Welcome: Renan Herrera  
Certification Program

The Current Phase:
The fact that English is a global language is undeniable; therefore the need for learning English has also grown many folds. This has resulted in changing the way it is taught. The need of the learner is not the same everywhere therefore the curriculum for teaching English also has be learner specific. This phase deals with learning English for either academic purpose or for specific job or business purpose.

Phase 6 – Need Based language Teaching


English for Academic Purposes

English for Academic Purposes (EAP) entails training students usually in a higher education setting, to use language appropriately for study. It therefore is a challenging and multi-faceted area within the wider field of English Language . In addition, EAP practitioners often find that, either directly or indirectly, they are teaching study skills and often tackling differences in educational culture. This trend has become more prominent as the number of Chinese students attending USA or UK universities has increased over the last decade. It is not only a teaching approach. It is also a branch of applied linguistics consisting of a significant body of research into effective teaching and assessment approaches, methods of analysis of the academic language needs of students, analysis of the linguistic and discoursal structures of academic texts, and analysis of the textual practices of academics.

Objectives of EAP

  • To teach the four skills (listening, reading speaking writing )
  • To develop study skills
  • To raise students? English levels
  • To teach grammar extensively
  • To help in the enrichment of vocabulary
  • To teach pronunciation

The difference between EAP and general English

  • EAP is an educational approach and a set of beliefs about TESOL that is unlike that taken in general English courses and textbooks. It begins with the learner and the situation. Whereas general English begins with the language.
  • Many EAP programmes place more focus on reading and writing while general
    English courses place more focus on speaking and listening .
  • EAP tends to teach formal , academic genres while general English courses tend to teach learners conversational and social genres of the language.

Need analysis: Is fundamental to an EAP approach to course design and teaching. If a general approach to an EAP is taken the course usually consists primarily of study skills practice with an academic register and style in the practice texts and materials. But a need analysis indicates that the study situation is more specific, many of the study skills areas are still taught but with particular attention to the language used in the specific disciplinary context identified in the needs analysis. the language is attended to at the levels of :

  • Lexical and grammatical features
  • Discourse : the effect of communicative context ;the relationship between the text/ discourse ands its speakers/ readers/writers. listeners.
  • Genre : how language is used in a particular setting such as research papers, dissertations , formal lectures …

Need analysis leads to the specification of objectives for a course or a set of courses and to an assessment of the available resources and constraints to be borne in mind which in turn leads to the syllabus and methodology. The syllabus is implemented through teaching materials and is then evaluated for effectiveness.

The development of EAP has been rapid since the recognition of it as a legitimate aspect of ELT Nowadays it is accepted that TESL /TEFL learners who are participating in formal education through the medium of English should also be exposed to a component of study skills preparation.

What are study skills?
Study skills are strategies and methods of purposeful learning, usually centered

around reading and writing. Effective study skills are considered essential for students to acquire good grades in school, and are useful in general to improve learning throughout one's life, in support of career and other interests.

Why raise students’ English level?

Sometimes EAP courses are intended to raise students' English levels so that they can enter university. In the UK, this often means endeavoring to help students get a score of 6 or above in the IELTS examination. In the US, this can mean helping students attain a score of 500 or greater on the Institutional TOEFL.

Current trends and directions

• More emphasis is being laid on EAP in school levels

• Thesis writing and dissertation supervision applying the EAP approach has become more and more popular.

Competency Framework for Teachers of English for Academic Purposes

With the increasing globalization of EAP it is more important than ever before to establish a description of the skills, competencies and qualifications of a professional EAP practitioner .Competency is here understood as „the technical skills and professional capabilities that a teacher needs to bring to a position in order to fulfill its functions completely´ .The following draft list of competencies is presented


Knowledge and
understanding of…
Ability to…
Examples of evidence

norms and conventions of universities in relation to:

• communication

• discourse

• course structure

• teaching and learning

• new technologies

• assessment

• academic disciplines

different perspectives of members of the academic community with regard to the above

work with characteristic materials/ tasks from students' subject areas and engage with the ideas that they present

work with subject specialists

describe university setting:

• structure of a typical course (lectures, seminars, tutorials, lab. sessions, field trips)

• modes of assessment

• staff-student communication channels (mentoring, committee for feedback)

describe work with materials/tasks or subject specialists

Knowledge and
understanding of…
Ability to…
Examples of evidence

characteristic features of academic discourse compared with other types of discourse.

specific features of academic genres

functional and rhetorical aspects of texts

language variety across disciplines and its relevance for EAP teaching

the importance of evidence based reasoning in academic discourse

use appropriate material from a range of sources to increase student knowledge of academic discourse

use academic language (form, register and style) appropriately

develop students ability to convey an argument (both written and oral) providing evidence from more than one source

analyze and compare an academic text, with a non-academic text

name and analyze examples of academic genres from different disciplines in their institution in terms of their purpose and audience and show how these inform the organization and language choices

analyze an academic text to show the main rhetorical purposes and functions and the language through which these are realized

Knowledge and
understanding of…
Ability to…
Examples of evidence

the expectations and experiences students are likely to have when transferring from one academic culture to another

the language and skills students need in order to acquire knowledge and understanding in their degree subjects

the language and skills students need in order to communicate their knowledge and understanding

undertake a principled and systematic analysis of the gap between students? competence and what they need for their academic study

adapt teaching to the specific needs of students

sample analysis of students' needs

comparison of the needs of students taking different types of EAP course, e.g. with respect to the content and focus required

