How the GSE helped me to develop a business English course


A client recently asked me to develop an online business English course for B1, B2 and C1 students. I had never done this before, so I wasn’t sure where to start. With only a month to develop a syllabus, I didn’t think I would be able to conduct a thorough needs analysis or gather enough samples of authentic business English discourse. Plus, my audience would be international business people with such a wide variety of needs and wants that I felt it would be difficult to summarise this information into concrete objectives.

I decided to explore the Global Scale of English (GSE) Teacher Toolkit. It’s a free list of peer-reviewed and graded objectives provided by Pearson. I had been introduced to the toolkit while looking into writing opportunities with Pearson and thought it could be of some use.

Researching a business English course

While I researched business English in the toolkit, I felt like a kid in a candy shop when hundreds of business-specific objectives appeared. Reading the objectives gave me a firm footing in what B1, B2 and C1 students should be able to do, and provided me with a starting point for what kind of objectives to include in my syllabus.

There were more than 600 objectives to choose from! I couldn’t use the objectives verbatim because my project was for computer-delivered materials (no speaking, writing, or open-ended answers), but the toolkit’s objectives helped me brainstorm which objectives could work. The toolkit also saved me a considerable amount of time and gave me the support of a team of researchers.

An invaluable resource

The GSE Teacher Toolkit was an invaluable resource for me as a freelance ELT writer, and I appreciate the time and financial resources that went into creating it. It also does a great service to students of English around the world, offering a standard of well-researched learning objectives. I definitely recommend using the GSE Teacher Toolkit as a reference and starting point for other ELT curriculum developers.

Extracting B1 and C1 learning objectives for a business English course

Step 1:Log into the GSE Teacher Toolkit (you will be required to enter some personal information the first time – but only the first time).

Step 2: Select ‘Professional Learners’ from the drop-down list as the type of learners you are teaching.

Step 3: Choose your GSE/CEFR range using the slider. You can do this by moving the tabs at each end of the slider to identify your target range.

Step 4: If desired, you can also choose specific skills to filter your results.

Or job roles.

Step 5: Click on ‘Show results’.

And it’s that simple!

If you’d like to learn more about how the GSE Learning Objectives were identified for specific job roles, take a look at the report here.

Try using the GSE Teacher Toolkit and let us know how you get on in the comments section below…

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