Category: Enterprise English

Posts on English for specific purposes, language learning and teaching

HR Task: Analyse Data with a Score Card

Simona Petrescu Task-in-Process model, analyse data with a score card

This task is part of the HR process of managing performance, when HR managers collect and analyse data regarding staff performance. It involves stages that can be verbalised, such as “examining data”, which can be verbalised in the way of “presenting the data”, or “thinking aloud about the data”. It also involves, however, stages that…

Set up and adjust exam preparation courses

You need to prepare your students for an exam? This can be uncharted territory. Exam preparation courses are different from regular teaching, both in the goals and in their management.

Regular teaching aims to equip learners with skills either required by real life or by a curriculum. Exam preparation courses, by contrast, aim to equip learners both with skills required by a curriculum (of the particular exam) and with exam strategies.

Regular courses are managed in general methodological terms such as class size and composition, interaction patterns, amount of input and its ratio against practice. Exam preparation courses need to be managed in terms that directly relate to the specific goal achievement, namely passing the exam. This means that some pedagogical aspects will be left aside to the benefit of building and drilling exam-relevant skills. Group work, for instance, widely popular in regular teaching, will not be given much weight, for example, in an exam preparation course for reading skills. But as a course manager, the teacher must above all be able to set up the preparation course in the optimal configuration of what is to be learnt under the given circumstances of the class – where the students start in their preparation, and the time available to take students from A to B, namely from where they are now to the required, exam level. Very often these real-life parameters do not suit the exam preparation optimally, usually because time is too short, or the students’ entry level (at the start of the preparation course) is too low. What to do then?

This visual presents an algorithmic, or systematic, approach to the teacher’s decision making process in such cases. What refers, in the visual, to “language training” can in fact be extended to any “subject training”. The core statement is that any exam preparation course consists of two components – subject, and exam training – which are balanced against each other in an interplay with the three key parameters of entry level, exam level, and preparation time.


parameters involved in adjusting exam preparation to the given time of student level

Syllabus design for language courses for specific purposes

Task-in-Process Syllabus, Simona Petrescu

In this video I present a model I have developed for designing language courses for specific purposes. By “language specific purposes” I understand the use of language for professional but also for broader career or life purposes, such as attending a conference, or relocating overseas. My presentation sets out by describing the procedure that I…

Going far and deep: syntagm and paradigm

Syntagm comes from Greek and means “together”. In language it means a group of words that stand together, like take + a walk. If you look at language on paper it becomes clear it unfolds horizontally, word after word.

Paradigm means category. In a paradigm there are items that can come up in a syntagmatic string, one at a time. For example, take a walk, take a shower, take a nap etc. The words walk, shower, nap are part of the same paradigm. If syntagmatic strings unfold horizontally, you can imagine paradigms as sets unfolding vertically. You just scroll down, pick the word you need and place it in the string you are forming.

So today let’s go both far and deep: take a look at strings of words stretching out horizontally; and go deep by scrolling down the paradigms – meaning will be generated at the crossroads.

Words don’t come easy

Words are maybe the most common thing we exchange every day, and yet so often we find that words don’t come easy actually. Why not? After all, words are easily decoded by dictionary definitions, so what could be the problem? Most people think that words simply stand for objects or facts in the real world. That…

Language power, power language

Power is a social reality. It is a result of social conventions that set specific roles and relations to particular situations. Such settings (situation + roles + relations) are also called schemata. For instance going to the supermarket is a situation, a happening. Part of this happening is a specific configuration of roles: some people…


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