Saturday, January 15, 2011

What Are Business English Learners?

•How helpful do you find the categories Evan suggests in building a profile of business English learners?

I think it’s helpful and mirrors the local teaching environment here in Korea. The transition to business English teacher here can often be made in Seoul in particular working part-time hours in various corporations. For example I have acquaintances who have asked my advice on teaching materials for such situations where they have been given a job to do but may not have had the experience previously.

•Which of the categories mentioned do you think Eric may have had upper-most in mind during his interview? Why?

I think his direction towards sitting in on meetings and so on leads to the in company business English position more than the others. That would be challenging in Korea unless one has superior Korean language skills it might be challenging to understand those meetings. Frequently “kyopos” or American/Canadian Koreans take these p/t in company positions for this reason. However approximately 1.5 years of full-time Korean language studies would probably go very far for anyone contemplating making a move for corporate positions here.

•Have you had any experience of the teaching contexts described?

Certainly I work in the institutional category beginning my sixth year as an international trade and management instructor. Daejin University is a second tier school here in Korea but with proximity to Seoul our Department of International Trade and Management interviews about twenty to thirty applicants for every seat in freshmen year entry with about fifty entering for a four year program each year. I have two courses split over two semesters which are required and one focuses on business communicative competency and the other on understanding and responding to international business correspondence. These are generally taken by second or third year students. Two optional courses include an introductory general business English and an upper level global negotiation course.

•Which do you think you are mostly likely to experience?

As my experience is institutional I try to take it as it comes. I actually got this job because I applied for a general English position in another department almost at the same time that the recruiter received a new job order from this school. It was very late in the hiring period and the skills and needs matched so perfectly with cv they didn’t even interview anyone else. They did call my references and apparently everyone said the same thing, “He’s a very hard worker.”

•Which do you think present the greatest challenge and/or rewards from a teaching point of view? Why?

My students are pre-experienced so the challenge is in exposing them to communicative needs that really don’t come online (if ever) for two or three years after they’ve taken my lessons. So I warn them not to burn their books. Job experienced former students often stay in touch with me and I do get a few who are working in import/export trade, international financing as well as going on to further specializations in graduate studies or private learning abroad.

I find it quite rewarding to measure their progress and keep informed of their successes following graduation. Private language schools in Korea are usually not well business oriented and tend to deliver general English for the most part not requiring much higher learning beyond a BA degree among instructors. I’ve already worked in the cram schools and found it to be a proving ground for better benefits positions at universities and their associated institutes.

In company positions can be in high demand but the often part-time nature would be unsatisfactory to me as I prefer a regular salary which seems to meet my Herzberg hygiene needs. I would say 1 to 1 business English teaching would possibly be the most challenging but also could be quite rewarding. While I have taught elementary, middle-school, high-school in one to one experiences this requires very high motivation among learners and really the level of results appears to depend upon the learner’s self-motivation. However it would be interesting to teach a company CEO 1 to 1 I think I'd learn quite a lot from that.

No comments: