Videos for Business English: How to use videos when teaching ESP.

Here are some videos that can come in handy in your (and my) Business English ESP class.

The following 3 videos are from the DVDs that accompany Business Result  textbooks.  I am not a huge pundit of textbooks but they have done really great job making the DVDs and even if you don’t like the book so much,  you can obtain a DVD separately.

The first video contains great vocabulary one needs when choosing a location for office. The main character is looking for an office space to rent and  is offered two options with completely different characteristics.

The next video is great for introducing the vocabulary and the topic of teleconferencing.

As a post-listening task to this video students may role-play a teleconference using the vocabulary from the recording:

The third one is my personal favorite and it is on cultural differences. It covers the hamburger method of constructive criticism and how it varies from one culture to another. It also touches upon the low-and high-power distance countries and other things one needs to consider when negotiating with a potential partner from another culture.

The last video is a story of Berghaus company. It is  from a DVD that accompanies International Express courbook by Oxford University Press, it is aimed at Elementary learners, but if you ask me, it could work for pre-intermediate students as well.

The next video, which is suitable for the upper-intermediate level, covers the story of the creation of a British car Mini and gives a glimpse into its present:

The next video focuses on the current issues the city  of Venice faces and is aimed at pre-intermediate students:

As a post-listening activities for the last two videos you can suggest your students to:

do a  SWOT analysis of the Mini and the city of Venice;

research if there are any successful businesses or NGOs in Venice, choose one business and write a report on its activity over the last month. If students have hard time finding successful businesses or companies in Venice, they can choose any company and write up a short report of its activity over the last year, indicating the company’s decline or growth and the underlying reasons for it.

– research how the producers managed to turn the Mini into a commercial success. Students will need to use their findings to write a performance report.

The last video I want to mention is by Harvard Business School. It includes great tips and phrases for conflict resolution and assertive communication. The one tip that I particularly like in this video is “don’t SHOULD on people”.

When working with videos in your classroom, you may choose to follow the trusted framework:

1. Pre-listening :

lead-in – introduce your students to the theme, try to connect the video you are about to show to the previous lesson.

Introduce blocking vocabulary using the  MPF (meaning-pronunciation-form model).

Ask Content Check Questions to make sure that  students have grasped the meaning of the blocking vocabulary.

2.While listening:

Before letting the students watch the video ask them the question that captures the gist of the video. They will need to answer this question  at the end of the video.

Hand out graphic organizers before showing them the video and instruct the students which details they need to get from the recording to fill in their graphic organizers.

For example, for the video on cultural differences the students may note down how the hamburger method of constructive criticism varies from one country to another and what does it look like in each of the countries. Students can also  note down the countries with high and low power distance. The graphic organizer for this video may also zoom in on more general details such as what advice would you give to a person who is going to negotiate with a potential partner from Germany/China/Japan and so on.

3. Post-listening

Use a post-listening activity to encourage students to create something of their own based on the vocabulary and the information in the video. A videos showing a teleconference or a meeting may be followed by a roleplay or another simulation activity. Try to design post-listening activities in which students need to work collaboratively, to resolve a problem or to come to an agreement. Here are also some of the post-listening activities that can be used in your Business English classroom. All of these ideas are based on the activities your Business English students are very likely to perform in real life:

– Writing a report of the results of a meeting showed in the video

– Taking minutes of the meeting shown in the video.

– Drafting a proposal for a project, based on the information presented in the video.

– Asking for funding for the realization of the project mentioned in the video.

– Writing an email to prospective investors for the project mentioned in the video.

– Doing a SWOT analysis..

– Writing a performance report.

Are there any pre-/while- and post-listening activities that you successfully use in your classroom and could kindly share with the blog readers and me?  : )


About alinaemma

I am an enthusiastic, creative and highly driven TEFL teacher, who is committed to providing teaching based on cutting-edge research and making learning fun, engaging and natural (which means sweat and stress free). I have an experience teaching face-to-face and flipped/blended learning classes in which I am utilizing the latest technology and Web 2.0 tools. I hold an MA level degree in linguistics and have previously studied in Russia, the USA and Norway. Over the past year I was teaching at Universidad de la Sabana, Colombia, and I was loving every minute of it. Currently, I am teaching in St Petersburg, Russia. I specialize in ESP, blended learning (general English B1 and up), TOEFL and IELTS preparation.

Posted on July 20, 2014, in Business English and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. So glad you followed, it’s inspiring, as is your blog and overall web presence – I gotta get it in gear! In St. Pete, are you by any chance going to do business with English Connection? Tom Wiseman is co-founder of the school, and he graduated from the same TEFL training as I did – Tennessee Foreign Language Institute! I highly recommend him as a contact, if not an employer! I can’t wait to get the chance to look at more of your stuff!


    • Hello Bob, what a small world! Thank you for dropping a line and putting a smile on my face. I have heard of English Connection and their Movie Club, funnily enough, someone mentioned it to me a month or so ago. I haven’t tried applying for a job with English Connection 🙂 but maybe I should sent them my resume and cover letter, who knows. 😀 Have you been to Petersburg yourself? or maybe thinking of visiting? Thank you for the positive emotions, they are always welcome.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tom Wiseman has a mission to hire as many fellow TFLI grads as he can, so who knows? I’m newly-minted, so I’m hustling Skype and Dave’s ESL full-time these days. If it becomes too much, I may just find myself there. So cool to hear from you. I sent you an invite on linked in — hope to keep the dialogue open — I bet I can learn a lot of ‘the ropes’ from you —

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: