Globalized Language Learning

6/22/2015

In a more globalized world, adult language learners have different needs than they did a generation ago. According to a study by The Economist, 25 percent of global employees are expected to speak a language in business that is not their native tongue. While language instructors such as those at TMC’s sister company Berlitz have always had many students with business language needs, those objectives have changed over the years. Many students are beginning with a much higher level of language than they once did. This applies for all languages, but especially for English. Whether through formal education, business experience, traveling, or interacting with international friends via social media, many professional language learners are starting off with a fairly strong knowledge of English.

This means that instructors have to change their offerings in order to better suit the needs of this type of learner. For example, instructors at Berlitz are getting more requests to incorporate content regarding small talk and which level of formality to use, as well as how to build rapport and how to network. Professionals also need to consider complicated matters related to communication style and how to convey their message. Whereas professionals may be confident giving presentations in their native languages and home countries, they may have trouble presenting facts and persuading their audience abroad. Sensitive situations like giving feedback or appraisals, sending important emails and addressing superiors present more trouble spots for non-native speakers of a language. This is where culture comes into play.

Thanks to the Berlitz|TMC partnership, students can now get a more rounded approach to language that includes cultural training. This is essential for effective communication and managing relationships while abroad.

By incorporating culture into language learning, Berlitz|TMC gives learners a well-balanced skill set that enhances communication and collaboration, something valuable to not only the professional receiving the training, but their company as a whole.

Lynne Putz