EAP course design

Knowledge and
understanding of…
Ability to…
Examples of evidence

a range of EAP syllabus types

the need for progression and recycling in a syllabus

timetabling and other constraints on syllabus design

identify aims and objectives of an EAP course based on needs analysis of students and the institution.
select and priorities language and skills to develop a coherent syllabus

select, adapt or create materials from appropriate sources and develop appropriate tasks

integrate assessment into course design

describe an EAP syllabus you have used or designed

identify the aims of the course

justify the selection of material

show how outcomes of the course are assessed

EAP teaching skills

Knowledge and
understanding of…
Ability to…
Examples of evidence

different approaches appropriate to teaching and learning in the EAP classroom compared to the general EFL classroom

a range of teaching techniques and the rationale for using them in different EAP contexts

plan a series of lessons based on a syllabus

distinguish between teaching language and content

teach reading, writing, listening and speaking for study purposes

integrate academic vocabulary and grammar into other skills teaching

integrate study skills into other skills teaching integrate IT into delivery, to enhance IT skills and reflect academic practices

respond flexibly and exploit unplanned learning opportunities

teaching diary

lesson plans, recorded lessons, observation notes and responses

critical analysis of a core textbook

sample of materials: adapted or original with rationale

student feedback on teaching


3. Student critical thinking

Knowledge and
understanding of…
Ability to…
Examples of evidence

the elements of critical thinking how critical thinking underpins academic practice

the principles of student autonomy

how to support student autonomy through individual tutoring

the use of new technologies to support autonomous learning

different modes of EAP assessment

the link between assessment and learning in EAP

the purpose and structure of international proficiency tests e.g. IELTS and TOEFL

provide opportunities and stimulus for critical thinking in materials/ tasks/lesson plans/syllabus

make link between critical thinking and study competence explicit for students in materials/ tasks/lesson plans/ syllabus

build development of critical thinking into sequences of learning activities

provide opportunities and stimulus in materials/tasks/lesson plans/syllabus for students to become autonomous learners

make the link between autonomy and academic study explicit to students in materials/tasks/lesson plans/syllabus

foster student autonomy through 1-to-1 tutorials

build development of autonomy into sequence of learning activities

select appropriate modes of assessment for EAP listening, speaking, reading writing and integrated skills

design or evaluate appropriate assessment tools in the above areas

apply marking criteria consistently and to agreed standards

give appropriate feedback on oral and written student performance

use assessment outcomes to inform teaching & learning

Syllabus/materials/ assessment contain knowledge transforming tasks and activities

students review and evaluate learning aims/materials/ activities/assessment in terms of usefulness for future study

describe student development across time, e.g. critical questions about a text which students can now answer

promoting student choice/ active engagement/ reflection/ students taking responsibility

describe how teacher has handed over responsibility to students

provide and justify examples of assessment instruments in a specific EAP context

comment critically on the mode and appropriacy of feedback given on a piece of student work

provide examples of papers which have been double-marked with comments on the application of marking criteria

provide (for example) a revised lesson plan or assessment tool with a commentary

Knowledge and
understanding of…
Ability to…
Examples of evidence

the importance of critical reflection on own practice the role of ambiguity in academic enquiry

appropriate professional terminology the importance of continuing professional development

write clearly, coherently and appropriately

reflective account of personal approach to teaching

relate this approach to a specific teaching context

review an article/teaching journal


sample lesson plans including an account of the relationship between procedures and techniques & target learner´s needs

evidence from classroom research projects

abstracts of conference presentations


EAP is a thriving and important aspect of TESOL that has so far received less attention from researchers than it deserves. Its greatest strength is its responsiveness to the needs of the learner.


English for Specific Purpose (ESP)

Learning English for Specific purpose is actually designed to meet specific needs of specific profile within a time frame. This involves orientation to specific spoken and written English required to carry out specific academic and workplace tasks.

Background – With the end of the 2nd World War an age of unprecedented and enormous expansion in scientific, technical and economic activity started on an international scale and for various reasons role of English became very important.

Oil crisis of the early 1970?s resulted in flow of western money and knowledge of English to oil rich countries. With this, it required English to be delivered as per the needs, wishes and demands of the people.

By 1987 Hutchinson and Waters discouraged that the spoken and written English vary. It was found that ESP had less to do with learning and more to do with psychology.

ESP consists of teaching English

• According to specific need of the learner.
• Related in content to particular, discipline, occupation and activities.
• Centered on appropriate language to those of activities.

ESP may not be

Restricted to language skills to be learned.
- Not taught according to a pre determined methodology.

ESP is always

1. Defined to meet specific needs of the learner.
2. Use the methodology and activities of the discipline it serves.
3. Centered round the language, skills, discourse & genre appropriate for the activities.

ESP may be

1. Related to specific disciplines.
2. Using different methodology than that used for General English.
3. Designed for Adult learners.
4. For Intermediate and Advanced level Students.
5. Suitable for those having some basic knowledge of language system.

ESP may be categorized as

a) English as a restricted language .For example Air Traffic Controller or by Waiters.
b) English for Academic and Occupational Purpose.

- For Science and Technology
- For Business and Economic
- For Social Studies.

Each may be subdivided for - Academic purpose or Occupational purpose.

c) English for Specific Topics – IT is uniquely concerned with anticipatory future needs like requiring English to work in foreign institutions, attending conferences, postgraduate studies.

ESP courses need to have 3 features –

1. Authentic material
2. Purpose related orientation
3. Self direction.

ESP played a major role in Globalization. English is the de-facto language of communication; it acts as lingua-franca with other people of the Globe. ESP in business English and Finance English is of major interest to University students.

Key Factors in Curriculum Designing of ESP – Key issues in ESP curriculum design for ESL contexts were examined. There are three abilities necessary for successful communication in a professional target setting.

