Certificate in Teaching Business English (Cert TBE)
If you already have a TESOL or TEFL certificate and, ideally, some experience of teaching English, then you are in a good position to consider teaching Business English. If you also have had some experience working in business, in whatever capacity, this will be even better.
Why get a TBE Certificate?
One great advantage of getting into teaching Business English is that the rewards (i.e. the pay rates) are much higher. In many cases, they are two are three times the hourly rate that a regular English teacher will receive. Where people have set up their own consultancy to teach Business English, then the rewards can be higher still. There is a growing demand of BE training in the UK, and also especially in Europe and the far east.
Is it important to get a certificate in teaching Business English before venturing into teaching Business English? Absolutely, yes! In many ways, it is very different from teaching more regular ESOL / EFL classes. Preparing yourself is vital if you want to do a professional job. Your certificate will give your clients more confidence in you.
What are the main differences between teaching regular English and teaching Business English?
- In many cases the standard of English of your clients will be at a reasonable level already. They will not be (in most cases) beginners and they will be seeking to improve their existing skills. Many of your clients will be at intermediate level or above.
- Your classes are likely to be small. In some cases, they will be one-to-one classes and it is unlikely that you will have more than ten participants at a time. If you do have, say ten, then they may well all come from one firm.
- The classes may well be held at the company paying for the training. In other words, you will go to the participants rather than the other way around. If so, you will need to ensure that everything you need for your classes is on hand.
- You will need to be very clear about the work environment of your clients and the main times when they need to use English. For some clients, their need will be for writing reports, with others it may be taking part in meetings, while with others it may mainly be on the telephone. With some, it will be all of these.
- You will need to be 100% clear about what your clients want from their course. This will involve prior discussions with them and, perhaps, their employers. This will require a thorough needs analysis so they you can pinpoint precisely what your clients want from the programme. This needs analysis is likely to involve both a form to be completed as well as face-to-face discussions. Once you have decided what you think they need, prepare an outline plan and go through this with them very carefully to ensure it meshes with what they feel they need.
- For many of your clients, having good English skills will be vital for them in terms of their career path and promotion. In other words, they will be demanding customers and will not want to feel that any time is being wasted. They will want to feel that every minute of their course has been well planned and well delivered. This will put pressure on you as the course designer to provide them with a lively, efficient, dynamic and effective programme. They will not respond well to trainers who waste time or give them irrelevant tasks to do.
- While you can draw some of your material from existing course books and ancillary materials, your clients will expect you to prepare materials yourself designed specifically for their course. They will not respond well if you plough steadily through a general BE course book. They will want to see that you have their precise needs in mind and that you have tailored their course to meet those needs.
- You will probably find that your clients will want to cover all four language skills. However, listening and speaking are very likely to be of central importance on many courses. When you have a class of participants, pair work, group work, role play and case studies are ways in which you can enable them to practice those two skills. Provide your participants with realistic tasks and encourage discussion. Give them the opportunity to report back afterwards, but be cautious about asking any of them to stand at the front to ‘perform’. This could be awkward for those with less proficient skills.
- As with other courses, keep your eyes firmly on the outcomes. Should there be a need, be prepared to modify the scope or style of your course in agreement with the participants. Those of us teaching BE know that it is very important to be flexible as a course progresses so that programmes can be modified when it is necessary.
- Overall, demonstrate knowledge and a highly professional style to give the participants confidence in your ability to improve, and perhaps even transform, their English language skills. This can be personally a very rewarding experience for both you as a trainer, as well as for the participants.