As at 4.1.2008
Learning and Teaching Resources
for Learning English through Workplace Communication
The resources presented here are meant to be examples to show the types of
activities/materials that can be designed and developed to help students to work on
the various focuses of the module in the Suggested Schemes of Work for the Elective Part of the Three-year Senior Secondary English Language Curriculum (Secondary
4-6) (2007) (hereafter referred to as “SoWs”). Teachers are encouraged to adapt, modify and develop their own resources or make use of other relevant materials to
suit the needs and interests of their students.
Lessons 5-7: Starting a scrapbook of a selected trade/business (please refer to SoWs
Choose a topic that is relevant to the world of business/work. News cuttings on a narrow or
specialised topic are likely to contain quite a lot of new vocabulary, so make sure that your
topic is one that interests you and may be useful to you. Try also to ensure that it is a topic
which will be in the news often enough for you to be able to find and choose without
difficulty a variety of suitable articles. You can look for material in newspapers and
magazines as well as on the Internet.
Examples of the sorts of topics you may wish to select:
․ a particular industry (e.g. the hotel industry in Hong Kong)
․ corruption and fraud in business
․ a particular large company (e.g. Cathay Pacific, Google, HSBC)
․ a commodity (e.g. oil)
․ the property market
․ a particular development
․ a currency
․ new hi-tech products
․ “green” concerns and industry
The aim of the scrapbook is for you to develop your knowledge of a topic of interest to you
and to extend your vocabulary. With this in mind, you need to browse printed material, select
articles, read them carefully ensuring you understand them and check new vocabulary. Useful
activities include writing brief summaries of the articles, choosing a number of words to learn
and practise using, and making your own comments on the material.
As at 4.1.2008
Examples of scrapbook entries
An article entitled “McDonald’s seeking star makeover” from the BBC website
(available at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4655053.stm; or a headline search can be
conducted at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/)
McDonald‟s is trying to give itself a new image, healthier and more up-to-date. For this reason it
intends to create a new uniform for its staff. It plans to use a top designer for this task.
1. makeover – a set of changes to improve someone/thing
Look at her now – she has had a real makeover!
2. leading – very successful
Jimmy is our leading salesman here.
3. contemporary – modern
I don’t listen to much old music. I like the contemporary stuff.
4. franchise – the right to sell someone else‟s product
If we are successful we sell franchises all around the world.
After seeing Super-size Me I can understand why McDonald‟s wants to improve its image and has
introduced some new menu items. I like the red uniforms in Hong Kong. McDonald‟s here is a
friendly place where everyone goes. I don‟t think they should be overly smart.
An article entitled “Cathay Pacific releases May 2005 traffic figures” from the Cathay
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Despite the high price of oil and more capacity being available, Cathay Pacific managed to attract
more passengers and cargo than last year. The company is pleased about this but realises its profits
may still be affected by the cost of fuel.
1. year-on-year – a change from one year to the next
We are aiming for a year-on-year growth rate of 5 %.
2. freight – cargo
A lot of freight moves on rail in China.
3. load factor – average use of full capacity
What is the load factor on the Wanchai-Mongkok route? I never seem to see so many people.
4. over-capacity – too much supply
There are too many flights to Singapore. With such over-capacity profit is impossible.
The airline industry must be very difficult. World events can change people‟s plans and recently the
As at 4.1.2008
price of fuel has gone up and up. The new budget airlines are also challenging the big companies, but
Cathay Pacific still manages to do well. It is a big employer in Hong Kong so I hope that will
As at 4.1.2008 Lessons 23-24: Handling complaints (please refer to SoWs pp.114-115)
1. Study the notes on handling complaints on p.6.
2. In pairs, practise making and handling complaints by using one set of the role cards
3. Do the role-play again by choosing another set of role cards and exchanging roles.
As at 4.1.2008
A B ? You are in charge of returns and refunds ? You are trying to return a shirt that you
at a department store. bought and wore to a party where it got
? A customer wants to return a shirt that he stained.
bought last week. ? You found the shirt to be a bit tight and
? The shirt is creased and has stains on it. no one told you it looked nice at the
You believe he has used it and therefore party.
cannot be returned. ? You decided you do not want it. You
? It is most unlikely that you can give him want to return it and get a refund.
a refund, but you need to be polite to the ? You are quite an aggressive person.
A B ? You are a sales assistant in a boutique. ? You bought a jumper in a sale. ? Your company has an absolute policy of ? There was a notice clearly saying
no returns on sale goods. „No returns‟. ? You find the person complaining rather ? The jumper does not fit you.
attractive. ? You do not give up easily. ? You are a friendly person. ? You are a polite person.
