How Do I Teach Business English? | i-to-i TEFL Blog
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Expert TEFL Advice

How Do I Teach Business English?

Sounds terrifying doesn’t it? (Business English!)  Extremely professional, too!  If you’re considering teaching Business English, then it’s important to remember that it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be faced with a mass of people in power suits, clutching their briefcases.  In fact, it’s a complete contrast, with Business English a very exciting area to teach.  It’s actually one of the fastest growing TEFL markets as many international companies are making it a requirement (especially in Europe) for their employees to have at least some grasp of the English language.  If you’re asking yourself “how do I teach Business English?” then you’ve come to the right place – here are some tips from real-life TEFL teachers who are teaching Business English right now!

Over to our TEFL teachers!

“Use realia when teaching Business English is a must. Use real business webs to build vocabulary and always keep an eye on world business news.” – Paco

“Get a business or business-related degree, then get TEFL-qualified and add a Business English module.  Subscribe to Business English podcasts.  Tip: Use a lot of idioms and colloquialisms, students love those!” – Jose

“Use standard text books like ‘Intelligent Business’.  Keep an eye on world business news and read through a few pages of a national newspaper. ” – Simon F

“The best thing to do is to find a good textbook such as ‘Market Leader’ and work through it using the topics for discussion.  I ALWAYS ask my students to preview the book at home and fill it out and do listening tasks at home, then in class we focus on oral English and review the book.  Most of the time my students would prefer to discuss non-business related material, so the book pretty much covers the business aspect for them” – Robert

“Try to identify activities and learning most suited to their jobs so that they can be used in real life scenarios.  I am teaching 5 new business clients at the moment – I’ve had them do mini presentations covering real scenarios e.g. making a sales pitch or a case for their promotion depending on their companies’ business/their role in it.” - Eugene

“Don’t just teach – show.  Use realia, and talking about certain forms/applications etc.  Bring the actual papers to class and fill them out together.  Let your students actually get involved and feel confident in what you’re teaching in a safe environment before they face it in the real world.” – Jessica

A few other things to remember when teaching Business English is that you don’t actually need to be a business specialist – students want to improve their English, so focus on teaching things such as grammar to help them become students.  You’ll also need to understand your learners’ demands and desired outcome – is it fluency they’re after, or the ability to hold a conversation about marketing tactics, for instance?  Once you understand the objectives of your students, you can tailor your lessons accordingly.  Finally (and most obviously!), you must always dress the part.  Say ‘so long’ to a creased shirt and jeans, and hello to a power suit – there’s genuinely nothing better to make you feel more sophisticated; and in many cultures, teachers occupy an extremely respectful role in society, and as such, students expect you to look like one!

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