Course description

1. Course aims & objectives
2. Course syllabus
3. Training Methodology & Training Materials
4. Assessment procedure, certificate

1. Course aims & objectives

  • to inform, stimulate and motivate teachers moving into or moving on in a career in Business English teaching
  • to introduce participants to current theories in professional language learning, human resource development and Business English language and communication analysis
  • to familiarise participants experientially with Business English teaching techniques and procedures together with a wide range of published and unpublished materials in text, cassette/CD, video/DVD, CD-ROM or online format
  • to foster the skills of conducting needs analyses and language audits, planning and evaluating courses and designing and/or adapting Business English materials
  • to equip participants to teach in a number of typical training situations: in the in-work and tertiary sectors, extensively in-company and in class, intensively on residential courses, in large and small classes and one to one, through tele-lessons, e-lessons and blended learning
    • to deepen and extend participants' ability to tackle key professional skills areas: meetings and videoconferencing, presenting and web presentations, e-mail, correspondence and report writing, telephoning and teleconferencing, networking and socialising
    • to introduce participants to so-called 'hard' Business English specialist areas: HR, finance, marketing, production and operations, IT and technical support
    • to give participants a basic background in the world of international commerce, business practice and current management 'hot topics'
    • to promote intercultural awareness in a business context

2. Course Syllabus

Throughout the course you'll also learn how to:

• record and film learners digitally
• design professional PowerPoint slides
• download and exploit online videos
• create online exercises and games
• set up class wikis
• teach with Skype and video emails

Module 1: Introduction to Business English

  • Making the transition from General to Business English
  • Business English as part of Human Resources Development
  • The Business English learner: drives and working styles
  • The motivation of business students v working executives
  • The time/money factor: delivering on claims
  • Workplace research (Mintzberg, Adair, Louhiala-Salminen)
  • New class activities: personal disclosure and course content negotiation
  • Accuracy v effectiveness (Wilberg, Lewis)
  • International English / English as a Lingua Franca (Johnson, Seidlhofer, jenkins)
  • History of Business English (West)
  • Business English Myths (O'Neill)

Module 2: A Lexical Approach to Business English

  • The mental lexicon (Aitchison, Nation, Pawley, Syder, Nattinger, De Carrico
  • Concepts and principles of the Lexical Approach (Willis, Lewis, Thornbury)
  • Chunking: words, polywords, collocations, (semi-fixed) expressions, frameworks/schemata
  • Examples of corpus data from concordancers (Sinclair)
  • Lexical v structural processing (Skehan)
  • 'Grammaring' (Thornbury)
  • Lexical exercise and activity types for Business English
  • Cards, multi-modality games, interactive drills
  • Lexical recording formats: wordmaps, 5-5-1 boxes, speech-though bubbles, flowcharts etc.

Module 3: Meetings and Interviews

  • Types of meeting: planning, problem-solving, decision-making, brainstorming etc.
  • Formulaic functional exponents in the context of meetings: gambits
  • Expressions based on keywords: point, question, fact, problem, option, position, answer etc.
  • Metaphorical expressions: discussion is a journey, argument is war
  • Minimal native-speaker interaction: OK; so; well; yeah, but; look; now, er… etc.
  • Explicit v implicit language of meetings
  • Discovery task (simulated meeting) and language analysis
  • Chairing language
  • Key skills in meetings: interrupting, clarifying, querying, summarising, assisting, paraphrasing
  • Workouts or skills drills to practise these key skills
  • Corridor meetings (Peters: Management by Wandering Around, MBWA)
  • Video and audio input

Module 4: Roleplays, Simulations and Case Studies

  • Terms and definitions: simulation, case study, roleplay, realplay, reverse roleplay
  • Simulation design: content and process reality; topic and skills focus; input and task control
  • Setting up simulations: information load and task complexity
  • Comparison and analysis of a selection of published and unpublished simulations
  • Criteria of good Business English simulation: risk, time pressure, quantifiable outcome etc.
  • Learning by doing: the case for experiential learning

Module 5: Telephoning

  • Telephone English v English on the phone
  • The telephone as a problem-solving tool
  • Formulaic telephone language and drill practice
  • Telephone English games and activities
  • Doing business on the phone
  • Telephone simulations
  • The interruptive nature of telephoning
  • Teleconferencing

