Free ESL Lesson Plan – Business English Idioms
This is a handy lesson plan to prepare your Business English students for the business environment.
Topic: Idioms in a business situation:
Bail a company out, big cheese, double check, figure out, get off the ground, heads will roll, in the red, sell like hot cakes, tight spot, work out, take over
Level: Upper Intermediate, Advanced
Age: Adult 19+
Length: 45 minutes
TESOL Methodology: Eclectic approach: slide show, dialogue recording and text, crossword worksheet
Language Skills: Listening, reading, writing, speaking
Lesson Objectives: Students will be able to demonstrate recognition of idiom phrases spoken by counting. Students will be able to call out loud the correct phrase to a defining picture. Students will be able to use their reading skill to read a text and answer questions. Students will be able to write idiom phrases on the crossword worksheet.
Resources: Whiteboard and markers, business meeting dialogue recording and text, speakers, projector screen and computer, picture cards, crossword worksheet, paper and stationery for students
Pre-task: Play the business meeting dialogue recording, slide show
Teaching 1: Teacher write on board idiom phrases class will be learning. Teacher will speak each phrase 5 times and explain that students will be able to define them by the end of the lesson. Teacher will then play business meeting dialogue recording at least 3 times and explain to the students that the dialogue is between two work colleagues discussing news that their company has brought another company because it hasn’t been doing very well and they are making plans to work on a new product. The students are to write how many times they hear each idiom phrase in the dialogue.
Task 1: Students will listen to the idiom phrases spoken and associate spoken words with its written form. They will then count how many times they hear the idiom in context.
Teaching 2: Teacher will present slide show pointing to associated idiom phrase on board when relevant picture displayed. Teacher will then replay slide show and hide idiom phrases.
Task 2: Students will recognise in visual form the definition of the idiom phrases by relevant pictures. Students will then call out correct idiom phrase to go with picture without looking at the written words or assistance from the teacher.
Teaching 3: Teacher will distribute written form of the business meeting dialogue played earlier and explain students can now underline the idiom phrases when they see them.
Task 3: Students will read dialogue text and underline the idioms they see
Follow-up: Give to students crossword worksheet to complete. This will ask words of an idiom that best suits a definition or fill the blank of a sentence.
Slide Show Images:
1) Bail a company out – offering bags of money to poverty stricken, S.O.S. and rescue
2) Big cheese – obvious figure of authority presiding over others (king, head of table)
3) Double check – person looking over their work with symbol or number signifying second time doing so, same book different time on clock
4) Figure out – group bent over work, pens in hand marking up plans, light bulb over head
5) Get off the ground – inventors working with the start of an idea, thought bubbles above head expressing full idea or hopes
6) Heads will roll – angry authoritative figure, upset subordinates, guillotine in background
7) In the red – line graph with falling profits, cost of expenses above money coming in
8) Sell like hot cakes – enthusiastic crowd waving cash at popular product salesperson
9) Tight spot – upset people caught in a dead end with potential harm coming their way
10) Work out – person with multiple iterations of an object
11) Take-over – conquering army or authoritative figure
Sarah: Good morning John, how are you?
John: Good morning Sarah, I’m great thanks; how are you? Please have a seat.
Sarah: That’s good, thank you I will.
John: I called you in today to discuss the latest news for our company and perhaps figure out what needs to be done to get Product A off the ground.
Sarah: Yes of course, I heard that our company had to bail out Company X as it was in the red with its money.
John: That’s right the big cheese decided it was a great opportunity to take over company X whilst it was in a tight spot.
Sarah: Will heads roll at Company X?
John: Perhaps, when employees let costs get into the red it doesn’t look good on the company, but the good news is that we have gained a new product – Product A from the take-over. We now need to work out our strategy for developing and selling this product and get it off the ground.
Sarah: Right I will need to double-check my figures* but I predict that Product A will sell like hot cakes and take over its competitors.
John: That’s great news we certainly don’t want to be in the same tight spot that Company X found themselves in. The big cheese will be happy to hear this as well. Alright I’ll let you figure out how we are going to sell Product A. When can you get back to me?
Sarah: I’ll can start double-checking my work* this afternoon
John: Good, report to me once you are finished and we’ll meet with the big cheese for further instructions.
Sarah: Great, ok I’ll go back to my desk and start working on it now if we are finished?
John: Yes, thanks again for coming in, good bye.
Sarah: Good bye
*The words figures, work or numbers can be interchanged here depending if you want to test students on their understanding on when similar words become an idiom and when they are not.
When you rescue a company from monetary problems you….. bail a company out
An authoritative figure can sometimes be called…… big cheese
I’m going to ……….. my work, to make sure there are no mistakes double-check
When you come up with new ideas you……. figure out
We have a new product but we need some cash to……… get it off the ground
Oh no Bill is in trouble with the boss his…… head will roll
That company’s profits are …, they’re in trouble in the red
Donuts are delicious; if we sell them they will ……… sell like hot cakes
You can be in this position when you are in trouble and have few options tight spot
We are going to …… that company it’s up for sale take over
We are proceeding to the planning stage; we will….. the product from there work out
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