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TEFL Training In Costa Rica | Updated: 12/25/2022

Teaching Business English

Written by International TEFL Academy Costa Rica

TEFL-certified teachers have numerous job opportunities abroad because people, young and old, are motivated to learn English!  We have already discussed the various types of students we have that are studying English, but let's focus on those who are learning English, or are required by their employer, to improve in order to advance their career goals.

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What do Business English students need?

Business English students are typically at an intermediate or above English level already, so you will spend more time reviewing and correcting grammar than teaching a lot of new grammar.  It's your job to assess your students' skill levels and take an inventory of their interests, learning preferences, wants and needs.  Don't forget to gather samples of their current work to accurately measure their progress!  You are then able to focus on the purpose they are taking the class and plan lessons and activities based on the students’ specific needs.  For instance, if your class is composed of engineers or accountants, you can focus on the English vocabulary they would use within that field. 

Skills to Teach Business English Students

In addition to practice with specific vocabulary sets, business terms, idioms and phrasal verbs that are common in business, your lessons should also target specific skills that students will need in the business world.  For example, when reading and writing, our students must be very familiar with reports, emails, news articles, memos, and the like.  When it comes to speaking and listening skills, students need to work on giving and listening to presentations.  Teach your students how to take notes and give them lots of practice. 

Cultural Aspects of Business English

Because of the international nature of business, our students need exposure to different accents and even cultural behaviors that are accepted within the business community.  Here in Costa Rica, many employees still give their coworkers a kiss on the cheek every morning when they get to the office.  However, it's important that they know that is not acceptable if they are visiting the company's office in the United States! As the teacher, you need to familiarize yourself with the cultures your students are working with in order to find the audios and videos to give them adequate practice with the accents and to research the customs of that particular culture. 

Culture Shock

Call Center English

If your Business English students are working in a call center or spend a lot of time on the phone for work, you must give them substantial preparation and practice with this skill.  Talking on the phone is challenging for language-learners as they can’t rely on body language to help them understand what the other person is saying.  An easy way to practice this skill with your students is to have them sit back-to-back while having a conversation or role-playing a situation.  While working with students who work in call centers, you must be aware that they are often required to work with native English speakers and are required to fill out personal forms.  They need to have a good understanding of titles like Mr., Mrs., Ms. and Dr.  They must be able to read and write addresses, even if it's not how it's done in their country.  The students must be able to read and understand how native speakers read phone numbers and email addresses.  They will also need lots of practice with spelling.

Motivated Students

Most, if not all, of these students are adults and know how to be productive and respectful students.  Although English levels within one group may vary, they understand the benefits of learning English and are motivated, so use their situation to your advantage in the classroom.   Use fun, practical activities and plan engaging lessons! 

During our 4-week TEFL course, you will learn more about teaching Business English students, gain access to incredible resources, and get some practical experience during your student teaching.  Not yet registered for one of our TEFL courses?  Sign up today!

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