Widgets Inc.: Teach Outside the Box
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Case studies in business innovation: Readings for discussion is a course for college Business English students at CEFR B1 and above. It features 30 case study readings and supporting tasks.
The material can complement task-based, project-based, or action-oriented approach courses, as well as traditional skills-based courses. It is also suitable for ESL/EFL Business English courses that employ a case study method. Its compact A5 form-factor makes it ideal for self-study and out-of-class reading.
The course can be used on its own as a reading and discussion course, or as a reading supplement to the award-winning coursebook, Widgets Inc.: A task-based course in workplace English.
WIDGETS INC. & CASE STUDIES - ALONE OR TOGETHER
The award-winning task-based coursebook, Widgets Inc.: A task-based course in workplace English, now features an optional companion book, Case studies in business innovation: Readings for discussion.
The two books share a 6-stage/6-chapter framework that features complementary content. For example, Widgets Inc. Stage 1 is themed around HR-related tasks, whereas Case Studies Chapter 1 features readings about HR innovations; Widgets Inc. Stage 2 presents R&D tasks, whereas Case Studies Chapter 2 highlights innovations in product development.
This means that the material can be easily combined. For example, Widgets Inc. team projects can be supplemented by homework readings and in-class discussions from Case Studies to create a more intensive business English study experience. Conversely, teachers who do not want to commit to the full Widgets Inc. simulation can now teach a more traditional task-supported course using only Case Studies.
Both books can be ordered via englishbooks.jp.
WIDGETS INC. DIGITAL EDITION
A digital edition of Widgets Inc. is now available for purchase via the Issuu platform at this link. It includes embedded links to course video and other useful links. Users who have purchased a print edition of Widgets Inc. are eligible for one year of free access to the digital version. You can claim your access code by emailing us at the email listed at the bottom of this page, in the yellow "Atama-ii Books" logo.
WIDGETS INC. SYLLABUS TEMPLATES
At many institutions, teachers are required to submit syllabus outlines for their courses. If so, they can download our free PDF syllabus templates at this link. They were made for a Japanese university course, but include universal sections such as: Course Description, Course Objectives, Textbook Information, Assessment Criteria and perhaps most importantly, a weekly Lesson Schedule.
We currently have a 14-lesson x 100-minute period option, and a 28-lesson x 100-minute period option. Lesson plans for three course formats are also available at the link.
If you write up your own syllabus and would like to share with other Widgets users, please contact us at the "publisher" email address at the bottom of this page.
At a ceremony overlooking the Thames in London on June 10th, Widgets Inc. edged out four worthy finalists to be awarded the 2019 British Council ELTon for Course Innovation, the most prestigious coursebook award in the industry.
It was an outstanding achievement, given the impressive competition. Among the final five was On Task (Tokyo: Abax ELT Press), another excellent task-based book produced in Japan. The Widgets team was thrilled to be nominated, but to receive the top prize was truly an unexpected honour.
Thank you to all of the incredible staff at the British Council who produced a great event, and to the host, poet Benjamin Zephariah. The evening was also made memorable by the presence of author Michael Rosen, who presented linguist David Crystal with a lifetime achievement award.
ABOUT WIDGETS INC.
Widgets Inc. is a business themed English communication course using a task-based approach to language learning. It is designed for classes of 12 to 40 young adult or older students who are placed into teams and must complete a series of connected projects.
Students simulate being interns at a startup company called Widgets Inc., where they brainstorm product ideas, pitch their ideas, perform market research, design ad campaigns, participate in a job interview, and more.
Widgets Inc.: A task-based course in workplace English (120 pp., A4 paperback) is available from the following distributors: englishbooks.jp . It is published by Atama-ii Books (2018) and was written by Marcos Benevides and Chris Valvona. ISBN: 9781941140000
Widgets is great for mixed-ability classes from pre-intermediate to high-intermediate.
- CEFR B1 and above: students are engaged and challenged at their own level of achievement even while working together in mixed-level teams. Task situations provide useful language and excellent incidental practice for TOEIC speaking and writing components.
- Integrated skill development: students develop fluency and confidence in speaking, listening, reading, and writing via discussions, presentations, self and team evaluations, report writing, viewing video instructions, and many more highly-contextualized tasks.
- Meaningful assessment: students are assessed primarily by task outcome in accordance with Communicative Language Teaching and TBLT principles; a secondary focus on the use of language forms is also possible.
Widgets is arranged by task complexity, not language complexity.
The course starts with easy tasks, and quickly builds to more complex projects. This puts the focus and the challenge of the course on the practical use of English, rather than on passing language tests. It also encourages students to develop fluency and confidence in using English in ‘real world’ situations.
The Widgets project sequence, in order of increasing task complexity:
- Stage 1 Interns join the company orientation
- Stage 2 Teams prepare and pitch new product proposals
- Stage 3 Teams discuss and evaluate new product proposals
- Stage 4 Teams perform market research on the selected product
- Stage 5 Teams plan and present a multimedia advertising campaign
- Stage 6 Interns prepare a resume and cover letter, and interview for a job