Rob went to Skopje in September at the invitation of the British Embassy Defence Section, working with the STANAG Testing Team. Rob helped the Team moderate items for listening and reading tests at Level 1 and 2. They also discussed design issues with computer-based tests of listening and reading and compared computer-based delivery with pen and paper tests. Last week he returned to work with the Centre for Foreign Languages on their new curriculum. The Centre is realigning their curriculum and courses to the STANAG descriptors as part of North Macedonia’s joining of NATO. Rob also explored some more ideas of how to integrate IT into lessons with the Centre’s teachers and a teacher from the Military Academy, building on Claire’s earlier work with the teachers. At the same time, Hamish provided distance advice to the Team on approaches to online testing.
Rob’s book, Military English Tactical and Peacekeeping Operations, is now available.
This is a new pre-deployment course for Army personnel who are to be sent on multinational peace support operations, or on training courses in an English language speaking country, or are to be trained by English-speaking instructors. It is an Intermediate | B1 | STANAG 2 Level course.
The course is designed to teach soldiers (enlisted men, NCOs and junior officers) how to operate effectively in multi-national tactical and peacekeeping operations. There are four components to the course: Coursebook, Workbook, Teacher’s Book and Electronic Resources. The Coursebook [378 pages] has 200 lesson-units, providing over 200 hours of study materials including vocabulary learning tasks, reading and listening tasks, briefings, role plays and other speaking tasks. The book is printed in black and white to save costs but there are over 800 colour photos and maps to download. You can buy it from a number of websites including Amazon.
Rob was back in Minsk last week, working with twelve English language teachers from the University of Civil Protection of the Ministry for Emergency Situations of the Republic of Belarus, which trains fire-fighters and other rescue personnel. The course was based on the British Council CiVELT course and had a focus on the training of emergency call operators as Belarus is gearing up for the 2nd European Games which will be held in Minsk at the end of June. Rob was most impressed with the enthusiasm and commitment of the English teaching team at the University. The course was organised by the British Council in Ukraine and the British Embassy in Minsk.
Claire has recently returned from Uzbekistan, her third trip in six months, where she had been running the fifth in a series of NILE led workshops for teachers at the National Guard Institute, as part of a British Council managed teacher development project. This time her focus was developmental lesson observations designed to support the teachers in their work with Campaign, which was introduced in November. She was delighted to observe them in action and to see first-hand how well they are coping with the coursebook. Claire was really impressed by the amount of preparation they put into their lessons, their openness to constructive feedback, and their willingness to act upon it immediately, adapting their techniques by the very next observation.
She would like to thank the National Guard Institute for their warmth and hospitality, and the teachers for their friendship and generosity. Last, but not least, she would like to thank the British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Mr Christopher Allan, for presenting the certificates on the final day, and the British Defence Attaché, Wing Commander Andrew Strefford for accompanying him.
Rob was also out and about last week. He was back in Skopje, Macedonia, working with the STANAG Testing Team, writing and moderating Listening items for Levels 2 and 3.
Congratulations to North Macedonia on the signing of the NATO accession agreement in Brussels yesterday. This is the first step towards full NATO membership, and now all NATO countries need to ratify the agreement. Greece will go first.
Coincidentally, Rob is in Skopje this week working with the STANAG Testing Team on their level 2 and 3 speaking and writing tests, as reliable STANAG tests scores are a key component for interoperability within NATO at all levels, and for selecting the right personnel to take part in multinational peace support operations worldwide.
Rob spent last week in Belarus delivering a Masterclass in Teaching course for 14 Military Academy teachers at the Central Officer’s Club in Minsk. The course was jointly organised by the Military Academy, the Belarus MOD, the Defence Section of the British Embassy and the British Council in Ukraine. The revised British Council Certificate in Vocational English Language Teaching (CiVELT) course was used as the core of the programme, supplemented with McIlwraith Education materials.
The course considered all aspects of ESP teaching and the teachers were introduced to new ideas and activities for skills based lessons, and vocabulary and grammar teaching. The event was closed by HM Ambassador to Belarus, Ms Fiona Gibb, and Colonel Susha, Deputy Commandant for International Co-operation at the Military Academy.
Rob spent this last week in Novi Sad in Serbia training a group of military English teachers from Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro on behalf of the British Embassy in Belgrade. Nine teachers spent the week looking at planning different kinds of lessons, considering new ideas for reading skills lessons (the Deep Text and Dual Text approaches), developing listening and video lessons, and thinking about how to create better information gaps. At the end of the week, the participants worked in groups to develop lesson plans and materials based on the ideas explored in the seminar. These will now be polished, trialled and shared.
Rob spent last week in Skopje, Macedonia working with the Centre for Foreign Languages teaching team as they started the revision of their English language course curricula. The team looked through the current STANAG descriptors and identified what tasks and topics were not currently included in the curriculum and added these. Then all the course curricula were reviewed and revised in detail, the course length and number of hours were reconsidered, and the placement testing process was revised. The teachers now have to complete the revision process ready for the new curricula to be introduced in January 2020. Skopje is currently enjoying a lovely golden autumn and was beautiful in the warm sunshine.
Last Friday Claire returned from Uzbekistan where she had been running the second in a series of NILE led workshops for teachers at the National Guard Institute. This particular 10-day workshop focused on how to teach using the military English coursebook Campaign, which the Institute will introduce this academic year on the English language programme for their cadets.
The workshop was highly practical and gave the teachers opportunities to jointly plan and teach different sections of Campaign in micro-teaching sessions. Overall, the teachers did an excellent job and Claire has very confidence in their ability to effectively use this coursebook. She wishes them all the best and hopes that they, and their cadets, enjoy using Campaign!
Claire has just spent two weeks in Uzbekistan working as the Project Lead Consultant for Norwich Institute for Language Education (NILE) on a British Council Professional Development Programme for Military English Language Teachers Project. She delivered the first of what will be a series of workshops to teachers working at the National Guard Institute in Tashkent. This initial workshop focussed on language teaching methodology. The second in-country workshop, which Claire will run at the end of October, will build on the first with a practical focus on teaching using the military English coursebook Campaign.
Her thanks go to the National Guard Institute for making her feel so welcome and to the teachers for their enthusiasm and hard work during the workshop. Claire is very much looking forward to returning to deliver the next workshop at the end of the month and to enjoying Tashkent life once more.