2012 Annual Conference Online Programme

We were delighted to invite an online audience to join us for a programme of talks broadcast live from the IATEFL BESIG Annual Conference in Stuttgart, Germany. Please read on for programme details.


The following talks were broadcast live from Stuttgart.  The schedule for the online component of the IATEFL BESIG Annual Conference was as follows.

Saturday, 17 November 2012.

Time Speaker Talk / Workshop / Discussion
11.00-12.30 Nik Peachey Taking care of your own continuing professional development (CPD)
Gabriella Hirthe, Peter Morley et al. Who needs books? What do Business English trainers do without course books?
Panel discussion Nik and the Skylight team will take questions from the in-room and online audiences
12.40 – 13.10 Charles Rei The Communicative Event; A Detailed Understanding of Clients’ Training Needs
14.00 – 14.45 Evan Frendo & the BESIG Online Team Global perspectives on business English teaching
15.00 – 15.45 Adrian Pilbeam Making the transition from business English trainer to cross-cultural trainer
16.00 – 16.45 Kate Baade & Nathan Wale Keeping long-term training programs alive
17.00 – 17.45 Paul Emmerson The Tides of ELT
18.00 – 18.30 Mercedes Viola New trends in business


Sunday, 18 November 2012.

Time Speaker Talk / Workshop / Discussion
09.30 – 10.15 Marieke van der Meer The heartbeat of English - Chunking revisited
10.30 – 11.15 John Allison Should Business English training provide a platform for professional development?
11.45 – 12.30 James Schofield Creative thinking


Please scroll down the page for more detailed information about the speakers and the talks.


This online programme was sponsored by Target Training.


Speakers & talks

The details of the speakers and talks included in the online programme are as follows:


Saturday, 17 November 2012.

Themed session: Professional development for teachers

(Saturday: Session A: 11.00 - 12.30)

Part 1: Taking care of your own continuing professional development (CPD)

This talk will look at how business English teachers can access online networks and resources to ensure that they stay in touch with their profession and continue to grow as professionals. This area is of particular importance for BE teachers who often work in an environment that isolates them from other language teaching professionals. Awareness of online resources, digital networking practices and information literacies can help them to ensure that they continue to develop whilst building a personal profile within the global online community. In the talk I will demonstrate how I have built my own personal learning network and how I manage information through it in an ergonomic and efficient way to ensure that I access the best online resources.

Nik Peachey
Nik Peachey has worked in ELT since 1992. Best known for his Learning technology blog http://nikpeachey.blogspot.co.uk/ ,he has worked all over the world as a language teacher, teacher trainer and technology trainer. Since 2007 he has been working freelance as a writer, trainer and consultant. He creates custom made face to face and online training courses and course materials for teachers and in May 2012 he won a British Council Innovations award for the Blended Learning in ELT course he created for Bell Educational Services. He also lectures in media and technology at the University of Westminster.



Part 2: Who needs books? What do Business English trainers do without course books?

Let’s face it, language training expectations in the business learning environment today are not covered in one course book – even the good ones. Factors such as time, budget and concrete results are putting business trainers under increasing pressure to cover many topics in depth, train communication, intercultural as well as language skills. One course book simply doesn’t work. However, you can quit using books, still meet realistic expectations and provide excellent needs-based training. Being a quality Business English trainer isn't about exploiting the best materials, but about developing and facilitating a well-designed course around your participants as the primary resource. In this panel discussion, you will have the chance to talk to Skylight trainers on why and how they gave up using published materials to provide more rewarding training for both trainer and participant.

