Библиографическое описание:

Родина Е. Ю. Using Magazines in Teaching Professional English // Молодой ученый. — 2011. — №12. Т.2. — С. 129-131.

The aim of the article is to consider some opportunities of using magazine articles in teaching English to senior students. Teaching modern humanitarian specialists is impossible to do with textbooks only. Of course, textbooks provide us with a systematic and organized way of teaching. However, the world is changing so fast nowadays and to teach professional English we need up-to-the-minute information. Using newspapers and magazines as a source of current information would be a good idea for teachers.

The advantages of using authentic literature are obvious: newspapers and magazines allow learners to expand their vocabulary, follow current events, and deepen their understanding of our rapidly changing world. However, the same results can be obtained by working with native literature. There are several reasons for using articles in students’ language. First of all, using professional magazines is an easily available source of material for teaching students. Second, working with articles, students deal with topics of current interest. Third, newspapers and magazines provide the language of today which helps students develop a strong English vocabulary. Moreover, different kinds of work can be organized: individual, group, pair, class or home work. No doubt, article-based lessons must be carefully planned. To achieve the teaching goal, the following points should be kept in mind:

  • the information should be current; problems discussed interesting to students (to stimulate communication)

  • the language should be related to their professional area (to encourage vocabulary work)

  • the tasks should be clear and varied (to develop all language skills)

Taking all that into account, it is worth considering the most common activities used with such kind of information. We can apply true \ false and multiple choice tasks; comprehension questions; different matching tasks (questions to answers; jumbled sentence halves); filling in the blanks; re-arranging the paragraphs and summarizing the main idea of each paragraph, etc. All these tasks improve such reading skills as skimming (to obtain the gist, recognize the organization of ideas within the text); scanning (to get specific details); extracting specific information for summary or note taking; recognizing the function of the sentences; understanding implied information and attitudes.

Using articles involves a lot of writing. Main written tasks concern making translations, summaries and writing letters. When students translate, they first of all, learn to use bilingual, monolingual and online dictionaries; furthermore, students learn to analyze, transfer, restructure and discard the unimportant details. They compare patterns of the two languages and learn to make the right match. In that way, students get such writing skills as linking sentences, using connecting words, organizing information logically and clearly. Writing letters is another challenging and creative task; it can be a letter to the Editor about specific problem; a letter of application based on a situation; it can be a letter of advice containing solution to the problem, etc. These tasks help students reinforce vocabulary and structures mastered before. Writing summaries they learn to narrate stories, classify points, give arguments, etc.

Teaching vocabulary, we should recommend students to use not only different dictionaries but keep their own glossaries, which they continuously update. Writing down words in a notebook allows students to exercise their memory and expand the vocabulary. The tasks are usually concerned with selecting the most suitable vocabulary for the given theme, matching \ finding equivalents, choosing the right structure, etc.

As to speaking and listening tasks, we can always use newspapers or magazines as a prompt to start a discussion on a given topic. Students learn to make presentations on the basis of the article, describe a process, discuss experiences and give reasons. More creative activities relating to dramatizing can also be applied. Students can extend or play a dialogue; dramatize what actually happened in a story; interview some of the people involved in the article, etc. These tasks make students come nearer to real life situations and produce language more freely in the classroom. Discussing issues, students learn to deal with comparison, contrast, and argumentation as well as, expressing opinions, making conclusions, suggesting problem solutions.

Having mentioned most typical activities, we can turn to a practical example. Let’s consider the article «Благородное дело» by N. Uljanova form Business magazine 2 \ 2011. The article deals with the problem of building risk management system in our country. The author gives the definition of a risk-manager, determines his role in a modern company. The examples of poor risk management and successful management projects are considered as well. The article is quite long and contains a lot of useful material divided into chapters. A great deal of work is related to writing. It can be a written translation of different parts of the article, summary of the whole article or one chapter, comparative analyses of risk management systems for companies mentioned in the article, compositions and completing charts. Here are some examples:

Example 1

Write a composition using the material from the article.

