Category Archives: Publication

Issue 2 of the TUP Magazine

Issue 2 (May 2020) of the Teaching Uniformed Personnel (TUP) magazine is out now. This issue is all about using maps and plans for general English purposes and articles with ideas for using maps and plans with Military, Police and Border Guard students. You can join our growing number of subscribers across Europe, Central Asia and the UK on the English Ideas Project webpage.

The Magazine is a free electronic magazine delivered to your inbox by email in .pdf format.

Teaching Uniformed Personnel Magazine

McIwraith Education and the English Ideas Project are proud to announce the first issue of a new free electronic magazine for military, police and border guard English language teachers. Teaching Uniformed Personnel will be published quarterly and sent electronically to teachers who sign up for it.

The first issue can be downloaded from the link above where you can also go to the sign up page. Please share this with anyone you think might be interested.

Military English Tactical and Peacekeeping Operations

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.

Military English: Tactical and Peacekeeping Operations

Rob is back in the classroom trialling his new book: Military English: Tactical and Peacekeeping Operations, with the Latvian National Guard. The course is designed as a complete pre-deployment course for army soldiers and officers being sent on multi-national missions. It is aimed at students who have done two or more years of study in English and is pitched at an intermediate level (B1/STANAG 2). The course has three parts.

Phase 1 focuses on General English, General Military English and some specialized Military English. The General English units focus on the social side of missions (e.g. talking about role and responsibilities, career, family, home, sport, hobbies and interests, describing people). Military topics include the NATO phonetic alphabet, force structure, formations and purpose, different kinds of forces e.g. mechanized infantry, armour etc, disposition of forces, different weapons and platforms. There are also 25 study pages of military acronyms, ten peacekeeping mission fact file reading tasks, five report writing tasks, and seventeen study/revision pages of functional grammar: these are to be set as homework tasks. This phase concludes with a test with four sections: Grammar, Reading, Writing and Speaking.

Phase 2 concentrates on specialized Military English. Topics include using the radio, the weather, terrain, land navigation, survival, medical English and Tactical Combat Casualty Care, describing position, bases and base defense, OPs, overwatch, convoys, IEDS and UXO, checkpoints, patrols, attacks, and understanding orders.

Phase 3 has a focus on solving tactical and peacekeeping problems. There are five tactical problems to solve, units on peacekeeping missions, ROEs, OPs, patrols, checkpoints, convoys, using interpreters, civil disturbances, and natural and man-made disasters, and five peacekeeping problems.

The course is being trialled before being published in 2018.

The Status of English in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Claire is delighted to announce the publication of ‘The Status of English in Bosnia and Herzegovina‘ in which she has a chapter entitled ‘Military English Matters’. The book explores the widespread adoption of English and its effects on a nation recovering from war from a number of perspectives, such as policy, teacher training, assessment, textbook publishing, interpreting and translating. Claire’s chapter is a consideration of the importance of English from a military perspective. She examines NATO’s influence on the growth of English in Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina and describes the current system for delivering English language training to military personnel and for testing their levels of proficiency. The chapter also provides an account from the students’ perspective as to how they perceive the role of English in relation to their work.