Sonia Ceresani , MA in Education and CLTC-C, started her career as a cardiac nurse specialist, specializing later in the field of intercultural coaching and communications training. Lesley Crowe, co-founder of Word of Mouth, has trained for over 25 years and is a principal trainer of the CLTC-C. Gabriella Hirthe, CLTC-C trainer, has trained and managed in-company language programs in Germany and is a Skylight consultant. Stefan Gee, Scenario Technique CLTC-Trainer, heads Gee Language Services in Duisburg and trains teachers in secondary education. Peter Morley, Bsc Hons, Dip. in Social Work, is a trainer in the Düsseldorf area for 12 years, specializing in ESP. Anna Stowers, CLTC-C trainer and coach, has worked in the aviation industry, including 10 years overseas experience as a language trainer in Greece.


Part 3: Panel discussion

Nik and the Skylight team will take questions on the issues raised in their talks


The Communicative Event; A Detailed Understanding of Clients’ Training Needs

(Saturday: Session B: 12.40 - 13.10)

What is traditional needs analysis really telling us? As trainers, we are faced with an overwhelming amount of material and needs including vocabulary, grammar, functions, useful language, skills, communication techniques, and intercultural interference. How do we know precisely which aspects are most important for our learners? This interactive talk will introduce the concept of communicative event analysis to determine specific learner needs and move beyond the generalizations and assumptions of the traditional approach. Using case studies, we will dissect specific communicative events to identify and prioritize learning objectives. With the learner at the core of the training plan, we will see how to help them develop the skills they need when they need them. To conclude, we will discuss methods and activities for balancing mixed needs groups and tailoring the training to fit various communicative events.

Charles Rei
Charles Rei is a freelance Business English Trainer in Bavaria working primarily in large multi-national companies. He is currently focused on several embedded training projects which mix courses, coaching, and blended learning. He has been training business English since leaving the US military and completing his CELTA in 2009. He is fascinated by materials light teaching and focusing completely on the learner. He has recently completed his Cert IBET certification



Global perspectives on business English teaching

(Saturday: Session C: 14.00 – 14.45)

In this session, moderated by Evan Frendo and members of the BESIG Online Team, groups of teachers from Croatia, India, and Uruguay are joining us online to take part in the Annual Conference and share their business English experiences and insights with us. Each group will make a short presentation (5 min) to tell us about their own teaching contexts and give us some insight into how they tackle the particular issues they confront in providing business English training in their particular settings. This will be followed by discussion involving both the online groups and those present in the room. The conversation will centre around a series of teaching scenarios designed to explore both the similarities and differences in what teachers are doing globally.

To help us focus discussions at this workshop on issues that you experience in your daily work, please use the following link to go to a short questionnaire outlining the scenarios and let us know how closely they represent your own experiences: http://bit.ly/SSZQVY

Evan Frendo
Evan Frendo is a freelance Business English trainer, teacher trainer and author based in Berlin. He is also a Cambridge ESOL presenter. A frequent speaker at conferences, he also travels regularly in Europe and Asia to run courses or to work as a consultant. Evan has published various books over the years, including "How to teach Business English" (Longman, 2005), and most recently, four books in Pearson's new Vocational English series. To find out more visit his blog englishfortheworkplace.blogspot.com, where he discusses topics and issues relevant to anyone involved in business English and ESP.



Making the transition from business English trainer to cross-cultural trainer

(Saturday: Session D: 15.00 – 15.45)

What does it mean to be a cross-cultural trainer? What knowledge and skills are needed? How can you acquire or learn them? In fact, what exactly is cross-cultural training? And is business English training a good starting point if you are considering cross-cultural training as a next career step? These and other questions will be addressed and discussed with the audience. I will define what cross-cultural training is, in what contexts it typically takes place, and who the target populations are. I will also discuss the different roles of business English trainer and cross-cultural trainer, and where they may overlap. In the interactive part of the session I will demonstrate some cross-cultural activities that could also be used in business English training. Finally, I will suggest some next steps in professional development.

