Choosing the right English course for your company can be confusing. With so many choices, it can be an overwhelming task to pick the most beneficial service for your team, especially if it’s your first time implementing a language solution in your company. Furthermore, it’s often the case that employees have varying levels and abilities within the language themself, as well as having contrasting personal and professional goals, which may also affect their motivation and attitude when it comes to learning English.
In this article, you’ll learn about the three main language courses that you should be concerned with, as well as mention the sub-courses that can be found within each category. If you’re a business owner looking to upskill your workers and equip your team with adequate linguistic ability, continue reading to find out how you can best achieve this goal.
Beginning with the most basic course, General English refers to the English we use in our day-to-day interactions. It refers to the ability to carry out general interactions, and communicate with ease in your daily business. The reason why this can be a great option for companies, rather than Business English, or Industry-Specific English, is that it allows students to get a decent grasp of the language before zoning in on particular language points. Sometimes, when employees begin their learning journey with something that is too industry-focused, or too corporate, they lose confidence and motivation, as they find the content inaccessible and foreign.
As such, it’s crucial to build up the confidence of your employees by giving them the fundamentals of the language. Once they feel confident in carrying out daily interactions and general communication, then a specialized course can be considered. This is a great option for companies who have workers of a low language level, or workers who have varying levels or nationalities. Allowing everyone the chance to become linguistically aligned will build a strong and unshakeable platform for further communication and learning.
Of course, within General English, there exists various categories, including the levels, ranging from Beginner to Advanced. There are also various methods of delivery and content, with some General English courses focusing more heavily on conversation, for example. As a broad idea, however, students of a General English level will be given the vocabulary and grammar which is suitable to their level, and they will learn how to express themselves in a more effective way, gaining new structures and phrases as they continue.
As always, social and cultural elements will be included in the class and students will learn “need-to-know” information about English-speaking countries and cultures. As a general rule of thumb, General English is typically more relaxed than other, more specific, courses, as its focus is on providing the speaker with the tools and materials needed to live and enjoy life through English.
As the title suggests, Business English is used in the workplace and in all professional environments. As is common knowledge, English is the lingua franca of the business world, and having a good command of English is essential to succeed in most business areas. Business English is best suited to those who already have a good grasp of General English, and who do not struggle hugely with day-to-day communication. As such, Business English focuses heavily on vocabulary and idiomatic structures, allowing you to broaden your linguistic horizon, so to speak.
Business English is crucial even for those who use English daily but find that they struggle in a corporate environment. The professional use of English can cause a lot of stress and anxiety when it has a direct correlation to your career and success, and many students need to work on these particular skills in order to feel comfortable at work. Language skills should never be a source of anguish or worry, and they definitely shouldn’t prevent you from being successful at work. Having a larger vocabulary creates a sense of professionalism and general intelligence, and allows you to carry out and participate in conversations that will open up business opportunities, and potentially advance your personal career. As well as that, having a good grip on the English language allows you to build stronger international and intercultural relationships with fellow colleagues, something which every successful business should strive for.
A Business English course can teach you a wealth of crucial skills, such as email writing, interview practice, negotiation skills, telephone skills, meeting jargon, and the correct vocabulary used when discussing business matters. Specific business phrasal verbs and collocations will be learned and put into practice. Authentic materials from business environments will be used to train students to understand and recognize Business English structures and phrases. Not only this but the business etiquette of native English speakers will be discussed in order to prepare students for future business interactions and meetings.
Similarly, students will learn how to adjust their register in order to suit a formal business setting, like a meeting, or an informal/ social business setting, like a networking event. Upon completion of a Business English course, a student should feel more competent and confident in business interactions, they should feel more equipped to take on new business ventures and opportunities, and lastly, they should be able to expand their professional network through English. Give your employees the best possible opportunity to hone their skills and express themselves, and you will see a huge benefit to both company morale and success.
Industry-specific, also known as ESP (English for Specific Purposes) is, once again, quits self-explanatory. Industry-specific English courses are an extension of Business English, where the learning material is focused on a specific area. When learners feel competent in interacting in English on a daily basis within their profession, but feel that they are lacking the specific vocabulary needed to explain or expand on certain concepts, this is where ESP is useful. It’s a common issue for non-native employees to feel misunderstood within their company due to language issues. On top of that, it’s probable that they are missing out on some key points and concepts due to a lack of understanding of certain industry-specific lingo.
Each and every industry contains its own specific jargon, and it’s crucial that non-native speakers are given the opportunity to fully integrate themselves into their field of work, by breaking down these language barriers. It’s with mentioning that work jargon is not only variable by nation, but even by region! It’s possible for a word to have several different meanings, depending on the industry and context. So, having a broad grasp on the plethora of terms and structures that exists within your industry is essential for success and understanding. Moreover, having a tight-knit, shared vocabulary amongst a workforce can allow a team to get closer, providing space for more effective communication, internal discussion, and even inside jokes and slang!
Industry-specific language courses will focus on helping you to sound knowledgeable and informed when it comes to discussing your industry. Just like Business English, it will also revise the fundamentals of having successful business interactions and facilitating effective communication within the workplace, From a practical standpoint, a course like this will help you to save time and unnecessary effort at work, allowing you to streamline and fine-tune your communication, avoiding lengthy and complicated explanations of something which has a simple business term.
Industry-specific English can also help to avoid misunderstandings and disagreements at work, ensuring that workers are on the same page. For instance, those in the construction industry can learn the specific language associated with injury and safety, materials and tools, and specific construction terms to describe work actions. Within the pharmaceutical industry, students would learn pharmaceutical descriptions, the effects & ingredients of various drugs, health & wellness, nutrition, etc… In short, an industry-specific business course equips an employee with all the tools necessary to be fully knowledgeable about their field.
So there you have it! The three most important courses when it comes to providing your company with a language solution. Although this should have given you a clearer understanding of the available choices, it’s natural to still be unsure of the best fit for your current team. Don’t worry! An experienced member from our team of native teachers will be able to discuss this with you and come up with the best option for your workforce. The most important thing is that you are taking the first step to give your company the best possible opportunity to advance and improve itself, by integrating English as an integrated corporate strategy.