Creating a lesson focused on business language

Setting up real communicative situations when textbooks are not suitable or do not cover the learner’s professional interests and needs.

How to create a lesson for a student focused on business language?

Diary submitted by Adam G.

Throughout the duration of your TEFL teaching experience you meet many interesting students with varying levels of English and differing aspects that they wish to focus on. A few students will have a high level of English but lack the understanding of Business English that will aid them in their careers. This diary will examine how to create a lesson based on business language and in the case of my experience, solely banking terminology.

In one particular case I had planned to teach a business language lesson but after meeting the student it became clear that her knowledge of business language was already of a very high standard. She also explained that she worked for the bank BBVA but was looking for a new job. I decided to ask her if there was something related specifically to business that she wanted to focus on. Often, I have found that asking a student if there is anything that they wish to focus on a very useful activity as it means together we can aim to fix a problem that they have been struggling with for some time. In General English classes this may be to work on prepositions, this is very common I have found. In this case though the student asked if we could focus entirely on banking language and have conversations that would allow her to discuss her experiences working in the banking sector. Fortunately, I have a great deal of interest in this sector as I study Financial Economics and have experience working in the industry. So, in the lesson I decided that the best way to move forward with the limited resources for this request that I had was to go over interview questions, as in banking interviews take a different form to many other jobs.

After this lesson when I had free time I went about trying to find a new way of creating a lesson that focused on the target but also kept the student engaged and motivated. After doing some research I found a lot more terminology that I could work into the lesson. I also found useful ideas on how to get the student to remember these new words. One way is to create word fill exercises, or to ask the student to link the words to the definitions. I found this was a great starting point when trying to teach the word to the student. Then once I was confident that they understood and could use the word I went back to asking interview questions or talking about a current issue surrounding banking. In the next lesson this method seem to be very successful and the student was able to hold conversation whilst confidently and correctly using the vocabulary.

Although in this particular case I had an interest in the area the student wanted to learn about I believe that the new methods of teaching more advanced vocabulary will be useful for any lesson in the future. It allows helped me to improve my ability to think on the spot and come up with lessons when the aim of the student is different to the material and resources that had been planned.

FluentU, English for Banking, <https://www.fluentu.com/blog/business-english/english-for-banking/>.

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