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This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:
Business EnglishWhile the international world of commerce and relations has many working languages, as it stands today english is the dominant international business language in many if not most parts of the world. The reasons for this can be attributed to historic, geographic, economic and political issues. Additionally, as a language english is considered by many easier to learn and use. As such, globally there are more speakers of english as a second language than there are as a first language with the primary reason likely being in support of international commerce and trade. This presents a unique challenge for many students in non-english speaking countries. While pursuing high level studies in fields such as business, economics, medicine, engineering or law these students must add the study of english to their curriculum if they wish to open up educational or career opportunities ahead of them. For example, many of the most prestigious engineering schools in France will select the most qualified candidates who possess foreign language skills over those who do not. This is even more true for those who possess english language skills. The reason here is simply that the students future career will likely involve dealing in the international english speaking environment. This can be true even if they work in Africa, the Middle East or even France. Having a record of graduating students who excel in the international environment reflects favorably on the schools as well. While many of these students have studied english throughout their educational careers the levels achieved by most are not sufficient to adequately operate in an english speaking environment. Even for those who have achieved greater skills than most in english there still remains the field of “Business english”. As a language instructor my wife has many types of students ranging from the young classroom to the rowdy teenagers to the privately tutored adult. Observing her for over a year now I have noticed that with very few exceptions any student who comes to her for private tutoring has the objective of learning business english. They are typically the more serious type of student and typically are studying some field of business such as management, marketing or economics or a specialized career path like engineering. These students realize both the challenge and opportunity which exists for them in becoming competent in english. While the goal of learning “Business english” is admirable in reality it is useless without a solid grounding in the basic language. Depending on the level of the student, the basics can be fine tuned as the topic of Business english is pursued. For the student the selection of material to study can be much broader than for the company employee. The student may be studying economics, marketing and management during the same semester while the company employee may be preparing to present a specific marketing or sales presentation at an international conference. As suggested in unit 19 each would be best served by an initial evaluation of their language level and a needs analysis specific to their learning goals. Taking these two scenarios we can imagine how different the lessons plans could be for each. For the student we may select material such as the financial times or their textbooks for different courses if offered in english while for the marketing or sales professional we would likely significantly narrow the subject material down to their specific field and even their specific presentation. While this is a very simple comparison I believe it emphasizes the need and value of an initial language level evaluation and individual needs analysis. Whether one is a busy student or a busy professional, learning english as a second language can be a significant challenge as well as a rewarding one. Teaching Business english can be an excellent way to build on a students existing level while focusing on that part of the language most relevant to their current needs.