I’m looking at teaching business English with a one on two class. Any suggestions for a good textbook? I’ve had a look around, and found a lot which are directed towards improving the business English of native speakers, which isn’t much help. They all require a skill level which is simply too high. These are advanced students, with good vocabulary, grammar and diction, but not a lot of business English vocabulary, and little to no knowledge of formal communication protocols in English.
There are lots of books about writing email. I think those go over well, and you can modify the exercises quite easily to better suit the needs of your students.
Thanks, that sounds like a good start. I didn’t see anything like that at Page One (Zhongxiao Fuxing Sogo), when I went there last. Could you recommend a place to buy something like that? Page One at 101 perhaps?
Thanks, that’s extremely useful.
The common problem with ‘business English’ is that the students don’t have the basic skills. They know most of the words they will ever need, but ask them to use those words correctly and put them in the correct order…
Give them a level test first. Can they use the right verbs, with the right endings, if it’s not a multiple choice question? If they can’t then what’s the point of teaching them how to complain to a customer about late shipments?
If you can find a copy, [url=http://tw.forumosa.com/t/diplomat-text-book/38125/1 is a great book to use in adult classes. It’s general English, but written for people in business and provides plenty of opportunities to practise and develop skills like negotiating, discussing, speculating, interrupting, etc.
Most adult students have no idea how to go about writing anything, and there’s not a lot of point in teaching the details appropriate to a particular situation if they can’t get the basics right. There’s a text book published by Howard - one of the buxibans on Nan Yang Jie - which breaks down the process into simple easily-memorisable steps. This formulaic approach is very popular and teaches good writing habits they can then transfer to other situations. It’s sold as the course book for some of their TOEFL/TOEIC courses. Can’t remember the name and I’m living out of cardboard boxes at the moment. Can’t find it. Sorry.
Thanks Loretta, some great advice there. This couple are very good with their word order and vocabulary. They’re excellent with their tenses. They make a few mistakes now and then, but nothing shocking. Their conjugations and declensions are usually accurate.
They need to lean some business vocabulary, and learn about formal business communication protocols. They certainly need more writing practice. The materials you suggest sound ideal. Thanks.
OK, well if they can do the basics then you’re blessed. It’s great when you get students like that. I used Diplomat with a bunch of really good students recently and it worked very well, but as far as I know it’s not generally available.
I don’t know about other folks, but generally I’ve found that the theory often doesn’t match the practise when it comes to business communication. I remember once being asked to help resolve a spat that had developed between a trading company in Taiwan and a client in the USA. They had to teach me about the technicalities of how their industry worked, legislation etc., so that I could understand the mails and after following the trail back to the beginning I had to conclude that the poor quality of the English emanating from the client was the source of the problem. As a native speaker I could puzzle out what the client had asked for, but the message was incoherent and the most reasonable interpretation was the one the TW company had arrived at by referring to their text books.
If your students have good grammar then you could try having them explain or clarify stuff for you. In the course of teaching you about what they do you will discover what vocabulary is lacking and where their weaknesses lie. You can then simulate complex, and possibly unclear, communications which they have to clarify, confirm, resolve, etc.
Just ideas. “Business English” is too big and woolly a subject to give specific suggestions for. Are there any particular areas they want to work on? Presentation skills? Sales? Report Writing? Customer Service? Clarifying that will help you focus your efforts.
For general stuff you could also work with articles from suitable publications. Depending on their needs you can explore the vocabulary, discuss, practise summarizing, paraphrase, work up short presentations, create marketing campaigns, anticipate customer service issues, etc. Even a limited amount of reading aloud may be appropriate.
As I type, I am remembering that I used to use a little book called “How to Become CEO” but I don’t know what I did with it or who wrote it. Anyway, it was full of short articles about career planning and management which were good examples of clear writing which followed the golden rule of presenting your thesis followed by supporting arguments and a conclusion. They were well-written, with an easy-to-follow style which used specialised vocabulary as and when required in a very natural way. The topics were often good for 10-20 minute discussions.
I’ve been contemplating trying to do the same thing with The Idea Book - after all, the ultimate objective of all these students is to achieve a competitive advantage in a knowledge-based economy.
This is all very useful Loretta, I am copying this down. Thanks a lot. By the way, the book you mentioned in your PM, was that ‘Diplomat’ or another book? I need to PM someone about it.
Diplomat is the book you probably can’t get.
The writing book was the one I PM’d about.
Another option to start out (if, as you say, they are only lacking Business vocab) would be Business Vocabulary in Use. The regular book is pretty basic, but, if you can find them, there are two higher levels. They group their vocab by topic and/or skill. You would have to figure out a way to apply the lessons, though. The books will give the vocab and some practice exercises (short, drill type).
Thanks, where could I find a copy?
I think I’ve seen it in 101’s Page 1. I got mine at Cave’s. I have also seen it in Eslite.
Thanks a lot.
[quote=“Fortigurn”]I’m looking at teaching business English with a one on two class. Any suggestions for a good textbook? I’ve had a look around, and found a lot which are directed towards improving the business English of native speakers, which isn’t much help. They all require a skill level which is simply too high. These are advanced students, with good vocabulary, grammar and diction, but not a lot of business English vocabulary, and little to no knowledge of formal communication protocols in English.[/quote]You might look at Market Leader (pub. Pearson Longman). There are some useful interactive tasks/case studies, and there’s some good use of authentic materials.