  1. The effectiveness of risk management –necessary elements.

  2. Ideal risk management team.

  3. The role of an average employee in risk management of the company.

Example 2

Complete the table below with the information from the article and your own examples.

The development of risk management in modern Russia

What has been done

What is necessary to do

1. investment in project safety

1. improve the structure of risk management

2. position of risk manager is staff list

2. analyze the consequences of company’s decisions





All these tasks develop not only writing skills but also logical and critical thinking.

Teaching English through magazine article entails many speaking opportunities. For example, students could start with such a simple task as the definition of a risk manager and discussing his role according to the author’s point of view and their own opinions. Making a comparative analysis of risk-management departments of Russian and foreign companies is a more complicated and exciting task. Students could use the material to prepare a discussion about peculiarities of Russian risk management system considering different examples from the article and everyday life. Finding the reasons for bad risk management in our country is a task which can be done in small groups. Sharing and comparing opinions can stimulate the general discussion. Also, the author’s conclusions should be considered and discussed along with students’ solutions to the given problem. Below there are some examples of speaking tasks relating to dramatizing:

Example 3

  1. Play a dialogue between a senior management student and one of the article’s characters. The first is asking questions about future speciality, the other is sharing experiences.

  2. Interview one of the article’s characters (Sergey Khestanov) about his career experience and role of risk manager in a modern company.

  3. Imagine you are young specialists in management. Organize a meeting with an experienced professional (Alexey Kuznetsov). Ask him to tell about working mechanisms of risk management in our country. You can ask questions or make an argument.

All these tasks improve speaking skills and develop creativity and responsiveness.

Finally, students have a lot of interesting vocabulary work. First of all, it is necessary to focus on the most important key vocabulary. It is a good idea to help students by pre-teaching key words before giving the article. It involves matching task, finding equivalents, etc.

Example 4

Match the English and Russian equivalents:

1. Управлять рисками

a) ensure the company against risks

2. Повышать безопасность

b) manage risks

3. Застраховать компанию от риска

c) raise security

Along with the key terms, some useful vocabulary from business English is also practiced in the course of work. Depending on the group level, we can start with the simplest expressions and then get to more complicated ones.

Example 5

Find the English equivalents to the following expressions:

Ежегодные бонусы

Дочерние компании

Линейный менеджмент

Спорная ситуация

Обеспечение устойчивости бизнеса

Формулировка и реализация задач

Взаимодействие с властями

It would be a challenging task for students to find the most suitable equivalents to some Russian idioms.

Example 6

Think of the most suitable equivalents to these idioms:

Пока гром не грянет


Подкладывать соломку

Спускаться с небес на землю

Грохнуться оземь

These tasks help students develop sense of language; encourages them to experiment with the language and incorporate this into their everyday speech and vocabulary.

To sum up, newspaper and magazine articles are valuable tool for teachers; students also benefit from article-based lessons with the following advantages:

  1. using articles is a change from the regular textbook routine which makes lessons more exciting and less formal; the classroom atmosphere is not only informative but participative which allows students to create some course content;

  2. the activity improves language skills; develops translating and interpreting skills; provides great opportunities for practicing vocabulary; builds up solid writing abilities; encourages students to discuss and share opinions thereby improving their speaking and listening skills;

  3. practicing up-to-day articles provides personal development; stimulates creativity, develops critical and logical thinking. The activity gives great opportunities for individual students’ work, which makes learners active participants of the learning process and encourages them to continue reading newspapers and magazines. Finally, it is a chance to overcome the gap between the classroom and the real world and understand the professional issues better.


  1. James Ellis, Newspapers are the world's mirrors; www.esldrive.com

  2. Lindsay Clandfield and Duncan Foord; Using Newspapers in the Classroom; http://www.transitionsabroad.com/

  3. http://www.nytimes.com

  4. http://www.onestopenglish.com

  5. Ульянова Н., Благородное Дело, Бизнес Журнал№2 (119)2011


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