teaching professional people english
I just have to teach a lesson using these clips. In fact, they are funny enough to make even a simple story-telling exercise acceptable. In the first clip, a young man manages to get fired after his first week. You’ll need some unusual vocabulary items such as ‘clipping his toenails’, but the target language is serious and business-like. Honestly.
I happen to think that this clip lends itself to all kinds of language work.
Firstly, there is of course narrative tense revison. On this occasion even business students will play along, and it is a good opportunity to revise things like the past continuous, which are ‘out there’ and confuse people because they feel they ought to be using them more often than they need to be.
For this I have two variants. Either I just have people take notes and relate the plot, or I ask them to write the supervisor’s report to management. The second is possibly more fun, in spite of the writing element.
Secondly, there is the post-mortem analysis. What ought he not to have done, what ought he perhaps to have done if he wanted to keep that job? I give students language items on the board such as these;
If he hadn’t …. he might have kept his job. If he hadn’t …. quite so much, maybe he could have kept his job. If he had …. instead of …. he might have kept his job. He should/shouldn’t have… .
This can be followed with general advice for working in an office environment.
You should never/always/probably/probably not……if you want to get on at work.
As a lead-in to the next clip, this discussion can be broadened to include business telephone calls and conference calls. What are the ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’?
If he had known that the other party were still on the line, he wouldn’t have said that! What should he have done? Should the other man have said something? Could the other man have cut the conversation off? Whatever the case, He shouldn’t have been rude & sarcastic.
What other language points could be reviewed using these videos as a starting point? Feel free to share.