Universidade de Aveiro (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2016 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 2718-2723
ISBN: 978-84-608-5617-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2016.1592
Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain
English has been worldwide adopted as lingua franca and this created a group of learners with very specific needs, i.e. mainly adults who wanted to use English for business purposes. In the scope of this study, the approach used to address this target group was Teaching English for Special Purposes (TESP). According to Dudley-Evans (1998), the concept of TESP incorporates absolute and variable characteristics. As to the former, it is supposed to aim at the learners’ needs, to use methodological principles of the discipline it serves and to focus on the language used in the activities of the discipline; regarding the latter, it seems to be most adequate for adult learners with intermediate (or advanced) level of English language proficiency and it tends to use a different methodology from that of general English (Dudley-Evans, 1998). Thus, within TESP, content is not separated from the students' (future) vocational scenario; instead, it is integrated into subject matter areas. Taking this into account, the teaching strategy addressed Business English Terminology (BET) in 4 main areas: Economics, Buying & Selling, Marketing & Advertising and Logistics & Transportation – which are deemed important for their study field. As first presented by Balula, Marques and Martins (2015), students were told, from the beginning, that participation was not mandatory and each activity consisted of an online quiz, focused on BET taught/learned in a previous face-to-face session. The application selected was Top Hat (, and thus the strategy was labelled ‘BET on Top Hat’. In order to answer the online quizzes, students could use tablets, laptops or smartphones – some did it in and others outside class. Participants (n=23) were first-year students enrolled in English II, a course of the degree in Retail Management offered at Águeda School of Technology and Management – University of Aveiro (2014/15 edition). A first analysis of the data collected regarding the students’ perception of the activity unveiled that the strategy had a clear positive impact on the students’ intrinsic motivation to learn BET and impelled them to review the studied content throughout the semester (Balula, Marques and Martins, 2015). This study aims at finding evidence as to the extent to which students’ developed proficiency in identifying what business English acronyms and abbreviations stood for and using specific BET in sentences, and to compare it with the student´s perception of the strategy. The data gathered includes the students’ results in the 8 three-minute quizzes answered during the semester, as well as the students’ answers to a questionnaire. Data were treated using descriptive analysis (using Microsoft Excel®). An analysis of the results points out that, with the use of this strategy and over time, students tend to identify the words behind business English acronyms and abbreviations more easily and to integrate BET in sentences more accurately. Finally, it is also significant to note that students perceive the strategy’s positive impact in their study and in their performance as to the use of BET.

[1] Balula, A., Marques, F. & Martins, C. (2015). BET on Top Hat – Challenges to improve language proficiency, EDULEARN’15 Proceedings, pp. 2627- 2633. IATED: Barcelona.
[2] Dudley-Evans, A. & St. John, A. M. (1998). Developments in English for Specific Purposes: A multi-disciplinary approach. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge.
Business English terminology, m-learning, ESP, ESL, teaching/learning strategies.