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   Course Title    Business English Course for International Economic Relations Department
Lecturer    Svetlana Burdina
Institution    East-Ukranian State University
Country    Ukraine


BUSINESS ENGLISH COURSE is taught to students of International Economic Relations Department within 5 years (9 semesters). To facilitate the academic process students are grouped in the first year according to their language performance and practical mastery of English. There is no arguing that teaching to more advanced students is far more challenging. You may have upper-intermediate to advanced students in the first year of study. It is something of a task to work out a five-year course with very scarce resources. The CRC session, which I had luck to attend in late February 2000 was of great help.

The course I present is intended for the third year students. They have 5 hours of practical classes a week. Students are expected to acquire and develop their skills in carrying out negotiations, analyzing market research data, teamwork performance, business projects and so forth. I designed my course with considerable emphasis on writing skills. I find it essential for students to work out the proper approach towards plagiarism, as there is an overall neglect of copyright in our academic circles. While reading articles in magazines, newspapers, and books students find important information that they wish to include in their paper. They must know how to borrow that authors words without plagiarizing the information. Instilling this conception is also valuable for submitting papers in native language. So using quotations and writing paraphrases and summaries are important tools in academic writing, which this course facilitates.


The mission of International Economic Relations Department (IERD) must change because of the demands of our modern world and the unemployment problems faced by IERD graduates. Many of our graduates are being asked to use their knowledge of English for much wider purposes, for instance they work in embassies, oil and mining companies, translate documents, act as interpreters or tourist guides, serve as clerks and administrators, analysts. As we may see, in many of these cases, our graduates’ use of English is a gateway to many wider responsibilities in business, economics and administration.

Learning is not just a mental process, it is the process of negotiation between individuals and society. Society sets the target and the individuals must do their best to get as close to that target situation as possible. If we do not take into account the requirements and needs of Ukrainian society by equating training with employment, the IERD graduates will just increase the number of unemployed youth roving the streets of our cities. What we need is to redefine the mission of IERD. We must work out the way to bridge the gap between the desperate youth struggling to find jobs and a hopeless population in dire need of educated leaders who care for their lives. We should bear in mind that we are preparing the future of our country.

All said above testifies to the fact that in today’s rapidly changing society, there cannot be any established curriculum for whatever subject for more than 2-4 years. If the curriculum is to serve the needs of development, it will require regular transformations. The purpose of the present Business English curriculum is to develop a curriculum for the Business English course emphasizing the use of English for developmental purposes since the established English syllabus does not adequately meet these needs.


The aim of the presented curriculum is to expose the students to a variety of challenging and interesting text types in the reading and listening activities, to bring their own experiences and feelings to the fore in order to achieve accurate and confident languge use. Often at the advanced level, courses tend to be unstimulating, but a teacher is to provide balanced practice in all four language skills of reading, listening, writing and speaking by engaging students both as language learners and as people with experiences and feelings of their own. Communicative methodology facilitates this, being embodied in the following features:students should be challenged cognitively, be involved in he learning process, take part in the realistic activities, be asked to contribute their own experiences and feelings, be encourged to work closely with peers., to assume certain responsibility for their own learning. To implement these ideas a teacher adopts differing roles according to the stage of the lesson, like the ones of informer, monitor, resource and consultant.

I normally use a regular set of teaching techniques. I start with a discussion point, which launches the theme of the lesson by means of a speaking activity. This often prompts use of the target language. A reading activity enables further exposition to the topic and usually contains significant exponents of the target language. Listening activity is an essential part of the curriculum. A speaking activity related to the theme is either a role play or a discussion is normally crowned by a writing activity, focused on some aspect of the writing skill. I encourage my students to have field visits at the banks, companies and production sites to complete project works assigned to them.

I will venture launching a major project for students to set up their own business highlighting all the stages of starting, runninf it and getting profit. This is intended to be out of class activity checked at least once a fortnight or more frequently, time permitting.

As learning cannot be directly controlled, shaped or influenced, and because it is a subconscious process, it is common nowadays to talk of language acquisition rather than language learning. A good language syllabus should organize the material so that the learners can constantly progress in their language acquisition. It infers that the ideal conditions for second language learning are quite similar to those in which a first language is learnt. Only with these ideas in mind may the syllabus conform to students’ expectations of language learning.


The 1-st week

Students are asked to prepare to set out the scene for the remainder of the classes in which they establish their businesses. They are introduced into sample situation to have practice before they set off with their project work.

I intend to initiate the first tips for successful academic writing: audience, tone and purpose are planned to be covered. Prewriting stage is practiced by means of choosing and narrowing the topic with further brainstorming. As for the next stage of the writing process – planning or outlining – students are acquainted with four ways: brainstorming by listing, grouping, writing the topic sentence and simple outlining. The process of writing and revising drafts is delineated. The introduction into successful academic writing may seem too copious. It is up to the teacher whether to make students work on their own and study the recommended readings or present the essential information to the students in a condensed form. The latter is time-consuming for the teacher but proves to be more effective as all these points will be considered in fulfilling written assignments during the whole course of study. If any gap occurs it is sure to be bridged, providing the teacher strikes the right key with the students and gets them genuinely interested.