1. The ability to use the particular jargon characteristic of that specific occupational context.
2. The second is the ability to use a more generalized set of academic skills, such as conducting research and responding to memoranda..
3. The third is the ability to use the language of everyday informal talk to communicate effectively, regardless of occupational context. Examples of this include chatting over coffee with a colleague or responding to an informal email message.

The task for the ESP developer is to ensure that all three of these abilities are integrated into and integrated in the curriculum Yet it is very difficult to strike a balance of these abilities with that of a group of learners. In reality, a large part of this responsibility is that of the instructors; it is the instructors who are in the best position to identify changing learner needs and who are in the best position to ensure that all students receive a balanced diet of language.

The given website gives guidance to various specific language needs of people in different occupation.



Thus ESP i.e. English for Specific Purpose caters to the various needs of different people in this Globalised world. English is used for both Academic and Occupational purpose. It is the language to carry on meaningful communication for people attending foreign institutions, or traveling abroad to attend conferences or to pursue higher studies.


Answer the following questions
1.Distinguish between EAP and ESP. (100 words)

2. What is the role of the teacher in ESP? (100 words)


Business English

Introduction to Business English – features and components

The learner

Business English Teaching as a course aims at developing English communicative skill for adults working in business of one kind or another, or preparing to step into the field of business as millions of people all over the world, using English in their daily activities.

Business is the act of buying and selling or more broadly, exchanging and exploiting resources and capabilities. It uses the language of commerce, of finance, of industry of providing goods and services. It is about people coming together to accomplish things they could not do as individuals. It is about design and innovation, traditions and values about the exciting and mundane. It is about cooperation negotiation and conflict. It is about persuading and understanding power and control explaining and finding solutions to problem.
This business arena could include large multinationals, small private companies or even government undertakings in product and service sectors. In short
business English is communication with other people within a specific context.

The purpose behind taking up Business English varies from person to person. For some it is a necessary part of their job. For others it is an investment which brings status and possibly financial reward. The needs are very specific for some whereas the others want to improve their English. Some people may be near the end of their working lives and others may just be starting a new job or career or project. This might require developing generalized business
skills (e.g. making presentations), or something far more technical or academic
if the student´s work is highly specialized or if the students need to learn how
to take notes and participate in meetings or prepare for a training course conducted in English.

The length of the course and the venue of the training (in company / in language school / other rented premises) might vary as well. Despite this wide variety the learners together can be grouped in generally accepted categories.

Experience based

Pre experienced learners belong the category with little or no experience of the business world. They probably are university or secondary school students who embark upon English learning with intentions to follow a business career. Because of their lack of experience they will often need the teacher to provide a window to the business world.

Job-experienced learners know a lot about their business and their own jobs and often have very precise notions about why they need business English. In contrast to pre experienced learners, they do not need or expect the teacher to help them understand the world of business.

A third category comprises learners who may already have a certain amount of work experience, but who are learning English in order to move into a new job or for a specific purpose. Thy might be identified as general business experienced falling somewhere between the two.

Organizational hierarchy based

The approach to business English learning differs with learners at different level of the company. The senior managers for example may wish to focus on specific skills like presenting or negotiating or may wish to have 1-to-1 lessons because of their status within the organization. The more junior staff on the other hand might not have such defined needs or may not be enabled enough to manage and influence their training needs. The company under such circumstances might arrange for classes separately for senior managers and clerical staffs.

National culture based

Training and education to a large extent is determined by varying national cultures, traditions and values. To match with this, sometimes, the learners are split up in separate groups. A private language school in say, the UK, the US or New Zealand might decide to teach its Asian and Hispanic learners separately owing to their different styles of communication. This fact might otherwise interfere with the learning process.

Need based

For some learners the teacher is reached for certain very specific needs. For example they may be about to join an international project team, or need help answering a company telephone hotline, or want to describe their company´s products to new customer. Others might look for a less focused course as their general aim might be to improve their English. The third category may comprise of learners belonging to similar genre of jobs like secretaries, accountants, technicians, where the companies might vary but characteristics and demands would be parallel.

Language-level based

At times learners are grouped according to their roughly similar language proficiency. The predetermined levels might be „beginners?, „advanced? or „level three? which are assigned to each learner depending upon their test-scores.

Business English teaching contexts

A Business English generally caters to a number of contexts: Education Institute
Educational institutions such as school, university are typical setting for teaching young adults. In tertiary education environment, teaching might involve written texts and perhaps preparation of oral or written assignments which can be graded. These assignments often bear very distant link with future working context but might heavily be influenced by the needs and traditions of the educational establishment. In some cases students also attend other (non-language) classes in English. These learners normally nurture preconceived notions and expectations about the class. They may unduly expect the teacher to be an expert on the business world as well as language expert and give priority to other subjects more than learning English. The

relatively large classes would contain learners with widely disparate language levels and skills, ignorant of the exact usage of English in future. Here, the focus on a specific target gets difficult to achieve. However, compared to a more constrained in-company group, the setting makes it easier for the teacher to cover areas better.

Private language school

Existing in most major cities of the world, private language schools are often part of franchises or
Chains or at times, autonomously owned small organizations. The teaching
may take place in the schools own premises or the teacher may be expected to
travel to the customers? location.
Customers may vary from private individuals on a drive to improve English in order to apply for a job to large multinational companies with employees
posted all over the world. In some countries schools are required (or can
volunteer) to submit to outside inspection, to ensure maintenance of certain standards.