A B ? Your shop sells expensive brand name ? A month ago you bought a bag in an
goods. expensive shop. ? You are the manager. ? You put it unopened in a cupboard
for a special occasion just coming. ? You aim to treat your customers with
great charm to keep your company ? You have now unwrapped it and
image. cannot understand why you bought
such an unsuitable colour – you ? Goods can normally be returned up to
don‟t want the bag. one week after purchase.
? You are willing to beg.
As at 4.1.2008 Set 4
A B ? You are a sales assistant in a ? You bought some shoes a few days
well-known shoe shop. ago.
? You can see the shoes have been worn ? You have worn them and they are
and could not be resold. slightly marked on the soles. ? You try to persuade the customer to ? They aren‟t very comfortable and
keep the shoes and suggest ways to you no longer want them.
make them comfortable. ? You are ready to try different ways ? You suddenly lose your temper though to get a refund.
you know you should not.
A B ? You are new to the shop. ? You rashly bought a new watch that
you could not afford. ? You are innocent.
? You are desperate to get your money ? You are afraid to give a refund.
back. ? You polish the watch and make the
? You have scratched a small mark on scratch almost invisible.
the watch face in order to get them to ? You suggest putting a new glass face
take it back. on the watch free of charge.
? You are a determined person. ? You suddenly give in.
As at 4.1.2008
Notes on handling complaints
You must be polite when handling complaints. Take note of the following:
․ listen carefully to what the customer says
․ do not accuse the customer of being wrong/cheating/using the product improperly
․ use words like seems to soften comments
․ remain calm, helpful and smiling
․ try to do as the customer wants
․ offer something at least to give the customer face
․ make it sound as if you are taking special trouble for this customer
․ say you are just following company policy
․ offer to bring a more senior person to hear the complaint
․ use the language of apology
(e.g. “I’m sorry… ”, “I’m afraid… ”) ․ use polite suggestions
(e.g. “Maybe you could… ”, “Might it be an idea if…”)
․ do not respond to insult
․ avoid asking too many questions as though it is an investigation
As at 4.1.2008
Lessons 25-27: Planning the final project (please refer to SoWs pp.114-115)
1. In groups of 4-5, decide on a major business task or event that you would like to set for
the group project. The task or event may be related to the area of business that you have
been working on in this module. You may also work on a completely different trade or
business if you prefer.
2. When you have decided on your project, make a list of the sub-tasks that would need to
be carried out in order to complete it. These may include some of the following:
․ role play a business meeting, take notes and write minutes;
․ draw up a plan for the opening of a new shop;
․ write a report on a small business, suggesting ways to improve its image;
․ prepare advertising material for a new small business;
․ role play and record an interview board discussing which candidate to appoint to a
․ draw up a code of good practice for the staff of a company;
․ prepare a set of email messages inquiring about some goods, replying, negotiating
over quantity, price, etc., and confirming a deal; and
․ prepare slides for a presentation on the performance of an imaginary local company;
3. Decide on 2-3 sub-tasks that your group will carry out. Make plans on how to carry them
out and assign roles for each of the tasks.
As at 4.1.2008
Examples of projects and sub-tasks
To design a Valentine‟s dinner menu for two for a hotel restaurant
․ Holding a meeting to discuss the matter
․ Conducting a survey to find out about people‟s interests and preferences
․ Designing the menu
․ Producing a piece of promotional material for the restaurant
․ Doing a presentation highlighting the special features of the menu
To launch a new line of skin care products
․ Holding a meeting to discuss packaging and promotional strategies
․ Designing the packaging of the products
․ Producing a plan to advertise and promote the products
․ Preparing a pamphlet to introduce the products
․ Planning a programme for a 3-hour promotional event at a shopping arcade
Setting up a small gift shop
? Doing research on
? an appropriate location for the shop
? sources of supply for various goods
? Holding a meeting to decide on the shop location and types of goods to carry
? Writing letters or email messages to potential suppliers, inquiring and negotiating about
some goods over price, availability, quantity for order, etc.
? Preparing a flyer for the opening of the new shop
Other possible tasks:
Designing logos, uniforms, etc.
As at 4.1.2008
Lessons 28-31: Making sales presentations (please refer to SoWs pp.114-115)
1. In groups, choose a product that you are interested in. This may be:
․ a manufactured product (e.g. a line of mobile phone, a new laptop computer, a
․ a service (e.g. a bank, a caterer, cleaning service); or
․ a place (e.g. a holiday destination, a shopping mall, a new real estate development)
2. Find information about this product to help you to prepare a presentation on it for a
group of potential customers.
3. Your presentation should include a clear introduction of the product, highlighting its
features or explaining how it works or operates. You should also give the audience
reasons why they should purchase the product. Visual aids such as slides or handouts to
make your presentation more effective should be considered.
*For the more able students, teachers may include “You should be prepared to answer the audience’s questions at the end of your presentation.” in Step 3.