Grace Alchini

Combining English, task-based learning …and wine!

In this session we will look at how TBL can be used to train professionals of a specific field to perform their jobs in English. The case that will be presented is a course on English for winetasting for sommeliers. We will discuss the key elements and relevance of this technique as well as aspects of this course in particular.


In this talk, I would like to share with the audience the experience of creating and delivering a course for sommeliers called English for Winetasting, as this may be of interest to those trainers who want to teach this topic or run any similar ESP course. Taking into account that my learners would be professionals who needed specific language and skills in English as a tool to make progress in their careers opening to new markets and clients, when starting to work on this course I decided the best approach was task-based learning (TBL), as this leads to authentic and immediate use of language.

The objective of this session is to:

- Discuss the main characteristics of TBL and its relevance in English for Specific Purposes courses designed for professionals

- Provide participants with details of the creation and delivery of this English for Winetasting course to illustrate how TBL has been implemented

- Share ideas with teachers who may be running (or planning to run) similar courses, and help those in charge of other ESP courses develop their own project


- How the course originated

- Its main objectives

- TBL as the chosen approach: why?

- Main elements of TBL

- How the course was organized (sessions and activities)

- Previous preparation

- Types of language to be covered (descriptive words, technical words related to the winemaking process, metaphors, the language of service)

- Sommeliers’ need for this course and how successful it was

- The online version


Grace Alchini is a freelance teacher of English and business communication and ESP trainer based in Mexico. She has over 35 years’ experience working at universities, providing in-company language services and training young professionals. Over the last 8 years, she has been a frequent speaker at international ELT conferences in Europe and has run webinars for different teacher associations.