The first thing I learned about teaching Business English in South Korea is how much grammar my students knew. The English language proficiency in Korea is very high because the government invests a lot of money in the EPIK public school program to teach English to their citizens from an early age. My Business English students were mostly in their late 30’s and many had spent a lot of time in the USA and Canada, where they took their IELTS test. My students’ grammar was very good, but they weren’t very confident with their speaking skills. The TESOL certification course I completed with OnTESOL prepared me to succeed in the Business English classroom because it taught me to prepare a syllabus that was specific for my students.
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Preparing The Business English Syllabus
My company provided me with a standard syllabus and set of lesson plans; however, Business English students have very specific needs and they may quit the class right away if they don’t think they are getting what they want. The OnTESOL program prepared me to create a syllabus that is specific to the Business English classes I taught in Korea. I always do the needs analysis in the first class and then create activities that are specific to my students. The company loved my approach because I had a higher retention than most teachers, so they gave me a raise to keep me for another year.
Customizing Business English Lessons in Korea
I found that most Korean students had trouble when they were faced with tough questions after their business presentation. They were confident making the PowerPoint pitch to clients because they generally had a lot of time to prepare, but when the client asked difficult questions my students got nervous and didn’t perform as the company expected. So I worked a lot on practicing the Q&A that takes place after their business presentation by focusing on the most common questions and concerns that clients have. I also helped them with their telephone skills because they often need to follow up by phone with their clients and this used to be a great challenge for some of my students.
Grammar was still an important part of the lesson because I had to polish some of the grammar they use in spontaneous conversations, so I always revised grammar topics in every lesson to help my business English students in Korea communicate more effectively. I am very happy that the OnTESOL certificate course gave me all the tools I needed to be a good teacher in South Korea.