teaching professional people english
‘Inc’ magazine is a really great souce of information about business. There are many short web-type articles as well as much longer features of the kind we’re more used to seeing in print. The magazine also features some video interviews which are brief (under five minutes) but not always of people who articulate sufficiently to be of any use to our students – transcripts not withstanding.
The piece I’m looking at today is, however rather good for intermediate -level business learners. The man interviewed speaks clearly and naturally, and possibly more important for the teacher who will be watching him more than once, he seems like a normal bloke. His story is one of success, and his advice is such as can be discussed in class by people like me who haven’t had a glittering career in management.. I can’t promise a 2-hour lesson off this item, but I think it’s good for a half-hour slot.
Sadly, this isn’t a U-tube vid, so no embedding. You can access the video here.
There is a complete transcript underneath the video window, but if you show the clip full-screen your students won’t get to it until you want them to. I suggest a series of comprehension questions which you can get here; Video interview with Howard Tullman worksheet. For follow-up there is a link at the bottom of the page to a profile feature on Tullman, but it strikes me as overlong for classroom use. It might be good for upper-intermediate students or advanced learners to go over in their own time, though.
Hopefully your students will have experienced change in their workplaces at some point. If they claim this is not the case, you might try asking about the arrival of TQM, or just the last time their head of department or line manager was changed. Many of us can still remember the world without the internet, or the arrival of a new curency which looked like chocolate money…. (For readers outside Europe, that was a reference to the Euro)
Most classses will have at least one ‘worst boss ever’ story, but I would try to orient the talk more towards the positive experiences people have had. This is trickier from the point of view of conversation, but will afford far more opportunities to review and apply vocabulary related to the actual work people do… with any luck the board will be full of words you’ve had to write by the time you annouce time’s up and you have to prepare for your next class….