Ten Top Tips for Business English by die90290


									Ten Top Tips for
Business English
     Paul Emmerson

Tip 1
 With authentic texts, Ss focus on lexis they don’t
  know. But most unknown lexis is either low-
  frequency or ‘clever’ (non-IBE) journalism
 One solution:
  Ask Ss to produce a mind-map of the article for homework:
   main ideas as inner ring, useful words and phrases as outer
  Possible definition of ‘useful’: ‘words I know but cannot yet
   use actively’ (very powerful idea)
  In the next class, Ss explain the article to a partner –using
   their MM not the original text.

Tip 2

Do any pairwork RP twice:
  Same partner, change roles
  Same roles, change partners
  Change both roles and partners
  Move S at one end of the classroom ‘U’ to the
   other end
The second time really boosts their fluency.
 Ideas and language all prepared.
                                           Continued …   3
Tip 2 (continued)
 Works for any speaking activity, not just RPs
  Ss have prepared some notes, or a mind map, for
   homework. They explain twice – the second time to a
   new partner and without looking at their notes.
  Tell Ss that at the end of the activity they will take their
   partner’s MM and explain the issues to another student!
   This forces them to listen and check understanding.

Tip 3
 Record 121 students whenever they are speaking
  (doesn’t mean you have to use it)
   After a useful/interesting bit of student output, playback the recording
    to them as soon as they finish. Pause the recording frequently to
    correct and extend language.
   Work collaboratively with the student: offer them the chance to
    reformulate before you do so; allow them to pause the recording as
    well as you.
   Digital voice recorders work fine, but make sure there is ‘cue and
    review’ (like an old-fashioned tape recorder) to quickly re-listen several
    times to the last few seconds.

Tip 4

Ask Ss to write a dialogue.
  Example: you did a telephone RP in class
  In class, Ss can work with a partner to reconstruct
   the dialogue
  For homework, Ss can write a dialogue based on
   a typical telephone conversation they have at work

Tip 5

Two board diagrams to motivate Ss who feel
 they are making no progress.
 1. Graph with overall upward progress but long
 plateaus and some dips.
  Ask students to remember how learning other skills
    was also like this (musical instrument, learning how
    to drive etc.)

                                               Continued …   7
Tip 5 (continued)
  2. Funny sketch of head with ear, brain and mouth.
   Arrow into ear: ‘awareness’
    Brain: ‘passive understanding’
    Arrow out of mouth: ‘active speech’
   Then: lots of little boxes (language items) in a line coming into ear,
    moving to brain, stored in brain, moving to mouth, coming out of
   Say to students who feel they aren’t making progress: ‘Don’t worry,
    there’s plenty of stuff in line, it just isn’t ready to come out yet’
   Can also use before a ‘difficult’ language area: ‘We’re going to do
    something at the start of the line - it won’t be ready to come out for
    a few more months’
Tip 6
 Reformulation during feedback at the board: use
  silence to allow Ss time for mental processing
  Go to the board after a task with your feedback notes.
   As usual, you write up something that a student said: an
   error, or poorly formulated phrase, or phrase with a gap
   before a key word ready to write in some collocations, or
   inappropriate phrase (politeness) etc.
  You will of course try to elicit the correction/improvement
   from the Ss, guiding them with hints, concept Qs etc.
  BUT leave a few seconds silence first, after writing.
   Move away from the board and let the Ss think about
   this language and wonder why you have written it.
                                                   Continued …   10
Tip 6 (continued)
  At this moment, during this silence, language
   acquisition is taking place before your eyes! Ss are
   activating their passive knowledge to reformulate
   (correct or improve) what they see on the board.
  They are getting practice at self-correction/self-
   improvement. The next time they make the same
   mistake (in class or outside) they are far more likely
   to notice it themselves and self-correct.

Tip 7

Wonderful website for authentic texts:
Short articles on key issues written by
 professors at Wharton Business School.
Podcasts + scripts
VERY LITTLE low-frequency, idiomatic
 journalistic language
Screenshot of home page:
                                     Continued …   12
Tip 7 (continued)

Website with short texts on interesting topics
 to discuss with students:
Alerts sent daily by email newsletter – click on
 link to go straight to story.
Screenshot of homepage:

Tip 7 (continued)
 Websites that provide background information on business
    www.investopedia.com
     (look at the ‘Dictionary’ and ‘Tutorials’ tabs)
    www.tutor2u.net
     (‘Revision Notes’ on r.h. side)
    www.1000ventures.com
     (run cursor over bar right at the top)
    www.toolkit.com
     (‘Small Business Guide’ tab)
    www.businessballs.com
     (amateur site created by a mad genius)
Tip 8
Revise and Recycle!!!
 With our limited time and need to cover so much we rush
  through material and forget to leave time for revision.
 But it really is important: without review new lexis is forgotten
  very quickly, with review it can go into long-term memory.
 Ideas for recycling at the end of a lesson (zero
  preparation) …
   Ask Ss to cover parts of the page with a piece of paper
     (e.g. a right-hand column or a gapfill box) and try to
     remember the part covered up.
   Read out part of a listening script and stop before a key
     word for students to complete, or say ‘mmm’ for a gap
     and then read a few more words.
Tip 9
 Use Teacher Talking Time mindfully.
     It’s absolutely true that most teachers talk far too much in class and don’t give their
      Ss the space to experiment with language. But … it’s also true that you (yes YOU)
      are the best listening material in the class.
     Be a participant in the lesson. Take part in discussions. But always be aware.
      Grade your language. Choose appropriate occasions to use a new word and make
      it count (students will really notice it). Use your own reformulations to scaffold
      students. Make your interventions very brief – write them down and return to them
      at the board later. You don’t want the students to lose their train of thought.
     Read aloud an authentic text (or coursebook text) as listening practice – first time
      without the Ss seeing it. Put Ss into pairs – can they remember the main points?
      Now hand out the text and read it aloud again. Your natural phonological chunking
      and stress of key words helps their comprehension. The class stays together and
      you avoid side-track questions about low-frequency lexis that will be forgotten the
      next day. The previous pairwork has also helped the Ss – the ideas in the text are
      already slightly familiar and they are interested to see if the points they
      remembered were right. Now finally you can either discuss it, or do bottom-up
      language work. Or both … but keep the activities separate in class.

Tip 10
   Remember to do lots of drilling as part of pronunciation
       Word stress (a na ly sis).
       Whole functional phrases (Can I just interrupt for a moment?).
       Sentence stress in presentations. Each sentence has one or two
        key words, and within each of these key words the stressed
        syllable needs really stressing.
       Pausing at appropriate moments in presentations (phonological
        chunking) to bring out meaning and give the audience a moment
        to absorb information.
       Combine sentence stress + pausing to create impact and a sense
        of drama that makes the presentation interesting to listen to.
        Getting these two things right is more important than all the
        signpost phrases in the world.

The end. Bye!

Coming autumn 2010 …

      Tips and techniques for Teaching Business English


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