Sessions / Business Communication
Knight (2019) explores how business case discussions were conducted with his undergraduate students in Japan in classes held on campus in university classrooms. The COVID-19 pandemic led to the necessity to teach business case discussions online using synchronous and asynchronous approaches, and Knight (2021) investigates how his teaching of business case discussions changed using a checklist of items from Harvard Business School (HBS). The presenter discovered that Knight’s (2019, 2021) approaches for teaching business cases (online) could also be used with relatively low-level English language learners in undergraduate Business Communication classes and with high-level English language learners in a University Extension course for adult business professionals. When leadership is conceptualized as involving communication to create and to achieve visions/goals (Knight, 2013), business cases can be taught online by placing students in learning teams who communicate with each other to identify business problems and propose solutions. In this way, the students are developing their business communication and leadership communication skills. The presenter will discuss his experience of teaching business cases online and explain how threaded discussions can be used to show evidence of improved skills and to enhance discussions and presentations.
English is used as the lingua franca of international commercial law practice and globalization has ensured ongoing interest in this area of English for Specific Purposes (ESP) around the world. However, the challenges of learning complex legal language can be very acute for the growing body of lawyers and business professionals from non-English speaking backgrounds, including Japan. Widespread criticism of the archaic and technical nature of legalese has led to the development of the Plain English Movement, which is designed to simplify legal English in order to communicate more effectively. The use of plain English refers to language that is clear and straightforward, which makes the law comprehensible and more directly relevant to those who deal with it. As a specialist in teaching legal discourse practices, I present some of the main initiatives in this global sociolinguistic movement (with examples) to demonstrate how ESP instructors can account for these linguistic changes in order to educate business/law students and professionals already working in business law contexts. In particular, I show how the use of plain language in legislative drafting is paving the way for more systematic changes in the use of contracts, legal briefs and client letters of advice. Many professionals in commercial law practice have found plain language to not only save significant time and money, but also generate income by attracting new clients. The same socio-economic benefits can be realized in Japan with more effective ESP pedagogy and communication training in this field.
The rate of women entrepreneurs in Japan is abysmally low compared to other nations. In fact, Japan ranks last among OECD countries, and data indicates that a mere 17% of Japanese women declared to have knowledge about starting or growing their own business. The current situation indicates the need for learning materials that not only introduce the topic of entrepreneurship to all students but also showcase female models of business success. To this end, the presenters have created a series of experiential learning materials centered around a strong female character, Mirai Takahashi, who is in the process of launching a business start-up with the guidance of her mentor, Catherine Sakamoto. Through Takahashi’s successes and failures, students experience the risks and rewards of starting their own company. The purpose of this session is to highlight how the presenters are currently using these materials and to introduce a series of academic studies regarding how material design can influence perceptions of entrepreneurship, gender equality, and digital transformation in business. The presenters will describe their current efforts to gather both quantitative and qualitative data for these studies and share their initial results. Active participation from audience members is strongly encouraged.
This study explores the perception of the effectiveness of group writing and group discussion activities used in face-to-face lessons adapted for online learning. The 68 participants in three different classes had a minimum TOEIC score of 500 and provided feedback on a regular basis. Ranking, open-ended, and closed-ended questions were used for the polls at the end of some lessons, a monthly survey of the classroom activities, and a final questionnaire covering the entire course. The results indicated that the majority of students preferred to work alone and perceived any kind of group work to be better suited for face-to-face course delivery versus an adapted format for online course delivery.
BizCom SIG Forum #1225
The Business Communication SIG is looking forward to your participation in our 2021 forum. We would like to extend an invitation to both members and non-members alike who have an interest (or career) touching the theme of language instruction or skill training in the business domain. As a pretty informal event, it's a great way to socialise and network with others in your field, get to know some of the SIG's officers and members a little better, and to chat about any recent trends and issues of concern or interest. For example - How has your teaching changed over the last few years? How has this affected you and your learners/customers? Are the shifting modes of communication conducive to positive WTC? And so on. So be sure to grab a tasty brew, pull up a comfortable chair, and see you there!