Do I need professional business experience to teach Business English?
This article is contributed by ESL Pals
No, you don’t need professional business experience to teach Business English.
Generally, through teaching Business English you will meet students who have varied professional roles so it would be impossible to have specific experience in each student’s field. For example, I currently teach an accountant, civil engineer and a sales manager.
However, there are some key areas that you need to excel in to be a successful Business English teacher. This blog presents 5 areas to focus on to be an effective Business English teacher:
Although you can’t be an expert in the intricacies of all business roles, you can cover all general business topics which are relevant to most, if not all, professions. For example; writing emails, presentations, meetings, virtual meetings, negotiation, leadership and more.
Presenting these topics in a step-by-step curriculum is essential. Having the lesson plans within this structure shows professionalism and preparedness. Furthermore, it will improve a student’s English level from week to week, which will, in turn, improve a teacher’s student retention rate. A win-win for all parties!
Specific Business Lesson Plans
From my years of experience teaching ESL, I have found that specific exercises work particularly well for Business English students. Firstly, I have found that role-play games are a great way for students to practice their newly acquired language in a safe environment. These activities not only help students feel more confident to speak in real life, but they are also great fun!
Secondly, using ‘case studies’ has produced successful lessons! A case study takes the lesson topic and presents a ‘real life’ example for the class to dissect and discuss at length, there are numerous activities that can follow a case study such as; presentations, debates, proposals and more! Case studies work well because they allow students to use their newly-acquired language in a natural way.
In my opinion, it is always advantageous to ensure that ESL Business English lesson plans are video or article based. This is because a teacher is able to send the video/article to the student before the class which encourages study outside of the classroom. In addition, these materials introduce the topic perfectly, introducing essential words and phrases in a natural manner. Finally, a teacher is able to create many exercises off the back of the video/article. All ESL business English lesson plans from ESL Pals use videos or articles.
The main challenge for an ESL teacher who wishes to undertake teaching Business English for the first time is getting to grips with the copious amount of business jargon which exists, whether that is phrases, slang, idioms or phrasal verbs specific to the business world.
My advice would be to learn the most common business jargon phrases; understanding their definitions fully, before studying them in the context they are most commonly used. Although it could take some time to study business jargon, the positive that comes from gaining this understanding is that teaching business jargon is a lot of fun and is invaluable for business students to learn!
Everybody’s favorite – homework! I’m sure that no one enjoyed receiving homework as a kid, however, any serious, motivated Business student will appreciate homework as they understand that to progress and learn fully, they need to study outside of the classroom.
Further, it is more effective for students to receive homework from their teachers, rather than creating their own, to ensure homework is level specific and continues the topic studied in class; this will solidify comprehension, ensuring progression. All ESL business English lesson plans from ESL Pals contain homework.
- Why teach Business English?
As you can see from the points covered above, teaching Business English doesn’t require you to be a business expert, you just need to have a deep understanding of the business vocabulary and grammar, which I’m sure all qualified English teachers do anyway!
Therefore, there’s no reason not to add Business English to your teaching repertoire because it will open doors in your teaching career! Opportunities include; appealing to more students, being able to charge more money, teaching in cool places, and meeting interesting students!