William White

William White TEFL certificate William White TEFL certificate


Experienced British Financier and Businessman, holding UK accounting Degree and Wharton MBA, specializes in teaching Business English to adults in the Business and Banking communities. Recent Business experience in Spanish Speaking countries, plus fluency in Spanish, are specially relevant in this context.


Spanish Fluency; Investment Appraisal; Forensic Accounting; Accounting and Control IT Systems Design; Cross Border Treasury and lending; basic French; Basic German;

OxBridge trained with TOEFL certificate. Lead Presenter for Investments and Accounting Seminars. Taught English at British Council Institute in Lima, Peru.

International Banker 1988 - 2014. Prior experience as Auditor with PWC in Lima, Peru; Treasurer of Shell del Peru.

UK ACMA; Wharton MBA.

My teaching approach


I. Introduction: After a lifetime of business and banking in Latin America, teaching English is my second career, and I bring to it a knowledge of the specifics of business English, the difficulties faced by non-native English speakers in using English, and a strong desire to help students improve their business and banking English.  

II. Goals: In teaching Business English, my goal is that students learn to communicate effectively in English business settings.  The primary goal of business communication is clarity and the avoidance of misunderstandings – this is doubly important when operating in a second language.  The learning priorities for non-native users of English in business contexts, therefore, must be to understand receptive language (listening and reading) in the first instance (so as to be absolutely clear as to what is being proposed) and in the second instance to be able to express themselves clearly, initially in writing, and subsequently, as full proficiency is acquired, in speaking as well.


III. Students’ Needs: Students of business English have special needs – they are adults, and often busy with jobs and careers, which can make them impatient and frustrated when the pace of English acquisition seems to be slow.  Lessons therefore need to be punctual, organized and appropriately sequenced, and consist of content and activities relevant to business themes. 

Translation ability is a particular need of these students, at least from English texts into their native language, since in their daily jobs they may become the interface or hinge between English speaking counterparts outside the organization (customers, suppliers, etc.), and possibly non-English speaking colleagues within the organization.  


Although students of Business English tend to be well motivated, since the extrinsic benefits of improving their English are easily imagined, the motivation of these students still needs to be nurtured by appropriate class room interactions, and encouragement from the teacher.  Affective factors tend not to be dominant – students are often determined and results oriented individuals used to managing and motivating themselves through challenging situations.  One characteristic of this group is that they often have some basic level of English, acquired from prior learning attempts – building on the positive elements, and correcting any ingrained errors, from this prior knowledge, is a special challenge in dealing with such students. 

IV. Course Priorities:  The particular needs of Business English students, especially the need for clarity and avoidance of misunderstanding in business dealings, mean that special emphasis must be laid on students’ acquiring Listening and Reading skills, so that they can at least understand what is being proposed.  Simultaneously with Listening, basic Speaking skills must be developed (how else can correct understanding of Listening be validated other than by Students responding orally?). Subsequently, Business Writing skills will be emphasised. 

Given the importance of clear understanding to students of Business English, vocabulary and grammar are of primary importance. Translation of English language texts into the native language will assist in comprehension and acquisition of vocabulary and grammar, as well as impart a skill of critical importance for the Business user.  Pronunciation and Spelling are secondary priorities – whilst pronunciation is emphasised throughout the course during Oral Drills and Practices, spelling will be acquired inductively through reading, comprehension and translation, and then directly in the higher levels (P4 and P5) through exercises in producing written business English in the form of correspondence and report writing.  


V. Course Design and Syllabus:  Objectives, Content and Processes

The implications for course design of this prioritization of students’ needs are as follows:  in the initial stages of the course, basic Oral Communicative skills (Listening and Speaking) must be emphasised, since they go together, with Speaking validating correct understanding of Listening; as Students’ ability levels increase, Reading and comprehension skills will be developed, together with Translation of English texts into Spanish, and finally, in the later stages, Writing exercises and practise will be introduced, with an emphasis on business uses such as e-mail, written reports and correspondence. 
V. 1. Levels S1 and P2, therefore, are seen as a preparatory stage for Business English students (see Note ** below regarding Children’s learning), and will give priority to students acquiring Oral Skills, using progressively more complex Oral Drills, Controlled Practice, Modelling and other repetitive techniques, so as to bring the students’ proficiency levels as quickly as possible to the baseline required for levels P3, P4 and P5 to concentrate on Business English.  