Company teaching comes with an added advantage operating from the learners´ workplace with a very prominent idea of their need for English and a setting ensuring mental comfort for the learners. Clients premises and can vary from a couple of hours a week to a full time job.
They are generally given their own training room with an access to resources such as company intranet. The trainers are often invited to attend meetings,
do work shadowing (accompanying an employee doing his normal job and giving feedback as necessary) or help with written documents. In the course of time the trainer might as well become indispensable to the company, contributing in various manners like designing content-based training for
employees´ induction and thus facilitating cost reduction for the company. Besides teaching, the company trainers are often steeped in administration handling that might include booking rooms, ordering for stationary, attending fire practices etc. They often need to walk about and meet people in different
departments, getting self-updated about the internal happenings and also confirming their own presence. The teacher is suggested to maintain an
intranet presence keeping the concerned informed about the times & locations of classes, different possibilities of learning English and useful links.
The company normally expects the teachers to use relevant materials. The new teacher gradually builds up a bank of such resources. The teacher is advised not to overload his or her teaching schedule as there is simultaneous load of lot more work and many distractions as well. Twenty hours of scheduled teaching is probably realistic assuming a 40hour working week.

One to one

In Business English teaching, 1to1 (private lessons with one teacher and one student) is quite a common arrangement. The job might involve preparing the learner for a specific project, coaching over a longer period checking or helping with presentations correspondence reports and so on.

  • The requirement might be as pressing as fast acquiring sufficient language skill for a new employee.
  • Sometimes a highly motivated management level learner prefers the idea of 1to1 as well.

In 1to1, the teacher is able to focus entirely on the learner´s needs and develops him as the main resource. The teacher´s task is to:

  • Reformulate the learner´s language working towards an improved version either orally or written form, addressing grammatical & lexical errors and going further beyond. For example let´s consider the case of a learner who wants to give a presentation and who starts with an introduction and improving it. This may mean correcting some mistakes and also starting from scratch about what to include in a introduction about presentations training. This singular focus on the learner and his or her language makes 1 to 1 teaching so different. However, the concept of the content of learning being entirely provided by the teacher is rarely the most effective way to do 1to1 teaching.
  • One to one learning is a process intensive enough, therefore excessive keenness, effort and maximum input may add to a stressful situation. Teachers are well advised to remember the value of silence and the need to vary the pace and intensity of activities.
  • In some cases the teacher and learner strike up a personal relationship or build a special rapport with each other. The 1to1 situation is far less contrived than a classroom situation and it can feel much more like real communication.

The teacher

In a Business English training the teacher- trainee relationship is a symbiotic one;

  • The teacher is the master in language and communication whereas the trainee knows more about his job and the content.
  • The teacher with considerable awareness about the business world should be able to make informed decisions about language & language learning with credibility and professionalism.
  • The teacher should be able to adapt a particular teaching concept and be open to learn and upgrade self.
  • On most effective courses, students and teachers work in partnership to build a constructive learning environment which is appropriate to
    individual students? professional and personal situations.
  • Students, as clients often provide information and material and the teacher as and agent on the other hand provides service and expertise.

Within the field of Business English, many teachers identify themselves as trainers, coaches or even consultants:

Trainer’s perspective

In the world of business trainers are a common concept. There is a fundamental difference in approach:

• The teacher is traditionally seen as a virtual educator having far flung influence on the trainee?s all-round success in life. The trainer on the other hand conditions the trainee?s behavior, ability to do a specific job.

• Training is job oriented while teaching is person oriented.

• In contrast to the language teacher who helps the students to learn a language for a variety of (often unspecified) purposes, a trainer steers the trainee linguistically and pragmatically – in a certain way.

Coach’s perspective

Coach helps the learner to take advantage of the learning opportunities in his/her own working environment, better understand his or her strengths and weakness and plan accordingly. It?s the concept of learner?s autonomy where the learner is almost fully responsible for his or her learning.

Consultant’s perspective

The consultant is necessarily an expert who is introduced in the organization for his or her skills and knowledge. In Business English, this expertise can:

• Cover a wide area including the ability to analyze communication and communication needs.
• May require the teacher to recommend a training supplier
• Might involve a teacher negotiating with a number of hotels to choose the best location for a course for instance.

Many freelance teachers operate as consultants. They create market for themselves roping in potential clients employing techniques like discussing contracts, needs analysis – interacting with the learners as well as their sponsors for language training services, also evaluating training delivery and outcomes. Eventually they are often in privileged position, being the only person in the company with open and direct access to all at every level.

The language

The language studied is governed by student´s needs and can involve a high technical content, with frequent use of common business terms. It also means a focus on styles of speaking or writing which are appropriate to the student´s working environment and to the tasks they have to perform. This means students will need to develop a keen awareness of style – formality vs. informality, directness vs. indirectness. Most importantly, through language study in class students will need to become aware of the cultural context of language use, i.e. national or local cultures, industrial cultures and corporate
cultures. As well as the language specifically studied in class teacher talk (i.e. a teacher´s meta-language) can also provide valuable input and exposure for students. In order to capitalize on this opportunity, it is important to make this meta-language as adult and business-like as possible.

The language of business English includes everyday English. When used by a business person in a business context, it gets coined as Business English.

A: Excuse me
B: Hi. Can I help you?
A: I hope so. I´m looking for room 142. Mr. Plummer´s office.
B: Yes, of course. It´s the 3 rd suite down the corridor on your left.

A: What do you suggest? B: I agree with you.
A: Are you sure….we get it delivered?
B: Yes of course, ok?

Both these conversations can be categorized as everyday English. The first can be identified on a visit to a principle"s office and the second, exchanges between husband and wife deciding on selection of upholstery. However, when used within business context, they attain the dimension of Business English – the first being a visit to a client and the next a discussion between two colleagues on an important deadline.

