English for Management Studies

A concise EAP transition course designed specifically for upper-intermediate through advanced students planning to undertake English-medium, undergraduate-level management studies.
Reviewed for Teflnet by Kathryn Sagert

Having spent many hours looking for the elusive perfect book to help students prepare to undertake English-medium university studies, I was excited to receive a copy of one of Garnet Education’s series of subject specific English for academic purposes (EAP) texts, English for Management Studies. This short text offers a coherent framework of materials for a very specific target market: English-language learners planning to enter a university level English-medium program in management studies on a short (50-80 hour) pre-sessional course. The publisher specifies that the book is appropriate for students who have a minimum of a high intermediate (CEF B2, IELTS 5+) level of English and who have previously completed a general EAP course.

English for Management Studies meets its stated goals. In 12 eight-page units dealing with management topics such as leadership, budgeting, developing people, and management information systems, among others, the authors introduce many essential academic survival skills ranging from understanding and taking notes during a lecture, through making effective contributions to a seminar class and writing academic essays and reports integrating correct use of citations and paraphrasing. It does so while introducing key topics and vocabulary entry-level management students are likely to encounter. It does not, however, cover each point extensively. Nor does it provide as much reference and extra practice materials as you might like.

According to the publisher, the teacher’s book (not shipped for review) does provide “detailed guidance” on each lesson and “extra photocopiable resources”. Both are necessary. Teachers with little preparation time and/or limited EAP experience will need some explanation of the purpose and logic behind some of the exercises and are sure to find they need to offer additional information and practice. Most students at a B2 level will also need additional work on grammar and further practice with more general academic vocabulary, such as that offered by McCarthy and O’Dell’s Academic Vocabulary in Use (Cambridge, 2008). To complete some of the exercises, students will also need a good advanced learner’s dictionary.

The text is most suitable for students who fit the publisher’s established profile: at a senior high school or university-entry level with solid language skills and a general knowledge of academic English and just beginning management studies. Unfortunately, my students don’t quite fit. The graduate students I trialed segments of the text with (not having the audio was a real limitation) were at a B2 level but had extensive knowledge of many of the topics. They found some of the exercises useful, if a bit dry. They appreciated the vocabulary and skills banks but, like many EAP students, needed more reference material, more extensive examples, and sample texts closer to those they actually deal with.

Graduate level students who already have extensive prior knowledge of management concepts may find the content too simple, and the student’s book lacks the support (i.e. answer key and reference appendices) to be readily used for independent study. At just over 100 pages, not including transcripts, and a list price of £19.95, it may be a little too concise. Including more reference and practice material to reduce the need for supplementary texts might make the text more appealing to cash-pressed international students who are unable to purchase not only a core text but also a dictionary and supplementary reference materials.

All in all, however, English for Management Studies is sufficiently general and complete to make an excellent core text for the pre-sessional type course it is designed for. By introducing key EAP concepts through thematic skills-based units, it provides a ready-to-use syllabus and, if the teacher’s book provides the detail it promises, could be used effectively by even those teachers who have relatively limited EAP experience, preparation time, and/or knowledge of management.

Reviewed by Kathryn Sagert for TEFL.net August 2009

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