You’re going to teach a foreign language to a group of business people. You know they’re demanding and ‘fussy’ because they were shaped to go for quality and innovation. What materials would you consider engaging?
A sophisticated article on the economy?
But they’ve already skimmed one during their lunch, sighed a few times thinking where it’s all going – besides, it’s already afternoon, and the only thing they want is to go home to have some time to relax in their armchairs. And that journalistic jargon, who uses it anyway? So…nope.
Maybe a business video, then?
There’re loads of them, all customized for classroom purposes and featuring a weekly team meeting – that’s their life, right? Yes, but again, it all reminds them of work! What if they’ve had one today and it was so hard they just want to forget about it? You don’t want your students’ minds floating away during your class, do you?
What you need is to keep them focused, relaxed and engaged. Surprise them with your unconventional idea (surprise equals innovation!) and give them this relaxed feeling so that they stop looking at the time dreaming of their comfy armchairs. It’s easier than you think – there’s one effective way to get them there – turn to their inner child!
Believe me, I’ve been a corporate language teacher for over eight years now, and nothing has ever made my adult students more diligent than squeezing an animated children’s story in between all that business stuff. Although I use different sources, the stories I find most successful are those like BookBox’s AniBooks. Here is why:
1. First of all, they have subtitles either in a target language or in English, the feature I miss in the case of other children’s cartoons. This way you may use the BookBox.com stories even with beginners.
2. The speaker pronounces words carefully, and – wait for it – the words pronounced are highlighted, so your students can hear and see them at the same time! And I don’t need to tell you how much it facilitates memorization of new vocabulary, right?
3. The stories are beautiful and bring you truly back to your carefree childhood – mind that our brains are constructed in such a way that we automatically react to what we hear and see in the same manner as we did for the first few times. This experience means even your business-like party is going to stare at the cartoon curious about the end as they used to do it as kids.
4. They are short (around 4-6 min), so they don’t take much time off your fixed program. It doesn’t mean they can’t comply with your business lesson plan – remember that business language is not all about specific vocabulary and most of the language used at work is 80-90% casual. That’s a good point to mention to your adult students – surprise them with innovation, but do not forget to explain why it makes sense!
There’re hundreds of ways in which you can make use of BookBox stories, and I will continue to share them all with you in my posts. See you soon!
Marta Styczen has turned her passion for languages and traveling into a daily routine as a is a foreign language teacher, educational content writer, translator, and backpacker. Her mission is to encourage people to enrich their lives through learning new languages and traveling, always inventing new techniques for faster learning and sharing them through her website www.5languageclub.com (still under construction), www.veganbeautytravels.com and Facebook.