Skills for Employability: What does this have to do with real life?

Dorothy Zemach

Who is it for?

The Macmillan Education Online Conference 2016 is open to all teachers and professionals working in ELT and is completely FREE to attend!


"What does this have to do with real life?" That's a common question from students - not just in English class, but in any class. It's a good question. Students want to be sure that their hard work is going to pay off in the future; they want to be assured that they are learning something relevant and useful.

Registration coming soon!

Wednesday 9th November 2016

14.00-14.45 (GMT)

As teachers, we know the value of what we are teaching; sometimes, though, we need to make that value more obvious to students. In this session, we’ll look at how the language skills learned and practiced in class can transfer to the world of work, and how students can develop the teamwork, leadership, and critical thinking skills in demand by today’s employers.

Participants will come away with specific techniques to help students see the connection between English class and the “real world.”

About the speaker: Dorothy Zemach

Dorothy Zemach holds an MA in TEFL and has been teaching English for 30 years in Asia, Africa, and the US. She holds an MA in TESL from the School for International Training in Vermont, USA. Now she concentrates on writing, editing, and publishing ELT materials and textbooks and conducting teacher training workshops. Her areas of specialty and interest are teaching writing, teaching reading, business English, academic English, testing, and humor. She is a frequent plenary speaker at international conferences and the founder of Wayzgoose Press (, a small independent publishing imprint for fiction, non-fiction, and educational materials.

A quick Q&A with Dorothy Zemach

What inspired and continues to inspire you to talk about Business  skills in ELT??  

I was a bad student in high school – in terms of behavior. And yet I loved school and learning. I loved books and subjects; but disliked many of my classes. Why? One reason was that I didn’t always see the value in what I was learning. Why were we doing X and not Y? After I became a teacher, I experienced that from the other side. The value of what I was teaching was so obvious to me – and yet it was not always obvious to students. As ELT teachers, we’re lucky, because we’re teaching a subject that’s useful and relevant to a great number of students. Now we just need to help them realize that.

What will people learn from you at the MEOC 2016?

We’ll look at ways to help students see how what they’re studying and learning in class is relevant to their life – both their life in school as a student and beyond in their careers and social lives. When students see the importance of what they’re working on, they’ll work harder and with more enthusiasm.

What is your top tip or piece of advice for teachers?

Tame your digital life! Reduce the amount of email and messages coming at you all the time – unsubscribe from lists, delete old documents and messages, leave online groups, and turn off the Internet when you don’t really need it. Then you’ll work more efficiently and feel more peaceful, which makes everything you do just a little bit easier.