Module 6: E-Mail, Faxes, Letters, Reports

  • A process writing approach to Business correspondence
  • 'netiquette' and e-mail writing
  • tone and register
  • writing activities: deletion, correction, reformulation, personalisation
  • co-operative writing technique
  • formality games
  • crossover and in-tray simulations
  • letter/e-mail/voicemail 'genre switch' activities
  • a project approach to report writing: information gathering, presentation, visuals, sequencing
  • report 'templates'

Module 7: Exploiting Authentic Materials

  • the arguments for and against authenticity
  • sources of authentic material
  • text evaluation and modification
  • visual stimuli: photos, cartoons, graphics
  • verbal stimuli: jokes, quotes, slogans
  • audio inout: news, interviews, documentary
  • video input: commercials, movies
  • activity types 1: exploiting for content
  • activity types 2: exploiting for language
  • integrating authentic material into multi-skill activities
  • authentic materials design task

Module 8: Intercultural Awareness

  • attitudes to time, space, gender, status, individuality (Hall, Hofstede, Trmpenaars)
  • a visual approach to intercultural awareness (R. Lewis)
  • cross-cultural dialogues for analysis and comment (Storti)
  • The Cross-Culture Game®, board game (R. Lewis)

Module 9: Presentations

  • Reflection on qualities of a good presentation
  • Body language and non-verbal communication
  • Statistics on attention-span, voice tone, visual impact etc.
  • Voice work: SoundScripting® using movie screenplays
  • Structuring and signposting using Memory Maps® (Rose)
  • Rhetorical techniques: repetition, emphasis, contrast, tripling, figurative language
  • Stylistic analysis of famous speeches: King, Kennedy, Churchill etc.
  • Reformulating 'lame' expressions into powerful ones
  • Video input
  • Presentation websites
  • Mini-presentation simulations.

Module 10: Q&A Sessions

  • Question types: good, difficult, unnecessary, irrelevant, multi
  • Fielding questions from the audience
  • Question generation games
  • Framing follow-up questions: context-focus-enquiry
  • Simulated Q&A session

Module 11: Negotiations

  • Defining the negotiation process
  • Terms: win-win, principled negotiation, zero-sum, BATNA etc.
  • Discovery task: roleplay a difficult encounter
  • Positional v interest-based negotiation (Harvard model)
  • Qualities of a good negotiator
  • Negotiation tactics and how to counter them
  • Conflict styles and how to deal with them (MIT model)
  • Haggling v negotiation v mediation
  • Video input
  • Fixed expression for negotiating
  • The language of diplomacy: reformulating for directness
  • Extended simulation of a contract negotiation
  • Quantifiable feedback: opening position, target position, walk-away position
  • Negotiation websites

Module 12: Teaching Business English One to One

  • Comparison of group and one-to-one teaching
  • Dynamics: pace and style
  • 'Response-ability' (Wilberg)
  • opportunities, constraints and threats
  • classroom management
  • methodology: models from Silent Way, Community Language Learning etc.
  • materials and techniques
  • teaching aids: laptops, flip-pads, walkman, mobiles, cards, Cuisenaire rods
  • peer-teaching session

Module 13: Learning Styles

  • Neurolinguistic programming: modalities (VAK), congruence (Bandler, Grinder)
  • Learning cycles 1: activist, reflector, theorist, pragmatist (Honey, Mumford)
  • Learning cycles 2: converger, diverger, assimilator, accommodator (Kolb)
  • 4MAT System: innovative, analytic, common sense, dynamic learners (McCarthy)

Module 14: Business Background

  • Current trends in business: change, leadership, emotional intelligence, permission marketing
  • Behind the buzzwords
  • How businesses work: functional and divisional hierarchies
  • Group game: the 60-min MBA

Module 15: Business English Exams

  • Comparison of Business English exam formats: LCCI, BEC, C&G Pitman
  • Experience share
  • Breathing life into exam materials

