How to teach English for Architects and designers

Updated: Nov 6, 2020

I say I teach English for Architecture professionals rather than saying I teach it to architecture professionals. What’s the difference? When you teach English for someone, you’re committing to making a program that is tailored for their needs.

English that architects, landscape architects, urban designers and interior designers need:

Across the architecture industry there are some common reasons why you as an architecture professional or designer need to be an effective communicator in English:

To speak with prospective or current clients, suppliers, colleagues and collaborating professions in meetings and on the telephone.

To manage design and construction projects by dealing with contractors and city Council's or other approval authorities.

Give presentations and attend presentations on a variety of industry-related topics.

To persuade clients and approval authorities of the benefits of your designs.

To sell your design.

To read and understand sometimes complex rules and regulations, contracts, product catalogues and design articles.

To communicate with others while attending networking events and events that support continued professional development (CPD).

To write emails, proposals, presentations, reports and contract documents.

To write exciting project case studies for design portfolios (personal or company-based).

To join professional associations.

To attend and present at conferences.

This means you need to have skills in:


Dealing with enquiries.

Taking on feedback.

Discussing complexities of designs and sometimes in collaboration with other professions.

Explaining why things have changed and to have understood why they have.

Collaboration with other professions.

Explaining why things are possible or impossible.

Responding to complaints.

Asking for more information.

Making arrangements.

Many other examples

Not only are all these things important, but each different job within the profession has its unique set of vocabulary that needs to be reinforced.

When I work with my student's it's important that we look for ways that the student can build their industry-specific vocabulary by reading and listening to things they are curious about and that is current, relevant, and interesting.

Your learning effectiveness and motivation are greatly influenced when you are doing something you like. As well as this, you need to practice and reinforce different communication skills.

It's therefore important and why I seek to provide you with practice, but also the tools and strategies to know how to use the language appropriately in different situations.

How do I give you examples of the language?

Firstly, I discuss this with you to determine your priorities. Then I adapt the program structure to include your needs. We also use current, relevant and interesting materials about architecture, landscape architecture, urban design or interiors (whichever is relevant to your industry).

We use and practice language in three ways:

Communication skills

We practice the communication skills required in different relevant scenarios.

Building Vocabulary

I encourage wide reading and listening with design articles, news articles, podcasts and industry-relevant TEDTalks, conference presentations, videos and easily accessible industry-related TV series.

Speaking by giving opinions about topics in design

For me, being able to speak about design is important. It builds your confidence because you already have this knowledge in your native tongue. With my students, we use relevant and current articles and other media to spend time discussing topics. First and foremost we discuss the topics chosen by you such as:

Different architects and their influences

The current state of affairs in relation to your industry

Innovation in materials and construction methods

Innovations in CAD and BIM software

Good design, bad design and design aesthetics

Cultural differences and influences

Historical influences

Styles of architecture and design trends


Implications of design on the environment

Green Infrastructure

Creating healthy communities

Globalisation and digitalisation

Urban environments

Many other topics of interest

Professional development

I also believe it's important that the teaching I do can go towards your continued professional development. This is why I look to industry bodies to make sure your English program also aligns with your commitment to maintaining professional development for your career progression.

Interested in finding out more about my 1:1 English coaching program for architecture professionals? Find out more.

Or are you an ESL teacher, teaching English to architects?

Contact me today.

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