Letters of Appreciation

Joan Bartel and North American business culture.

Joan C. Bartel, B.A., M.A., CTESL, has been active in the field of adult education, English as a Second or Foreign Language (ESL), for many years. The combination of culture, business customs and language has been her specialty. She has experienced the culture and language of four different countries and knows personally about the challenges of immigrating and working in different lands.


·    Teaching Employment-related Classes like OSLT
1.5 – 2 hours
A brief presentation on Occupation-specific Language Training, a program funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, followed by a discussion of how employment-related ESL differs from regular intermediate ESL classes. The four key components of employment-related language courses are: general ESL, occupation-specific language, Canadian workplace culture and job search communication strategies.
  • Teaching soft skills within ESL/ESP
1.5- 2 hours
Soft skills, or culturally appropriate communication skills, such as politeness and turn-taking in conversations, go beyond traditional ESL or even ESP (English for Specific Purposes) course content. They are also an employability factor. Immigrants are motivated to understand soft  skills to get a job and to get along in their new country. Challenging, engaging intermediate activities are demonstrated, using adapted surveys and occupational textbooks.
Optional add-on: participants collaborate on developing a scenario for their learners.
  • Success in business and professional communication with Office Soft Skills
1 hour
Appropriate language and interpersonal skills help newcomers get along in the workplace. Without them, jobseekers can fail the interview process. With Office Soft Skills learners explore Canadian business customs and communication skills through challenging situational quizzes. Easy and engaging to use, this book motivates pre-employment students (CLB 5+) to stay in class. Sample activities are demonstrated.
  • 5 Bad Office Habits Your Students Need to Know About
1.5 hours
What bad office habits annoy Canadians the most? Come take a challenge quiz and find out. Did you know office habits can be culturally based? For our immigrant learners, appropriate soft skills as well as language are needed to get along at work.
  • Researching Surveys and Business News for Class Activities 1 or 2
1- 1.5 hours
Surveys on daily life and business practices reflect current cultural trends and are a great source of class activities. Sample activities are demonstrated. Activity topics are: popular Halloween costumes, punctuality at work and personal appearance.  
1. Sources of useful Canadian information and activities involving language and critical thinking skills are suggested.
2. Language skills practised in class as learners discuss the survey results are shown: asking questions, talking about numbers, comparing and summarizing results.  

Joan's recent work has been to develop curricula for internationally trained immigrant programs of the Canadian government. In her classes of skilled immigrants, there were many questions about business culture and language customs in North America. Joan saw a need for a new kind of training and wrote  Business Soft Skills tutorials for her students and Office Soft Skills as a set of short textbooks for everyone. The content reflects her research on the subject, that showed that these topics interest almost everybody who wants to “get along and get ahead” at work.

Joan has published two previous textbooks in the field of ESL:
On the Way 1, written with an international team, published by Klett and Cassell, became a standard textbook in Europe for adults beginning to learn English.
The Metropolitan Daily News: Understanding American Newspapers (Prentice Hall), was written while she was Program Developer for the English language classes at Harvard University’s International Office. Combining language, culture and critical reading, the book has been studied in classes in the U.S., Taiwan and other countries.

When her family moved to Canada, Joan became the first Academic Director of Pacific Language Institute Toronto. She welcomed thousands of students from around the world and supervised the teaching of their ESL programs. In Toronto, the most multi-cultural city in the world (according to a U.N. study), she now works as a consultant with international professionals and business people who bring their skills and enthusiasm to make a home in Canada. She has developed courses and taught groups and individuals at Manulife Financial, Deloitte & Touche, York University, Skills for Change, Humber College and other companies and organizations.

Joan has a B.A. in German from DePauw University in Indiana, U.S.A.; a Master’s in Language Teaching Research from the University of Bonn, Germany; a TESL Certificate from Humber College, Toronto, Canada; and Career and Work Counselling Certificates from George Brown College, Toronto. She has presented often at TESL/TESOL conferences in the U.S. and Canada and was invited to speak at “A Conference on Higher-Level Language Training,” hosted by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.