Teaching English: Being the Best

Rob and his colleague Emma Valahu have recently published a book on English language teaching methodology. The idea for ‘Teaching English: Being the Best’ came from three observations. The first was that busy teachers don’t have time to read methodology books, the second was that teaching is a complex business with a lot of things to think about or remember, and the third was that so-called best practice is often not very ‘best’. The book that eventually appeared in its final form was shaped by these thoughts. It’s a book with a lot of topics – over two hundred are dealt with, and could have had more but they said that they had to draw the line somewhere. It’s a book which can be used in different ways – you could read it from cover the cover, but you can also use it as a reference book or dip into it. Most topics are dealt with in a one page thought-provoking essay. Most teachers have time to read a page from time to time. The longest section is five pages on Communicative Language Teaching, but 90% of the book is made up of one page essays. Some pages are bullet point lists of things to remember, or ideas, for pre-listening tasks, for example. So if you are looking for ideas for pre-, during, and post-listening or reading tasks there are lists to help you. These all fit in under the best practice label. But, as Rob and Emma say, best practice is sometimes lacking the best part there are essays which discuss how you can move beyond best practice. There are two new ways to approach reading, for example: the Deep Text and Dual Text Approaches. They make a case for the principled use of L1 in the class (something Rob has been arguing for since the mid 90s); they tell the reader how use reading aloud well and argue throughout the book for more teaching (and learning) and less testing. Rob and Emma take a learning-centred approach. They look at PPP, ESA, TTT, ARC, TBL, data-driven learning, Dogme and Demand High and have advice on creating your own materials and using technology and blended learning. There are handy tables on exam comparisons, on the CEFR and course books, and on the number of headwords in different reader series. They also discuss things rarely, if ever, found in other methodology books: like opportunity cost, time management, being professional and what to do when you are ill. And throughout the book they include inspiring and thought provoking quotations from people like Scott Thornbury, J.R. Firth and David Wilkins, but also Winston Churchill, Bruce Lee and Yoda. The book is a bit quirky and idiosyncratic, but we like that, and we hope you will too.

Nigeria Regional Hornby School Research Papers Published

In 2015 I led a British Council Regional Hornby School in Abuja for teacher trainers and academics from Nigeria, Ethiopia and Rwanda. Some were from UNICEF and others were supported by DFID’s Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN) and the Teacher Development Programme (TDP), which is a UKaid programme managed by a consortium led by Mott Macdonald that involves the Nigerian government and six State governments in the north. Over the past year or so I have been guiding the participants’ research and editing their papers, which have just been published. Many thanks to the British Council’s Yetunde Oluwatosin for all her help and advice.

Nigeria Hornby School

Publications on Egypt, Nigeria and Blended Learning

We are involved with a number of publications at the moment. The research that Alistair and I conducted into Basic and Secondary education in Egypt has just been uploaded by the British Council. We looked at education from the point of view of ministries, teachers, students, parents and employers in relation to the education goals of the Ministry of Education and the National Curriculum Framework for English as a Foreign Language: Grades 1-12. I will be travelling to London to present the findings at an event on Monday 7th March to help UK stakeholders to learn more about the context for English teaching and learning in Egypt and the current issues, and to strengthen and explore potential partnerships and opportunities for collaboration.  It is similar to a presentation that Alistair made a year ago following research he conducted in Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan.

Sphynx 7

I am also putting the final touches to editing a collection of research papers by Nigerian academics, which is due to be published in the next few weeks.

Claire is delighted to learn that one of the chapters she wrote for the British Council publication Blended Learning in ELT: Course Design and Implementation, has been used by Pete Sharma Associates to inform the final unit of their new course on blended learning for language teachers. All at McIlwraith Education wish Pete and his associates the very best with the launch of what promises to be an interesting course. For a free PDF copy of the British Council publication click here and and for more information on Pete’s course go here.

Claire’s Busy Month

Claire has had a busy month with trips to Kazakhstan and Montenegro.  In Astana she spent two weeks working for Cambridge International Examinations on the Kazakhstan State School Train the Trainer programme. Cambridge has been working on education reform projects in Kazakhstan since 2011 and this work has included developing curricula, which are due to be introduced from September 2016 in state schools. In preparation for this Kazakhstani trainers were provided with a four week course to familiarise them with the structure, progression, content and aims of the updated subject programmes and course plans using training materials developed by Cambridge.  Claire helped to deliver this training to a group of twenty-six English language subject specialists, who will in turn cascade the training to state school teachers.

In Podgorica Claire was working once again with the military English teachers and teachers from the Institute of Foreign Languages. During the workshop on Course Design they developed study paths for the British Council product Learn English Pathways Intermediate 1 & 2 ( that incorporated a blended aspect using Skype and/or Viber and email.  The Intermediate 1 course will be trialled over the next 10 weeks with a group of sixteen military personnel.

It’s also excellent to see that Claire has had another good review of ‘Blended Learning in English Language Teaching: Course Design and Implementation’, the book she edited with Brian Tomlinson in the latest issue of the TESOL Quarterly journal

Claire's Busy Month