Teaching Advanced Learners Business English, workshop

Attached you’ll find a recent presentation given at the VHS Leinfelden in June.

Below this, in order to provide a slight interactive nature to this posting, you’ll find numerous links to posts I’ve written about in the past as well as a number of questions - do please feel free to answer these, ask further ones or to continue the discussion on in any way.

Presentation Slides:

Why do students with mastery level in the English language keep taking classes?

Students recognize:

  • English is not like math, it’s like music.
  • Use it or lose it.

1. Can you think of any other reasons?

What do they usually want to learn? What do they usually need to learn?

Students want to increase vocabulary, practice difficult grammatical structures, erase fossilized errors and maintain their own identities in another language.

They’re also looking for ways to develop cultural awareness.

Principally, advanced learners need to develop their range of vocabulary especially through situational phrases, look at more complex expressions and idioms and also work on issues like their tone and register.


2. In your experience, what other areas need to be worked on?

Where are the resources?

3. Can you recommend any other blogs for language learners?

What about good interactive websites?

Using authentic videos

4. Would you like to recommend a good authentic video for us to use with our advanced learners?

‘Free-style’ speaking activities

5. Can you share with us your own tips on teaching speaking?

Adding drama to the Business English classroom

6. Do you do a lot of dramatic activities with your adult advanced language learners? What?

Problems teaching advanced learners

7. Can you think of other problems when teaching advanced learners?

8. What grammatical structures do you teach your advanced learners, how?

Any questions?

Click on comments and let me know your thoughts and thanks so much for coming and sharing your valuable knowledge with us all:

Simone, Elisabeth, Susan, Wilifriede, Gayle, Carol, Angelika, Adriana, Edith and Heidi.

It was a pleasure working with you!



3 Responses to “Teaching Advanced Learners Business English, workshop”

  • Tobius says:
    July 04, 2009

    I really liked this post. (Not just because of the link.) Instead, I'm having a hard time answering the "Why do advanced students still take English courses?" question.

    I like the analogy to music--I've played, so I understand--and I'd love some more on that topic, as well as the topic that followed it (I can't see the post now, so I might be wrong) Do you Make a Learning Program and How? If you're looking for things to post about, that's something I'd love to learn more about.

    As for teaching complicated grammar, I think I've mastered the 'how' of teaching it. (The word 'mastered' sounds arrogant, why not say I've got a strategy.) I'm interested in how you practice it, because a lot of complicated grammar--say the present perfect progressive passive--isn't that hard to teach or understand, but I have a hard time thinking of topics to discuss more or less 'freely' while using it.

    Sorry to have run-on,

    July 05, 2009

    Hi ya Toby - you've asked almost as many questions as I did -LOL!

    -re the why on advanced students still taking English... I think it's pretty much because we can never really attain absolute mastery over another language - especially as English is such a dynamic and rapidly changing one.

    Student ego or pride, the role of this, is a really big issue not often addressed -see link to a posting of mine on the subject tho- anyway so many of our "mastery level" students feel threatened when doing deals with others (esp. if there's a native-Eng speaker in room as opposed to other non-native speakers)

    - continuing classes is often a bit of a crutch for them or a confirmation that they do really have the level that they to have.

    Regarding learning programs - it really depends on the client (often advanced students are in individual classes) or within a group of students.

    I tend to recommend brainstorming topics that students want to learn, scheduling these in and then doing a progress check every 10 weeks before starting another round of needs and wants.

    This generally gives the students the feeling of being in control of their own learning agenda - what do you generally do, would love to share some ideas on this too.

    Re complex grammar, honestly although I've been teaching for so many years I do get myself caught on the more complex structures like the passive you mentioned, mixed up conditionals, clefts... things like "formulaic subjunctives" -

    hmm... I really must get a grammar super-star in to write us up a guestpiece re teaching these in an interesting and contextual way!

    Thnx for stopping by, I really loved the run-on nature of your comment, just like having a conversation in a staffroom ;-)


  • Tobius says:
    July 07, 2009

    Hello, K!

    (It reads like you're a MIB character.)

    Thanks for the long and thought-out answer. Like I said, I'd still love more information on your learning programs. I have the problem that many students say that the material in "The Book" (I teach for a private language school) doesn't really affect their lives. . . but when directly asked what they want to learn, they shrug their shoulders and say 'everyday stuff.' At the moment, I'm working on a lesson on Poker. . . I'm thinking of other 'unusual' lessons I can do. . . but my students don't seem to like to help.

    My most advanced student doesn't really need me. And I've told him that. But, the company is paying and he has the feeling of being 'inferior' to his Swedish colleagues. (At the moment, he's on vacation on Malta to improve his English. Cracks me up.)

    So, yeah, I know what you're saying about the role of ego or pride. But, you and I both teach mainly Germans, and I think they have a bit of an inferiority complex, anyway. I forget where you are, but I'm in the former GDR and most of my students learned Russian as kids. . . and they're learning English as adults. So, they feel like they're disadvantaged in comparison to the rest of the world, and that contributes to it.

    At some point, we'll have to trade ideas on how to help students while building up their ego. (In my 'Student Feedback' my worst grades are on 'I am informed about my feedback.')

    And, yes, you should get a grammar expert to do a guest post--or thirty of them--about conversationally teaching advanced grammar.

    Thanks for running this blog!



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