Any English teacher knows the value of using an occasional game in an English classroom. The game is often a welcome change from grammar lessons, short readings, writing practice, and contrived conversational situations. Learners are more at ease and put their more of their mind toward the challenge of the game rather than the English. But the English conversation practice to resolve those challenges—whether it's learning the rules of the game or actually playing the game—is what is most important to these learners. They are practicing English while having something else (i.e., the game) to think about.

   
 

"Risk & Reward" is a business game for business and technical English learners. The class is broken into teams of two to four learners each. The teams will compete against each other as to who can best manage business risk.

   
 

Each team is given some seed money to start investing. At each turn, the team is given four possible investments, each with its own risk and reward profile. Some investments are quite safe but have a low return. Other investments are very profitable but are risky. Some investments are a good balance of profit and safety. And some investments are not good investments at all. The team will use its English to discuss the four investments and choose the best one.

   
 

The team then calls the instructor over and draws from a set of random number cards. The card determines whether the investment is successful or not. If not, the team proceeds to the next turn and is given another set of four investments.

   
 

If successful, the team then enters the awarded cash flow into their ledger sheet. This ledger keeps record of their investing throughout the game. For most business people, this ledger will be quite easy to understand: the English to explain it will be their challenge. The instructor's manual has a very thorough explanation for the instructor to learn how to use this ledger.

   
 

When entering the numbers, it should be done with the supervision of the instructor or appointed assistant. The team and supervisor will use their English to reconcile the team's rightful amount according the rules and the successful investment's profile.

   
 

Some learners will have already had some finance training and will understandably want to do some financial calculations to make their decision. When the instructor hears words like "discount rate" and "present value," he or she should bring out the one-page financial analysis sheet which has all the appropriate financial calculations already completed. With this sheet, the learners can concentrate on their English conversation, not business calculations..

   
 

The game is designed so that the teams need not be all at the same turn. Some discussions will be lengthy; some will be short; successful investments will take more time to process than unsuccessful investments. In other words, each team goes at its own pace. .

   
 

The score is determined by simple derivation of the common compound interest formula, which also considers the number of turns each team has passed. Applying this formula is another unique opportunity for "numbers English" practice.

   
  The learning from "Risk & Reward" is enhanced by its complementary online activity: "Risk & Reward Online." By listening to actors play this game before they come to class, learners will get a better understanding of the rules of the game. So the learning curve, which can be a somewhat frustrating experience in an English classroom, has been reduced by having the learners first go through the online listening activity. Some learners may even glean some useful strategy to help them win the game!.
 
   
  But the dialogue has another innovative teaching feature: it was done totally impromptu! The actors used the language they normally would use. And like most native speakers, their English was far from perfect. To help explain the imperfect English from native speakers, "Risk & Reward Online" has identified about 300 troublesome spots and provided popup explanations. For those English learners who find understanding native speakers difficult, "Risk & Reward Online" should be used to its fullest.
   
  "Risk & Reward" and "Risk & Reward Online" provide a very unique business English training experience. Here's a summary of benefits not found from the established BE publishers:
 
  • Business game to generate classroom conversation
 
  • Ledger to generate accounting English conversation (Lots of Numbers English)
 
  • Online activity to support classroom activity
 
  • Online activity to analyze the imperfect English spoken by native speakers
 
  • Both the game and online activity are free to the instructor and learners
   
  The downside to Risk & Reward is the extra prep time for the instructor. There is no showing up ten minutes before class to make this BE activity work well. However, the improved learner engagement and unique learning experience should make the instructor's time investment worthwhile. And BE instructors who do invest the extra time will be recognized as the masters of their profession!
  Risk and Reward Instructor(High Resolution)
  Risk and Reward Instructor(Low Resolution)
  Risk and Reward Learner(High Resolution)
  Risk and Reward Learner(Low Resolution)
  Risk and Reward Resource(High Resolution)
  Risk and Reward Resource(Low Resolution)
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