We’re now in the 21st century, living in an age of increasing globalization in which communication across borders is paramount to success. It is estimated that about a third of the world’s population speaks English as a mother tongue and that it is the most widely used and most popular second language. Without doubt, English today is the universal language of business, trade and international law. Perhaps we have got to the point where it is not enough just to have a general knowledge of English: is more business English needed to make English more immediately relevant in the modern world? Why study business English? Here are a couple of reasons that might be relevant to different people at different stages of their personal and professional development and some insights for you, as teacher or educational institution, as to how Market Leader can help your students achieve their diverse goals.
1. Business English as part of pre-work studies
We all hope that all our younger students are going to get a job at the end of their studies and acknowledge that in a globalized world they will need English. In general, the level of English is going up with English offered from the age of three in many education systems, there’s definitely more room on the study path to offer more specialised English courses in order to better prepare our students for the future. Whether they are in upper secondary, college or at university, there’s no reason why they can’t mix their general English studies with a general business English option. You can teach business English at lower levels. Students can become familiar with the language of business, common business collocations and practise business skills with a basic level of English. Following Market Leader Elementary they can, for example, learn the basic language for buying and selling, how to describe a product, and practise problem solving and telephone skills. Help students develop their English for possible real situations in the future.
2. Business English to get edge in a competitive job market
Students who have not only a good knowledge of English but also know some business English will be more attractive candidates in the selection process. It is becoming the norm these days that first-time job seekers should have at least an intermediate level of English. Candidates who can also deal with complex interview questions and scenarios and can talk generally about the business skills they would need to employ in any future job, will have an advantage over other candidates. Starting in Market Leader Elementary, students learn how to introduce themselves, talk about their experience and studies and learn how to handle job interviews.
3. Business English for on-the-job development
There are millions of professionals using English a second language right now to communicate their clients, colleagues and partners. International companies are aware that globalization has grown quicker than actual individual language skills and that success equals effective communication. Many employees speak with fossilised mistakes and inaccurate exponents when they participate in meetings or correspond in English. Taking a business English course while they are working will give them time out to focus on aspects of their daily work performance. In Market Leader Pre-intermediate, for example, students study topic areas such as planning, marketing, managing people and practise skills such as participating in discussions and holding successful meetings. Throughout the Market Leader series, which has been developed with the Financial Times, students work with real case studies and the very latest business ideas, all of which they can apply directly to their day to day work practices.
4. Business English for promotion to senior positions
Even for mother tongue speakers, participating in high level strategy meetings and articulating complex business issues can be demanding. A second language speaker needs controlled business-themed English preparation to be able to perform at this level. Market Leader Upper Intermediate and Advanced can inform and fine-tune language and skills for senior or aspiring senior managers. Topics studied include team building, crisis management and management styles. Students will also work on skills such as reporting and resolving conflict, making complex presentations, negotiating and teleconferencing.
5. Business English for mobility
For anyone moving to an English speaking country for work purposes a level of business English is a essential. To apply for any job, however big or small, they will need at the very least to be able to write letters and CVs in English. Market Leader 3rd Edition covers all needs ranging from survival to specialised business skills, from elementary to advanced levels of English.
6. Business English to be part of the global community
Business today is international and across cultures. Topics like entertaining, cultural awareness and the international nature of communication are rarely addressed in General English course books. The Market Leader series has a ‘working across cultures’ strand which examines different issues, for examples, managing an international team, ethical international business, and working in new markets. To improve communication we need to sensitize our students to different cultures and different cultural norms as well as provide them with strategies to deal with them. There are a number of units in the Market Leader that deal specifically with aspects cultural awareness as well as socialising in mixed cultural groups. Many business people will tell you that they find the entertaining aspect of their work more challenging than the actual meetings, negotiations and presentations. Market Leader will also prepare your students for entertaining, small talk and socialising, those smaller more personal acts of communication that could go a long way to clinching an important business deal.
Cross borders with business English.
*This article was written by Tim James Roberts
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