Adrian Pilbeam
Adrian Pilbeam is the founder of LTS Training and Consulting in Bath, UK. He has over 25 years’ experience of business English and intercultural training for corporate and institutional clients throughout Europe. His particular interest these days is trainer training. With his colleague, Philip O’Connor, he runs two courses for trainers who want to develop their knowledge and skills for intercultural training - ‘Developing intercultural training skills’, and the more advanced course, ‘Designing and delivering intercultural training’. These take place in Bath five or six times a year. He has also given versions of these courses to groups throughout Europe.



Keeping long-term training programs alive

(Saturday: Session E: 16.00 – 16.45)

You don't want to turn down the business but you are honestly bored of training the participants you have. What can you do? How can you keep thing fresh and maintain the same level of interest year in, year out? In this workshop we are going to look at how you can move outside your comfort zone and use other techniques to complement your training. We will look at relevant aspects of: motivation, progress, classroom techniques, as well as media, activities, and materials. We expect you to come away with concrete ideas which you can implement on Monday morning.

Kate Baade
Kate Baade and Nathan Wale are both InCorporate Training Program Managers at Target Training GmbH, where they are responsible for teams of embedded trainers. Kate is based at a large automotive supplier in Stuttgart and Nathan is based at a large engineering company in Karlsruhe. Nathan has worked for Target since 2004 and Kate joined Target in July 2011 following on from eight years at International House Madrid. Kate is also a co-author of Business Result Advanced, OUP.
Nathan Wale



The Tides of ELT

(Saturday: Session F: 17.00 – 17.45)

Ideas about ELT come and go like the tides: lexical approach; task-based learning; authenticity; functional language; intercultural awareness; grammar; linguistic vs communicative competence; pragmatics and politeness; ELF; dogme; online learning. In this talk I’ll give a crab’s eye underview of these issues from my corner of the rockpool. I’ll spot sand banks that have built up and stabilized as plants take root, pebbles that move to and fro without going anywhere, interesting bits of driftwood, and slowly decomposing seaweed. I’ll also identify two shoals of slippery fish that lie offshore but within reach of our nets: 1) the workings of memory and 2) sub-technical vocabulary (rather than topic vocabulary or functional expressions). And beneath the waves there is a shipwreck: pronunciation. Come along and be an anemone, filtering the water and feeding on any tiny organic particles you can find. At the end I’ll give you a chance to wave a tentacle and muddy the water.

Paul Emmerson
Paul Emmerson works as a writer, teacher, teacher trainer and website owner. He is the author of many Business English books, such as Email English, Business Grammar Builder, Business Vocabulary Builder and Five Minute Activities for Business English. His latest book is the self-published photocopiable resource book Management Lessons, available via his website www.paulemmerson.com

When he is not writing Paul teaches at The English Language Centre, Brighton, where he also runs a two-week BE teacher-training course. Paul has two Masters degrees, including an MA in Applied Linguistics, and is a regular presenter at international conferences.



Business English Competency based model for a Liquid Modernity

(Session G: 18.00 – 18.30)

“First of all, society is being transformed by the passage from the ‘solid’ to ‘liquid’ phase of modernity, in which all social forms melt faster than new ones can be cast.” (Bauman, 2005) We are immersed in a world that is perceived as a ‘matrix of random connections and disconnections’ and we, as well as our clients, need to take different actions and use different skills in response to different set of opportunities.

Being a competent business English communicator could mean different things not only to different people, groups or organizations, but also to the same person, group or organization under changing circumstances and times. As we all know, working life is saturated with uncertainty.

In this talk we will discuss what a competency based model is and how it can be used to follow this ever changing global world.

Mercedes Viola
Mercedes Viola lives and works in Uruguay. She holds a degree from the Universidad de la Republica Oriental del Uruguay and is finishing her MA in TESOL. She has been running a language school for more than 20 years. She is in charge of designing business English learning experiences for government-owned organizations, universities and many well known global companies such as Microsoft, HP, American Express, McDonalds, Deloitte, John Deere and MasterCard. She designs materials for business English clients and trains new teachers on business. She is a writer for the Teaching English site of the British Council and a member of the BESIG Online Team.



