Hello, ESPers worldwide!
Who is Evan Frendo? Some people will know Evan as an author. In my view, Evan is a teacher of ESP teachers. Consider one of his websites (English for the workplace) in which he first writes about Stephanie Schnurr’s Exploring Professional Communication. (Good choices!)
Evan’s bio (below) directs us to his more recent activities as an ESP professional.
Evan Frendo worked as a mechanical engineer for 11 years, before moving to Business English and ESP in 1993. A frequent speaker at conferences, he also travels regularly in Europe and Asia to run courses or to work as a consultant. He has written numerous in-house courses for multinationals, and has also published several books, including the well-known How to teach Business English (Pearson, 2005). His most recent publications are New Ways in Teaching Business English (TESOL, 2014), which he co-edited with Clarice Chan, and How to Write Corporate Training Materials (ELT Teacher 2 Writer, 2014). He is currently working on e-learning materials for corporate clients, samples of which can be seen at www.businessenglishguru.com.
In view of Evan’s extensive experience working with corporate clients, I thought that he might write (in his responses to the two ESP project leadership questions below) about one of his e-learning programs at Business English Guru. However, Evan chooses to show us how we can work together as ESPers to share our professional success stories worldwide! As I mentioned above, Evan comes across in more than one way as a teacher of ESP teachers, or as a “Business English guru.”
Evan Frendo, www.businessenglishguru.com
Define leadership in your own words.
Leadership is about making things happen, and about taking responsibility for what does happen.
Tell me an ESP project success story. Focus on your communication as a leader in the project. How did you communicate with stakeholders to make that project successful?
In the TESOL writing project described below, I was a co-editor on a book containing teaching activities for the business English classroom. Our aim was not only to put into practice teaching ideas from colleagues in various teaching contexts, but also to raise awareness of the current trends and issues in the field. As far as leadership is concerned, our authority came from our positions as co-editors, but it also came from a sense of professional recognition and mutual respect. We had to let fellow professionals get on with what they were good at, but we also had to be prepared to say “no” if something wasn’t good enough.
Clarice S. C. Chan contacted me in November 2012 and asked me if I would like to collaborate on a book in TESOL’s New Ways series. We put together a proposal for New Ways in Teaching Business English, submitted it, and received the go-ahead a couple of months later. The call for contributions went out in January 2013.
The response to the call was excellent, and we received many contributions from around the world. These not only had to be innovative, but they also had to fit in within the New Ways framework (number of words, style, and so on), and they had to be delivered according to fairly tight deadlines. Most communication with contributors was by email (my email box contains over 800 emails directly related to this project), but we also had meetings with some contributors, either by Skype or face-to-face. These communications basically consisted of feedback on the contribution—sometimes the initial contribution was ready to go, but most needed to be revised. As co-editors, Clarice and I also spent many hours in Skype meetings discussing each contribution, wording our feedback, and making decisions about whether or not to include each contribution in the final collection. We were also in regular contact with Carol Edwards, TESOL’s publishing manager at the time.
Sadly, we were not able to include every contribution in the book—some were too similar to other activities already published, and some simply didn’t fit in with the stated requirements and the needs of the series. And I somehow managed to lose one contribution in the deluge of correspondence, which was very embarrassing.
The first draft was completed by September 2013, and final revisions were done by November 2013. The book was published in April 2014 and included three short reviews from well-known business English practitioners (see back cover image, above), as well as more than 80 teaching activities. It was also nominated for an ELTon in the “Innovation in Teacher Resources” category.
Evan’s responses above caused me to reflect upon the importance of publications in ESP. When I was primarily doing corporate training, a significant part of my work was preparing customized training materials for clients. As an ESPer in a university in Japan, research publications in academic journals have become important for career success.
I very much like the idea of finding ways for ESPers to share their stories. Evan’s book is one of those ways. Another way is his ESP project leader profile in this TESOL Blog post. The 2011-2012 TESOL ESPIS Community Discussions in the TESOL Community Network were a third way, as ESPers around the world participated in ESP-related month-long threaded discussions online.
In February 2016, I am aiming to bring ESP project leaders together for a month-long threaded discussion online. In such a discussion, the ESP project leaders will talk about, ask questions, and answer questions about their own ESP projects and about the projects of the other leaders. ESPers around the world will be invited to “listen in” and to share questions and comments.
Any questions or comments for Evan? Please post those below!
All the best,
Chan, C. S. C., & Frendo, E. (Eds.). (2014). New ways in teaching business English. Alexandria, VA: TESOL.