Job-specific Vocabulary & Speech (Thread 2)

Hi there,

Can you direct me to a website where I can download job-specific vocabulary and speech (phrases, dialogs)?  I need printable materials, since our students do not have access to computers.  My students' needs range from food preparation, food service, auto technician/mechanic, farm equipment, preschool instructor, and nursing assistant. 

Thank you!  Trensa



Hi Trensa - Unfortunately, I don't have any websites to share. I hope that others chime in with them. There are a lot of workforce ESL textbooks that provide these types of things - check series such as Workplace Plus, On the Job English, and the Heinle Picture Dictionary, as they often focus on several different types of occupations and the vocabulary associated with them.That said, one suggestion I might make (you may well already be doing this - I don't know the context of your query, of course) is to focus primarily on the language and strategies of the workplace that are common to many occupations. In my experience, the specific vocabulary of job (say, food items or construction tools) are the first things that students learn. What they often benefit from more are the strategies for, say, telling the boss they'll be late or absent, describing a work-related dilemma to a supervisor, solving conflicts with co-workers amicably, describing products to customers, etc. In the context of these scenarios, the vocabulary they already know can emerge and be practiced. Also, this is easier on the teacher - I've definitely done my share of searching for job-related vocab in a class full of people in different occupations, and it's exhausting!  :) Again, I know you may already be doing all of this - I just saw your post and it made me think of my own experience with this. Best of luck!

Future Series by Pearson has a set of specific work place skill workbooks. Thye are very good for  pracicing vocabulary, conversation and basic reading and writing . The series comes in beginning and intermediate level for, Restaurents, Hospitality,Manufacturing,and Technology. We use this with our stuents that need a crash when they get a job. This is also a good starter set to prepare studens for specific jobs as they are mastering Englisg language.

Thanks for the good ideas, Amber!  It is a good idea to cover general workplace speech.  Once I get these new students started, the next step will be to get them to begin developing their own lessons.  I am still thinking about how to do this efficiently.  You are absolutely correct that writing such targeted lessons for individuals is very time- consuming!  It makes sense for the students to contribute to the lesson plan since they know best what they need to learn. 

Many thanks to all of you who responded to my question! 


 Hi Trensa - 

The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education funded Designing Instruction for Career Pathways initiative has a website - the Adult Career Pathways Training and Support Center ( [edited by admin to fix broken link]). Through this project, over 120 instructional resources in 13 out of the 16 career clusters have been collected from states and programs across the country. Vocabulary is a focus in many of the curriculum/lessons housed on the site.

When you go to the website, select Resource Center, then select the Instruction category. You can filter your search of the instructional resources by the 16 career clusters, program type (ABE, ASE, ELL), skills/knowledge (reading, math, ELL), and resource type (curriculum, syllabus, course outline, lesson plan) to meet your student's needs. 

You must register as an ACP-SC member in order to access the resources, but registration is free and the resources are free, accessible, and may be reproduced without permission with proper attribution to the authors.

The project is nearing its end; however, once it ends in mid-September, all of these resources will be transferred to the LINCS Resource Collection ( so that the field can continue to benefit from them!

Hope this helps!


Canada’s National Adult Literacy database is searchable and downloadable. I pulled out these sites but there are many more. Check the date of publication. Also review the materials because Canadian  government agency and social service reference are not the same as United States and individual US states.   Sandra P Darling  SABES Literacy Library Massachusetts.