IATEFL BESIG World Blog


Welcome to the BESIG World Blog. Each month we’ve got a different guest author lined up who will be sharing thoughts and experiences on teaching business English from countries around the globe.

  • USING STORIES IN THE BUSINESS ENGLISH CLASSROOM


    Storytelling is an age-old art and one of the few traits shared across all human cultures. Stories have become a powerful communication tool used by business leaders to motivate teams and engage different audiences. In addition, stories enable leaders to connect both at an intellectual and emotional level making the message memorable.

    Following up on the excellent workshop given by Susan Hillyard this year about the use of monologues and stories in the BE classroom, Mary Sousa has gently contributed with a recorded story. It is called “The River”, from Mario Rinvolucri's book "Once Upon a Time" and he in turn attributes it to Antonis Samarakis, Zitite Elpis.

     

    You can listen to the story by clicking The River.

    We asked Mary what she uses this story for in her BE classes:

     

    “For upper level students, it could prompt a discussion about a company's relationship with its competitors, be it reasonable, shark-like, or somewhere in between. The story illustrates the futility of jumping to conclusions and mistaking friends for enemies. Students could be asked how culturally grounded the story is (ask whether there are parallels or similar stories in the students' cultures).

    I would use this story for interactive storytelling, by which I mean I would tell the story in stages, stopping here and there to elicit from the students more elaborate descriptions of the people and places in the story. Activate vocabulary, motivate learners to use rarely used adjectives, involve the group in the story”.

     

    BIODATA: Mary Sousa (coordinator of IATEFL Hungary's Business English SIG) is a freelance teacher of business English. Her native language is American English, but she uses her Hungarian language skills both to enhance her teaching and to appreciate the approach of native Hungarian teachers of English. Her special interests include blending traditional and technology-based teaching and interactive storytelling. 

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