All English students have similar needs, but if you are teaching a business English class, your students will have more.
Not only will they have the needs that come with language learning, they will also have the needs that come with business specific language. One of those needs is being able to talk about their jobs. When they meet new clients or do business deals in English, they’ll have to present themselves and their responsibilities well. The following activities are designed to help your business English students talk about their jobs, but these activities do that in interesting and creative ways. There are only so many times you can say, “Tell me about your job.” Once you have had that conversation, try one of these more creative job discussion activities.
6 Fun Business English Activities for Talking about Your Job
Job Fact Shuffle
Have everyone but one person in your class arrange their chairs in a circle. The person without a chair stands in the center of the circle. He then tells the class something true about his job. For example, he might say he works in an office building or he works with a computer. As soon as he finishes his statement, anyone who shares that job quality must get up and find another seat in the circle. (In this case, anyone who works in an office building would get up and race to sit in a different seat.) At the same time, the person who spoke rushes to sit in one of the empty seats. Once the seats are full, one person will be left standing in the middle of the circle. That person makes a true statement about her job and the players move again.
Don’t Believe Everything You Hear
A fun go to game for any ESL class is two truths and a lie. In this game, students first write down and then read to the class three facts about themselves. Two of those facts are true, and the third one is a lie. You can use this same activity to get your students talking about their companies and jobs. Just have each of the facts focus on the work environment. After each person reads his three facts, have the class guess which of the three is the lie.
In this game, students will race to see who can get five squares in a row signed by their classmates. Start by brainstorming with your class at least twenty-four facts about jobs. The facts do not have to relate to a particular person; they just have to be potentially true for someone with a job. These facts might include the following: works with a computer, sits in a cubicle, manages other employees, has to make customers happy, etc. Once you have at least twenty-four facts listed on the board, give each student a blank bingo board. Have each student fill in each blank space with one of the job facts, and make sure students fill them in in random order. Once the boards are complete, students race to find classmates for whom these job facts are true. They mingle and ask questions, and when they find a person who has a specific job quality they are looking for, that person signs the square on the board. Students move to another classmate in search of someone to sign a particular square. Students cannot sign two squares in a row on any one person’s board. The first person to get five squares in a row signed calls bingo and wins the game.
This is a great get to know you activity on the first day of class, or you can modify and use it later in the school year. If you are playing on the first day, have a student come to the front of the class to answer questions from his classmates. The rest of the students will ask yes/no questions trying to determine what the person’s job is. The class has twenty questions before they must guess at the person’s job. If they guess correctly, the class wins the round. If the class cannot guess correctly, the person wins the round. If your students already know each other and what they do for a living, have the person up front choose a random job or pull a job from a hat. The rest of the class should then ask her questions about her fictional job until they are able to guess it.
It’s the Questions That Matter
In this Jeopardy style game, students are given random answers that might pertain to a business situation (such at the following: 5 p.m., the fourth floor, every week, New York City, etc.). You can either come up with the answers yourself or have your students brainstorm the answers. Then write the answers on index cards and deal them out to your students. Each person must come up with a question that could elicit the answer that is on their card. You can have students work in pairs or have the whole class do the activity together. One person asks a question and the other person answers. If the answer matches the answer on the card, players discard it. The first person who gets rid of all his cards is the winner.
Take What You Need
You will need a roll of perforated toilet tissue for this get to know you game. Start by taking some toilet tissue yourself and then passing the roll to one of your students. Tell that person to take what they need and pass the roll along to the next student. Once everyone has taken what they need, tell students that they will have to make one statement about their job for every square of paper that they took. Start by telling your class about your job – one fact for each square you took – and then letting the students share about their own jobs. Students will get to know each other, and they will find the context amusing. If you think students might have a problem with this activity, you can also do the same activity using small candies or other objects.
It’s great to get your business English students talking about their jobs, and these activities are some fun ways to do it.