5 top tips for business English TEFL teaching
Business English TEFL teaching is not your run-of-the-mill sort of second-language tuition. There are a few nuances and differences you’ll have to keep in mind if you’re ever asked to swap the school for the enterprise. They include keeping a strong focus on performance goals and being more flexible in your approach to sessions, but that’s just for starters…
Have clear and practical achievement goals
The aim of business English TEFL teaching often revolves around the business in question. Your students will want to learn lexis related to their area of work. They’ll want to be taught how to draft emails and memos and meeting minutes. So, instead of taking a holistic approach and attempting to improve all aspects of speaking, listening, and writing as you would in a school environment, it’s often better to home in on specific skillsets. If in doubt, you could ask the CEO or course convenor what particular aspects of language they’d most like to see improved within the workforce.
Be flexible with your schedule
Businesses aren’t like schools. There are no fixed lesson schedules; there are no daily planners saying what hours must be set aside to learn English. When all is said and done, it’s the operation of the enterprise that takes center stage, not the improvement of employee’s grammar and vocab. That means you’ll need to have a greater degree of flexibility when it comes to lesson times and whatnot. It’s really common for sessions to be cancelled at short notice or for certain students to be pulled out of class to work on projects. That’s just how it is.
More focus on professionalism
There’s a simple truth when it comes to business English TEFL teaching – you need to look more like a pro. A nine-year-old child might not notice that crumpled T-shirt and casual shorts, but you can bet a seasoned advertising exec will. That means dressing correctly, but also much more. It means respecting the norms of the business environment, being on time, staying available – the list goes on. Over time, you might find that the requirement to be prim and proper goes away, but always try to start things on a professional high.
Keep your lessons routed in reality
It’s all very well getting those classes of five-year-old English learners drawing pictures of Christmas trees or talking about their dream holidays, but that’s not the sort of thing that flies in business classes. Much better is a focus on real-life situations. Consider working sales pitches, customer calls, email-writing, CV drafting, or client-meeting roleplay scenarios into your plans. Think about anchoring all your vocab learning in industry areas related to the business your teaching. That way, everything you touch on can make a practical difference right away.
Don’t overdo it
Obviously, it’s normal for schools to have a much heavier focus on English learning than businesses. That’s because schools are specifically designed for learning. Business fulfill a whole other purpose. In fact, your English tutoring is only there to optimize that purpose. So, bear in mind that your business students will usually have lots of other things on their mind. It’s not wise to set reams of homework tasks or to try and pack in oodles of complex grammar structures each session. Not only will they simply not get done, but they could even be counterproductive.
If you’re interested in business English TEFL teaching as a career path, be sure to head over to our courses page to take a look at the qualifications you’ll need to get going. Alternatively, if you’ve got anything to add to this blog, we’d love to hear your comments below the line…