The application of everyday phrases thus also takes different dimension Some groups of people use language in other ways too, ways that are not as familiar to outsiders. They use specialist words and jargons that make communication within the group easier and more efficient. It is common for almost every individual profession, each of which definitely bears an individual linguistic identity. Business communities use specific language to communicate in specific context. Accountants
Use the language of accounting (specific lexis) to talk about accounting matters (specific context) Sales engineers use specific language to discuss
their product specifications with their customers. Despite both are being business communities, their dedicated vocabulary will not be identifiable to each other. This is described by the term ESP (English for Specific Purposes), often used to describe language that is inaccessible to people who are not members of a particular language community.

Can we talk about gearing after lunch? I´m hungry. (in accounting) We?ve had some SF6 leakage. (in the power industry)
May be we need to revisit the escalation clause? (in real estate)
It´s OTC. (over the counter, in e.g. retail pharmaceuticals)

There is also a language which is clearly business English, but can be understood by most proficient users of English. This is sometimes described as general business English, used in general business English course books or in trade & business magazines. These industry-specific business jargons understood by most proficient users of English are to be considered as well.


Sales have fluctuated since we introduced the new sales strategy. The team is responsible for the China project.
Has everybody had a look at the minutes?
They´ve terminated the contract.


Business English thus comprises of –

• General everyday English
• General business English

Business English is a mixture of general everyday English but much beyond strict business world context. Advertising language uses a lot of metaphors and popular business books have its vocabulary resources in literary compositions as well.

Business community employs English to communicate in varied contexts like socialize, predict, analyze, negotiate, buy, write, persuade, compromise, telephone, market, sell, produce, interview, train, travel, plan, investigate, deal, advertise, explain and so on with business aim. But the skill in using the
language is inherent in certain techniques to get the message across and not in mere words and language. So business English is used in conjunction with business communication skill.

Separated from the native English speaking used by first language users, business English develops with the course of time to cater to specific needs. The language of the learners? might have only certain characteristics to share with the teacher?s own version of English.

Many areas of business English and ESP lack reliable information due to difficulty in recording natural discourse. An effective example is the matter of small talk which has a business relationship building accessory feature rather than the direct business content. Certain parts of business English teaching also rely on the teacher?s and the learner?s intuition.

The learners? learning need would range from business English to country / region specific English (British, US, International) to and ESP or a mixture of all these. The objective is to do business and not just talk about business through successful usage of the language across a wide variety of culture, business skills, context and participants.

Need Analysis

Setting up things for success – need analysis

Need Analysis is the effective pre-course work for in-company or in-house Business English courses which not only makes the beginning of courses smoother but also help to make courses successful overall. The teacher needs to negotiate his/her school´s political structures carefully and make sure that communication channels remain open and are enhanced by the teacher"s involvement. The contributions which are known and well explained to the students & the organizers are likely to be welcomed & appreciated.

It helps the teacher to understand the difference between the position of the learners´in terms of communicative competence and where they need to be to meet their business aims. Sometimes this needs analysis is minimal and simply limited to a series of brief question which give the teacher rough idea of the needs of the group.

A needs analysis in its most basic form is essentially a blend of information – gathering activities which use a variety of different perspective. However simply collecting data is not enough – it is in the interpretation and use of this data where the needs analysis really makes its power felt.

On the other hand, need analysis can also be a more substantial proposition. A large scales need-analysis or a language audit can be formulated on the basis of the organization – working out its strengths and weaknesses in terms of communication in English. The purpose is to build up a picture of the current situation and balance that against strategic goals as well as short terms needs, involving all levels of the company. The process may include gathering information about future markets, customers, suppliers and even competitors. Clearly in any company there will be major budgetary implications in terms of the expense of data collection and analysis and of interpreting it to decide the way forward.

Need analysis could generate issues like-

  • The level of language competence expected from certain post holders
  • How language competence might figure in recruitment policies,
  • The evaluation of current language training provides, and so on.

The language audit can emerge as a key stage, helping the organization develop and maintain a language strategy, allowing it to deal effectively with language problems in various markets and supply chains.

Need analysis collect critical information about the current situation, the position of the learners, evaluate them and trace out the strategy to reach the target situation.
The course designed (syllabus, methods, constraints, learning strategies and so on) bridges the training gap between the two situations.
Primarily the need is to be identified & clarified –

• Need of the learner.
• Need of the company or organization paying for the training.
• The school, university or training provider is also a factor.

o The learner"s perceived needs represent the view of the other stakeholders in the equation, such as the teacher, the sponsor the co workers. In a sense these are the „experts" who can identify needs based on their own experience and knowledge. The felt needs are those needs which represent the learner"s perspective.

o Need could be considered in terms of what & how to teach.
Need could possibly be translated into a list of products which the teacher can deliver to the learner. It could be a list of language items, list of skills such as giving presentations or asking question in meetings or be seen in terms of process of delivery with emphasis on how the learning takes place.

Training here is considered from the individual learner´s perspective:

• How does a particular learner learn?
• What affective factors need to be considered?
• What methods should the teacher be using?

As ever in language teaching the answer probably draws on both perspectives.

Course Design

Specific focus on:

Context – what are the motivations, expectations, numbers, resources, available hours, classroom space, and other factors involved in the teaching situation. Creating a “profile” of the course to be taught in logistical and conceptual terms.

Problematization – defining the challenges to be faced in terms of: expected results, numbers, mix of motivations, different needs, time limitations, learner “readiness,” etc. Problematization is a matter of trying to focus on the specific elements in a situation that require the most attention.

Setting goals and objectives – determining final results in performance terms, and „enabling" objectives that will assist in achieving
these results.

