For centuries, learning English was either all about books, blackboards and teachers with canes – for those lucky enough to go to school, or it was a question of going out into the world and learning by doing. The two methods were almost mutually exclusive.
Nowadays there are thousands of institutions and institutes offering all things to all people under the following headings, which I will now explain for you:
A course we sold to all similar customers, only vaguely related to their jobs.
Business English course
Standard English lessons with lots of general business vocabulary thrown in.
Learning English with people who all have different interests.
Adults work through our set programme, just like at school.
Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Completely generic claims like ‘highly experienced teachers’, ‘made-to-fit courses’ or ‘great value for money’.
Someone who has taught general ‘business’ English before.
IS THERE ANOTHER WAY?
Absolutely. Why not offer English without all the false promises?
In my experience, most adults want to be able to speak English, so I focus on conversation. Small groups of 2-3 participants with the same interests or 1-1 conversation with me. The customer can take the conversation in whatever direction seems most interesting on the day. It’s relaxing, rewarding and enjoyable.
Language structures don’t change with the vocabulary, so I help people to use the language structures they need. In the age of the internet it takes about 10 seconds to research the meaning of a word if the question arises. The customer tells me what he/she would like to discuss – I go into the internet and prepare links, images and articles on those topics.
To make sure new vocabulary is not lost, I compile a DE-ENG list that grows week by week, and to keep it simple for the customer – I do the travelling, before and after the session.