The 2-nd week

Discussing advertising, stylistic devices to add double meaning to slogans. As it was the major topic of my diploma, my private resources are available to boost students’ research in the field. Role-play on improving brand image via launching new advertising projects will crown this part of work and will enable smooth proceeding to the next stage of project work.

Writing a letter of application.

In terms of developing academic writing skills I plan to proceed to paragraph structure covering the hints for writing a successful title and highlighting topic sentence requirements.

Project work is devoted to singling out peculiarities of business competition comparing it to competition in sport and study. Students are presented a sample situation for further discussion.

The 3-rd week

Ethics of running business is in focus for project work. Students are given a number of problem situations to find the solution to. To keep the interest there is a selection of thought-provoking listening activities on marketing ethics.

Simple paragraph outlining is to be practiced including "parallel form" and "equivalent value" rules within the lines of writing activities.

Language revision is supplied by a number dictation from the recorded news items.

The 4-th week

Ethics project is continued in situations of equal employment opportunities. Students are expected to support their arguments interpreting suggested charts from textbooks.

Use of consistent pronouns is planned to be made clear with further emphasis on transitional signals and its types. Delineating types of logical order and practicing recognizing them will crown this weeks writing skills schedule. Language revision is fulfilled via a recorded dictation of names and places.

The 5-th week

Project work brings students to selecting their businesses, covering resume and interview.

A deep-end analysis of three main types of logical order: chronological, logical division of ideas and order of importance. Language revision contains additional training of English spelling with the focus on different spelling for the same vowel sound.

The 6-th week

Withing the lines of the project work students hire employees for their businesses and gain experiences they will soon have, when looking for jobs.

Facts versus opinions: concrete supporting details – examples and illustrative incidents, figures and statistics. Meaningful intonation of tag questions is a part of the language revision section.

The 7-th week

Students gain skills of designing a business plan as the project work.

We cover the art of negotiation and note hints on successful negotiations.

The writing section is devoted to using figures, statistics and illustrative incidents as a concrete support for academic writing.

The 8-th week

Students work out advertising projects for their businesses.

We brainstorm traits of a successful European executive. Writing practice is achieved through analyzing the first rough draft of the essay. Language revision section covers homonyms.

The 9-th week

We focus on corporate culture. When an employee leaves one organization for another he may fail in not reading the culture correctly. Reading and discussion section can be followed by project writing of an article on the corporate culture of the students’ dream company. The second rough draft, proof reading and tips for writing the final copy of the paper are in focus of the writing section. Language revision section highlights homophones.

The 10-th week

Students decide on pricing and packaging of their products to complete their project work.

I initiate comparing employment opportunities for men and women in our country and abroad. Chronological order of essay organization with peculiarities of writing a thesis statement for it is the aim of writing section. Distinguishing contracted verb forms via listening provides language revision.

The 11-th week

Project work presupposes presentation of students’ businesses

We work out team-building strategy, test managerial skills and proceed to analyzing pan-European teamwork. Writing section is devoted to logical division as a pattern of essay organization with practicing its outlining, transitional signals and thesis statements. Language revision section covers future perfect and future continuous tense forms used for arranging to meet.

The 12-th week

Students prepare and conclude contracts with their partners and clients to proceed in their projects.

We focus on pitfalls of international meetings. Writing section provides practice in cause and effect type of essay.

The 13-th week

The aim of discussion is launching the product strategy. It is supported by press release and designing advertisements written practice.

Academic writing skills are developed in cause and effect essay type. Students train transition paragraphs and structure words of block organization of essay.

The 14-th week

Students sum up the skills gained during the term count the profit of their project businesses.. They proceed to describing corporate strategy with further discussing it at a role-play meeting.

Before revising academic writing skills embraced during this term, students are introduced into chain organization of cause and effect essay type.



  1. Business Class. David Cotton, Sue Robbibs. Longman. 1993.
  2. Writing Academic English. Alice Oshima, Ann Hogue. Longman. 1991.
  3. Oxford Dictionary for International Business. Oxford University Press. 1998.
  4. Practical English Usage. Michael Swan. Oxford University Press. 1995.
  5. Project Business.


  1. Business Objectives. Oxford University Press. 1994.
  2. Business Opportunities. Oxford University Press. 1996.
  3. The Structure of International Society. Geoffrey Stern. Pinter, London and New York. 2000.
  4. Contemporary International Relations: A Guide to Theory. A.J.P.Groom and Margot Light. Pinter, London and New York. 1994.
  5. Headway. Upper-intermediate. John and Liz Soars. Oxford University Press. 1987.
  6. Junior Achievements. Colorado. 1996.

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