Ask how many participants in the audience teach Business English and use technology in the classroom.
You may want to ask them if they’re already familiar with New Macmillan English Campus complete edition, or any other blended learning platform.
Ask the participants to get into pairs and answer the question: What 21st century skills do Business English students require ?
The participants might refer to Life Skills that can be transferred to social, professional, and academic contexts, or they may just refer to the skills needed in a work context. It will be interesting to see how they tackle this question and how they define these skills for the twenty-first century.
Get the audience’s feedback.
Show the table from the World Economic Forum which refers to core work-related skills on the whole, even though some of the skills mentioned in the table could also be applied to other contexts, especially the soft skills for socializing. These could also be required to be a responsible and smarter citizen within the community.
Quickly go through the Abilities, the Basic Skills and the Cross-functional Skills. These are obviously expected to improve over time, together with the English language skills that are expected to have improved after a language course.
The ‘Basic Skills’ in the table can be acquired with the learning of the language skills, lexis, functions and grammar taught during an English course. So can the ‘Negotiation’ and ‘Persuasion Skills’ mentioned in the category ‘Cross-functional Skills’, under ‘Social Skills’. Maybe some other members of the audience will argue that other cognitive abilities and cross-functional skills can also be acquired and/or improved during a language course. This could generate an interesting debate.
Get the participants’ feedback to the table, but don’t spend too much time on this.
You may want to share the enclosed information with them if you have time:
Beyond hard skills and formal qualifications, employers are often equally concerned about the work-related practical skills or competences that current employees (or prospective new hires) are able to use in order to perform various job tasks successfully.
Focusing on a core set of 35 work-relevant skills and abilities that are widely used across all industry sectors and job families, the report finds that these practical skills, too, will be subject to accelerating change and significant disruption in the immediate future.
On average, by 2020, more than a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will be comprised of skills that are not yet considered crucial to the job today, according to the respondents to the World Economic Forum surveys. At an industry level, the highest expected level of skills stability over the 2015–2020 period is found in the Media, Entertainment and Information sector, already profoundly transformed in recent years, while the largest amount of skills disruption is expected to occur in the Financial Services & Investors industry.
There are various reasons for such dramatic shifts in expected skills requirements. In the face of rapidly rising computing power, an ability to work with data and make data-based decisions will become an increasingly vital skill across many job families as employers scramble to build a workforce with solid skills in data analysis and presentation (e.g. through visualization) and the amount of potentially useful digital information generated and stored keeps increasing exponentially.
In the Consumer sector, for example, vast amounts of data will allow for increased sophistication in inventory management, customer segmentation and product personalization, involving some use and familiarity with technology by jobs at all levels, from retail assistant through to more senior positions.
Businesses in industry sectors such as Mobility, Energy, Financial Services & Investors and Information and Communication Technology are increasingly finding themselves confronted with new consumer concerns about issues such as carbon footprints, food safety, labour standards and privacy.
From a skills perspective, they will need to learn to more quickly anticipate these new consumer values, to translate them into product offerings and to become ever more knowledgeable about the processes involved in meeting these demands and the impact this may have on their employees’ current skill sets and working practices.
While most jobs require use of a wide range of skills, somewhat different skill set combinations are sought after in different industry sectors. The WEF dataset allows us some generalized observations about the impact of various disruptive changes on skills demand at an aggregate industry level.
With regard to the overall scale of demand for various skills in 2020, more than one third (36%) of all jobs across all industries are expected by our respondents to require complex problem-solving as one of their core skills, compared to less than 1 in 20 jobs (4%) that will have a core requirement for physical abilities such as physical strength or dexterity.
However, along with the impact of disruptive changes on these sectors, it is anticipated that complex problem solving skills will become somewhat less important in industries that are heavily technical today—such as Basic and Infrastructure and Energy—in which technology may automate and take on a bigger part of these complex tasks going forward, and will ascend in those industries, such as Professional Services and Information and Communication Technology, that are expected to become more complex and analytical due to these trends.
Overall, social skills—such as persuasion, emotional intelligence and teaching others—will be in higher demand across industries than narrow technical skills, such as programming or equipment operation and control. Content skills (which include ICT literacy and active learning), cognitive abilities (such as creativity and mathematical reasoning) and process skills (such as active listening and critical thinking) will be a growing part of the core skills requirements for many industries.
