Comprehensive Lessons to Teach Adults English

Happy, smiling adult English language learner with headphone on in front of a laptop for how to teach adults English with comprehensive lessons and values-based leadership in classrooms by Suzanne Marie



Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Are you looking for lessons to teach adults English?

This blog post explains important principles for comprehensive lessons to teach English language learners business communication skills.


For over two decades, I have been fortunate enough to turn my passion for teaching into a career. My most recent role is teaching English to adult language learners in China who are keen to advance their understanding of the English language and culture.

It has been so rewarding to witness their enthusiasm for learning and watch them grow as they master the language, making it an incredibly gratifying experience.

The principles explored in this post are based on my experience teaching adult English language learners and will empower your students with the skills they need.

Tips for Teaching English to Adult Learners

Teaching English to adults requires tailoring the lessons and curriculum to meet their specific needs, interests, and objectives.

  1. Establish clear goals and objectives with the learners so everyone is on the same page.
  2. Emphasize building vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, and understanding of language structure and improving speaking and listening skills.
  3. Use varied teaching techniques such as lectures, group discussions, conversations between students and teachers, speakers from outside the classroom, etc.
  4. Provide feedback often so learners can engage in their learning process.

Techniques for Teaching English to Adults

Teaching adult English language learners the fundamentals of business communication is a challenging yet rewarding task. With comprehensive lessons, your students will learn the essential skills to communicate professionally and effectively.

Lessons to teach Adults English should include activities to:

  1. Develop professional grammar and business vocabulary.
  2. Structuring activities specific to adult English language learners’ needs, interests, and proficiencies.
  3. Practicing effective email writing and telephone etiquette.
  4. Understanding cultural dimensions of business communication.
  5. Strategies for teaching adult English language learners about culture in business communication.

Developing Professional Grammar and Business Vocabulary

Professional grammar and business vocabulary are essential for effective communication in the workplace. Lessons to teach adults English must include activities to help your students develop their mastery of English grammar, such as:

  • sentence structure
  • verb tenses and usage
  • adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns
  • English business terms and phrases

Lessons covering various topics related to email writing, letter writing, and task delegation give students the skills they need to write professionally in any workplace setting.

Structuring a Lesson for Adult English Language Learners

Each lesson should include activities to build on previous knowledge.

Structuring lesson activities in the following order help to engage students in the learning process:

  1. Start with a review of the basics of sentence structure, verb tenses, and vocabulary. Include activities that help students identify relevant business terms and phrases, improve their writing style, and practice using grammar correctly.
  2. Include relevant business vocabularies, like ‘collaboration’ and ‘efficiency’, so your students know how to use these terms effectively. As they become more familiar with the language, they should be able to identify helpful phrases or terms from reading texts that could be utilized in their own writings.
  3. Demonstrate how to write effective emails, letters of introduction, and helpful tips for task delegation. As a bonus, you can use real-life examples from business writings to illustrate different concepts and target vocabulary.
  4. Develop a solid foundation of grammar proficiency upon which more advanced skills can be built.

By providing your students with opportunities to practice grammar and business vocabulary in small groups, you can foster collaboration among students while offering personalized assistance where needed.

Practicing Effective Email Writing & Telephone Etiquette

Practicing email writing and telephone etiquette is an important part of business communication. Students should practice writing emails with a friendly and professional tone. They should master keeping their emails short and to the point, avoiding long introductions that don’t add value to their intended message.

When it comes to telephone communication, students should pay attention to their intonations, the words they use, and how they handle unexpected situations. Practicing English statements in advance helps to encourage adult English language learners to build confidence when speaking on the telephone.

Influence of Culture

It is important for adult English language learners to consider aspects such as cultural context and conventions when explaining the importance of email writing and telephone etiquette.

For example, some cultures emphasize formal speech when talking on the phone, while others prioritize politeness over direct communication.

Practicing professional etiquette with English native speakers in role-plays, discussions, and lesson activities prepares adult English language learners for successful interactions with their professional contacts.

To teach the principles of effective email writing and telephone etiquette, start by having the students practice expressive conversations in pairs and small groups. Then:

  • Explain which words and phrases they should use when speaking formally to colleagues or business contacts.
  • Practice clearly phrased offers, rejections, and requests in professional settings.
  • Introduce practice scenarios so they feel prepared for real business interactions.
  • Practice writing sample emails from scratch or based on a provided template.
  • Invite guest speakers from local companies to showcase some best practices for working with business partners and using email effectively during job applications.

With these aspects covered in class, your adult English language learners will be well-prepared for successful communication within the workplace!

Understanding Cultural Dimensions of Business Communication

Understanding cultural differences is a key element of business communication. It’s important to be aware that there can be major cultural differences in how people communicate, particularly in terms of body language, use of titles and honorifics, conversational style, and politeness.

It is valuable to teach students to adjust their communication styles depending on the other person’s culture. Encouraging your students to research the culture they are dealing with and adjusting their behavior accordingly can help them make more successful connections.

For example, in some cultures, honor, and procedure are incredibly important and expected to be honored in conversation. In other cultures, there is a more relaxed approach to language, and communication is simpler and less formal.

Similarly, body language can vary based on the culture you are communicating with, making all the difference when conveying respect or understanding.

Strategies for Teaching Adult English Language Learners About Culture in Business Communication

As they learn more about international cultures, adult English language learners benefit from lessons focusing on understanding the cultural dimensions of business. With an emphasis on respect and formality, it’s important to include activities to help them understand the fine details when engaging with people of different backgrounds in a business setting.

Knowing how each culture speaks and understanding different expectations for conversation topics, body language, and turn-taking are all skills students will need to master effective communication with partners from other countries.

Teaching Adult English Language Learners Business Communication Skills

Teaching English to adults in a business setting requires knowledge of the language and specialized tools, techniques, and skills to effectively prepare people for job-related tasks.

To be successful, teachers must be familiar with the needs of their students and employ various strategies for instruction, such as role-playing and simulations, tailored to the working environment.

Adapting traditional language teaching methods to reach a more mature audience can be challenging.

As an English instructor, I specialize in developing courses tailored to the adult learner.

My curriculum covers business communication fundamentals to help students progress in reading, writing, speaking, and listening in English.


Comprehensive lessons for adult English language learners seeking to master business communication skills must include basic principles. These basic principles relate directly to:

  1. How a lesson is structured.
  2. The activities used to enhance the learning experience.
  3. Cultural influences on language.
  4. Practice, discussions, and role-play scenarios with target vocabulary and English statements specific to business environments.

By the end of the lesson using these principles, your students will better understand professional English language rules and be able to communicate more successfully in any business setting.

Thanks for stopping by!

Before you go, browse our Shop of ESL lessons for adults with teaching materials: Shop.

Until next time,


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