Business English Activities Using Internet Realia

It’s already the second month of 2021, and nothing really has happened this year that has inspired me creatively. As a result, I have been lax in my weekly blog writing ritual.

What I have not been lax about, however, is creating activities for the business English course that I oversee. I became the course lead at the beginning of the Fall 2020 semester, and this spring semester, I have been able to organize and implement the syllabus according to my vision for the course.

Since I have been somewhat preoccupied by business English, I have been seeing opportunities for classroom activities in the random internet articles that pop up in my Facebook feed. While not as expressive as my writing or as aesthetically pleasing as my photography, there is an imaginative, innovative quality to adapting realia into elegant classroom materials.

Hence, the following are some activities that I have recently created for use in the business English course that I teach and lead.

The Elon Musk Interview Question

What started me down the the rabbit hole of developing activities was this article that popped up one day as I was in the midsts of preparing my students for mock interviews. The article seemed serendipitous, so I just developed a quick activity in a PPT form for easy uploading to our university’s online LMS. I also uploaded the activity to the Dropbox folder that I created for course instructors to access shared materials. Two of the course instructors used the activity and reported that their students responded favorably to it. This little bit of positive feedback encouraged me to create more activities.

Jeff Bezos’ Three Interview Questions

“You should create interview activities using the techniques that Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg employ,” one of the course instructors suggested. This seemed like a promising idea, so I Googled “interview questions Jeff Bezos,” and this is the article that I found. The questions that Bezos asks aren’t quite for the interviewee, like the question Musk poses, rather the questions are more for the interviewer. Still, I thought the questions were good for professional goal setting and might be of interest to course instructors.

The Best Advice Steve Jobs Ever Gave

After investigating Bezos, I turned my attention to the sage of Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs. But once I found an article of interest, I knew that I didn’t want to create another reading and speaking activity, especially since the article’s text was longer and required a little more mental engagement. So, I searched for an online text-to-speech reader that could read the article’s text in order for me to create a cloze listening/reading activity. This would help students engage with the article and practice another English communicative skill.

Here’s the Advice Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Would Give His 20-year-old Self

I don’t know if any of my students in Qatar use Facebook, so Mark Zuckerberg might not be the social media entrepreneur that they know. Many of my students do, however, use Twitter, so Jack Dorsey is probably more relevant to them. For the final activity to round out my activity sequence, an instructor suggested that I create use the article to create a short writing activity, which I easily did.

While I have yet to find an artistic wellspring this year, at least I am keeping busy with projects that are adjacent to creativity. Material development is not as romantic as writing a poetry sequence or editing travel shots from exotic locales, but it’s nice sometimes to work on practical things that are of immediate use for classroom purposes.

Photo by Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash

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