Corporate Titles and Organization Charts
Many Business English students ask about titles. For example: What’s the difference between a Senior Manager and a Vice-President? Where do General Mangers do exactly? How do companies use titles differently? Trying to translate titles between English and another language can be quite tricky.
But a lesson on the topic can easily solve the problems. Here are several resources you can use and then some follow-up questions.
For starters… Wikipedia’s article on corporate titles is a good place to start. You’ll find a list of over 70 titles and descriptions of what the people do.
Check out some org charts… You can find links to thousands of org charts on the internet. Just do a search for “org charts” or “organization charts”. Here are a few links, anyway. Look at them with your students and discuss how they are similar or different to each other. Also, which titles do you see?
How about a joke? Follow this link for a funny cartoon. Ask your students why it’s funny?
And an article to read… Finally, about.com has a nice article about org charts. It briefly talks about charts, titles, and the purposes behind them. You can use it as a starting point for a discussion.
Here are some discussion questions you might ask your students:
- What’s the purpose of an organization chart?
- Do small companies need organization charts too?
- At what size does a company probably need a chart?
- How might a manager use a chart to increase productivity?
- How might an unclear chart hurt productivity?
- Which titles do all org charts need? Which titles are specific to certain companies?
- What’s your dream title? Why?
22 Private/Small Group Lesson Ideas…all you need is a laptop and a dream. And you don’t really need the laptop.
- Look at pictures of places and discuss.
- Read “The Road Not Taken” and discuss.
- Read “The Lottery” and discuss.
- Discuss trips you’ve taken. Start by thinking of all the adjectives you can.
- Think of a business situation and role play it (interviews, etc.).
- Summarize a movie.
- Summarize a book
- Summarize a trip.
- Summarize a past project.
- Summarize a future project.
- Visit the Centers for Disease Control website and discuss.
- Read an article from The Economist and discuss.
- TED.com videos (watch, discuss, comment).
- Learn speaking techniques at rachelsenglish.com.
- BusinessEnglishPod has 20 minute listenings you can expand into lessons.
- Pretend you’re making a hotel reservation online.
- Go shopping online and buy presents for the people you love.
- Or, buy stuff for yourselves online.
- Go to craigslist.com and try and sell something online.
- Order a pizza for a charity. Practice, then make a real phone call.
- Comment on YouTube videos. Like this one.
- Comment on Blogs. Like these.
How to teach Timing
Here are some ways to teach it in the classroom
And an extension… After reading a poem or listening to a song, ask the students to write another stanza/verse. Don’t worry about grammar and vocabulary. Focus on timing.
Sentence Pairs Create a list of short sentences. Read them to the students with different timing and then ask them for the differences in meaning. See this lesson plan on timing for some specific suggestions.
Special Timing Choose a paragraph for your students to read. Every time they get to a specific word (e.g. “so” or “very”), make them say it with extra special long timing. Alternatively, have them switch back and forth between long and short timing while they read. (The first time they read the word “so”, they should use long timing. The next time, they should use short timing. And so on.)
Use Your Bodies Ask your students to open and close their hands quickly for fast timing and slowly for slow timing. After they get good at that, try some other movements. They could wave, do knee bends, or spin.
Race! Have your students line up and get ready to race across the room (or go outside and do it in a yard or field). When you read something quickly, they can run. When you read it slowly, they should walk. The first person to go back and forth across the room ten times is the winner. The winner gets to read for the next race.
How to Explain Timing
Timing is how much time we give to a part of a speech in relation to the other parts of speech around it.
For example: I’m reeeeeealy tired.
And: I’m really tired.
In the first sentence “reeeeee” takes a lot longer to say than the other parts of the sentence. In the second, it takes about the same amount of time.
Timing can be long or short. In the above example, “reeeee” takes a long time. Here’s an example of a simple sentence with short, normal, and long timing.
Timing can also be used for pauses in a sentence. Compare:
That movie was interesting.
That movie was…interesting.
Finally, note how timing can affect the meaning of a sentence. I’m reeeeeealy tired is stronger. I’m good (said quickly) sounds like the speaker doesn’t want you to care about their goodness. That movie was…interesting means the movie wasn’t interesting.
Timing doesn’t change the meaning of a word or a sentence by itself—tone, intonation, and stress are also important—but timing is a key element of speech and something students should understand.
Making phone calls in English is really hard. Speaking is hard enough. Taking away expressions and gestures just makes it harder. The speech is a little unclear. Everything together stops many students from even trying to use the phone.
And that’s a pity because the phone makes life easier. Students who are afraid to use the phone can’t call to see if a store has something—they have to go the store. They can’t call to check up on a client—they have to hope things are fine. And perhaps the ultimate tragedy, they can’t order a pizza—they have to go out.
Teachers know this, but what’s a teacher to do? Here are some ideas:
Call Each Other Students practice speaking together all the time, but never on the phone. Send half the class to another room. Have a normal discussion, but have them talking on the phone.
Order Food for a Charity As a class, choose a charity you like. Find out where their office is. Then, call them and tell them your class is going to support them by buying them a pizza. Ask them what kind they’d like. Call a pizza restaurant and order one for the charity. One student will actually make each call. The cost for the pizza and the phone calls shouldn’t be more than $30.
Go Slow Of course you don’t need to jump right to using real telephones. Before making any calls, write practice dialogues to imagine how things will go.