Conceptualizing content
o What do the students want to learn given who they are, their needs and their purposes
o What are the options for “what” they can learn
o What are the resources and constraints
o What are the relationships among the options selected
o How can these be organized into a working plan
o What is the driving force, or unifying principle that will bring things together

Business English Teaching (BETT) as a course aims at developing English communicative skill for adults working in business of one kind or another, or preparing to step into the field of business. This business arena could include large multinationals, small private companies or even government undertakings in product and service sectors. The length of the course and the venue of the training (in company / in language school / other rented premises) might vary as well.

A Business English course in its designing process reflects a series of decisions based on information gathered during a needs analysis. The way to start is to decide on the

course aims and objectives: what we (and others) want out of the course. Aims are general statements about why the course is happening.

The course / curriculum framework is a process, not a product.

• It is not a specification of what should be taught but rather a guide for how to set up a program for each student that meets the criteria.
• It helps set realistic objective for each course, it can be adapted to a variety of needs and program lengths.
• It makes use of the initiative and creativity of the instructors, and it provides them with a set of guidelines that they can draw on, with little
advance notice to develop their course.

A framework component is useful for several reasons.

• It provides an organized way of conceiving of a complex process.
• It sets forth domains of inquiry for the teacher, in that each component puts forth ideas as well as raises issues for the teacher to pursue.
• It provides a set of terms currently use in talking about course development and thus a common professional vocabulary and access to the ideas of others.

Setting Objectives

Objectives of a course design are specific in nature and break up the aim into smaller elements of learning so that the outcomes are better understood and are embedded in more precise terms. Very often other stakeholders, such as a sponsor of a course, will want to look at these objectives too, and may even assist in writing them.

A useful acronym to use when writing objectives is SMART. While designing a course, objectives are to be kept specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (that is, limited to a certain period).

The objectives are to be so planned that they could best serve our clients and our students through the training that would enable learners, with the assistance of their instructors:

• to assess their learning needs; analyze their learning styles; define learning objectives that were specific, measurable and achievable within a given time; and participate in planning and program that would meet those objectives.
• to implement that program plan through the practice work carefully selected learning strategies to achieve those objectives.
• to design a self-study plan to continue their learning after their on-site work with us. This concept for learning, with its three key elements, also had the advantage of conforming to the mission of our institution, which is dedicated to serving the whole individual and to empowering people to be independent and in control of their own lives and their own learning.

Categorizing objectives

Objectives can be expressed in different ways, depending on the context.

Performance (behavioral) objectives typically describe what the learner is expected to do, under what conditions, and to what level or standard. Such objectives use words like will learn, will be able to, and can.

Teaching or training objectives, unlike performance objectives, do not normally specify what the learner will be able to do at the end of the course. Instead, they give the teacher useful guideline, and may use technical words which learners may not be familiar with.

It can be valuable to get learners to write their own objectives, and these can then be discussed in terms of how relevant or achievable they are. For example, learners can be asked to complete the following sentence: At the end of this course I hope to be able to………
In practical terms, it is often difficult to describe language or business communication skills with the desired precision, and sometimes such skills are
hard to quantify and measure. In such cases a compromise may be least typical behaviors that might be expected of the participant

Business objective may be quite different from performance or teaching objective. The real business objective may be to negotiate successfully, in order to maximize the company´s profits in a new market (the aim). In other words, the outcome of the course can be seen not only in terms of what has been learnt (focusing on the learner), but also in terms of changes in the workplace or in business results, resulting from the training having taken place (focusing on the business). Such issues relate to course evaluation and accountability (who is responsible for the success of course, or for ensuring best value return on expenditure?), and are becoming more common as organizations and schools try to get as much as possible out of limited budgets. A useful technique for designing a course is to use a grid or framework which sets out the aims and objectives, followed by all the elements that we believe are necessary for someone to be able to meet those objectives.

The main components of the framework are based on the linguistic competence, discourse competence, and intercultural competence together with the guidelines offered by communicative language teaching, and our own understanding of what our learners need. The syllabus will take into account not only what is to be learned, but also how it is to be learned. It will normally consist of a combination of the following components that would weave through the course, holding it together.

Guidelines for course planning:

• Use a range of planning techniques so as to tap into both your logical and your intuitive mind.
• Check and recheck that you planning reflect the priorities established during the pre-course need analysis.
• Be realistic about timeframes, i.e. about what can be achieved in a given time.
• Remember that any back-up paperwork you produce, such as a course outline, will act as PR documents.

• Get and take account of any feedback you receive on draft plans from students or colleagues.
• Keep everyone informed of your pre-course planning decisions.
• Update people whenever you make any changes to your course outline.

Feedback and Evaluation

The teaching is best judged and effectively moulded by `Evaluation´. Its critical attributes involves asking questions, gathering relevant information and forming opinions staying within a specified context aiming at definite purpose and goals. Needs analysis, placement tests, selection of materials are all forms of evaluations. A sponsoring company may wish to evaluate decisions about materials. A sponsor may wish to evaluate a course that is on the market, or learners´ language skills may be assessed to see if they are ready for an exam.


What is evaluation :

• Judging fitness for a particular purpose
• Matching needs to solutions
• Concerned with the effectiveness and efficiency of learning
• Asking systematic questions and acting on the responses
• To have value, the process must include action

It is important to evaluate the success and effectiveness of your courses so that you could make improvements on an ongoing basis. It is also important so as to ensure continued survival, since students and sponsors act on their own evaluation of our courses (formal or informal).
The teachers´ responsibility of evaluation would involve checking of the objectives – whether fulfilled or not, whether the teaching methods require further improvement. These would generally be conveyed through questions. Answering such questions can take up a lot of time and effort, so the first question to ask is whether it is worth doing. The probable questions would be:

• Who will do it?
• When will it be done?
• How will it be done?
• What will be evaluated?

