Teaching English at Companies
How to teach to company employees? There is no easy route and a lot depends on the chemistry of the group and their willingness to expose their weaknesses and their ability to absorb what is being taught. Then again one has learned that when a certain method such as repetition doesn't work; try another one such as incorporating activities, before insisting that the person should absorb the material. Insistence should be one of the last measures as the accent is on the communicability of the client not on his ability to remember all the past tenses. The student will easily pick up didactic frustration and can either become more unwilling as a result or develop some invisible handicap if the language coach is too forceful.
Company people will sit in front of you with empty faces and yet be thinking that you are talking too quickly or that you are impatient because you have skipped an explanation when you haven't but they weren't paying attention or the information went over their heads. It is important to create an outline first of all in what you want to cover and then carry through with it so that the client sees that you are covering a set program. He will then be concentrating better on the topic. This doesn't mean that you have to be following a given text.
A growing challenge though is that appearances are often misleading, the group looks as though they know what you are saying and yet everything said hasn't been understood. One way to find out is to stop an explanation and ask the student what he understands from it. Getting feedback now and then is cardinal to being able to monitor the level of absorption and to pick who is slower in aural comprehension.
The student should be allowed to contribute as much as possible to group discussions and he should not be stopped and corrected all the time as this could block his train of thought. It is enough for the teacher to pick out the salient difficulties the individual has and concentrate on improving his strengths around those weaknesses. So if the difficulty is in distinguishing the pronouns used to describe to what person a thing belongs to, as opposed to those that can stand in for a subject, have the person understand where pronoun adjectives are used as opposed to the subject pronoun. Allow the student to experiment with the grammar during role plays and have him listen to other students do similar exercises.
So I wouldn't stick with the application of drills at the work place especially if there is a mix of employees some wanting to know the precise form of do in speech and others who just want to learn oral comprehension and develop their ability to respond.
I like to know what the needs of the employees are when I sit down with them and where the want to be with English at the end of the course session or at the end of a given time period. Teachers should not fall into the trap of expecting employees to open up on their needs and abilities or on relating where they want to be in ten years. And an individual may have no need whatsoever because his department head has just imposed the language learning.
So if an individual has to do troubleshooting and find out why his product hasn't been packaged according to standards or why it was returned to the manufacturer from retail he has to learn the language of troubleshooting rather than the language of meeting Jane. Granted that the marketing manager may need to know the language of introducing himself but usually when he talks about more pressing issues, social talk is usually secondary to expressing more pertinent issues.