Back-to-Back Ask the students to memorize dialogues (or get close) and do them with their backs to each other and their eyes closed. They’ll have a harder time hearing each other and won’t be able to rely on gestures, etc.
Lights Out! Turn off all the lights and do your discussion that way. This will also help them practice speaking without relying on images.
Analyze the Problems Sometimes just knowing why something is hard can make it easier. Ask the students to write down all the possible problems they might have making a phone call. Then brainstorm solutions to each problem.
What?! One of the big problems on the phone is not understanding. Review ways to ask someone to repeat things.
Plan a Holiday Hotels and airlines often have toll free numbers you can call. Ask your students to put together a holiday package. Give them a budget. Then ask them to call different hotels and airlines to get information on prices and amenities. Just don’t all call the same hotel…
For those who have to make syllabuses, sometimes it can be a bit of a challenge. Thought you might like a sample. Enjoy.
(Or you can just read it below)
The main objective of Conversation is to improve the practical conversation skills of the students.
The following things are needed to have a conversation: Grammar, Vocabulary, Listening Skills, Pronunciation, Fluency, and Prosody. Of these, we will focus on Fluency and Prosody.
Fluency is being able to speak easily, without having to translate from Korean to English in your head.
Prosody is word stress, timing, and intonation.
Grammar, Vocabulary, Listening Skills, and Pronunciation won’t be the focus of the course. However, that does not mean that they aren’t important. Students should work to improve them outside of class.
After the course, students will be able to:
- Participate in conversations between people who have met recently.
- Participate in conversations about technology.
- Participate in conversations about music.
- Participate in conversations about lifestyle.
- Participate in conversations about people.
- Participate in conversations about places.
- Participate in conversations about the past.
“Method” means “how”. How will students learn? The best way to improve conversation skills is by talking a lot. Students will receive materials to prepare them to have conversations and then will practice having the conversations. At first, the conversations will be very basic. After some practice, we will try speaking more freely.
In addition, students will practice speaking outside of the classroom.
Homework: 30% Students will receive twelve assignments and must complete at least eight of them. If you do more than eight, you will receive extra credit on the final exam. Students who complete all twelve assignments will receive an automatic 100% (A+) on the final exam and will not have to take the final exam.
Office Meetings: 20% Each student is required to come to my office for a 30 minute meeting twice during the semester. Up to three students can come at a time. You will just practice speaking with me during this time. (If you come and talk, you will receive 100%.)
Exams: 20% There will be a midterm and a final exam. They are each worth 10% of the grade.
TOEIC: 10% Your TOEIC score is worth 10% of your grade.
If you miss more than 5 classes you will get an F for the course. If you are late at the beginning of class, you will receive half credit for the day.
Title Author Publisher Year
You can buy this book at the university bookstore.
The professor will give the students many supplementary materials to help students learn the material better.
Weeks Objectives Textbook Units
|1-8||Participate in conversations between people who have met recently.
Participate in conversations about technology.
Participate in conversations about music.
Participate in conversations about lifestyle.
|9-16||Participate in conversations about lifestyle (Continued)
Participate in conversations about people.
Participate in conversations about places.
Participate in conversations about the past.
Units 7 and 8 may be used in class if there is time.
How to teach Intonation
Here are five ways to teach it in the classroom
Play a game The concept of intonation can be hard, but students are quick to know what’s wrong when they’re listening for it. So, create a dialogue and then and read it for the class. Read some lines of the dialogue with the wrong intonation. Have the students note which ones are wrong. The person/team that correctly identifies all the wrong intonation wins.
Dialogue Tree Lots of times, you can use rising or falling intonation, but the meaning changes. (For example: “I bought a car” –vs– “I bought a car?”.) Have the students write a dialogue on some theme. Every third line, they should write two possible replies—one with rising and one with falling intonation—and then continue on writing both dialogues. Make the dialogues short or they’ll run out of paper quickly.
I only go up Give the students a discussion topic, but tell them one partner can only use rising intonation. (So, one partner will need to ask lots of one word questions.) They should discuss the question for two minutes and then switch.
Identify the weakness and make it go away Do your students have trouble with some specific intonation pattern? If so, force them to practice it in creative ways. For starters, they should write dialogues that use the pattern. Then give them discussion questions that use the pattern or discussion questions that might elicit the pattern for the answer.
Just the intonation, please After students write a dialogue ask them to label it in a way that will let them know the intonation patterns. (For examples, they can put and “up” or “down” arrow on each word. Then, they should cross out all the words and read the dialogue without words. They can just make neutral sounds (e.g. grunts) or hum the sentences.
What’s intonation? Why is it important?
Intonation is when your voice goes up or down in a sentence. Said another way, intonation is your voice going from high to low or low to high. Your voice can start high and go down (falling intonation). It can start low and go up (rising intonation). It can go up, down, up. It can go down, up, down.
It’s important because intonation affects meaning in different ways. Lets look at some examples.
I eat apples.
You like apples?
Rising and then falling
Where did he go?
Note that if you change the intonation pattern, the meaning changes.
Rising intonation changes a statement to a question.
I eat apples?
Falling intonation makes a question sound unimportant to you. (You don’t care about the answer.)
You like apples?
Double rising intonation on a wh- question makes it sound like you misunderstood the first time you heard the answer.
Where did he go?
Here are some more resources for you to check out to learn more about intonation and all the ways it can affect meaning.
While learning all the rules for how intonation can affect meaning can be useful, just listening a lot and unconsciously imitating patterns is even better.