3 rules for negotiating the objectives of language courses in your company

Cost-effective language courses should focus on results that can be evaluated regularly, but these results must be targeted, motivational and reasonable.

Human beings need goals to advance. So, cost-effective language courses should, like any other activity in a company, focus on results that can be evaluated regularly. But so that these results have meaning, these objectives must be targeted, motivational and reasonable at the same time.

1. For cost-effective language courses: set focused goals

In-company language courses should always be part of a business perspective of improving the productivity or quality of the service offered. It is also recommended that human resources consult the managers responsible for the employees for whom the course is intended. An agreement will define the contents that will have to be included for the participants of the training. Indeed the expectations are not the same if the course is intended for a hotel reception team or for engineers exchanging emails with head office. This information will then need to be sent to the teacher, knowing that it is obviously foolish to plan a language course where the learners would only see what they need to carry out their tasks: the grammatical basica are part of the common foundation that every student must build upon in order to build up their language skills…

2. For the employees involved: offer motivating goals

We said earlier that human beings need goals, but they also need motivation. Learning something you don’t want to learn is always going to be a challenge, and often it’s impossible (we have all gone through school and the algebra / history / grammar / German tests – regardless of which applies to you). A good manager will know how to motivate participants in a Portuguese course by showing them the communication perspectives and human development that are open to them: “In a year, I want you to be able to hold a conversation, even if it’s a very basic one, with our subsidiary in Rio”.

3. For serious planning: negotiate objectives

Obviously promising a beginner that by taking a Chinese course they will speak the language of Confucius fluently in six months can be motivating, it’s very clearly unrealistic. One of the most important aspects of preparing an in-company language course is, unsurprisingly, the dialogue with the teacher (or, before that, the institute). Professionals will know how many hours of teaching and/or practice are required to reach a particular level. On this basis, the course load per week, the duration of the course, the frequency of the tests and the objectives to be evaluated can be negotiated. This blueprint should then be specified, personalized and probably corrected once the teacher has made contact with the learners.

Translation into English: Chloe Findlay

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