Sunday, 18 November 2012.

The heartbeat of English - Chunking revisited

(Sunday: Session H: 09.30 – 10.15)

Chunking seems to be a really powerful tool to help our learners slow down when they speak and ‘think and speak not in individual words, but in complete phrases. This means pausing in the right places’ (Mark Powell in Presenting in English, 1996). Chunking means ‘becoming more aware of the heartbeat of English’ (Mark Powell on Dynamic Presentations, Amsterdam, May 2011).

Ever wondered why Victoria and David Beckham are so popular? Not because of their achievements but because everybody can enjoy their English: they are natural 'chunkers’. So let’s find out how they do it!

There are several ways we can teach our students the heartbeat of English by means of chunking, including:

  • Marking pauses in audio scripts
  • Using visual support
  • Using kinaesthetic support
  • ‘Parroting’

This workshop will be fun, hands-on and really practical. Come and join us!

Marieke van der Meer
Marieke van der Meer is a first degree teacher of English and an applied linguist. She has been teaching since 1989. Has worked with Dutch business people from various sectors of industry and of all levels who wish to improve their English skills since 2005. She joined BESIG in 2007. In 2008 she started working for the British Council as a Cambridge Oral Examiner. She says "Having native speaker colleagues there is great and helps me keep my English up to date! Glad I can make up for last year when I had to withdraw from the conference because of a major last-minute translation job."



Should Business English training provide a platform for professional development?

(Sunday: Session J: 10.30 – 11.15)

This has been one of several interesting discussion strands this year on Linkedin’s BESIG forum on the role of communication skills, cross-cultural awareness and people skills content in BE materials and training.

This workshop will consider how a ‘fifth skill’ can be developed in the Business English classroom, taking examples from the new edition of Macmillan’s course for pre-service learners, The Business 2.0.

As well as considering the benefits of combining language and soft skills, we will re-open the debate on the BE teacher’s profile, and whether professional development in the classroom can be a two-way process.

John Allison
John Allison John Allison has designed, sold and delivered professional English courses in France since 1980. After many years of squeezing in teaching between sales and management responsibilities, he is now happy to spend more time in the classroom as a teacher and teacher trainer. He takes a special interest in new technologies and blended learning. He is the author of In Company Case Studies with Mark Powell, and The Business Intermediate, Upper Intermediate and Advanced with Paul Emmerson, Jeremy Townend, Rachel Appleby and Edward de Chazal. He is currently working on The Business 2.0.




Creative thinking

(Sunday: Session K: 11.45 – 12.30)

What kind of problems do you face preparing your students for exams? Are you finding creative solutions?

Creativity is the lodestone that can help an enterprise turn straw into gold if it is encouraged. Many people however believe that they themselves are not creative or feel that creativity is something irrelevant to their daily lives and certainly not to a topic such as getting students through BEC exams.

But maybe it is. Maybe it's very relevant.

In this workshop we will look briefly at some of the latest findings from neuroscience regarding creativity and try applying some creative techniques to typical challenges that we face as trainers when preparing students for an exam. Take the techniques with you and apply them to your students. And maybe everywhere else in your daily life as well.

James Schofield
James Schofield has taught Business English in Asia and Europe and now works as a senior consultant for Siemens in Munich. He has written course books for various publishers and also writes short stories for Business Spotlight. He is currently working on a full-length novel and you can follow his use of creative techniques, give him constructive feedback or simply be entertained by him tearing his hair out by looking at his blog, here: http://jrtschofield.blogspot.de.




BESIG Online Team (BOT)

Members of the BESIG Online Team (BOT) - Anne Hodgson, Carl Dowse, Claire Hart, Mike Hogan, and Mercedes Viola - will be joined by Kristen Acquaviva, Michelle Hunter and Michelle Teveliet to moderate the Annual Conference Online programme.

Please contact us here if you have any questions concerning the programme: carl.dowse@besig.org