Framework materials have been around in business English and ESP for a long time. Nolan & Reed (1992) is perhaps the best introduction, but there have been many others. Ellis & Johnson (1994) devote 25 pages to them (pp 131-156), and give many examples. Dudley-Evans & St John (1997, pp 180-183), Frendo (2005, p 51) and Osborne (2005, p 69) mention them too. Emmerson (2002) provides many more examples. 

So what are framework materials? Framework materials are typically sheets of paper with key words or phrases which can be used to generate language directly relevant to a learner’s needs. Learners make notes on the paper and then use those notes to discuss issues with other learners and / or the trainer.

Last week I went to the ninth ELF conference in Lleida. This was a who's who of ELF research, and the whole event was a celebration of the great work being done in this area, with talks by scholars from all over the world. There were plenty of sessions directly relevant to business English and ESP, and I also had the chance to meet or catch up with some well-known BELF researchers, people like Alessia Cogo, Anne Kankaanranta, Marie-Luise Pitzl, Pamela Rogerson Revell, and Patricia Pullin.

Had a bit of fun producing this, and used it to good effect in an English for negotiations class as a warm-up. Inspired by a poem by Brian Bilston called At the Intersection.

IATEFL BESIG is coming up to its thirty year anniversary. As part of the celebrations, various people were asked to write commemorative articles for the BESIG newsletter (Business Issues). This is my contribution - a review of the last thirty years of business English research.

The context

I sometimes get native speakers of English joining my higher level in-company courses in Germany. They come for different reasons – I remember one Indian manager who turned up because his (German) boss thought he needed training to smooth out his accent. His English was excellent, but it was also true that he spoke a variety of English which the Germans struggled with.

I enjoy conferences, and I am lucky enough to go to quite a few. It’s a chance to meet up with friends and colleagues, to learn, to network, to see the rock stars, and so on. And like many of us, when I can’t attend in person, I like to spend time on the conference websites and on social media following what is happening. I can see what people are up to, get links to useful resources, and simply enjoy the buzz.

As most readers of this blog know, I work in corporate language training. Years ago I was asked by an HR manager to test a German employee who had been shortlisted for a possible job in Asia.  The job would entail negotiating in English with engineering suppliers all over Asia.

This year has seen the publication of some really excellent books for anyone teaching English for the Workplace. I thought it might be nice to finish off the year with short descriptions of three of my favourites.

Exploring Professional Communication – Stephanie Schnurr  (Routledge).

This book looks at professional communication from an Applied Linguistics perspective. Full of examples of authentic discourse, it provides a very useful grounding in what such communication is all about.

Almost time for the annual IATEFL BESIG conference. This time it's in Prague, and there'll be around 400 participants. Can't wait.

One innovation this year was for speakers to publish a 1-3 min video preview of their talk. Lots of people took up the challenge, and you can see many of the results on the IATEFL BESIG Youtube channel. My own talk is on Impression Management, and I thought I would try out Videoscribe. See what you think. Just click the link here.

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to speak at the Teaching English for Healthcare conference in Locarno, Switzerland. As always at these events, there was lots of discussion prompted by the talks.