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    • Join Date: Oct 2010
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    #1

    a strictly business english course in a company

    i have been teaching english for the last 7 years here in germany and have resisted teaching a purely business course for the whole time because i believe that grammar, sentence structure and ease of use are more important. however, i have a new job teaching a business english course and now have no alternative.

    however, i don't even know where to begin. it is a medium sized company doing international trade in the auto industry. their level is easily advanced and they want to be more efficient at writing letters, conversing on the phone, understanding contracts and general business terminology. since my business understanding is limited to very small local companies(like mine), i am way out of my depth. any help on structuring a course would be much appreciated!

    my first day is this week. i think i will be starting with an information-gathering class were i will get an insight into their wants and needs as well as their competence in said areas. i will request 'real' documents from their company(black-outs included) and other essentials.

    my biggest problem is where to find business related stuff with definitions and concrete examples. oh, and general help to the structure too!

    thx in advance for your input!!

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: a strictly business english course in a company

    Quote Originally Posted by purplefool View Post
    i have been teaching english for the last 7 years here in germany and have resisted teaching a purely business course for the whole time because i believe that grammar, sentence structure and ease of use are more important. however, i have a new job teaching a business english course and now have no alternative.

    however, i don't even know where to begin. it is a medium sized company doing international trade in the auto industry. their level is easily advanced and they want to be more efficient at writing letters, conversing on the phone, understanding contracts and general business terminology. since my business understanding is limited to very small local companies(like mine), i am way out of my depth. any help on structuring a course would be much appreciated!

    my first day is this week. i think i will be starting with an information-gathering class were i will get an insight into their wants and needs as well as their competence in said areas. i will request 'real' documents from their company(black-outs included) and other essentials.

    my biggest problem is where to find business related stuff with definitions and concrete examples. oh, and general help to the structure too!

    thx in advance for your input!!
    Before you start worrying about the language of business, you might want to do some research on the use of capital letters in English, especially if you are going to be working on writing letters with your students.


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    #3

    Re: a strictly business english course in a company

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Before you start worrying about the language of business, you might want to do some research on the use of capital letters in English, especially if you are going to be working on writing letters with your students.

    as i am writing in a forum and not teaching, capital letters are not really important, don't you think? my use of capitals is fine and my sentence structure is sound. i don't really want to defend myself with regard to my mastery of the language here on something that is questionable anyway (use of capitals in posts in forums in the internet...do some research yourself), when what i need is constructive help. if that is the best answer you can give me, then thank you and have a nice day.
    Last edited by purplefool; 30-Oct-2010 at 13:45. Reason: don't want another SA telling me to learn punctuation.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: a strictly business english course in a company

    From the UsingEnglish Forum Policies and Guidelines:

    This is a forum for discussing the English language. There is no need to write formally, but this is not a chatroom, so please write normal English, with punctuation, capital letters and words written in full; use you not u, I not i, great not gr8, etc. Don't worry about making mistakes, which is normal when learning a language, but do please try to make your English easy to read.

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    #5

    Re: a strictly business english course in a company

    Oh ffs. Really!?

    Anyway, I'm currently teaching business English at intermediate level. I'm using Longman's Market Leader book though. The units are Brands, Travel, Organisation, Change, Money, Advertising, Cultures, Employment, Trade, Quality, Ethics, Leadership, Innovation and Competition. The main input is the vocab for talking about these issues, and then within that, you have tasks that cover all of the normal English structures you'd expect to learn at intermediate level, and functional language that is business specific (like language for meetings, business letters, emails, etc). Sorry I can't be of more help. I've been impressed with the Longman's books, so it might be worth checking out their advanced business book, if only for a bit of structure and the odd task.

    I've been told about a couple of websites, but haven't had a chance to check them out yet though. But Purdue OWL and English Central might be worth checking out. Apparently, as a teacher, you can get your students to sign up to that second one, and then follow what they've watched and how well they've done, so it makes good homework. I don't know how business specific it is, but I'm guessing there are some business-related videos on there.


