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Teaching Business English

It’s happened again: you’ve emailed a company for information about their services and received a poorly structured, confusing or just plain incoherent response. You respond, asking for clarity, only to find yourself in a loop of emails between yourself and a nameless employee who doesn’t seem to understand your question or just doesn’t know their job. As your blood pressure becomes dangerously elevated, you escalate the matter to a supervisor – who seems equally incoherent. “Doesn’t anyone in this company know how to structure an email properly?” you scream in your head. It’s time to do something about it!

Our Teaching Business English (TBE) course aims to equip language teachers with the skills and knowledge to address exactly these types of scenarios. 

Every day, millions of people all over the world use English to conduct business, but these are not all native English speakers. As a result, Business English tuition is increasingly in high demand, and English language teachers can expect to teach a Business English class at some point in their careers. Opportunities for teaching Business English are available in South Africa and abroad. People who have a corporate background are often ideal for teaching Business English as they understand the basic needs of the students who take these classes. However, anyone with an interest in business can teach Business English. 

The course draws on the basic teaching methodologies already covered in a TESOL, TEFL or CELTA before delving into the context of Business English and who the students typically are in these classes. Since there are many different types of business, the needs of the students differ greatly and so does the language, so we spend time developing an awareness of the language and skills needed in Business English and how these are applied in professional language. In short, we look at what went wrong in that incoherent email response you received to your enquiry to a business and how you would help the employees of that company to avoid the same mistakes in future. 

Business is a serious topic, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still have fun with our resources and materials – while keeping them appropriate, of course! We’ll discuss how to find the best resources for your students, and then how to assess and evaluate your students’ progress in a course. Don’t expect us to do all the work though: you’ll be involved in participatory learning that includes group discussions, pair work and a portfolio of evidence. 
So, next time you deal with a company where communication seems to be a problem, you won’t be at risk of a heart attack – you can calmly step forward and offer your services as a Business English teacher. 

To apply for this course, you need to be at least 18 years and have finished a TESOL/TEFL/CELTA. A degree is recommended (often needed for jobs abroad), but not required for the course. Please note that this is a specialisation course and runs on demand based on a minimum of 8 people per class. 

Contact Maria Sesing for more information. maria.sesing@wits.ac.za | 011 717 4206