It’s a fact that in today’s globalized economy, the major language used to communicate in international corporations is English. That's why people working in the corporate world try to learn the language in order to develop as professionals. Because of it, there is a growing demand for English teachers in the business world where people learn business English in private schools, companies, from private tutors or by using online platforms.
Admittedly, there are plenty of opportunities and scope for those ESL teachers who are interested in teaching Business English. Also, the pay rates are relatively better as compared to other jobs in the TEFL industry. Despite all this, some ESL teachers hesitate to join this rewarding line of work. They think that their knowledge or expertise level doesn't match with the requirements. So, let us tell you that if you have a TEFL certificate at hand, you can easily join any language institute as a business English teacher. Because your students will only require you to teach the language over which you’ve already got command. So, don’t hesitate to give it a try if you really want to.
If you have made up your mind to teach business English as an ESL teacher, then keep on reading. Because this post will provide all the relevant information about this subfield of ESL, including necessary qualifications and skills, key differences between teaching business English as compared to teaching other English language classes and what core competencies will help to develop your career as a business English teacher.
What is Business English
Business English is a special category of ESP (English for Specific Purpose/Purposes) in which the learning is focused on developing better communication skills, geared towards a specific purpose. In simple terms, the business English teachings mainly include lessons which make the learners able to communicate in the corporate world using the business terminologies. Additionally, such language teachings also sharpen their skills which are necessary for the communicative requirements of their industry or type of business. Also, their understanding of corporate culture is made better during classes.
The reason the majority of people like to enroll in such type of language learning programs is to develop themselves into better professionals. Plus, this type of language learning helps them in finding better career opportunities internationally.
General Requirements for Teaching Business English
1) A TEFL Certificate: Most of the employers will require that you have completed 120 hours long general TEFL course. This course provides the students will all the necessary skills and knowledge to teach English abroad. But there will be some specific jobs which require that the candidate has done a special course for teaching business English. Some may also ask for a business background as well.
Generally speaking, if you have a general TEFL certificate, you can start looking for work in this sub-field of TEFL. Having a business background or specialized course would be a plus but that is not always necessary, and you can still be able to land a business English teaching job if you are competent enough.
2) Experience: If you have recently completed your TEFL course then keep in mind that finding a job as a business English teacher will be a little tough. This is because most of the hiring managers demand that the candidate have at least some relevant experience as a business English teacher. Also, you can expect them to ask for relevant working experience in the corporate world. This is because you need to communicate with the students using business vocabulary. Moreover, business people have some very specific goals and aim and a fresher sometimes get confused to understand their needs completely. It becomes more difficult when you don't have experience or a business degree at hand.
Even if you don’t have such experience and expertise level yet, you can still give it a try. Because everyone needs a point to start from, right? So, never lose hope in this regard. Here is a pro tip for you as a fresher, try teaching business English online. Because this is a newly emerging field in the TEFL industry and you can easily gain some experience by teaching online.
Key Differences Between Teaching Business English and Teaching General English Students
Teaching a business English class is a lot more different from teaching other types of ESL classes. Here is what to expect:
Students and Their Goals: The students in a business English class will be adults or even older. You’ll seldom find a younger student in such type of class. That is why when people talk about teaching business English, they are generally referring to teaching adults rather than businessmen or women.
Another key difference is that your business English students have completely different goals behind attending the class. Most of them will have a clear and definite idea about what they want to learn in every class. Some will come only because it is an obligation by their company, so, motivating such kinds of learners will require additional strength and hard work.
The Classroom: Unlike teaching general English, you cannot always expect that you would be delivering the lessons within a classroom setting. As a business English teacher, you can imagine yourself teaching in a conference room, meeting hall, or within a large corporate building. Under such settings, you would be required to dress more professionally. Plus, having well-prepared lessons and activities at hand is also a must.
Teaching Methodology: As a general English teacher, you have the freedom to use a set of teaching methodologies and techniques to pass your message to the learners. On the other hand, in a business English class, you need to use such an approach which is very specific and task-oriented. For example, most of the time, you'll be using an activity-based method to teach them through learning-by-doing. Also, all the activities they perform in the class will have specific objectives i.e. the activity of writing an email in English which they would then perform during their jobs.
The Course Material: The content you’ll teach to your business English students will be quite different as compared to the general English course outline. The course material in such a class will be geared towards the business world and its requirements. For example, you’ll be teaching them different ways to use business vocabulary or how to carry out professional conversations in English. Your students will be able to apply the majority of topics that you'll teach into their own corporate structures. But it is always recommended to talk to them in order to completely understand their goals and expectations.
Useful Pointers for Teaching Business English
If you are a first-timer business English teacher, then the following tips and tricks will help to effectively carry out the classes with visible progress from the students' side.
Conduct A Need Assessment: It is really important to conduct a need analysis to find what your students expect from this course. For example, in most of the cases, the professionals are asked by their company to take such type of courses for progressing in the company. Under such situations, you might expect resistance from the students’ side. Their lack of interest and reduced attendance is also common.
Therefore, you should consider conducting a need analysis. This way, you would be able to know about the needs of students and their basic purpose to come to your class. Later on, you can modify your teaching methodology and material to suit their needs.
Try Understanding Their Business Context: Your professional students in the class will expect you to understand the type of job they are doing. Because this way, you might be able to pic their interests and craft your lesson plans using those interests. But if you don’t have any idea of their line of work, try researching more about the type of business they are involved in. After collecting enough information about the product or service they are selling. You can utilize this data into your own lesson plans to make them relevant and interesting.
Act Professionally: Since business English teachings are for professionals, therefore, there is a greater need to act professionally without looking stiff or boring. Remember that you cannot use the same set of activities or ice breakers that you once used while teaching English to kids in a summer camp. Rather try to understand that the adult needs and driving motivations are different as compared to children.
A little goes a long way. There is no need to put in a lot of effort in order to look professional. Even simple activities such as dressing smartly, using smart resources such as business magazines or podcasts and focusing on activities rather than games will do the job!