Specialist Courses: Teach Business English
As you probably know, once you are qualified in TEFL, it’s always beneficial to upskill after finishing your certification. Taking specialist courses can give you extra knowledge and help you break into niche areas of TEFL. This can earn you more money and more job opportunities. The wider range of classes that you are able to teach, the more valuable you can become as a teacher. Additionally, you’ll have more options to teach and be able to pick and choose what you want to do. One of the big areas to specialise into in the world of TEFL is to teach business English. We’ll find out what this means and where you come into this as a teacher below:
What is Business English?
Business English is an area of TEFL which involves teaching English to professionals in different fields of business. The type of content typically involves using vocabulary from the world of business including functional, practical language (talking on the phone for example). The type of materials and tasks used are related to business responsibilities too. For example, you might use business articles and presentations and ask students to roleplay making sales or answering clients’ queries. This is all aimed at enabling students to be able to carry out their job roles in English effectively.
Who takes Business English courses?
Business people of course! Any business that wants their employers to improve their English to be able to carry out their responsibilities in English. Often, this is to do business with international clients. Normally, a teacher goes to the business and does the class with the students in groups during their work hours. The more specific to their job role, the better for the students. This means that if your students are lawyers, you should try to work with legal terms.
If you work for a language school or company, they have contracts with local businesses to send teachers into the offices to deliver the lessons. This involves travel for the teacher and might mean that the teacher travels to different companies in one day. If you sign up for a job like this, you should factor in travel time. The travel time is often not incorporated into your pay so you need to ensure you won’t spend more time travelling than you will teaching!
The other way that Business English classes come about is for students who want to improve their English skills for work. They look to take individual classes which they will arrange themselves. This is similar set-up to General English classes, but the teacher will deliver the lessons in a business context. There are many Business English course books that teachers can use. However, they should ensure it meets the needs of the students, in terms of their field of work and vocabulary.
There is also the option to teach business English classes online, with the students logging on at their work. This way, you have access to companies and classes from all over the world. If you work for a teaching company, they often have big contracts with a lot of major companies.
What sort of skills do you need to be a Business English teacher?
Listening to learners’ needs
Paying attention to learners’ needs and the design of the course is essential. No two companies are the same and it is very rare that two different classes for them will be the same. A teacher for these classes needs to adapt to their learners and to the company and their needs. What do the students need to achieve? How can we develop these needs to suit their roles? What skills do they need to work in? You will find that some companies do not demand that all four skills be developed, depending on what the students use English for.
What motivates the students
One important factor to be aware of when teaching this type of class, is the motivation of the students. As we’ve seen, the most common set-up for Business English classes is for the teacher to go into the workplace of the students to teach the class. Attendance is often mandatory from companies who want their students to improve their level of English. This means that there may be students who do not particularly want to be there, but are obligated to go by their bosses. This means that their motivation for learning may be low. They might not want to learn English or might feel that their time could be better spent doing their work tasks. To be able to teach business English you need to be able to motivate these students in particular. For the lessons to be effective, the students should be able to see how their English can help them in the workplace and how it will help them progress in their job role.
Business classes need to implement real-life activities for their students. This should be as closely related to the responsibilities in their working day. This will ensure that your students get the benefits from the lessons and can see an improvement in their English. This means that the teacher should get to know the company as much as they can. This helps them understand what the students do in their jobs.
Business has a culture all of its own and it can often be the role of the teacher to include lessons on the business culture of their own country (UK, US for example). There might be big differences that students should be aware of when they are conducting business internationally. After all, any faux-pas made could result in a rejected deal!
Business English classes can be more challenging for teachers as they are more likely to be mixed levels. Companies paying for the classes do not tend to bother themselves with the individual levels of the students and how this works for the teachers. Typically, they will just pay for one hour where everyone can attend. This means that there may be students with a lower level of English than their colleagues. In your role as their teacher, you should try to adapt your classes so that everyone will learn something, even if that means using different materials and separating the class into smaller groups.
What will you learn on the Teaching Business English course?
By taking the Teaching Business English specialist course, you will understand what the difference is between Business English and General English classes. The same skills apply between the business English and general English classes. However, there are extra considerations to take into account. Furthermore, you will have a better understanding on how these classes are carried out. Finally, you will understand what type of jobs are available for teacher who specialise in teaching business English
After completing this course, you will know how to deliver these types of lessons in an effective way and prepare accordingly. The course will help you understand how to prepare classes. Based on their needs and the needs of the company they work for. You will also learn how to select and use appropriate materials for this type of student, and how to make any adaptations based on their needs.
Following on, you will examine the key skills and how these can be developed in a business context. Learning about how your role as the teacher can help develop these important productive skills. You will also learn about intercultural communication and how this comes into play in the business world and how you can incorporate this into your lessons. As we have seen, it’s often the case that business culture is also taught in this classes.
Without taking the Teaching Business English course, then you won’t have the necessary knowledge to go into the classroom and teach this speciality. The course will not only give you the knowledge you need, but also the confidence! Completing the course will leave you feeling confident enough that you are prepared for these classes and the type of students that take them.
How does teaching Business English benefit you as a teacher?
Business English classes are a big market in TEFL and can be more lucrative than General English classes. Teachers who excel in delivering these types of classes, can charge much higher rates. This is especially true if the teacher works directly for the company, which will most likely have a higher budget to spend on classes than an individual. There are countries which value these classes and are known for their popularity. For example, in Germany, there are lots of business classes for teachers as Germany is one of the leading powers in the international business market.
Specialising in Business English can also lead to even more niche classes. Remember, the more niche the area of English you can teach, the higher you can charge. If you specialise in one sector in particular, you can become very successful. Within this profession, you could teach Legal English, Real-Estate English and more. You can teach these classes in-company, individually or even online! There are resources online that can help you plan your class and that will help you teach business English and can be used for both offline and online class.
As we’ve seen, specialising in this area and undertaking the Teaching Business English course can help you further your TEFL career and break into a potentially lucrative area. This will open up more opportunities and might bring some more variety into your day-to-day teaching. Undertaking Teaching Business English will give you a comprehensive insight into the key aspects of teaching these lessons and how you, as the teacher, play a vital role.