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.
Website Review: Learn English—British Council
In Short: The best site on the internet for learning English. It’s multilevel. It’s really big. It’s really helpful.
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For Teachers: Send your students to the site and have them write their own reviews. Ask them to answer three questions: (1) What can you listen to on this site? Describe it. (2) Is this a good site? Why/Why not? (3) Would you recommend it to a friend? Why/Why not?
Website Review: Teaching English www.teachingenglish.org.uk/
In short: The best site for English teachers on the internet. If you only have time to visit one site a day, this should be it. What do you need? Activities for you classroom? They got ‘em. Training to make you a better teacher? Oh heck yeah. A worldwide community to bounce ideas off of, get help from, and have fun with. Si. Da. Nae. Hai. Tak. Yes. Yes. Yes.
For students: This site is mainly for teachers, but if your teacher isn’t using it, you might tell them about it. Also, check out their sister site for students: http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en
For teachers: If you can’t find what you’re looking for, they also have links to tons of other sites. Oh, and make sure to like them on Facebook…
Website Review: bbclearningenglish.com
In short: Wow, what a great site. Some of the best things are:
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- “Get that job” has lots of useful quizzes that’ll help you get ready to apply for a job in English.
- Short lessons on Business English and traveling in London with quizzes.
- And much more. The “Grammar, Vocabulary, and Pronunciation” category has 11 sections (This pronunciation tool is especially cool.)
For students: “The Flatmates” are fantastic short episodes about a group of young Londoners. Listen every morning. It’ll only take a few minutes. It’s a great way to start your day.
For teachers: Be sure to click on the for teachers tab to find tons of great stuff (like lesson plans) that practically turns the site into a full-on curriculum.
Website Review: iteslj.org
In short: One of the five best ESL sites on the internet. They have everything. They’ve been putting out great material for 15 years and let’s hope they never stop. Their own menu bar says it all: Articles, Lessons, Techniques, Questions, Games, Jokes, Things for Teachers, Links, and Activities for Students.
The site is organized perfectly. There’s no distracting advertising. If you have a slow connection, this site will still load quickly. What more could you want?
For students: The “Activities for Students” button will take you to this site a4esl.org, There, you’ll find many fun things you can do to improve your English.
For teachers: You can learn from the articles and use the lessons, techniques, etc. Why not contribute as well? See if you can get an article published. You’ll learn a lot while preparing it and give a little back to the community of teachers and students around the world.
Website Review: englishonline.org.cn
In short: A great site. An amazing site. This is a really wonderful site.
Let’s start by saying that it’s difficult to describe this site “in short”. You’ll need about three hours to just look at everything. But the fine British Council folks in China have made a site that’s easy to understand and use. Grab a cup of tea and start enjoying all the great resources.
Then you might check out some idioms or other shorter bits of language on the site. They come with wonderful audio tracks, videos, or cartoons.
Maybe the best things on the site are the video and audio series. “Big City Small Word” is an audio soap opera that would be great for students studying alone or for a class to listen to together. If you’re looking for Business English resources, you’ll find an essential series that takes you from an employee getting fired through interviews and to a new person starting.
And everything is very interactive. You really feel like you’re part of a global English community.
For students: In addition to reading, listening, and following a series, you can also play lots of useful games. This site makes it easy to learn English. Have fun!
For teachers: Click on the “Go To English Online Teachers” tab to find a bunch of resources just for you. You’ll find downloadable workshops and other great tools to help you become a better teacher. There are even lesson plans that accompany some of the material on the main site.
Website Review: businessenglishpod.com
In short: This is one of the best ESL websites on the internet. The listening activities are excellent and cover a wide range of relevant business topics. In the listenings, new material is presented in natural conversations, and then everything is reviewed slowly. Finally, students can practice using the new words in audio fill-in-the-blank exercises.
There are also interesting games and vocab lessons. The companion website, videovocab.tv, is more of the same, but with images to go along with the listening.
Finally, the website is easy to use, professional, and everything loads quickly and plays smoothly. The main stuff is free, but there are attractive extras (like transcripts) at reasonable prices.
For students: Listen to these every day and your English will certainly improve. Stop and replay difficult sections. Write your own dialogues to solidify the material.
For teachers: These podcasts make excellent, easy-to-use, homework. The three main questions that go with each one also make for an easy quiz at the beginning of the next lesson. You can quickly check to see if students did the work without it being an essential part of your lesson.