First experience of teaching English for Business; a reflective writing

This semester I have been teaching English for Business 2 at State Polytechnic of Malang. The curriculum requires me to prepare students for job market. By that I mean writing resume, cover letter, other business correspondence and preparing them for job interview. However, among the four classes I handle, 2 of them have had all those material covered in semester prior.

So, I take the liberty to modify the lesson plan for said classes. It is still English for Business, but more specifically English for Entrepreneurship. Of the two classes, I ‘experiment’ with two different approaches, inductive and deductive.

In class 1 where I apply deductive teaching, the lesson plan is more heavy on language content and four macro skills emphasis with business related content on the side. Whereas in class 2 where i apply deductive model, the focus is more on the business content while the language skill mastery goes along tangentially.

The real case scenario is as follow:

Both classes are required to come up with business ideas. Only that class 1 is shown the theory of what constitutes as good idea, where to find it, and how to validate it. They are presented with case study and are required to analyze it. The next step is for them try to bring the theory into practice and come up with ideas of their own.

The second class, however, is liberated. They are allowed to freely come up with ideas, however simple, peculiar, or common. Starting from their own ideas, they begin to brainstorm about it, validating it, and see its feasibility.

The result shows a very stark difference. Class 1 tend to play on the safe side, the ideas are common, less innovative, and they show inhibition in performing task or language practice. In class 2 where students are given more authority, on the other hand, they show more classroom participation and engagement ( more freely and frequently ask and give peer feedback), the ideas are relatively more innovative and contextual. The class is so active that sometimes it does not feel like an English class but a business one.

I am fully aware that this is not quite a rigorous experiment but from this classroom endeavor I can confirm that investigative learning method is more engaging and fruitful in attaining instructional goal. At least in my context.

This is the menu in my lesson plan for English for Business:

  1. finding and validating ideas
  2. business model canvas: students are learning about ideas execution, start from defining value proposition, market segmentation, evaluating and attending to customer relationship model, to estimating cost structure and revenue stream.
  3. business proposal writing: with the idea and clear planning, students are learning how to ‘sell’ the ideas to either their target customers or prospective investors through proposal.
  4. effective business presentation skill: students are learning how to make a good pitching of their ideas.

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