Encouraging Communication in the Business English Classroom

Macmillan Education Online Conference 2014

Who is it for?

The Macmillan Education Online Conference 2014 is open to all teachers and professionals working in ELT and is completely FREE to attend!


Part of the Business session at the Macmillan Education Online Conference 2014, this webinar aims to give on-the-go teachers ideas and tips to get their students talking and communicating about their business situation.

Download the presentation

Watch the webinar recording

Webinar details

Encouraging Communication in the Business  English Classroom with John Allison

Tuesday 11th November 2014: 11.00-11.45 (GMT)

The session will focus on providing business English teachers and students practical tips and sample activities for increasing the quantity and quality of language  production. Areas covered in the webinar will include:

  • Classroom language: building good habits
  • Warmers and coolers: building confidence
  • The Christmas-tree method: personalizing the coursebook
  • In-service vs. pre-service: experience vs. opinion
  • Discussion vs. simulation/roleplay: talking about business vs. talking business
  • Back to basics: exploiting the information gap
  • Problem-solving and decision-making
  • Mini-presentations and mini-meetings
  • Questionnaires, quizzes and games

About the speaker: John Allison

John Allison has designed, sold and delivered professional English courses in France since 1980. After many years of squeezing in teaching between sales and management responsibilities, he is now happy to spend more time in the classroom as a teacher and teacher trainer. He takes a particular interest in management and people skills.

John is the author of In Company Case Studies with Mark Powell, and The Business with Paul Emmerson.

Here, John tells us more about his work and what you will learn from him at MEOC2014.  

What will people learn from your webinar?

Hopefully some useful ideas on how to get students talking and taking ownership of the language and skills they need.

What inspired and continues to inspire you to work in ELT?

Communication. ELT recognized the importance of real communication in the classroom long before secondary education did (I trained to be a French and German teacher.) Discovering that business is essentially about people and relationships was an added bonus; passing the idea on to younger teachers continues to fascinate me some 30 years on.

Tell us about your latest projects with Macmillan Education?

Some of the most rewarding projects I've been involved in recently were writing video scripts to illustrate communication and people skills for The Business 2.0 and In Company 3.0. I've always enjoyed writing dialogue, but being able to include movement, body language, gesture and facial expressions is really exciting. The directors and actors have done a fantastic job: seeing how people interact in work situations stimulates loads of comment and discussion from students.

If you could have written one book what would it be?

I don't suppose I can have Harry Potter? I thought not. I'm still going to cheat and give two titles, one for Business and one for ELT. “The One Minute Manager” (Kenneth Blanchard & Spencer Johnson) was the first book to explain how to be a good manager in an accessible and entertaining story format. It's the perfect example of how to make learning serious lessons about dealing with other people easy and fun.

Similarly, the ELT book I'd like to have written is “Pair Work” (Peter Watcyn-Jones); generations of young teachers have learned simple but invaluable ways to get students talking to each other from this classic title.

John's top teaching tip

As Duke Ellington put it, “It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!” – that's to say, something's wrong if learning isn't fun!