Question from a TEFL graduate - Costa Rica TEFL - Earn your TEFL certification

Question from a TEFL graduate

TEFL Trainee teaching English


Hi Everyone,

We got this question from a TEFL graduate in our inbox and we were hoping that some of you other graduates could offer up some answers:

I have a 2 hour a day one-on-one, upper-intermediate, business class beginning in July… how do I make that fun?! More specifically, how can I work in some constructive (and still fun) open activities?

Any suggestions from anyone that has continued teaching… or from our teachers?

Brae Cindric

  • Hey, what’s going on. Well, I just saw your post and with my past, as well as having taught quite a bit of business classes now these last few years, I thought I’d give some input! Though no promises that it’s good advice! 🙂:) Anyway, an idea is to basically create a business/company with the student. For one, the student could create it with an idea that they’ve always had and maybe wanted to do, or if anything in something they are interested in, like a sport store, record company, etc. Then from there, you just start from the bottom and can hit all kinds of vocab and business English. They can write a business description at the beginning, Then they can start off creating products, product lines, and get into specifics of that, like ranges, dimensions, etc. You would also start off with the company, writing a mission statement, and how to write the mission statement, then business goals, market analysis/SWOT analysis, marketing plans and schemes, financial analysis.

    So when they got things set up, then it could become as if they are in the company, and do things like how to organize a meeting, presenting in a meeting, writing agendas for meetings/client visits, talking about past performance of products and then forecasting performance for various things. You can even hit other things like telephoning and emailing language, all that good stuff.

    So yeah, this may make things more fun and interesting if they are talking about an idea or something they enjoy, and leads to lots of role-playing and all that good stuff.

    Hope this helps…and more importantly I hope that everything is going well in CR on the beach!! Wish I was there!


Patrick O’Malley

I have a 2 hour a day one-on-one, upper-intermediate, business class beginning in July…and how do I make that fun?!!!!
Have you ever seen Billy Madison? You know the scene where they play “Strip Tutoring”? That could be FUN, huh? 😉

Alright, inappropriateness aside I think you should try to come up with some sort of long term game. What does “business class” mean? Are you focusing on business terms and vocabulary?

Derek and I made that one “Choose Your Own Ending” game for the advanced class that the guys seemed to enjoy. You can start by having your student think of a business he/she wants to start up. After coming up with a basic “business plan” (what to sell/service to offer) you can give him/her options on things like: where to start the business, what advertising to do, who to hire (maybe throw a game of Guess Who in there to hire the staff), etc. Each class can focus on a different aspect of the business and you can talk about why he/she decided to choose certain things.

After the class you can take the choice he/she made and create new scenarios based on the decision. For example:
“You chose to open up your Salad Store in Madrid. However, the E. Coli outbreak has in Spain has scared away some of your customers. Many people are scared to eat anything with cucumbers. What can you do to fix this problem?”
Then give options:
A. Offer a special discount.
B. Close the business until the problem is fixed.
C. Go to the City Centre and eat one of your salads to show people it’s safe.
D. Don’t use cucumbers.
(each of these has another scenario embedded in it)
Or you can have them come up with their own solution…

I’m not sure this is good for the level/class, but something like this could go on for months with all sorts of different scenarios. They have the goal of “getting rich” and you can tailor each class to the student’s personality to keep him/her entertained. Include new vocabulary for each class and incorporate it into that day’s game.

Not sure if this is helpful. If you try it out, let me know how it goes.

Remember to end each school day with a 40 and the ideas will just start flowing…:)

Much love.

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