Friday, 19 November 2010

BESIG 2010 is here!

I'm in Bielefeld for the annual BESIG conference, probably my favourite event of the year. For those of you who can't make it, certain sessions are being broadcast here.

I'm doing two talks this year. The first is with Mark Ibbotson, and I wrote a little about it here. The second is about collaboration in ESP course design and delivery, a topic that's becoming more and more important as technology plays an increasing role in our teaching. I'll be posting the slides from both talks early next week.

There was some great news at the opening party last night. English360 was declared the winner of the annual David Riley Award for Innovation in Business English and ESP. David was a legendary and visionary publisher in our field, and the award was set up to honour his memory. I never had the chance to work with him, but many colleagues did, all of whom speak of him in the warmest possible way.

I'm very proud to be Publishing Manager for English360, although all of the credit for last night's award goes to the team who have been slaving away for the last few years to make something that I think is truly unique in language teaching.

If you want to know more about English360, here's a short video which I think it sums it up perfectly:

English360 - Cambridge University Press from Atelier Transfert on Vimeo.

Enjoy BESIG!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

My first book review / TESOL France

The lovely people over at TESOL France were kind enough to review Cambridge English for Marketing in the latest edition of Teaching Times. If you're a teacher based in France, don't forget that the TESOL France 29th Annual Colloquium takes place later this month. Full details here.

Here's the review, by Ros Wright:

Cambridge English for Marketing

You’re in good hands

If you’re already au-fait with the Cambridge English for ... concept, you’ll know that these titles are authored by experts from the field. CE for Marketing goes one better - Nick Robinson has a marketing background, coupled with ELT and editing experience. But if you’re still not convinced, then maybe the endorse- ment by The Chartered Institute of Marketing will clinch it for you.

Contents page

The contents page is proof positive that the 10 units, comprising 40-60 hours of teaching time, a glossary of key terms with additional photocopiables and online Teachers Notes are the stuff of real per- formance-based learning. From the initial SWOT and PESTEL analysis, the focus groups and promotional mix, through to the pitch and the final product launch, not forgetting a nod to Web 2.0: it is everything you would expect from a marketing coursebook.

Unit 4 - Language focus

Unit 4 finds Stephanos and Melissa discussing the target market segment and the USP for the potential launch on the US market of a brand of Greek olive oil. Communication breakdown is inevitable in any professional situation with varying degrees of possible fallout. While there is actually very little at stake with the example presented in Unit 4, it does serve as a platform for the language focus in question. The unit takes us through phrases that explain the reason behind the misunderstanding, demonstrate how to acknowledge it and move on; offering the speaker a way out that ensures their interlocutor is not left feeling uncomfortable. It’s a very positive approach that seeks to provide our learners with the communication strategies necessary to repair the breakdown while maintaining professional, and indeed, personal ‘face’ – in English, of course.

My memory of learners from this particular field is that they are lively, creative and always willing to participate in class - so, why not reward them with a coursebook that truly meets their needs. I’ll leave you to discover for yourselves why I think CE for Marketing possesses the USP that will have your students coming back for more!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

What general principles do you apply to the teaching of ESP, whatever the field?

The 2010 BESIG conference is fast approaching, and I've been busy preparing the talk that I'll be giving alongside my good friend and long-time colleague Mark Ibbotson. Mark's a fantastic Business English and ESP author, responsible for the Business Start-up series (CUP) as well as Cambridge English for Engineering and Professional English in Use Engineering (both also CUP).

As Mark and I have both written books in the Cambridge English for … series – him on Engineering and me on Marketing – we thought it would be interesting to look at what, if any, commonalities existed between the teaching of English for Engineering and English for Marketing. That lead to the following talk title: Different fields, common ground: From marketing to engineering, some thoughts on the ground rules for successful ESP teaching across all fields.

While researching the talk, I've been giving a lot of though to what, if anything, works as an overarching methodology for the teaching of ESP. I want to avoid being too prescriptive, so I've come up with a list of things that are important to me, as a teacher of ESP and a writer and editor of ESP materials. This list is very much a work in progress (and it's highly subjective), but at the moment it looks like this:

1. Engage your students not only as language learners but also as professionals.
2. Choose your focus correctly – i.e. vocabulary (what type?), skills / functional language, grammar (general grammar or task-specific grammar), etc.
3. Think about who your students need to communicate with (their "web of relationships") and the channels in which that communication takes place (written, spoken, etc.). Use that as a basis for the texts and contexts you're going to focus on in your course.
4. Teach language not theory.

So that's what I'm working from at the moment, and I'll be fleshing those points out between now and the conference. But what would you add to that list? What principles do you think could be applied to the teaching of ESP, regardless of the field?

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Marketing vocabulary of the week: 'strategy' vs. 'tactics'

Strategy is the direction an organisation will take to achieve its objectives. Tactics are the specific activities that an organisation does in order to implement its strategy. The marketing strategy should always be decided before the tactics, or the tactics will not have focus or a clear objective. Strategy is longer-term than tactics. Tactics change more often than strategy.

Example usage (extract from a meeting to discuss the development of an organisation's marketing plan):

"OK, well first let me thank you again for all of the hard work you’ve done on the marketing plan so far. I think we’ve done an excellent job of assessing where we are now and where we want to be in 12 months’ time. What I want to talk about today is how we get there. How are we going to implement our strategy? What tactics are we going to employ? That kind of thing."

(Taken from Cambridge English for Marketing, Unit 3 [The marketing plan 2: audit and objectives])

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Upcoming events

No weekly vocab post this week, I'm afraid, as I'm going to be on the road for the week.

If you're a Business English or ESP teacher in the Amsterdam or Paris areas, there are two upcoming events you might be interested in.

On Friday 24th September, Cambridge University Press - in co-operation with the British Council, Cambridge ESOL and Intertaal - is organising a Business English / ESP day in Amsterdam. Full details can be found here.

And then on Saturday 25th September, Cambridge University Press France is hosting a 'Cambridge Day', with talks from Bill Mascull, Michael McCarthy, David Rea, Mark Ibbotson, Gary Anderson and myself. Full details here.

At both events, I'll be talking about collaboration in ESP and Business English course design and delivery.

Hopefully see some of you there.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Marketing vocabulary of the week: 'SWOT analysis'

A SWOT analysis is a tool for evaluating the internal factors (strengths and weaknesses) and the external factors (opportunities and threats) that an organisation faces.

Example usage (extract from an email from a Marketing Manager to his team, setting tasks for the writing of a company marketing plan):

"Scott and Jessica, can you take responsibility for the SWOT analysis? You’ll also need to do SWOTs for our main competitors."

(Taken from Cambridge English for Marketing, Unit 2 [The marketing plan 1: audit and objectives])

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Marketing vocabulary of the week: 'stakeholders'

A stakeholder is an individual or group with an interest in an organisation’s activities, and who is affected by the behaviour of an organisation. We often refer to primary stakeholders (stakeholders who are vital to the organisation, without whom the organisation couldn’t survive) and secondary stakeholders (stakeholders that an organisation can survive without at the moment, to a certain extent). We also make a distinction between internal stakeholders (for example, employees or management) and external stakeholders (for example, customers or suppliers).

Example usage (extract from a job advert for a Marketing Executive):

"In this role, you will be responsible for building relationships and liaising with a range of stakeholders, both internal and external."

(Taken from Cambridge English for Marketing, Unit 1 [The role of marketing])