Introduction to the Business Spotlight series
Karen Richardson introduces a series of lesson plans based on articles from Business Spotlight, a bi-monthly magazine for teachers and learners of English for business. This article provides an overview of the series, as well as hints and tips on how best to exploit it.
At the centre of each lesson plan is an original article which is simultaneously published in the current issue of Business Spotlight. There are two lesson plans per issue of the magazine. As the original articles are already graded by language level (easy, medium, difficult), it has not been necessary to adapt or simplify them further for the classroom. The lesson plans and the accompanying articles will alternate between the different levels.
This series of lesson plans based on articles from Business Spotlight can be used in a business English class with pre-service / in-service students, in one-to-one teaching situations or to focus on a particular topic, business skill or area of business-related language. Each lesson plan provides you with material for approximately 90 minutes’ teaching. The extension tasks will enable you to extend the lesson for up to a further 90 minutes.
There will be one lesson plan per month on onestopenglish; two per current issue of Business Spotlight magazine, covering a range of language areas. Each lesson plan consists of complete, downloadable, step-by-step teacher's notes and downloadable, photocopiable worksheets for students.
How can I use the lesson plans?
The Business Spotlight lesson plans are designed to be as flexible as possible, so they can be adapted for different kinds of classes and teaching styles. For simplicity of use, and to provide structure for both the teacher and the students, each lesson plan follows the following basic framework:
- The teacher's notes begin with an overview and introduction to the article and the topic it covers.
- The students' worksheets begin with a warmer task which acts as lead-in to the concept covered in the worksheet. The task will allow the teacher to judge how much pre-knowledge the students have of the topic and language area covered in the lesson plan and the article.
- A pre-reading task to encourage the students to find certain information from the article and to whet their appetite for reading the article in detail.
- The article from Business Spotlight plus any additional information boxes or tables.
- Language and comprehension tasks to deepen the students' understanding of the lexical fields, grammar and language structures found in the articles and to deliver a summary of the contents or message of the article.
- Writing tasks and/or business simulations which give the students a chance to personalize the language, drawing on what they have learnt to make sentences about themselves, people they know, their place of work, etc, and to simulate tasks they may well need to carry out in their life outside the classroom. The classroom situation provides a 'safe', and therefore valuable environment where students can prepare and practice tasks they may have to perform in English at their place of work or during their working day.
- Extension tasks and ideas can be found at the end of the teacher's notes. If you notice that the topic of the article is a necessary requirement for the students to be able to function in their working life, or simply if the topic is particularly interesting and has motivated the students, you may want to go into slightly more depth. The extension tasks and ideas are designed to help you to do so.
- Each lesson plan will contain a specialized vocabulary record sheet. Here students should be encouraged to record all the new and useful vocabulary they have learnt from the lesson plan, not only in the form presented in the article but also in related forms.
Support for teachers
In addition to the step-by-step teaching notes, overview and introduction, each set of teacher's notes will provide hints and tips on one or more different teaching and learning strategies, for example, ‘What is 'skim-reading' and how can you teach and encourage your students to perform this task in class?’
A key to each exercise can also be found in the teaching notes.