BUSINESS ENGLISH COURSE-BOOKS: WHAT DO USERS NEED?

E. Jendrych

Kozminski University (POLAND)
The paper discusses the basic needs of learners of business English and their teachers in the increasingly global and multi-cultural world of business. It points out that effectiveness of the teaching process depends, among others, on the quality of course-books. Course-books chosen for a course need to be evaluated in terms of business-specific terminology and lexis they can teach. It can be done by a parametric text analysis. The diversity and range of the lexical input are other important considerations. Course-book authors should not concentrate on a few selected topics only, rather they should offer a variety of topics in various areas of business. Course-books texts should not be selected at random – their didactic value can be much higher if the texts contain the highest-frequency language items identified in corpus studies. These items should include core business terms, popular collocations and fixed phrases as well as business acronyms, abbreviations and symbols.
Another important determinant of effective business English course-books that helps to acquire better sociolinguistic and pragmatic competence is a non-linguistic component including instruction and practice in business writing, business skills, business culture, business ethics and corporate social responsibility. Successful business communication depends not only on linguistic competence. It also depends heavily on acquiring sociolinguistic competence and pragmatic competency.
It seems to be pedagogically justified to include many task-based activities in a business English class. They help to develop the most difficult productive language skills of speaking and writing. Case studies and simulations can be valuable instruments in developing students’ communicative competence.