If skills demand is evolving rapidly at an aggregate industry level, the degree of changing skills requirements within individual job families and occupations is even more pronounced.
For example, the increasing ubiquity of mobile internet combined with the coming-of-age of the Internet of Things promises to transform the daily routine of many frontline roles in the Sales and Related, Installation and Maintenance, and Manufacturing and Production job families across all industries, requiring a much higher level of technology literacy than in the past. As an ancillary characteristic to increased automation in these fields, employees are expected to have more responsibilities related to equipment control and maintenance and problem-solving skills, as well as a broader general understanding of the work processes of their company or organization.
Many formerly purely technical occupations are expected to show a new demand for creative and interpersonal skills. For healthcare practitioners, for example, technological innovations will allow for increasing automation of diagnosis and personalization of treatments, redefining many medical roles towards translating and communicating this data effectively to patients.
Similarly, Sales and Related jobs may see an increased demand for creative skills and ideas for promoting a memorable shopping experience, as brick-and-mortar retail has to reposition itself in relation to e-commerce and online competition.
Overall, research anticipates that a wide range of occupations will require a higher degree of cognitive abilities—such as creativity, logical reasoning and problem sensitivity—as part of their core skill set.
More than half of all jobs expected to require these cognitive abilities as part of their core skill set in 2020 do not yet do so today, or only to a much smaller extent.
In another 30% of jobs, demand for these skills is currently already high and will remain so over the 2015–2020 period. Only 18% of jobs requiring high cognitive skills today are expected to do so less in the future.
Hard skills: the specific knowledge and abilities for success in a job. ie. Computer programming, web design, typing etc.
Soft skills: interpersonal skills or ‘people skills’ not usually taught at school or on vocational courses.
Now that we’ve established what the core work or life skills are expected by employers from different sectors, what does this mean in terms of the learning and teaching of Business English for example ?
How do teachers need to adapt their approaches to teach language skills, but maybe also life skills that can be transferred to different contexts, not necessarily professional ones only ?
Get feedback from the audience.
What does this mean in practical terms ?
As teachers and students, wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a database with interactive activities and resources in English that enable to teach core life and work skills combined with English language skills adapted to a work context ?
Such resources can be used in class with face-to-face teaching, or as e-learning resources for self-study.
So what is this solution that is being suggested today ?
Show slide with different bullet-points about New MEC For Business.
Briefly show this slide with different responsibilities and clarify any points regarding users.
Then log on to teacher account on New MEC For Business.
Then go online and show teacher account with Courses, Practice, Reports section. Finish off with online dictionary.
Hand out 30 day demo logins for teacher and student user accounts for New MEC For Business.
Get participants to do the tasks on the next slide.
Hand out the Teacher free 30 day demo logins so teachers can log on. Ask them to do the 5 tasks on the slide, in pairs to save time.
Go through everything after 10 minutes.
Finish presentation with this slide, thanking participants and drawing their attention to my email address. Also drawing their attention to website: www.macmillanenglishcampus.com
Damien Lonsdale: Breaking out of the traditional classroom setting with Mobile learning
Breaking Out Of The Traditional
Classroom Setting With Mobile Learning
What 21st Century Skills do Business English students require ?
What about 21st Century Learning and Teaching ?
• Over 1400 activities – mainly work-related English with General English
resources for socializing, telephoning, and networking
• 120 ESP activities - Sales, Investments, Corporate Finance, Supply Chain
Management, and Logistics
• 6 English levels – A1 to C2
• Range of activity types for different skills and language items
• Ready-made exam activities for BEC Preliminary, Vantage, and Higher
• Interactive placement test
• 10 pre-built courses
– Business English (A2 to C2)
– In Company 3.0 (A1 to B2+)
• Ability to customise your own courses
• The award-winning Macmillan English Dictionary for Learners of English
• My Courses
• View course
• My Classes
• View course
• Create classes
• Assign course
• Build courses
• Reports &
on your browser…
Do the following:
• Find a grammar video
• Find an activity related to a key 21st century
skill with a listening or video
• Bookmark it and send it to your student