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Business English, Materials and Methodology

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Matthew Vesty, teacher trainer, IELTS expert (Birmingham, UK)

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Business English, Materials and Methodology

  1. 1. + Task-based teaching in the Business English classroomTaskifying the coursebook.
  2. 2. + Terms  What are these things and why are they important to language teaching? Task Report stage Interaction hypothesis Internal syllabus Focus on meaning Focus on form
  3. 3. + Activity 1: Some TBT terms  Report stage  A stage of a lesson in which learners report their findings and reflect upon their performance  Interaction hypothesis  Advanced by Long (1980), learners acquire new language by attending to it in the process of negotiating meaning in order to address a communication problem  Internal syllabus  The learner has a ‘built-in syllabus’ that he / she follows regardless of what is taught
  4. 4. + Activity 1: Some TBT terms  Focus on meaning  A stage of the task-cycle that is primarily concerned with students (sometimes with the teacher) exchanging meanings  Focus on form  A stage in which one or more lexical / grammatical forms are isolated and specified for study (Willis 2007)
  5. 5. + Activity 1: Some TBT terms  Task “A task is an activity in which:  Meaning is primary  Learners are not given other people’s meanings to regurgitate  There is some sort of relationship to comparable real world activities  Task completion has some sort of priority  The assessment of the task is in terms of outcome” (Skehan 1998)
  6. 6. + Why do we need tasks and TBT?  P_____________, P__________, P__________  Presentation, Practice, Production
  7. 7. +
  8. 8. + Sample Task  Remember the rooms in this floor plan of this office  With a partner, list the rooms you remember.  Are the following statements true or false?  Draw your own office.  Write some true/false statements about your drawing  Test your partner
  9. 9. + Priming and preparation Planning, task, report of outcome Form focus
  10. 10. + What is a task?  Does it engage the learners’ interest?  Is there a primary focus on meaning?  Is there an outcome?  Is success judged in terms of outcome?  Is completion a priority?  Does it relate to real-world activities?
  11. 11. +  Student A: Have you ever had a problem in a hotel? Describe the situation to your partner. Tell him / her what happened. Describe how you felt before you solved the problem and afterwards.  Student B: Listen to your partner tell you about a problem they had in a hotel. Draw a picture that shows what happened. Show them your picture when you have finished. Question 1 2 3 Does it engage the learners’ interest? Is there a primaryfocus on meaning? Is there an outcome? Is success judged in terms of outcome? Is completion a priority? Does the activity relate to realworld activities?
  12. 12. + Here are some pieces of information for four overseas visitors to your company. Some information is missing from them. Listen to the conversation and write in the missing information about the visitors. Name: Oxana Country: Russia Birth Date: _______________ Marital Status: _____________________ Occupation: ________________________ Interests and hobbies: _______________________
  13. 13. + Now complete the following summary about Oxana. Oxana is ______ Russia. She was born on ____________. She__________ married. She ________ Russian. She is a student and she _________ to play volleyball and swim. Now find out similar information about your classmates by interviewing each other. Complete a card for each student
  14. 14. + Look at the list of things that John has decided he needs for the event. Then look at the list of items supplied by the catering company. Oranges Apples Pizza Catering company’s stock Bread Apples Chicken Potato Salad Pizza
  15. 15. + Work with a partner. One person be John and the other be someone who works for the catering company. Make conversations like this: Mary: Good morning. Do you have any apples? Mr. Patel: Yes, how many do you want? Or Mary: Good morning. Do you have any pizza? Mr. Patel: No, I’m afraid we don’t, but we do have some pasta. What about that?
  16. 16. + Below are some instructions from activities in the course book in company 3.0. With a little tweaking, they can become tasks that fit the definition we looked at earlier. Firstly, decide which type of task the activities are. 1. How many business presentations have you sat through like the one in the cartoon? Share some of your experiences with the rest of the group. (in company 3.0 intermediate unit 12) 2. Discuss with a partner. How is speaking to an audience – even a small one – different to speaking to a group of friends? (in company 3.0 intermediate unit 11) 3. Label the photos using words in the box. (in company 3.0 starter unit 2) 4. Work in groups. Make a list of five dos and five don’ts for business air travellers. (in company 3.0 pre-intermediate unit 13) 5. Read the introduction to an article on avoiding a travel problem. What do you think the ‘strategies’ might be? (in company 3.0 pre-intermediate unit 13) 6. Prepare a three-minute ‘past-present-future’ mini-presentation asking for investment in your company, association, your town / city, your sport or hobby, or your own idea. (in company 3.0 upper-intermediate unit 7)
  17. 17. + 1. Listing: Brainstorming and/or factfindinge.g. things, qualities, people, places, features, things to do, reasons 2. Ordering and sorting: sequencing, ranking, classifying e.g. sequencing story pictures, ranking according to cost, popularity etc. 3. Matching e.g. listen and identify, listen and do (TPR), match phrases/descriptions to pictures, match directions to maps 4. Comparing: finding similarities or differencese.g. comparing ways of conducting business, playing ‘spot the difference’, contrasting two HR recruitment approaches 5. Problem-solving: Logic puzzles, real-life problems, case studies, incomplete textse.g. giving advice, proposing and evaluating solutions, predicting the success of an idea 6. Projects and creative taskse.g. doing and reporting a survey, producing a company brochure, planning a presentation 7. Sharing personal experiences: Storytelling, anecdotes, reminiscences, opinions, reactionse.g. my first day at work, terrible journeys, embarrassing situations, business scenes, personality quizzes.
  18. 18. +
  19. 19. + Principles for creating tasks from a course book  Add an outcome / make the outcome clearer  Be more specific in the content of the task  Try to predict and map the language  Use recordings and colleagues  Think about the critical thinking element  Generate a task sequence  Change the preparation time  Change the interaction pattern – add roles
  20. 20. + Why is TBT important for business English teaching?  Personalised  Imitates real activities that students take part in  Gives element of control to the students, who know their job best  Progress and motivation
  21. 21. + FAQs  How can I change my students’ attitudes?  How can I motivate my students to do more than the minimum of the task?  How can I give learners a sense of progress?  What about one-on-one students?

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