Macmillan Online Conference, Business Section, mobility of BE


Enjoying the Online Macmillan Conference (Business Section) at the comfort of home, with my baby sleeping by.

Mike Hogan’s session on mobility of Business English was great, very inspiring and very much up-to-the-minute.

all about how mobile our business learners have become and how important it is to be pro-active and respond effectively to all the business-on-the-move challenges.

Here are some of the thoughts from the presentation&talk that work for me…

Mike started his talk by mentioning some of the 21st century learning trends: people getting bored easily (which is terrible, but true – and I think one of the reasons, at least for me, is over-accessibility of information on all our mobile devices. personally, I have a bad habit of opening 20+ windows in my browser and trying to catch up with all the information at the same time, typing away a text-message or to-do list too – but here is where the trend of multitasking comes in), wanting quick results, doing rather than knowing, and not-necessarily-linear way of learning: you don’t have to start with the point 1 and с ontinue all through anymore.

Today’s learning demands the learning materials to be based on video, pictures and sound, it should be accessible from everywhere and interactive. Networking is also in, and works well for business students and teachers.

All these things require new forms of learning, and we can see this reflected by Macmillan books – E-workbook for Global, The Business, new edition of InCompany. Global also offers a lot for learning on the move – like audio you can upload on your Ipod.

Talking about mobility in today’s business world, everything has become much more dynamic – jobs are changed more often, virtual teams and home offices appear and work. As business English teachers are agents for changes, we should bring the changes into the leraning&teaching process, too.

And the main change to encourage is to shift the responsiblity for learning and constantly being in process of learning (by listening to podcasts, watching videos, communicating in English) from ourselves to our students. it’s they who have to bear responsiblity for their own progress, and we can just be there for them – every time they need us.  So, learner autonomy is something business English learning should be aiming for.

However, at the same time low-tech ways of learning are also fine – why can’t a business person print out a worksheet from OneStopEnglish and work with it while he is in a plane?

Mike also mentioned some of the fantastic language apps, and he offered an interesting distinction: MALL (Mobile Applications for language learning) vs MALU (Mobile Applications for Language Usage).

About Svetlana Urisman

I am an ADOS and an English teacher (and materials writer) in a language school in Moscow. I have been an ADOS and a teacher trainer for a couple of years and a teacher for about 10 years. I am keen to share some ideas and materials I've developed in order to take them further and not to lose them. You are welcome to use any materials represented in this blog, and I will be happy to get your feedback afterwards if you take them to your classroom! ;-)
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2 Responses to Macmillan Online Conference, Business Section, mobility of BE

  1. Hi Svetlana, I totally agree with your views here and I too stress the importance to ‘shift the learning responsibility to the students’ – I constantly recommend online Podcasts, Webcasts and other audio-visual material, which from the best English learning sites are mostly FREE and easy to use. Not to mention what is available on YouTube. So I often and constantly urge my students to take advantage of these freebies. Showing the students how to use them by giving them Listening guidelines to follow and then giving them the opportunity to TELL the teacher (me) what they’ve learnt or understood.
    Nives 🙂

    • Hi Nives, thanks for your comment. Yes, that’s definitely a good idea to recommend all these materials to your students and to ask them to come back to you and to share what they’ve learnt…Unfortunately, it doesn’t work for all the students anyway – but if at least some of the people get involved, it’s already good news!

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