British Council Conference: E-merging Forum 3, 1.3.13

The Business in Literature


Modern business, ESL, and literature – where in the world do these three meet? And what happens?

Of late, it seems that the first two are developing an increasingly intimate relationship, while the latter still hasn’t made the grade, although of innumerable quality.

This could be for a variety of reasons. Mainly, business and ESL aren’t sure if literature has anything to offer them – “You’re too complicated and obtuse,” ESL says. “How do you advance my academic or occupational goals?” business inquires. And, of course, literature’s background and culture is foreign and possibly intimidating to them both.

Despite these typical complaints from business and ESL, literature (depending on your definition) is often closer than most business executives know, or expect. In a parallel universe the cooperation of these three results in leadership development, better decision-making skills and greater empathy. Furthermore, employees retain language better and have increased motivation for reading, and therefore increased reading proficiency.

This talk will explore the consequences of these three characters developing deeper cooperation and possible approaches to their successful union in a business context.


Choo, Lim Meng, “A case for using literature to teach business English”, Reflections on English Language Teaching, 4 (2005), 27–45.
Coutu, Diane, “Leadership in Literature”, Harvard Business Review, March 2006.
McKay, Sandra, “Literature in the ESL Classroom”, TESOL Quarterly, Vol. 16, No. 4 (Dec., 1982), 529-536.
Paul, Annie Murphy, “Your Brain on Fiction”, New York Times, March 17, 2012.

The Business In Literature Handout

British Council page


Presentations, Projects

Start Smart – Country and Cultural Orientations

IH Director of Studies Conference Conference 2013, London, UK, 10.1.13


The interview process is over and the new teacher has their arrival date. He/she will show up nervous, excited, alone, and out of place – what kind of orientation should they receive? How we present our host culture and company at orientations sets a precedent for various interactions over the following months. And just as an occasional needs analysis should reposition educational approaches, orientations should occasionally be re-evaluated for their effectiveness. This session will first analyse IH Moscow’s orientation procedures, and then present comparative survey results from IH schools around the world.

Projects, Writing

IH Moscow grow moustaches for Movember

Originally published on the International House website here.

Movember, as November was previously known, is a month when follically inclined ‘mo bros’ (and their ever supportive ‘mo sistas’) all over the world have the enviable opportunity to grow a moustache to support men’s health.

IH Moscow staff, Martin Browne, Alex Bunten, Andrew Franklin, and Wes Matlock were no exception. They braved the pointing, the outright laughing, the frequent adult film star comparisons and worse, to raise awareness and funds for world-class prostate and testicular cancer research programmes.

In the end, they raised a few eyebrows, but also the combined humble sum of nearly $1700. It was a first for all the constituent mo bros, but also most of the staff at IH Moscow. Overall, it was a brilliant way to create a buzz around the school, have an interesting talking point with staff and students, and spread the word about a very good cause. They hope to make it an annual m’occasion.

Huge thanks go to all the IH staff who supported us with moustache witticisms, off-hand compliments, and funding. May the mo’ be with you.

For more information about Movember and IH Moscow’s moustache journey, or to donate, check out the following links:

Alex Bunten:
Andrew Franklin: