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Using technical blueprints in an ESL class

Posted: Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:35 pm
by jimbob
Has anyone out there taught 'Technical English' before?
I've just taken over a class which I suspect was offered by a well meaning HR team with little idea. I've asked the students to tell me specifically (as much as they can) where I can help them, and all I get back is 'technical english'.

They're quite strong but seem to have locked into this idea of 'technical english' being something totally discrete, yet they're having problems articulating what they need to get out of the course.

I had one minor breakthrough last week when one of them fronted up with a series of blueprints and said "something like this. We need language to describe and explain this". (It's a company that manufactures bathroom and kitchen taps and mixers).

My question is, has anyone used blueprints and technical diagrammes as a base for their lessons? How did you do it? I'm sure they have a bit of work to do describing processes - with the plans I have in my possession I'm thinking of getting the students to act out a telephone call/email situation where they have to describe what they need or what is going on but I really feel like I'm stumbling in the dark with this.

When I took over the class i was told they all had very specific needs but try as might to get it out of them, they haven't yet been able to give me a lot of guidance.

Thanks in advance for any insight.

Posted: Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:10 am
by Sally Olsen
There is a course at on Technical English. You can access the lessons free for five days. It should give you some ideas of what to cover. There is also a YouTube video in grammar for Technical English. The courses would go too fast for people just learning English but you could use them as a basis for your adapted lessons.

Posted: Sat Nov 21, 2015 2:53 pm
by jimbob
Thank you Sally - much appreciated!