ESOL Customer Service Training Curriculum

This seven-unit curriculum for teaching customer service skills to English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) includes an instructor guide and student workbook.

Keira Ballantyne
Nicole Ring
Anna DeSimon
Amber Gallup
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
MontgomeryWorks Sales & Service Learning Center
Montgomery College
Publication Year
Resource Type
Informational Material
Number of Pages

Sales and service is a high-growth industry that employs a diverse workforce, including many English learners. This seven-unit curriculum includes an instructor guide and student workbook for teaching ESOL in the context of introducing students to customer service skills. Each unit addresses specific skills in three distinct categories: customer service, job readiness, and grammar and pronunciation. The authors do not identify the level of English language proficiency that the manual targets and instructors will likely need to modify as appropriate to the level they are teaching.

The topics covered are:

  • Unit 1: Talking with Your Customer
  • Unit 2: Meeting the Customer's Needs
  • Unit 3: Working in a Store
  • Unit 4: Using the Telephone
  • Unit 5: Closing the Sale
  • Unit 6: Handling Problems and Complaints
  • Unit 7: Ready to Work
What the experts say

This resource provides useful content for integrating language skills with workplace preparation for occupations that require customer service. For programs concerned with matching instruction to standards, the updated curriculum package includes tables that clearly match all content to college and career readiness standards. While the specific ESOL level that this resource is intended to serve is not stated, it appears that lessons can be used with students at the intermediate level and adapted for use with higher levels.

The Teacher Guides are uniform, thorough, and easy to follow. The sequence of activities throughout each Unit is logical. The Teacher Guides include all answer keys, transcripts, conversation cards, game templates, etc. that correspond to each lesson. More novice teachers will especially benefit from the guides, because they not only provide the content, they also demonstrate good preparation and execution of a lesson. Teachers who are looking to incorporate work-based education activities into their curriculum and lessons will find a wealth of content and creative ideas.

Student activities use authentic language and situations, and include photocopies of real-world materials. The variety of tasks assigned to students covers the range: independent, cooperative, reading, writing, oral work, math, problem-solving, critical thinking, and computer work as some of the activities require students to search on-line for information or apply for a job using technology. The course requires students to construct a portfolio, and templates for the various elements of the portfolio are provided along with skills worksheets, a sample resume, and interview practice questions – all of which students will find helpful in their quest to secure employment.

This resource dates to 2007 and the bibliography of references are also fairly dated. However, the content remains contemporary and relevant to today’s context.

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