien to me.
But nevertheless, I was offered a job for teaching business English. In need of money I had to face the challenge, but I really did feel like the miller´s daughter in Grimm´s fairy-tale whose father boasted of her alleged capacity to spin straw into gold.
I was very nervous when I started the job, but I discovered many helpful resources: The agency I worked for had many course books at disposition for teachers teaching business English. I know by now that there is a great variety of course books, but at this time I used either: Business Results (Oxford University Press), Market Leader (Pearson Elt) or International Express (Oxford University Press). I found that their common features were to be published for learners on different achievement levels (beginners, elementary, pre-intermediate, intermediate, advanced), to be divided into units which were on their part divided into sections which taught all language skills: speaking, listening, vocabulary, reading, writing, grammar. Their lay-out was often very attractive and the topics dealt with either in listening, reading or conversation very interesting and up-to-date. Each coursebook usually has a workbook which provides extra practise and fabulous teacher manuals with superbe detailed lesson descriptions and additional audio CDs.
After teaching for a while I found out that the books were very useful and coming to the lessons well prepared made-up for my several shortcomings as an English teacher. But after a while I discovered that my students were bored, lacked enthusiasm, avoided coming to the lessons. I was utterly upset, for this increased my self-doubts in my teaching capacities. Luckily, I remembered a book I once had discovered in a forlorn cupboard in a teachers´ staff room which was about playing games with adults. From this time on, I tried to play games in practically every lesson to set the students into the right mood, to revise structures, to built up tension and to have fun. I went in search for more rescources for good lesson planning and I finnally found this link: TeachingEnglishGames.com for ideas and the teen/adult games book from there. It convinced me of the benefical effects of playing games in English lessons and not to look down on them: games and game-like activities provide the necessary practise each EFL-student desperately needs whether he is studying business English or English for any other specific purpose.
Having composed some games into my lesson planning each lesson (I used games as a warmer, introduction into a new structure, diagnosis, to practise a new structure, at the end of the lesson as around-up) my lessons became more interesting and I was more successful as a teacher. The students just felt that each structure proposed in the course book was propperly practised and drilled by the game. They had a sense of achievement and that made them feel good.
When teaching business English you can certainly rely on the coursebook and the teacher´s manual, but you should complete the exercises by extra activities like songs, games or game-like activities to provide more practise, keep up learners´ curiosity and motivation and make learning interesting and fun.
Meanwhile I have a university degree in teaching English and I have confirmed my assumptions about games and game-like activities in the practical part of my final thesis: games should not be looked down upon, but play a central role in English teaching.