Teaching business English in Ukraine

Performance report

We have tested credit-module and calendar-thematic systems of organization of learning process, their definitions are:

Calendar-thematic system is a generally accepted method of organization of learning process. The curriculum of a course book lays the foundation of this system. Most institutions of higher education, schools follow this system. Per se, it is a standardized approach which can be successfully applied in the sphere of mass service where the results of the group prevail over an individual’s achievements.

Credit-module system of organization of learning process is a model that is based on the consolidation of modules of teaching and credit units of learning.

Each module is formed in accordance with students’ needs and expectations so that we ensure the modules are customized and integral. At the end of a module there should be a mini-check and an oral communicative task, that is the way how a credit unit of learning is realized. Each credit-unit must be in compliance with the final test as well as the placement test. This presupposition allows to conduct selective enrollment to an appropriate level (whether it is pre-intermediate, intermediate or higher etc.).

Mini-check is organized like a multiple-choice test (gap filling, paraphrasing, matching are also possible) and doesn’t exceed 20 questions in a row. An oral communicative task is a short conversation-like activity which can be performed at the beginning of a lesson (e.g. what is your main responsibility at work? what project are you working on? Both questions imply that students use successfully Pr. Simple and Pr. Continuous). Time is allocated equally to each student and is limited to 1 minute. Teacher monitors students’ mistakes for further processing.

The approbation of the systems took 2 months and the results are as follows:

a)      Calendar-thematic planning is the best way of organization of learning in the enterprises with authoritarian style of management where mass production and mass service are a core competence on the market. The positive sides: much cheaper, standardized. The negative sides: the curriculum is strict and inflexible, thus, the attendance of students is obligatory in order to catch up with new material. Some talented students prefer not to go to classes. What’s more, it aggravates psychological pressure on the employees up to their resignations, engaging psychological defence mechanisms which are typical of a certain group of employees, no matter whether they are productive or unproductive. The latter depends on a corporation’s culture.

b)      Credit-module system is the best way of organization of learning in the enterprises with democratic style of management where state-of-the-art technologies, highly-customized services are a core competence on the market. The positive sides are less psychological pressure on employees, the application of selective attendance when students are not obliged to go to classes. The negative sides: more expensive, time-consuming in regard to modules preparation. Nota Bene: students tend to go the path of least resistance in case their source of motivation isn’t inside so the attendance is not as stable as in the calendar-thematic planning system.

Conclusion

Taking into consideration Ukrainian reality neither of these systems does not bring about the desired results and cannot be applied successfully to teaching business English to corporate clients in Ukraine.

 Evaluation

According to anonymous surveys by the employees the teacher’s proficiency and the way of organization of learning process have been evaluated as excellent.

 Solution

(to be stated later) in the second part of this report.

Acknowledgement

We would like to thank the management board of BDO Ukraine and the employees for a wonderful opportunity to approbate these systems within 2-month period of time.