This English for SAP exercise has its origins in a lesson I had with two A2 level in-company learners. One is the quality assurance manager and the other is technical manager in a factory in Bavaria. They both initially struggled with English learning and were resistant to anything which appeared to be grammar. Their level was relatively low when they started the course, but they actually had a lot of English input to deal with at work, so they were being exposed to a lot of English, but they weren´t really able to understand, process and respond to it in English themselves.
After going through some typical A2 business English topics at the start of the course: introducing yourself, talking about your daily routine and the organisation of your company and looking at company history to practise the past simple, one day the participants had a stroke of brilliance. They told me that the SAP programme they had to use at work was an English version of the software and they sometimes had difficulties understanding the terminology it uses. They suggested that one of them log on to the computer in our training room and show me their SAP programme, which we did. We then made a list of all the vocabulary in the programme which they thought was important, this came to about fifteen items. I then asked them to tell me:
- which words they´d seen or heard before
- which words they could translate into their first language (German)
- which words they could use in a sentence or give an example or definition for
From this sorting exercise came an exercise designed to review and consolidate their grasp of some of the words they thought were important and knew the translation of in their first language (or at least they knew it after our discussion of SAP vocabulary in that lesson), but which they couldn´t use in a sentence or give an example of. We did this exercise the following week.
The participants responded well to this activity because it helped them practise some of the language that they need to be able to use in their daily business and because it was derived from a source that they use while doing their daily business. It gave them a context in which they could see the vocabulary and inspired the learners to create their own example sentences or definitions for other words used in SAP.
You can download the exercise here.