Module 16: Networking and Socialising in a Business Context

  • Putting the art of conversation to work
  • Classroom research: analysis of recorded transcripts of Business English roleplays
  • The language of Small Talk: openers, closes, active listening, contractions, ellipsis
  • Cultural factors: low- and high context cultures (Trompenaars)
  • Features of conversation: turn-taking, story-telling, idiom, intonation
  • Schemata theory
  • Teaching techniques: narrative principle, reformulation, frameworks
  • Setting up situational roleplays: visuals for context, realia, motivation gap, hidden agendas
  • Video input
  • Common scenarios: travel, entertainment, conference-going, downtime

Module 17: Needs Analysis, Course Planning and Evaluation

  • Needs, wants, lacks
  • Competence and performance
  • Learning Goals: S.M.A.R.T.E.R.
  • Krashen's input hypothesis x 10
  • Working styles according to professional sector
  • Approaches to needs analysis: questionnaire, interview, metaplan®, lotus blossom®, menu etc.
  • Video case study of a needs analysis interview
  • Target situation analysis (TSA)
  • Learning preferences
  • Instructional design: stolen syllabus, prioritised checklist, cyclic, targeted build
  • Training cycles

Printable file of course outline

3. Training Methodology & Training Materials

General Character of the Course: Input and Reflection

The English UK / Trinity Cert IBET is a relatively short intensive extension course for practising English language teachers, at least some of whom will have little or no previous experience of teaching Business English. Within the constraints of this very comprehensive 50-hour programme, therefore, it is intended that many of the sessions will be somewhat input-driven and take the form of:

  • interactive lecture
  • open discussion
  • pyramid discussion
  • demonstration
  • materials try-out and feedback

However, as can be seen from the list above, even within an input-driven syllabus, there is ample ongoing opportunity for reflection and exchange of ideas between participants. The objective throughout the course is that participants should feel:

  • that they are being encouraged, but not pressured, into participating as fully as they wish at almost any stage of the programme
  • that they can learn from the wide range of experience and cultural background in the group
  • that the programme, though already mapped out in detail, is to a certain extent flexible to their interests and needs insofar as these can be negotiated within the group
  • substantial take-home file and CD of materials they can use in their own classes
    - participants get a thick file of handouts,
    - a 500MB CD with full colour master copies of classroom materials
    - a 5GB DVD of video clips for classroom use.

4. Assessment Procedure, Certificate

Attendance and Participation
English UK / Trinity College London do not stipulate that participants on the Cert IBET should be evaluated during the course itself. Indeed, on a course of such short duration (50hrs) it would be difficult to form a very accurate opinion of the participants' teaching abilities. For the same reason, there is no teaching practice (TP) component to the course.

However, in order to be eligible for the award of English UK / Trinity Cert IBET, participants must:

  • attend 100% of the sessions (barring exceptional circumstances - illness, accidents etc.)
  • participate satisfactorily (in the opinion of the trainer) in tasks and group activities set as an experiential part of the course - materials evaluation and adaptation, simulated communication activities (meetings, phone calls, negotiations, presentations etc.)

Participants who do not fulfil the above requirements may be permitted to complete the course but not take the certificate.

The Written Assignment

Trinity College London and English UK stipulate the following:

“Course asessment will be through the submission of one assignment of between 3,OOO” and 4,OOO words in length. Any words in excess of the limit of 4OOO will not be assessed. Assignments must be submitted within twelve week of the course completion date. Any assignments received after this date will not be marked an course participants will be required to re take a Cert IBET course unless a prior written request for an extension has been agreed between the course provider and English UK. Extensions will only be granted in cases where extenuating circumstances can be demonstrated.”

For more details and examples see: or

Submitting the course assignment is optional, but the English UK/ Trinity Cert IBET certificate can only be awarded in the case of a sucessful assessment of the assignment of the participant.

The certification fee is 14O Euros payable by transfer to Mark Powell Communications.

Time is allocated during the course and in addition to the 54 contact hours of training to small group tutorials between participants and Mark to discuss questions related to the assignment.

Results, certificates
There are three grades for assignments: distinction, pass or referral. Trinity will send the written evaluation of each assignment to the course provider or I.L.I. who will inform each candidate of his/her final result. English UK will send the printed certificates to course provider who will send them on to the candidates.

One resubmission is allowed in case the candidate has been referred. A further 12 weeks will be allowed for the resubmission. The candidate pays a 55 euro resubmission fee to Mark Powell Communications. The highest grade the referred candidate can receive from Trinity for a resubmitted assignment is a pass.