Teaching Business English in Tokyo

An Interview with Philip Pound, Business English Teacher and founder of EFL Magazine

FB: Welcome, Philip, to the second interview in the Business School HQ interview series. I look forward to hearing about your experience in teaching business English in Tokyo. Let me introduce you.

Business English teaching

Business English teaching

Philip Pound is the founder of EFL Magazine. Originally from Ireland, Philip has lived in the UK, China and now Japan. He has been teaching English for over five years and teaches freelance in Tokyo. The majority of his students are business people: lawyers, accountants, engineers and doctors.

But he also teaches college students TOEFL and IELTS. Philip has taught all levels, from toddlers to senior citizens. His goal is to stop talking so much in class. Before teaching, Philip worked in publishing, telecoms and recruitment as a sales executive.

FB: One of your specialties is teaching Business English to adults in Tokyo. Tell me about your teaching experience.

Philip has taught English in China and Japan. He now works in Tokyo as freelance teacher for several different companies.

FB: What kinds of language skills do your learners want to improve?

Philip finds that Japanese business people write at a high level, however their speaking and listening skills need improvement. He focuses on teaching for negotiation, presentations and phone calling.

FB: Do you teach business writing?

Philip focuses on email writing, since it is so important in business. 

FB: Do you have any favourite books or online resources that you use?

In his teaching, Philip uses many resources and worksheets. Here are some of his favourites:

Communicating in Business: A Short Course for Business English Students (2nd Edition (Cambridge Professional English) by Simon Sweeney

Business Startup 2 by Mark Ibbotson

Grammar Practice Activities by Penny Ur (Cambridge)

700 Classroom Activities by David Seymour & Maria Popova (Macmillan)






FB: You founded EFL Magazine a year ago. What motivated you to do this?

Faced with what he considered the lack of good teching materials online for teachers, Philip decided to create his own online magazine, called EFL Magazine. He publishes practical articles on how to teach English. He has lots of plans to add new content and exciting features, such as the upcoming Online Teaching Summit.

FB: Tell me about the Online Teaching Summit, beginning in December, 2015.

The Summit will focus on three important areas:

  • How to teach English online
  • The business of teaching English online
  • Articles exploring online teaching

FB: Who is participating in the Summit?

Philip talked about some of the following online teaching specialists.

Jack Askew at Teaching English Online

Jennifer England at English Laboratory

Dr. Nellie Muller Deutsch at Integrating Technology and Moodle for Teachers

Sylvia Guinan at Sylvia English Online

Rob Howard at the Online Language Center

Graham Jones at Ten Sentences

Jason Levine at Fluency MC.

Jamie Miller at English Success Academy

Jack Prince at Business English Blog

Chuck Sandy at the International Teacher Development Institute

Frank Bonkowski at Business School HQ

FB: Based on your experience, do you have suggestions about teaching for Business English teachers?

Philip talked about the importance of having a business background and using language at the level of the learners.

He also stressed the importance of  teaching about cross-cultural boundaries,  distinguishing formal and informal situations with his learners, and teaching idioms.

FB: Any final thoughts you’d like to leave our viewers?

Philip gave these three tips:

  • Don`t try to know everything.
  • Be human with your students.
  • Learn the local language.

FB: Thanks Philip for participating.