In these preparatory stages, English will be the preferred language of instruction, using native tongue as little as practical, and will be graded according to the students ability to comprehend (i.e. very simple and restricted to begin with, gradually widening as course progresses).  Some Grammar structures in particular can best be taught using native language explanation.

A typical class at this Beginners’ level will consist of 4 phases: Introduction, Recap of prior class material, New material and Wrap Up.  Grammatical structures will be progressively introduced, using Modelling and Controlled Practice drills, and taught inductively, except where student comprehension is judged to benefit from direct explanation, with judicious use of native language if necesary. Material used will be level-appropriate realia and authentic material adapted to suit the learning needs of this level.  Vocabulary at this early level will include cognates as a way of giving confidence to students and accelerating their acquisition of basic vocabulary and Oral Skills.

The roles of the teacher at these preparatory levels are primarily to organize and control the class room activities, to transmit knowledge inductively via oral drills and practice, and to maintain the pace of pre-scripted classes, so as to bring students’ knowledge to the required P2 level within the planned time.  Teachers will gently but firmly correct errors so as to avoid their entrenchment and persistence into higher levels.  The students’ roles are as Imitators and recipients of information, assimilating through drills the vital Oral Skills required for the next stages of Business English.

** Note: Levels S1 and P2 in this program are not conceived as being for children and youngsters, per se, but as a preparatory stage for adult students.  It is widely recognised that children and young people acquire second languages with greater facility than adult students, as can be seen from the success of bi-lingual schools in Madrid (and elsewhere) in “painlessly” inculcating English, by providing class room instruction in most subjects in English, even though the lingua franca of the school administration and playground remains Spanish.)

V.2 Levels P3, P4, and P5, are the intermediate and advanced levels in which students’ learning is directed towards business communication skills, by progressively incorporating business topics and situations, as well as written comprehension and translation, and relevant writing skills such as e-mail and business letters and memoranda.  Oral communication skills will continue to be developed, using progressively more flexible and less restricted practice drills, dialogues and role playing, with a focus on business situations.

In these intermediate and advanced stages, students will have achieved a stage of interlanguage, where native and English language patterns co-exist, and indeed, the native language will strongly influence students’ approach to, and use of English.  In order to take students to the next level of proficiency in the target language, English will continue to be the preferred language of instruction, with a progressive upgrading to more idiomatic and advanced forms.  However, the native language will be used where advantageous, particularly in translation exercises and in explanations of grammar structures and of idiomatic vocabulary.

A typical class at the Intermediate and advanced levels will consist of 7 phases: Introduction, Conversational Topic 1, Grammar Structure 1, Comprehension / Translation, Conversational Topic 2, Grammar Structure 2, Wrap Up.  Grammatical structures will be progressively introduced, using Modelling and Controlled Practice drills, and will build on students’ existing knowledge.  The methodology will be inductive, and in English, except for those structures where a deductive approach and / or use of native language is judged to be more effective.


Conversational Topics will be introduced using authentic Reading material adapted to the level, so as to maximize relevance to the students’ objectives; both the teacher and the students will read the material, before the teacher leads a conversation highlighting key vocabulary to be acquired and practised.  The Comprehension / Translation material will be selected for business topicality and relevance, and will equally be read by both teacher and students, with students having the opportunity to ask questions and clarify understanding, before translating the passage into the native language.  Vocabulary will progressively incorporate business terms, including cognates and false friends, in order to accelerate students’ ability to communicate effectively in business situations.

The roles of the teacher at the intermediate and advanced levels are primarily to organize the course material, to lead topic based conversations, to impart grammar structures and relevant idiomatic vocabulary.  Teachers will correct pronunciation and other errors, using translation where appropriate.  The students’ roles are as Communicators and self-managed, self-directed acquirers of Business English.


VI. Evaluation and Assessment:  Throughout all 5 stages of the course, both students’ learning outcomes will be assessed and the course’s content and structure, evaluated.  At placement, individual students’ needs will be analysed and, where required, emphasis during the initial sessions will be placed on remediation and on building on existing prior acquired knowledge.  During each level, ongoing formative assessments will be carried out, via Observation, Quizzes, Tests, and Scoring of Written and Oral work among other tools, with the objective of adapting course work and teaching styles so as to optimize student learning.  Summative assessments will be made at the end of each Level, with promotion dependent upon successful completion. 

VII. Conclusion
:  Adapting the Communicative Approach to the special needs of students of Business English, involves taking elements from other teaching methodologies, such as Translation and use of native language for instruction in certain areas, in order to accelerate the acquisition of Communicative Skills by Business Users, and deliver a course tailored for the Business Community. 


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