ELTABB Journal Volume 1 - Page 14

The tweaking will help prepare learners to deal with the Unpredictability element they will encounter in real life – we Have all had to deal with difficult people at some point! I was marvelled recently when I saw Driss (Omar Sy), in the job interview scene from Intouchables, in which he inverted the power roles between him (a Senegalese immigrant) and Phillipe, a quadriplegic millionaire (François Cluzet). In stark contrast to the other candidates’ enthusiasm, Sy expresses no desire to get hired and simply requires a signature confirmation of attendance – he ends up getting the job. Phillipe conducts many interviews for this role before Driss’. Driss, on the other hand, has clearly been through this process before – he is unemployed. For both these characters, were they to do this in a Business English classroom, their tasks would be similar to those they carry out in real life, and not roles for them to act as different people. It makes sense, at least for me, to use simulations with learners over role-plays, because it draws upon their pre-existing knowledge and experience. How do you run a simulation? Take the job interview again from Intouchables. As I mentioned previously, both parties in the interview had practised it before hand, whether that be Sy’s experience of getting the impractical for me to assume so and provide them with a structure for the interview. Rather, I elicit the missing information to ‘flesh-out’ the simulation skeleton. Working with this information, we coconstruct the stages of the simulation in order to align it more closely with a task-type learners are likely to encounter. Going back to the interview scene in Intouchables, I would like to pull out another element present in Driss’ interview tactic – unpredictability. I often allow learners to run through the simulation once before I assign a new role for them to play in the task. Essentially, this is an element of a role-play in so much as it requires learners to perform or act a part they would not otherwise. It does, however, play some relevance to their job roles. For example, I ask them to invert the status roles (interviewer with the power - interviewee without) by asking the interviewee to use higher status behaviours (speaking slowly, using more complex sentences or sitting back in their chairs, stand instead of sitting). The tweaking will help prepare learners to deal with the unpredictability element they will encounter in real life – we have all had to deal with difficult people at some point! All of these are tweaking tricks I have used to push learners to experiment with new language and provide more focus on the process of completing the task rather than completion of the task. signature or Phillipe’s previous interviews that day. Rehearsal. After setting the scene, ask learners to call their partner or friend to ask for some advice for the interview – it does not rehearse the interview per se, but it certainly runs them through the script they will use after. My learners – experienced business people who need English to help them do their jobs better and not to pass university exams - know much more than I do about their interactions in the workplace, so it is highly Dale Coulter Dale Coulter has taught in a variety of teaching contexts for the past five years. He now specialises in corporate language training and is the Human Resources Manager for All on Board in Berlin. You can find him on his blog here at www.languagemoment.wordpress.com 14