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Teach Business English with Mind Maps

Teach Business English with Mind Maps

A mind map is an invaluable tool to teach business English. A mind map is a diagram used to visually organize information. It starts with a central word or image to which ideas are connected and developed in the form of images, words or phrases. Mind maps are useful on so many levels: they can develop ideas, speed up note taking or serve as a memory or prompting tool.
They can be a pleasant and useful addition to classroom teaching and can often appeal more to the more creative students. They are a great way of developing vocabulary and they allow students to draw on what they know and develop what they don’t know.


How to Use Ready-Made Mind Maps in Your Business Classes

The above mind map can be used to create three different lessons

What do you need to make this task/project-based lesson (TBL/ PBL) lesson successful?

-Three (3) A4 sized copies of the mind map (preferably in color), one projector, laptop.

-Copy of the mind map (as a JPEG or PDF on your laptop).

-Knowledge of PPT, and Pecha Kucha®.

-Master copy of a Pecha Kucha® style PPT (preset with 10 frames @ 20 seconds each).

-Good classroom management skills.

-Understanding of lesson chunking, scaffolding, and increased complexity.

Lesson 1: Part 1a – Speaking skills (45 minutes)

-Write ‘The Elevator Pitch’ on the (white) board, flip chart, etc.

-Ask for knowledge of the following terms: elevator pitch, engaging question, take-away, and USP.

-Allow students to use their smartphones to research definitions and mind maps business classes.

-Use YouTube for clips about the ‘Elevator Pitch’ to pre-teach (great listening exercise).

-Walk around the room and engage students in an interactive dialogue.

-Write their answers on the (white) board, flip chart, etc.

-Ask them the questions put forth on the mind map, (do not show them the mind map yet) dividing the questions up -equally amongst the students. Give them time to think their answers out.

-Make a second round and listen carefully to their answers.

Be Socratic if needed, and remember that there is no right or wrong answer.

Part 1b – Connecting the dots – writing skills (45 minutes)

-Project the mind map onto the wall; do not hand out separate copies of it to each student. It is also recommended to have several A3 color copies passed around the room.

-Students can use their smartphones to take a picture of it. This always works out better.

-Next, have them take 3 sheets of A4 sized paper, and cut each into 4 equally sized pieces. Make it fun by guiding them –through a quick psychomotor exercise (fold and tear).

-Have students write each question of the mind map on a separate piece of paper.

-Students can arrange the questions in any order they choose but must answer all 10.

-Now, allot the rest of class time to answering the questions.

-After about 5 minutes, start walking around the room and checking for progress.

-Assign the unfinished work as an out-of-class task.

Lesson 2 – Practice makes perfect – speaking skills (90 minutes)

-As soon as the next class starts, have them pull out their finished assignments.

-Assign them to work in teams (pairs), compare each other’s answers and use these to formulate their individual elevator pitches.

-Walk around the room to check for language and grammar errors.

-Make suggestions for improvement.

-After about 30 minutes, have volunteers make their elevator pitch to the group.

-Give immediate diagnostic feedback on language errors and solutions for improvement.

-Depending on the size of the group, not everyone may get a chance to present.

-Take the time to give everyone a chance – even if that means repeating this part again.

-Announce the Pecha Kucha® assignment at this point.

-If using Moodle or another communication platform, upload a master copy of a Pecha Kucha®, or email this to the learners.

Lesson 3 – Storytelling: preparing a Pecha Kucha® style presentation (90 minutes)

-Introduce the PPT Pecha Kucha® style by showing them how it works.

-Display and demonstrate the master PPT.

-Go over the details of your expectations for the PPT:

-10 frames @ 20 seconds each (no exceptions)

-Total presentation is about 3 minutes 30 seconds (10 X 20 = 200 seconds)

-PPT changes automatically every 20 seconds once it has been started

-No bullet points allowed

-Each frame can have a maximum of three pics

-No ‘over the top’ animation within the frames (very distracting)

-Other than that, let them be as creative as possible within the given framework

-Now, allow them to use the rest of classroom time to start putting it together.

-Wait a few minutes before making your rounds, act as a knowledgeable guide.

-Encourage them by giving praise, and be Socratic.

-Before ending this part, be sure to go over any assessment criteria.

-Let them finish their PPT work at home.

Lesson 4 – Pecha Kucha® Day (90 minutes)

-Student’s attitude towards their personal learning experience stands out on this day.

-Be fair by letting them take numbers for the presentation order.

-Upload all PPTs onto one laptop – this will save time and avoids any technology glitches.

-Get started, and be consistent.

-Give diagnostic feedback right on the spot.

-You have successfully completed a PBL lesson with a simple mind map.

-Moderate a round of reflection with the learners about their experience.

-The more you repeat this lesson, the smoother it runs.

“As appeared in IATEFL BESIG Business Issues Magazine –  Spring Issue 2017″

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