English Designed – Methodology 2/2 – Practice and Share

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English Designed Business English Methodology Slide
Image by Vlad Vasnetsov from Pixabay

The slide below comes along with every one of our PDFs and PowerPoints.
This methodology pertains to teaching business subject matter, and it assumes that they’ll not only be practicing and improving their English, but also learning something about business they didn’t know before.

And that’s important…if you wanna keep your group interested, DON’T JUST TEACH ENGLISH!
Instead, teach things IN English. 😉

English Designed Business English Methodology Slide

Last blog post we dedicated to Phase 1: Explain / Teach / Review because it’s got a bunch of sub-steps. This one we dive into Phase 2: Practice and Phase 3: Discuss / Share. Let’s round out that understand of how we do it! 🤓

Practice…It’s how you get to Carnegie Hall

If you’ve been through Phase 1: Explain / Teach / Review, congrats! You’ve taught something valuable. But did they actually understand it? Can they apply it? Only one way to find out…

There are a couple ways to structure the Practice Phase depending on group size and level of proficiency. First a quick note on what’s important when thinking about your group’s proficiency:

Beginners: Almost always, beginners are more hesitant and less willing to share their own ideas. It’s good to give them cover, and by that we mean having them practice and present in groups so they’re not putting their ideas out there on their own (when possible). If it’s a one-on-one session they rarely practice on their own. The trainer does it along with them, guiding them until they feel confident enough to take some risks.

Intermediate: With Intermediate learners it’s important to provide a comfortable, relaxed and safe environment for them to take some risks. We go deeper into the Psychology of it in this article. But the broad strokes are that this is the time to help them build the habit of embracing being wrong and learning from it. For structuring practice it means start off giving them cover in groups and then slowly separate them out. Example: At the beginning of the course, they both practice and share in groups. The group is sharing, not the individual, this is psychologically important. Then, practice in a group and share the group’s work in a group, but ask the individual questions. Lastly, they practice in groups or alone, depending on the activity, and share entirely as individuals.

Advanced: For advanced groups the amount of practicing within groups should be down to about 50%. It’s still important for them to have that interaction and practice speaking with others, but they should get individual practice as well. That means writing or preparing something that challenges them and then sharing it with the group, getting feedback from all participants as well as the trainer, re-working and sharing again. Encourage them to try to use more complex sentence structures they’re not used to to experiment and see what works.

Small Group (1-2)Medium Group (3-10)Large Group (10+)
Beginner1. Practice with trainer
Very little individual practice

2. Share with trainer
1. Practice in small groups of 2-3
Pair stronger participants with weaker ones

2. Share within groups with trainer listening in to correct
1. Practice in small groups of 2-3
Pair stronger participants with weaker ones

2. Share within groups with trainer listening in to correct
Intermediate1. Practice with trainer or other participant

2. Share with trainer and other participant
1. Practice in small groups of 2-3

2. Share with whole group
1. Practice in small groups of 2-3

2. Share with whole group when possible, if too large put two small groups together to share with each other
Advanced1. Practice mostly with trainer but sometimes alone
2. Share with trainer and other participant
1. Practice sometimes in small groups and sometimes alone

2. Share sometimes with other participants, sometimes with the group
1. Practice sometimes in small groups and sometimes alone
2. Share mostly with other participants

Note: large, advanced classes are rare.

You’re at Carnegie Hall, now Share, cuz why else are you there?

Phase 3: Share/ Discuss helps the trainer and the participant get a sense of two important things:
1. How well did they understand the subject matter?
2. Where, if at all, are they making mistake when using this new information?

When the course participants are sharing what they just practiced, the trainer should be looking out for errors that pop up more than once in the group but not interrupting unless truly necessary, otherwise you damage their fluency progress. Note down important errors and address them after everyone has shared so that you’re not ignoring accuracy improvements, just shifting them to after the discussion and/or to next class as review.
Check out this article on the ever ongoing tension between Accuracy vs Fluency

Depending on the proficiency level and the speed that you can move through Phase 3, you can either encourage other participants to give feedback and ask questions OR require them to do so. If you aren’t that lucky trainer who gets an entire group filled with people who love to talk with no quiet ones, you don’t need to require follow-up questions. But if you’re not that person, assigning question-askers can be a useful tool to keep things flowing. The thing you want to avoid is the horrible void of dead air after someone shares and you ask “so, anyone have any questions?”…silence 😶. That hurts the flow of the class and the more often it happens, the less likely anyone will ask a question because it becomes the culture of the group not to. Avoid this at all costs.

Leave Carnegie Hall like a Profi Conductor

Your job as trainer through phases 2 and 3 are to keep things moving along at a pace your participants feel comfortable with. Too slow and they get bored, too fast and you leave people behind, which is a sure-fire way to get back feedback at the end of the course; or worse: No Feedback!

Practicing and sharing ensures participants AND trainer get a good sense of where they’re at and where the group is, which keeps everyone moving along together. It also makes the classes more interactive and thus more fun and makes it feel like people have had an experience and not just a “class”.

Make that experience a good one and the crowd will love you!
(paraphrasing Gladiator ⚔️😅)

Happy teaching 🧑‍🏫

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