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    #6

    Re: a strictly business english course in a company

    Quote Originally Posted by I'm With Stupid View Post
    Oh ffs. Really!?

    ...I'm currently teaching business English at intermediate level.

    took a look at these books (and even registered...) and found them very interesting. as a matter of fact, i actually have one somewhere around here and have used it. my biggest problem is that these books work with British english and i would really like American english(not that one is better than the other, it is just that words(advert vs. ad), concepts(bloke(sp?) and spelling(colour vs color) can differ and cause me confusion.).

    so, does anyone have information for american business resources that i can buy in book form through the EU? have been looking, but so far, can only get things through amazon.com and that is very expensive...


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    #7

    Re: a strictly business english course in a company

    hello everyone! the book i'am with stupid (seriously?? lol) has recommended is good, i read it some time ago and made some notes from it, purple i think the course content should be something like this - Handling meetings, Presentation skills, Business cocktail etiquette, Telephone etiquette, E-mail drafting, Hierarchical communication, Effective communication, Styling the language, Intonation, The art of saying `NO', Sugar quotes, Hyperbole, Art of phrasing effectively, Colloquial phrases, and what not and of-course business "lingo" which is very industry and sector dependent like it would be different for say an investment banking firm from a law or an auto one,
    all this just really depends on the client as corporate communications can be either very intricate or really mellow, reply back with some pointers of what information you gathered from the company if i'll have the kind of material I'd be happy to share it (all the material i've is in american english)

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    #8

    Re: a strictly business english course in a company

    Quote Originally Posted by purplefool View Post
    took a look at these books (and even registered...) and found them very interesting. as a matter of fact, i actually have one somewhere around here and have used it. my biggest problem is that these books work with British english and i would really like American english(not that one is better than the other, it is just that words(advert vs. ad), concepts(bloke(sp?) and spelling(colour vs color) can differ and cause me confusion.).

    so, does anyone have information for american business resources that i can buy in book form through the EU? have been looking, but so far, can only get things through amazon.com and that is very expensive...
    I dunno, I think you're overestimating the issue tbh. For a start, I think it's important to know both, particularly in business English, where you'll be talking to people from various different backgrounds, who have learned different versions of English. The books do tend to highlight when there's an American alternative, which isn't the same as teaching from an American book, but it's not as if they won't know American terminology for things. In fact, just recently, I did a pronunciation bit on ad, advert, advertising, advertisement, etc. And actually, I put commercial as the American alternative, because we use ad in Britain too.

    Your main issue is the listening, which is mainly British. They do have various international accents, and there are a few Americans represented, but particularly the real interviews, rather than the acted situations, are mainly British.

    But like I said, you can use the book as a good guide, and try and use as much authentic material and additional resources as you can in order to Americanize it a bit.


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    #9

    Re: a strictly business english course in a company

    thanks for your input...it has been very helpful in planning the course. on thursday i have my first meeting with them (2 hours!!) and it should be really interesting. i will post what i get as feedback to some pointed questions to get more help.

    that with the british and american accents has really been a problem with my courses. since my fake british is really bad and, when i get rolling, my american is much more authentic, it can cause confusion. just had the experience recently where i was tutoring a high school student and she was getting confused with my 'mispronunciation' of 'can'. was really quite funny...

    anyway, will report back when i have something. thx again!

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    #10

    Re: a strictly business english course in a company

    Quote Originally Posted by purplefool View Post
    as i am writing in a forum and not teaching, capital letters are not really important, don't you think? my use of capitals is fine and my sentence structure is sound.
    No, they are not. Please write with capital letters and punctuation- many of the users of the forum are learners and a teacher writing like that is setting a poor example and it is harder to read things that are written like that. No one is asking for anything formal, but this is a forum for discussing English and not an SMS.

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