Syllabus for Beginner Business English Course - Part I: Lessons 1 - 9

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This syllabus was written for teachers of false beginners in a business English setting. The focus here is therefore mainly on the workplace. However, the basic structures that are introduced should be the same for any type of class. You can vary the content of your lessons to make sure they fit your and your students' learning objectives.

Syllabus: Lesson 1

Theme: Introductions

Your first lesson focuses on the verb "to be," which will help students to begin discussing basic questions. Possessive adjectives such as "her" and "his" will encourage students to discuss what they learn from other students, and learning nations and national adjectives can help them talk about their own countries.

The revised language items will include:

  • The verb "to be"
  • Revision of possessive adjectives: my, your, her, his
  • Basic greetings

The new language items introduced will include:

  • The use of names of countries
  • Expansion of lexical set: basic greetings
  • Expressions including countries and nationalities

Syllabus: Lesson 2

Theme: The World Around Me

This lesson focuses on objects that can be found both in and out of the classroom. It might be a good idea to take the class on a short walk around your school to help them become familiar with the concept of here/there, this/that. Working on basic adjectives in opposite pairs (big/small, cheap/expensive, etc.) will help students begin describing their world. 

The revised language items will include:

  • Spelling skills
  • Revision of letters of the alphabet

The new language items introduced will include:

  • The use of questions and negatives with the verb "to be"
  • The use of determiners: this, that, those and these
  • The use of articles: "a" and "an"
  • Expansion of lexical set: "everyday objects" (singular and plural)
  • Expressions including basic opposite adjectives

Syllabus: Lesson 3

Theme: My Friends and I

This lesson helps students begin discussing schedules, meetings, and other responsibilities. The focus is on numbers, time, marital status, and other personal items that require students to give information involving numbers and spelling. 

The revised language items will include:

  • Singular and plural nouns
  • Numbers 1–100, phone numbers
  • The use of the verb "to be" for giving personal information

The new language items introduced will include:

  • Giving personal information: name, marital status, phone number, address, age
  • Asking for and telling the time, prepositions used for telling the time "at," "past," "to"
  • Expansion of lexical set: "jobs"

Syllabus: Lesson 4

Theme: A Day in the Life of…

The big focus in this lesson is the use of the simple present tense to speak about routines, habits, and other daily tasks. Make sure to help students learn the differences between the verb "to be" and all other verbs. This will require a special focus on the helping verb "to do" in questions and negative sentences. 

The revised language items will include:

  • Times of the day, the 12-hour clock—a.m. and p.m.
  • Revision of basic verbs used to describe daily routines

The new language items introduced will include:

  • The use of the present simple (1)
  • The use of the first, second, and third-person singular in the present simple
  • Expansion of lexical set: "daily routines"
  • Expressions including verbs and nouns that go together, prepositions used for times of the day—in the morning, afternoon, evening/at night

Syllabus: Lesson 5

Theme: The Workplace

In this lesson, you will expand on the present simple by introducing adverbs of frequency such as "usually," "sometimes," "seldom," etc. Move from discussions focusing on "I" to talking about others with "he," "she," "we," etc. It's a good idea to ask students to write up questions, interview other students, and report back to class to help students recognize and begin using different pronouns.

The revised language items will include:

  • Continuation of the present simple (2)
  • Revision of basic verbs used to describe work tasks

The new language items introduced will include:

  • The use of negative and question forms in the present simple
  • The use of the first, second, and third-person plural in the present simple
  • The use of adverbs of frequency
  • Prepositions of place and movement: "to," "in," "at"
  • Expansion of lexical set: "daily work routines"
  • Expressions including asking for help and asking someone to repeat

Syllabus: Lesson 6

Theme: Talking about Work

Continue exploring the work world while discussing a larger time frame when introducing days of the week, months, and seasons to the class. Have students discuss typical activities for each time of the year, day of the week, or month. 

The revised language items will include:

  • Greetings and informal discussion about work tasks
  • Revision of seasons, months, and days of the week

The new language items introduced will include:

  • Expansion of lexical set: "means of communication"
  • Expressions including terms used for talking about the relationships between people in an office

Syllabus: Lesson 7

Theme: The Ideal Office

Drill down into the office world by focusing on office equipment. Ask students to discover what other students' workplaces look like by working with "any" and "some" (i.e., Are there any tables in your office?, We have some copiers in our office, etc.).

The revised language items will include:

  • Revision of lexical set: "things in the office"
  • Revision of daily work tasks

The new language items introduced will include:

  • The use of "there is" and "there are" for descriptive purposes and in the interrogative form
  • The use of "some" and "any" in the positive, negative, and interrogative form
  • Expansion of lexical set: "furniture" to include items commonly found in an office
  • Expressions including prepositions of place including: on, in, near, next to, in front of, and between

Syllabus: Lesson 8

Theme: The Interview

Finish up this first section of the syllabus by expanding students' vocabulary skills with common workplace collocations. Use mock interviews to introduce the modal "can" to speak about abilities.

The revised language items will include:

  • Verbs expressing skills and abilities
  • Revision of expressions used for asking and giving personal information

The new language items introduced will include:

  • The use of "can" to express ability
  • The use of "to have"
  • Expansion of lexical set: "skills and abilities"
  • Expressions including verb-noun collocations (words that go together)

Syllabus: Lesson 9, Check Module I

  • The revised language items will include: "introductions," "numbers and letters," "skills and abilities," "telling the time," "describing your daily work routine," "numbers and letters," "means of communication"
  • Grammar Revised: The use of the verb "to be" in the present simple, possessive adjectives, the use of the present simple, the use of articles, singular and plural nouns, the use of basic prepositions of movement and place, the use of "some" and "any," the use of "there is" and "there are," the use of adverbs of frequency, the use of "can" to express abilities, the use of "to have," the use of determiners
  • Vocabulary Revised: Countries and nationalities, telling the time, jobs, work routines, objects in an office, months, seasons, and days of the week, asking for help and repeating, relationships at work

At this point, it's a good idea to assess students' comprehension with a quiz. The test should not be long but should include each element of the first eight lessons.