Teaching English to Marketing Students: Bridging the Gap Between Academic and Real-World Skills

Teaching English to Marketing Students: Bridging the Gap Between Academic and Real-World Skills

Sandra Vieira Vasconcelos, Ana Balula
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6295-5.ch011
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The marketing sector has been experiencing substantial changes due to the constant need to adjust to apace-evolving markets and demands. Digital development takes on an important role in this scenario, which may not be echoing in marketing education. Thus, there is an increasing discussion surrounding the skills required of marketing graduates in the current educational and professional set. Given that English proficiency is ranked as crucial by stakeholders, and it seems not to translate into many Portuguese marketing programs, the goal of this chapter is to provide a holistic view over the state of the art on the match/gap between the language skills developed in marketing programs and those expected from practitioners and marketing professionals in the 21st century. The results of the content analysis showed that (in)formal communication in English, namely through emails, instant messaging, and social media, should be recognized as a core competence within the marketing curriculum.
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The American Marketing Association defines marketing as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large” (Keefe, 2008, p. 28). This complex, multilayered definition touches on different areas, making it difficult not only to define a precise scope for this particular field, but also establish and rank key skills for marketing graduates and professionals.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Language Proficiency: The ability to understand and communicate in a language. Proficient users are expected to use language effectively in different contexts.

Pragmatics: A subfield of linguistics and semiotics that deals with language in use and the context in which it is used.

Hard Skills: Job-specific skills. In addition to being more practical, these skills are easier to quantify.

Cultural Awareness: To understand cultural differences and being aware of different cultural values, beliefs, and perceptions. Considered to be an important business skill, it has been shown to enhance communication in the workplace.

English as a Foreign Language (EFL): English taught to or used by non-native individuals.

English for Specific Purposes (ESP): A subset of English as a foreign language. It refers to the teaching of English that focuses on developing communicative skills in a particular field or occupation. ESP courses are designed to meet specific needs of the learners, with reference to the particular vocabulary and register they require.

Deeper Learning: Development of core skills and knowledge. It involves higher-order thinking skills, communication, and collaboration.

Soft Skills: Interpersonal, transferrable skills that include social, communication, intercultural, and listening skills. These skills are often associated with character traits. For that reason, they are hard to define and evaluate.

Skill Gap: The difference in the skills required on the job (an organization’s skill needs) and the actual skills possessed by workers.

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