Case studies in the business English classroom

It has been more … more than interesting, more than up-to-date… It is a very essence of being a teacher – to be aligned with the latest methodological techniques. I recommend it to anyone who is keen on teaching English professionally.

The webinar was delivered by John Hughes. He has been teaching business English for over twenty years. As a course book writer he has worked on Business Focus, Business Result, Successful Meetings and Successful Presentations.

Case study is a ready-made solution for students who do a business English course. It goes without saying, it must be well fit for their needs. But, on the whole, a case study provides them with an excellent opportunity for communication even if they do not work yet.

John Hughes took a case study from Business results, Upper-intermediate.

The main accents in this webinar are made on:

1)      Preparation stage. The roles are distributed among students. They are doing research, gathering information needed for the successful interaction. They summarize and report back the information on their files. All four skills are being practiced.

2)      Presentation stage. It might take up to half an hour. A teacher does not correct students’ mistakes, but monitor for further feedback.

3)      Follow-up. Comparing the findings with what the exemplary company has really done.


Wonderful tips:

Tip # 1

Integrate a case study into your lesson because it combines the four skills: listening, speaking, writing and reading.

Tip # 2

Prepare functional phrases and distribute them to students in advance.

Tip # 3

The best sitting of students during a case study (look at the slide-show case study.ppt below)

  1. Sitting B or C at the beginning for reading and brainstorming
  2. Sitting D for team work


Prevent problems during case studies:

1) Target language can be put around the classroom (on the walls, for example)

2) Allocate roles among students so that everyone has an opportunity to talk

3) Be very strict with time

4) Have a feedback session at the end. It is a must!

Is a case study applicable to one to one teaching?

– The answer is yes. You can redevelop it so that it will be suitable for 1:1 teaching. Reading smoothly transfers to discussion and the teacher put together roles A and B, the same is done with roles C and D.

You can view the webinar with us, thanks to our partners in Oxford!

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