Along with Rob Szabó, I have been testing and refining an activity for the business English classroom based on work that Rob completed as part of his Master's in Education. We plan to submit the final activity and our findings to TESOL France for publication in the Autumn 2014 edition of its quarterly magazine, Teaching Times. Last week, we asked you to complete a short survey to assess the viability of our idea.
We have now achieved our target of 50 responses, and I closed the survey form yesterday evening. From the results it is clear that a large subset of trainers would consider using our activity in the business English classroom. While the data set isn't exhaustive by any stretch of the imagination, it has given us much to think about over the coming weeks. A massive thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the survey. We appreciate it.
Here is a summary of the results.
- I...do this regularly. It can be much more learner-driven, relevant and rewarding to take this approach rather than just pulling a ready-to-go potentially irrelevant role-play from a book. This personalised and learner-led approach underpins our training philosophy and is a standard approach of all our trainers.
- I have found role plays quite useful in my business English lessons. However, I think that further research on the methodological and didactic components of such lessons is needed as students get tired of doing the same kind of activity in every class.
- (This) depends on the size of the group, target, needs, etc. If we are talking about (a) specific group, then yes to find out how they are progressing, where they are struggling, achievement, failure, learning etc.
- I prefer the word 'simulation'. The word 'roleplay' never seems as professional and implies the learners are playing a role, I.e. Not themselves... But that could just be pedantic semantics
- I usually design role plays and other type of improvisation activities
- Role plays can cause stress for adult learners because teachers are asking learners to become a fictitious person.
- I see role play as a safe environment for giving input and practising skills, functional language and feeding in the necessary chunks for effective communication.
- I use role-plays all the time.
- I have the luxury of creating individualized role plays because I work with very small groups and individuals.They not only need generic Business English (whatever that is) but also English to communicate about their work, which can range from plant pathology to industrial robots.
- The activity should be learner focused i.e the students prepare and record their role play and finally share with their class.
- I have my students design their own.
- My experience with recording has not been very positive. We often have technical difficulties and students are uncomfortable watching the recordings afterwards.
- (This) depends on student consent, though is very useful.
- Recording, transcribing and analysing would be particularly beneficial for those business English students requiring speaking skills such as negotiating.
- Data protection & privacy / works council (in Germany) might cause problems
- I...record and transcribe regularly.
- in the context of teaching in-house in corporations, where delegates are trained together with colleagues, bosses, employees.... In this context, the idea of recording or transcribing will never work well. It puts delegates on the spot and will cause too much anxiety.
- I suspect few teachers have the time...though pedagogically valuable
- Chock-full schedules, punishing travel, paperwork and pitiful pay make most most of these ideas impractical - or even exploitive. Also, there are a plethora of excellent coursebook and online roleplays out there.
- Not sure if the students I work with would go for transcribing the recording, but might give it a try
- I haven't ever got the students to transcribe, but I think the process and post-writing analysis would be good for them in terms of recognising connected speech, collocations, lexico-grammatical structures, missing articles, noises for hesitating and other utterances, etc. I think it would be worthwhile.
- I would only ask students to transcribe very short excerpts - it can be very time-consuming, and probably best done out of class (at least in my context).
If you'd like to examine the data yourself, you'll find it here.