I wrote most of these articles and conference reports while I was doing my M.Ed.(CI). Originally put up on the website TeachAsiaOnline.com (defunct since 2009), I have decided to archive them here as I think most of the information is still relevant and useful for others. (2012) I'm now picking up where I left off to write about more recent seminars I attended.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Five Ideas for Engaging Low-level Business English Students

Speaker: Mr. Allen Davenport
Organised by: CUP, Bangkok
Date: 27 January 2015
Location: Windsor Suites, Bangkok
Promoting: Business Plus course book series

In his second lecture of the day Mr. Davenport explores some ideas for teaching learners with little or no experience in the workplace ("pre-intermediate", "pre-work").

He started with a brief explanation of the so-called "Three Circles of English"
(Em. Prof. Braj Kachru). The inner circle with 380 million native speakers is norm-providing (e.g. grammar), the outer circle with 150-300 million speakers in countries where English is an official language is norm-developing and the rest of English speakers in the world in the expanding circle (100 million-1 billion) are norm-dependent. Business English lives in the expanding circle said Mr. Davenport.
Wikipedia Commons
Low-level business learners learning speaking will benefit from
  1. A step-by-step approach with sufficient feedback
  2. Developing inter-cultural awareness (e.g. greeting people, addressing people, taboos); the students should learn to explain heir own culture as well as understand other's culture
  3. Connecting to the learners' experiences (no need to teach "haddock" when talking about food)
  4. Build on language they know, then activate it (e.g. linking and joining sentences with words like "and" and "but", focus on just 1 aspect)
  5. Provide a purpose for speaking and writing
Mr. Davenport illustrated each idea with a relevant sample exercise.

My comment
Based on these ideas I see no difference in approach between business and regular language learners. I was surprised there was no reference to the Cambridge business English corpus.

Kachru, Braj B., and Cecil L. Nelson. "World Englishes."
     UK (?): Cambridge University Press, 1996. 71-102. Print.

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