Teaching English in a Hotel or Resort Setting

Here are a few tips about teaching English in a hotel or resort setting.  

One thing you may not be aware of yet, is that in a hotel/resort setting you will usually teach the employees by department.

This is partly because they have very different language needs and partly because hotels often place employees in different departments according to the level of their English skills.

Usually the most skilled English speakers are going to be working the front office/front desk/reception area.  Next step down would be the Food and Beverage (F&B) department.  F&B people will obviously have different types of conversations with hotel guests than the front office people.

Further down the food chain of English skills would be housekeeping, who would – of course – have a different type conversation with guests and than the maintenance people and further down the line would be groundskeepers.

Groundskeepers are usually going to be asked directions.  They will run into guests outside who want to know where the pool is, the tennis courts, maybe the name of a plant and so on.

Housekeepers will talk about when they might clean a room, a request for more towels and so on.

Maintenance & Engineering Department – the TV or A/C isn’t working, the toilet is clogged, etc.

We can see that they all will have specialized needs for very specific conversations.  The hotel is hiring you to get those people up to speed fast.  It is a business and they want results, so you concentrate only on the specific needs for each area.

Especially for the lower level positions, their English skills may be minimal and teaching a few simple conversations might be all you can accomplish in the limited time allotted for those employees (and they often don’t allot much for lower-level employees).

Lessons need to be very focused and specific. If a reception employee needs to ask a guest’s name or what kind of room they want, what EXACTLY is that question they need to ask to obtain that information?

And what is the likely response from the guest?  Or several likely responses from the guest?  Your students often won’t know these things unless you tell them exactly.  And – you are the teacher – they expect that you will tell them.

You can possibly get some of the back-and-forth conversations that you need to teach from elicitation, but you should be prepared to provide all of it.  THAT is what should be the Presentation or Engagement component of your lesson.

For Practice or Study, structured examples of the back and forth conversation with some variation should be manipulated moving from structured to less structured .  Production or Activation- even more variation and ideally, some real examples from their daily work.

Don’t neglect the Elicitation component of ESP lessons.  It is difficult to know, even if you have good experience in that industry, all the possible problems the staff deal with on a day to day basis.  About ten years ago I was teaching an F&B class how to handle complaints and the #1 complaint – think of one . . .   I am sure you didnt’t guess this one . . . when the guests at the open air restaurant got up to get more food at the morning buffet, the birds were raiding their plates and tables!

TED’s Tips™ #1:   Learn more about teaching Hospitality English at www.TEFLeBooks.com here: http://teflebooks.com/hotel-english/ or about the certification program at www.TEFLBootCamp.com here:  http://teflbootcamp.com/english-for-special-purposes-certification-courses-2/esp-teaching-hotel-and-resort-english/

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