Teach English in Xianhe Zhen - Ankang Shi

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All language learning and language acquisition is made up of four specific skills which relate directly to everyday use. These include the productive skills, speaking and writing, as well as the receptive skills, listening and reading. In the teaching of English for business-related purposes, these skills can be analyzed in relation to the needs analysis carried out for the students in the class to determine which skills demand more attention and which task-based objectives will help the students progress exponentially further in their own career path. It is crucial to differentiate these skills because many people assume that individuals who can speak a language fluently can also read and write that language with equal fluency which, to be frank, is incorrect. The skills of writing and speaking are massively distinct, especially from a business perspective. Speaking tends to leave slightly more room for error given that it is often a “spur of the moment” situation whereas writing, especially formal writing for a company or client, demands perfection and attention to formalities. The format of an email, for example, can prove to be just as important, if not indeed more important, than the content and aim of the email itself. Just think about writing a CV or a cover letter for a new position that just opened up in your company. If your document has clear errors and/or a sloppy format then, chances are, it will not even be read by your potential employer. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that the teacher recognizes which skills and tasks the students must focus on in order to improve more efficiently regarding their overall grasp on the English language. Furthermore, it must be noted that different students, even if they derive from the same company, may exhibit drastically distinct needs and desires regarding their English learning. A company secretary may need to focus on being able to comprehend and form appropriate responses over a telephone call, as well as reading and writing basic emails on a formal level. The executive director of that same company, on the other hand, may need to focus his or her attention more on the language of giving presentations and handling company meetings in English. To provide another example, an analyst working for the company would likely need to focus on studying the composition (both form and content) of reports, publications, and technical documents pertaining to the company, as well as strong comprehension formation so that spoken English can be understood perfectly in the context of a meeting or another communicative function. This is why it is crucial to perform a needs analysis in addition to a sort of level test in order to adequately group the students into courses based on their level in the English language and their primary aims and purposes for attending business English courses. The construction of a syllabus is also greatly facilitated through this type of analysis and subsequent grouping. Depending on the level of the students, it may also be worth pointing out that lower-level students (beginner/lower-intermediate) may benefit moreso from general English instruction before delving into topics geared specifically toward business English learning. It is not uncommon to hear people who are learning a foreign language complain that they can read the language and even write it with relative ease, but speaking and listening proves to be extremely difficult for them. This is because we have plenty of time to process what we read or what we are going to write but, as mentioned earlier, speaking and listening is performed “in the moment” and there is little time to think about what words you’re going to use, how you need to conjugate your verbs, etc. For this reason, a high level of consistent exposure is necessary and, in reality, a significant portion of time should be dedicated to this outside of the classroom. If an individual truly wants to learn a foreign language, they must be willing to sacrifice some of their own free time or simply just modify their routine to incorporate the foreign language into their lives. This can be done by replacing your morning radio station with radio stations or music from the foreign country, watching foreign language movies, changing your cell phone/computer/videogame system’s interface to the foreign language you are studying, and the list goes on. This daily exposure is the true key to learning how to comprehend and produce a foreign language, both in written and spoken format.