The Business English syllabus has to include information as well as activities required and used in business settings. Since Business English syllabi have to be modified based on learner background and needs, they need to remain flexible. Therefore, they cannot be fully predetermined and fixed. Nevertheless, it is necessary to have a basic multidimensional syllabus, identifying major areas that needs to be covered in a Business English course. The syllabus is developed with relation of the course framework.
It is also important to me that learners understand the rationale behind the selection of materials and content, approaches we take to achieve course goals, and methods of evaluation. I insist that learners demand to know every detail of the course, and even take part in forming them. Course awareness allows learners to protect their rights to achieve their goals and demand necessary modifications. If you don’t know what your rights are, you cannot protect them.
Materials, sources, and activities
I don’t rely solely on one book, but I make use of authentic data provided on the Internet and real-life examples to guide learners to better understand the importance and the use of Business English. Learners need to find international businesses and employees similar to them and learn from example as well.
These examples help learners to model their use of Business English and practice accordingly. This way we have a clear ground for comparison and evaluation. We gradually develop exposure to Business English experiences, but we also create a body of documents -audio,video, and written – called ‘your portfolio’, so that:
1. You have tangible results where you merged your knowledge of business and English to achieve what is actually required of you in the business environment.
2. You can refer to your portfolio regularly for self-assessment and improve yourself.
3. We can have a concrete background of what we have done together, and what needs to be accomplished next.
In other words, your portfolio becomes a measure of how effective the class is, how much progress you have made, and what steps should we take to reach our desired goals, both me as the coach, and you as the learner. Now that you have a sense of how this coaching process works, we can move to the point where I tell you what we are going to work on in this course.
This is a general map of what needs to be addressed in a Business English course. Please keep in mind that for every learner or group, this would be changed and tailored, with the help of the learners, so the syllabus covers the areas of their interests and needs.
Since portfolio making helps cover essential skills in business settings, the following items make up a part of the main body (but not the entire body) of the syllabus:
- Giving presentations
- presentations to staff
- seminars and conferences
- board meeting presentations
- informal staff meetings
- semi-formal business meetings
- formal meetings
- Preparing reports and analysis
- marketing reports
- HR reports
- Annual reports
- Financial reports
- Using emails
- making inquiries
- placing orders
- asking for specifications
- making confirmations
- and more
- Phone calls
- basic phone calls
- decision making
- asking for advice
- discussing an issue
Please note that process starts from the bottom, with simpler activities at the bottom, and moves up to the more complicated. The more forward we move, the more complex the linguistic requirements become. However, this is not the entire body of the syllabus. I have divided the activities into two main parts.
The first part, the one introduced above, focuses on language production. This means that you, as a learner, are required to do tasks and keep records of those tasks as your reference as well as for final evaluation. This part is to both enable and assure learners that what they learn is directly applicable to their profession.
Incorporating Business and International affairs
Part two of the syllabus included items which serves the course in two ways. First, they provide a guideline for the content of the lessons. Second, they themselves serve as parts of the syllabus independently should there be a need for a more detailed focus. These items include topics and professional competencies directly related to businesses. To find out more about competencies refer to course framework. Examples of essential Business English contents are provided below:
- Global economy
- International conferences and reports
- National business information
- Business related topics
- Business trades
These subjects can become very technical, but we intend to use them to keep us up to date in the developments in various business operations, and keep the course interesting and dynamic business-wise.
Voila! We are done with the what and the how. Now you can move on to the next step: Before you begin! The next step is to prepare yourself for the course. You need to become familiar with several fundamental rules in my coaching style.