The answers to these questions will however depend on the situation.

Evaluation can be concerned with:

- Attitudes – how positively are our courses viewed?
- Effectiveness – how well do we achieve our objectives in terms of real learning?
- Appropriacy – how appropriate are our programmes to our clients´ real needs?

How to evaluate?

The most common approach to evaluation is to collect comments or ratings using feedback forms distributed at the end of each course, and then to interpret them.
Another important approach is to sit back and reflect on what seems to constitute successful practice in your particular teaching context.
A third, often revealing approach is to collect and analyze objective data from
registration and re-registration figures, attendance figure and test or exam results.

All information – statistical or impressionistic, objective or subjective – will need to be considered in relation to the course"s objectives, course format (intensive or extensive, with or without self-study component, etc), teaching approach and materials used ….. amongst other things! You will need to take care to find out whether any variable was in effect which might distort your conclusion. For example, it could be that materials were adequate but either your approach or your attitude unhelpful. You will also need to be careful not to assume that things are effect, when they might be causes. For example,
student absences could either be an indication of deficiencies in a course, or a cause of failure (if no absence policy was in operation).
Evaluating would differ from situation to situation – a one-off in-company course demands treatment that is separate from a university course that runs ten times a year.

One model of evaluation commonly found in business English training (particularly in-company) is based on Kirckpatrick?s work in the 1960s. This model is built on five level of evaluations, all interrelated.

• Level 1 involves the learners"reaction to the teaching – were they satisfied? The focus here is on the course itself and its delivery: the teacher, the materials, and so on.

• Level 2 relates to the learning – what was actually learned? Typically this involves a pre-test and post-test. Here the focus is on the learner.

• Level 3 has to do with the transfer of what has been learned to the workplace – is the learning work-relevant? Are the learners using their new skills? The focus is on the learner and the workplace.

• Level 4 is concerned with results – has the teaching resulted in any business impact? Are the participants more successful in their negotiations, for example? Have their telephone skills improved?

• Level 5 looks at the return on investment (ROI) – what (and how much) tangible (e.g. employee motivation) benefit has the training led to, relative to its cost?

Approaches to evaluation can be categorized as:

Formative evaluation is related to ongoing development and improvement. It considers what was good and not so good on a particular course, and forms a basis for change and future action. In other words, the aim is to make improvements. For example, an end-of- course questionnaire might ask participants to comment on the quality of the hotel used to run the course – adverse comments may result in the next course being run in a different hotel.

Illuminative evaluation relates to what is happening in the teaching / learning processes, designed to facilitate our understanding of the processes within the course – typically this will look at issues like classroom interaction, or learning strategies used by the participants.

Summative evaluation is carried out at a pre-specified or a particular stage in a course (such as the end), and looks at whether or not the
course objectives have been achieved, or how effective, or efficient the course was at achieving those objectives. A typical method is the use of tests.

Evaluating questions require systematic collection of data as well as analyzing and interpretation of results that leads to an innovative or corrective judgment. The business English teaching context commonly operates with two types of data –quantitative and qualitative.

Quantitative data are those expressed by a numerical value (e.g. the results from many tests, checklists, or surveys)
Qualitative refers to the quality, type or depth of whatever is being evaluated (often richer yet more subjective in nature). Examples of qualitative data include the notes made during interviews, classroom observation, and case studies (such as verbal descriptions of how a particular learner has progressed through a course).

The process of measuring, using such data, is known as assessment. It is important not to use only one measure, since this may give unreliable results, it is better to use two or more different assessment tools. Using different perspective to assess the same thing in this way is called triangulation in a research context and 360 degree assessment in the business world. For example, if we wanted to know how effective a course on telephonic skills has been, we might test the participants using a series of role-plays, interview then to see how they feel about their telephonic skills, and record some “real-life" conversations to see how they cope.

Assessing the students

It is essential to ensure that students are making progress on a course and to show this progress in quantifiable and comprehensible terms to both students and their bosses. Formal or less formal assessment procedures can be used with the following points noted:

• Tests and other assessment tools must be as valid as possible if they are to be useful and fair on individuals - whose career prospects might be affected by them.

• Tests need to be practical to administer, faking the constraints of the context into account (e.g. absentees or factory noise).

• Tests must demonstrate a good time-results ratio (i.e. the time invested must be worthwhile for the information gained).

• Tests need to be given at an appropriate time if you intend to use them to 'fine tune' your teaching programme so as to cater more effectively to students' needs. When you have information on what students can and cannot do you will need to have time to do something about it.

• Test results and feedback must be given sensitively because they can have a devastating effect on motivation and, indeed, on students' careers if misinterpreted by students' bosses.

Role-plays, simulations and case studies

Effective business English learning involves successful production of workplace- language by the learners. Therefore, these activities categorized as role-play, simulations, and/or case studies need to be designed more into the course.

A role-play is an activity where the learner takes on a role; they do not play themselves. Their opinions and behaviors are also pre-conditioned by the
instruction cards. The language used may also be pre-taught in some way.
Information gap is another typical feature of role-play where none of the participants know all of the relevant information.

The instance cited below is from Market Leader Pre-Intermediate by Cotton et al. Such materials are good for pre-experienced learners because most of the information they need is given. They may well have no personal experience of the featured situation to bring to the role-play. One disadvantage is that unless there is enough time given to preparation – in this case, memorizing the details on the card – the role play is interrupted by learners having to look at their cards to remind themselves of what they are supposed to say.

