'Sexing up' a lesson on enquiries. No dodgy dossiers, pls…)

Tips, questions, advice on teaching Business English

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'Sexing up' a lesson on enquiries. No dodgy dossiers, pls…)

Unread postby Chocmonster » 29 May 2009, 10:44

Hi all

I'm looking for ways to make a lesson about business enquiries less dry and dull.

Does anyone have any tips, ideas or suggestions?

For example, when I taught 'Offers' I managed to find a scene from the UK sitcom 'Only fools and Horses' where a dodgy deal is brokered in the back of a car.

Students watched the clip without sound and had to create (and act out) a suitable dialogue. They then heard the audio, read the script, answered questions and then wrote the resulting order as a business letter from Delboy to the dodgy geezer.

Does anyone have similarly creative ideas for enquiries? Any films, clips, games, songs, comics, pictures or other material I could use?

Thanks in advance

Edd
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Re: 'Sexing up' a lesson on enquiries. No dodgy dossiers, pls…)

Unread postby Alex Case » 30 May 2009, 14:28

Can you explain what exactly you mean by a lesson on enquiries? Phoning suppliers to ask for details on their products? What kinds of companies, products and methods of communication will be most relevant to the students?
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Re: 'Sexing up' a lesson on enquiries. No dodgy dossiers, pls…)

Unread postby Peter Easton » 31 May 2009, 10:58

If you are going to cover sales & closing use the film Glengarry Glenross, especially Alec Baldwin's role.
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Re: 'Sexing up' a lesson on enquiries. No dodgy dossiers, pls…)

Unread postby Chocmonster » 24 Jun 2009, 12:33

Good idea, thanks!

Any others?

Regards

Edd Turner
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Re: 'Sexing up' a lesson on enquiries. No dodgy dossiers, pls…)

Unread postby Chocmonster » 24 Jun 2009, 12:48

Alex Case wrote:Can you explain what exactly you mean by a lesson on enquiries? Phoning suppliers to ask for details on their products? What kinds of companies, products and methods of communication will be most relevant to the students?


Sorry, not sure what is wrong with my tefl.net notifications, I didn't see this response at all until I happened to look at my old posts today.

My students (all between 19 and 25) are apprentices in local industries and when they use English (if at all) it is as a lingua franca with their customers.

They need to create (and understand) detailed enquiries about products, prices, deliveries and terms and conditions in written and spoken forms.

Typically, these enquiries will be made/received by e-mail or telephone.

They work in all tapes of indutries, from manufacture to flat letting and service provision.

In the lesson I would expose them to written and oral enquiries and then use <something special> as basis for an extended, realistic task.

So, call suppliers to ask about products is a part, but so is answering those calls and furnishing the right kind of details (incoterms, prices, sizes, quanities, etc...)
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Re: 'Sexing up' a lesson on enquiries. No dodgy dossiers, pls…)

Unread postby Alex Case » 27 Jun 2009, 08:27

Might've got stuck in your spam filter??

I seem to remember there being something fun on this in Tech Talk Elementary or Pre-Intermediate. Something I did with the class I used those books with is to tell the person asking for details to pretend to mishear and repeat back the information wrongly as many times as possible. Another way of practising that "Can I just check that back?" etc functional language is to ask them to do pairwork dictations, picture dictations, minimal pairs practice in pairs (e.g. Pronunciation Journey from Pronunciation Games) etc. You could also get them to ask for details, e.g. length and weight, until their partner guesses which thing they are speaking about. I have a lesson for that, but just noticed that never published it so will get it up quickly if you need it.


If you've got two rooms or at least a corridor, you could also get them to record all their telephone messages on dictaphones, walking back and forth between the rooms in two groups and replying to each others' messages on each machine.

They'll probably also need lots of numbers practice, e.g:

http://www.tefl.net/alexcase/worksheets ... lementary/

If they are negotiating delivery times etc, that is always fun because they can try and outdo each other to get the best deal. This works best if they are actually given points depending on how good a deal they get, similar to this one here:

http://www.usingenglish.com/files/pdf/c ... ations.pdf

Complaints is another fun one if they have to deal with that. Also got stuff for that on my blog, please ask if you're interested and can't find it
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