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  • A teacher stood at the front of the class talking to her class
    • The Global Scale of English
    • Language teaching

    English for employability: Why teaching general English is not enough

    By Ehsan Gorji
    Reading time: 4 minutes

    Many English language learners are studying English with the aim of getting down to the nitty-gritty of the language they need for their profession. Whether the learner is an engineer, a lawyer, a nanny, a nurse, a police officer, a cook, or a salesperson, simply teaching general English or even English for specific purposes is not enough. We need to improve our learners’ skills for employability.

    The four maxims of conversation

    In his article Logic and Conversation, Paul Grice, a philosopher of language, proposes that every conversation is based on four maxims: quantity, quality, relation and manner. He believes that if these maxims combine successfully, then the best conversation will take place and the right message will be delivered to the right person at the right time.

    The four maxims take on a deeper significance when it comes to the workplace, where things are often more formal and more urgent. Many human resources (HR) managers have spent hours fine-tuning workplace conversations simply because a job candidate or employee has not been adequately educated to the level of English language that a job role demands. This, coupled with the fact that many companies across the globe are adopting English as their official corporate language, has resulted in a new requirement in the world of business: mastery of the English language.

    It would not be satisfactory for an employee to be turned down for a job vacancy, to be disqualified after a while; or fail to fulfil his or her assigned tasks, because their English language profile either does not correlate with what the job fully expects or does not possess even the essential must-have can-dos of the job role.

    How the GSE Job Profiles can help

    The Job Profiles within the Global Scale of English (GSE) Teacher Toolkit can help target those ‘must-have can-dos’ related to various job roles. The ‘Choose Learner’ drop-down menu offers the opportunity to view GSE Learning Objectives for four learner types: in this case, select ‘Professional Learners’. You can then click on the ‘Choose Job Role’ button to narrow down the objectives specific for a particular job role – for example, ‘Office and Administrative Support’ and then ‘Hotel, Motel and Resort Desk Clerks’.

    Then, I can choose the GSE/CEFR range I want to apply to my results. In this example, I would like to know what English language skills a hotel desk clerk is expected to master for B1-B1+/GSE: 43-58.

  • A classroom with students sat at desks and one student stood at the front with the teacher
    • Teaching trends and techniques

    Forward-looking reflective teaching

    By Ehsan Gorji

    Ehsan Gorji is an Iranian teacher, teacher trainer and teacher educator. He also designs strategic plans, devises study syllabuses, runs quality-check observations, and develops materials and tests for different language institutes and schools in the country. Ehsan has been a GSE Thought Leader and Expert Rater since 2016. 

    Reflective teaching, despite it sounding modern and sophisticated, has not yet become a common practice among English language teachers. However, the experiential learning cycle proposed by Jim Scrivener offers a practical approach for teachers. The cycle involves teaching a lesson, reflecting on "what we did" and "how we did them," and then using that reflection to improve future English classes. By using this approach, teachers can prepare for better teaching in the long term.

  • A teacher stood at a board in a library with notes all over it, with his students in the background looking at him
    • Language teaching

    Mind the gap in your English lesson planning

    By Ehsan Gorji

    Professional English teachers love lesson planning. They can always teach a class using their full wardrobe of methods, techniques and games, but a detailed plan means they can deliver a richer and more modern lesson – after all, a teacher usually plans using their full potential.

    Whenever I observe a teacher in their classroom, I try to outline a sketch of their English lesson plan according to what is going on. I am careful to observe any 'magic moments' and deviations from the written plan and note them down separately. Some teachers seize these magic moments; others do not. Some teachers prepare a thorough lesson plan; others are happy with a basic to-do list. There are also teachers who have yet to believe the miracles a lesson plan could produce for them and therefore their sketch does not live up to expectations.

    The 'language chunks' mission

    After each classroom observation, I’ll have a briefing meeting with the English teacher. If the observation takes place in another city and we cannot arrange another face-to-face meeting, we’ll instead go online and discuss. At this point, I’ll elicit more about the teacher’s lesson plan and see to what extent I have been an accurate observer.

    I have found that Language Inspection is the most frequent gap in lesson planning by Iranian teachers. Most of them fully know what type of class they will teach; set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) objectives; consider the probable challenges; prepare high-quality material; break the language systems into chunks and artistically engineer the lesson. Yet, they often do not consider how those language chunks will perform within a set class time – and their mission fails.

    The Language Inspection stage asks a teacher to go a bit further with their lesson planning and look at the level of difficulty of various pieces of content in the lesson. Is there enough balance so that students can successfully meet the lesson objectives? If the grammar, vocabulary and skills are all above a student’s ability, then the lesson will be too complex. Language Inspection allows a thoughtful teacher to closely align the objective with the difficulty of the grammar, vocabulary and skill. A bit like a train running along a fixed track, Language Inspection can help make sure that our lessons run smoothly.

    Lesson planning made easy with the GSE Teacher Toolkit

    If a lesson consists of some or many language chunks, those are the vocabulary, grammar and learning objectives we expect to be made into learning outcomes by the end of the class or course. While Language Analysis in a lesson plan reveals the vocabulary, grammar and learning objectives, in Language Inspection each chunk is examined to determine what they really do and how they can be presented and, more importantly, to assess the learning outcomes required.

    The Global Scale of English (GSE) Teacher Toolkit can be a teacher’s faithful lesson-planning pal – especially when it comes to Language Inspection. It’s simple to use, yet modern and exciting. It is detailed and it delivers everything you need.

    To use it, all you need is an internet connection on your mobile, tablet, laptop or PC. Launch the GSE Teacher Toolkit and you’ll have the ability to delve into the heart of your lesson. You’ll be able to identify any gaps in a lesson – much like the same way you can see the gap between a train and a platforms edge. Mind the gap! You can look into the darkness of this gap and ask yourself: “Does this grammar form belong in this lesson? Do I need to fit in some vocabulary to fill up this blank space? Is it time to move forward in my schedule because my students are mastering this skill early?”

    The GSE Teacher Toolkit gives you the ability to assess your lesson to look for these gaps – whether small or big – in your teaching. By doing this you can plan thoughtfully and clearly to support your students. It really is an opportunity to 'mind the gap' in your English lesson planning.

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