You are at a conference. You recognize someone you met at a conference two years ago. Introduce yourself and make small talk. Use your role-card to prepare for the conversation.
Participant A
Participant B
  • You met B two years ago at a conference on Customer Care in Frankfurt.
  • You own a small firm which sells office equipment.
  • It´s your first day at the conference, you arrived late last night.
  • You haven´t seen the city yet.
  • You are staying at the Grand Hotel in the city centre ( a good choice : room service and the facilities are excellent).
  • You are leaving in three day´s time.
  • You think the conference will be very interesting.
  • You met A two years ago at a conference on Customer care in Frankfurt.
  • You are the sales manager for a large telecommunication company.
  • You have been at the conference for three days.
  • You have visited the city (beautiful old cathedral, interesting museum, excellent restaurants, but very expensive).
  • You are staying at a small hotel outside the city (a bad choice: room too small, too far from the centre of the city).
  • You are leaving tomorrow.
  • The conference is boring, the speakers talk too much and go over time.


It refers to an activity involving the learner in person and ideally imitates his/her actions in real life. Within the boundaries of a classroom a situation is created which prepares the learner for future dealings in his/her job context. A presentation rehearsal is an example of simulation.
For a batch consisting of more than one learner, a common simulation is a difficult proposition as it can be irrelevant to some students. For example in a buyer-seller negotiation, if the two learners involved both come from a purchasing department (which normally only buys items), then clearly one of the learners will be playing a selling role. Although it contributes a lot to the learning process giving a perspective of the other side, it fails to have immediate relevance.

Simulation activity should have a realistic reason to be presented in English (else the students will tend to speak in their native language, at least in a monolingual group) The aim is to create suspension of disbelief, fully involving the learners in the activity without any distraction caused by the venue (classroom). A sign of successful simulation is where the participants carry on discussing the issues outside the classroom.
Simulations are particularly useful for in-company groups where people have real jobs to focus on.

Another approach involves using good speakers of English to come in take part. They might role-play a visiting customer, for example, with learners
simulating their real jobs by having to pass on information, or perhaps by persuading the visitor to buy the product.
A visitor might also play a customer or a partner who wishes to discuss clauses proposed for a consortium contract. The preparation time is relatively minor on the visitor?s part (and on the material writer´s), but the benefit to the learner is enormous; they have to communicate with a stranger who knows their subject,

but is not a teacher.
Simulation might involve a learner simply discussing work-related issues with the teacher in a fashion similar to discussion with a new boss, or a customer,
or a partner. The focal point is that the activity should simulate the type of discourse the learner would have in real life. Checklist for preparing a simulation:

The day prior to the simulation:

• What is the aim of the activity? Are the activities carried out for a business communication purpose or for a language learning purpose? Is the simulation relevant to the learner´s needs?
• Is there a logical sequence to the planned activities?
• Are the activities realistic? Could they really take place? Have the details been cross-checked with someone with relevant business
• Is there enough variety, challenge and interest?
• Can all participants contribute?
• Can the participants be creative or use their knowledge and experience?
• Is there more than one solution (if the simulation is about a problem)?

On the day of the simulation:

• Should be made sure that everyone fully understands the situation; check by asking questions, if necessary.
• Give people enough time to prepare (sometimes this preparation time might be significantly longer than the actual simulation).
• Should be made sure the learners understand the rationale behind the activity and its aims and objectives.
• Can consider using observers to assist with the feedback.
• Feedback should surely include the business task, as well as language- related points.

In case of in-company simulations, most groups will be more than willing to give the teacher feedback, leading to possible improvements. In effect, the last stage of the simulation is that the learners redesign it with the teachers.

Case studies
A case study analyses a particular business problem from various perspectives. The problem may have nothing to do with their own line of business, and they may or may not be asked to produce a solution. Case studies are suitable for all types of business English learners because the information needed to address the problem is normally included in the data provided, although with some pre- experience groups additional background information may be necessary. However case study is not suited for those learners who are still at a low level of English language competence.
Case study can be beneficial to in-company training in two ways – it can closely mirror the actual requirements of the job and also infuse interesting materials not directly related to the job yet initiates some variety and useful language practice. Case studies prepare d by teachers are expected to be tailor made to fit the learner-specific situation and needs. But the flip side is that the teacher might disagree to invest much time and effort in a study, not to be used more than once.
Case studies are an amalgamation of various skills like writing, speaking, presenting, listening and others working toward completion of a task set.

Some case studies can be very complicated. The extract below is taken from a teacher´s notes for a case study written for a group of project managers from an international corporation. The course was run in a hotel, and the last two days were devoted to the activity. This outline or `route map´ is a particularly useful tool to help the teacher manage the overall situation; often there is need for the teacher to be flexible, for example, to skip some stages, or to provide additional as the case study progresses. Likewise the times given for each activity are only a guideline; different groups will progress through the study in their own way.


1. Argue in agreement and disagreement of the following statement about Business English: Business is serious and business English teachers should not waste time of fun and games in the classroom.

2. You are freelance Business English Trainer. You are currently working in the HR department of a multinational company in Bangkok. The HR Manager calls you in and asks you to run a course for a group of engineers in the company who are due to join an international project team. Their task will be to work on site wit engineers from other companies and other countries, and supervise the installation of new machinery in a hydroelectric power station. You will have the group for 6 hours every day for a week, and the course will start next week. The learners have all been doing regular English training, and are all at intermediate level or above.

• What materials would you consider using for such a course? Discuss the benefits and drawback of using commercially published materials and making your own bespoke (tailor-made) materials.
• What types of activities do you think would be most appropriate for such a
group and why?


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