Global firms are increasingly adopting English as their main language for internal communication. Their employees may already have a good knowledge of general English, but still need to fine-tune their language skills for their professional area (logistics, HR, etc). This need not be complex, and could be something as simple as giving instructions or sharing ideas as part of an international team; visiting branches or offices in other countries; or simply talking the talk at social events after the working day is done. This conference in Hamburg, Germany's biggest port and considered by many to be a hub of Northern European trade, aims to address teaching issues in this region. We especially welcome presentations which deal with a more practical use of English in the workplace.


Proposal Deadline: May 20, 2018
Acceptance Notification: June 10, 2018
Conference Date: September 1, 2018


The Proposals Committee is delighted to invite you to submit a proposal for a panel discussion or workshop, addressing a practical feature of English in the workplace.

As sessions vary in format, presenters are advised to select their session format.

Panel Discussions are forums for discussing themes or other relevant language education topics within a small group. The sessions are 45 minutes long + 15 minutes Q&A.

Workshop Sessions are interactive sessions with emphasis on group collaborations. They are 60 minutes long.

Guidelines for Proposal Submission

Proposals MUST be submitted to chair@helta.de
Titles should be 10 words or less.
Abstract should be limited to 50 words only.
The session description in the proposal submission form must be between 150 and 200 words.
A bio explaining who you are and what you do should be limited to 50 words.
Acronyms and/or abbreviations other than EFL,ESL, TESOL should be spelled out.

Evaluation of Proposals

All proposals will be peer reviewed by the HELTA Committee based on the following criteria

1. Focus and organization

2. Direct relevance to the conference theme of English at Work

3. Clarity, coherence, and originality of the proposal

4. Theory/practice and/or research contribution

Any submissions that do not adhere to the guidelines will NOT be accepted.

General questions about the conference can be directed to any member of the HELTA Committee (See About HELTA) 

More information about the conference can also be obtained in the Conference Facebook Group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1856734887730987/


Taking a pragmatic approach to teaching English for the workplace
Presented by Ian Badger

In this talk Ian Badger will discuss the pragmatic approach which he takes in communication training for large companies. He works with a wide range of learners (including ‘native’ speakers) whose levels range from A2 to C2 levels. He will illustrate his talk with examples from his work with supply chain networks where the ability to communicate clearly and to understand cultural and linguistic difference is key to successful operations. Learners often need help in:

  • developing their cultural awareness as it applies to their everyday business and social interactions
  • understanding forms of English other than the ‘standard’ they have been exposed to at school and college and in developing strategies to deal with them.
  • modifying their language to take account of the linguistic competence of their communication counterparts
  • developing the specific language needed in their jobs. Contrary to some commonly-held beliefs, many learners do not know the everyday language of logistics or the technical language of the industries in which they work.
  • developing a clarity of pronunciation which can be widely understood.

The aim of training for those working in the supply chain is, in the words of senior management, to help employees to be clear, polite and persuasive – but not to impose a very ‘British’ form of communication on them. When planning and delivering successful training it is important to work closely with senior management, team leaders and frontline employees in functions such as procurement, logistics, sales and customer service to motivate them and to engage them fully.

About Ian: Ian Badger has over thirty years of experience in delivering English communication training predominantly in the paper and engineering industries in Germany, Finland, Sweden and the UK. He is the author of the award-winning Collins English for Business Listening and the B1 and B2 levels of Collins English for Life: Listening. Among his other publications are the four-level series, English for Business Life (National Geographic Learning/Cengage), Everyday Business Writing (Pearson) and the listening component of Langenscheidt’s Sprachkurs Englisch für Fortgeschrittene. His most recent publication is Flash on English for Business Conversations (Ernst Klett Sprachen). Ian is originally from London but has lived most of his life in Bristol, UK.


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