Rob was in Kiev last week (24 – 28 February 2020) running an ESP Teacher Development Course (based on the British Council CiVELT course) as a joint project of the British Embassy and the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, delivered by the British Council Ukraine. The training involved 16 teachers from Kiev, Poltava and Odessa and was held at the Defence University of Ukraine named after Ivan Cherniakhovskyi.
It has been a busy start to 2020 for McIlwraith Education. As Hamish was heading back from Ethiopia, Claire was on her way to Beni-Mellal, Morocco to support the six local, master trainers as they cascaded the Digital Resources in the Classroom workshop. The trainers worked in pairs, jointly delivering the one-day workshop in three locations, Beni-Mellal, Khouribga & Khawarizmi, reaching over 50 secondary school teachers. The main aims of the workshop were to familiarise the teachers with the British Council’s LearnEnglish Teens site and provide then with the opportunity to practice selecting appropriate content to blend with their course books. Moreover, time was given to planning reading and listening lessons using Teens content.
Claire’s thanks go to the trainers for the hard work they put into their preparation for the workshop and for their professionalism in delivering it. Her thanks also go to the teachers for their enthusiasm during the workshops and she wishes them all the best in delivering their first Teens lessons.
Claire has just returned from a work trip to Beni Mellal, Morocco for Phase 2 of the British Council’s Digital Resources in the Classroom project. This phase began with the training of six local expert teacher trainers. Via a predominantly experiential learning approach, they were introduced to a digital resources course that focuses on the selection and use of the British Council’s LearnEnglish Teens in class. They in turn will cascade the training to 150, Year 9 & 10 English teachers in the Beni Mellal region in the New Year. Claire is looking forward to joining them for this stage of the training.
Claire would like to thank the trainers for their hard work and for their constructive suggestions on where alterations to the course should be made before the cascade training takes place. She would also like to thank the Académie Régionale de Béni Mallal Khénifra Region for hosting the event and being so welcoming. Lastly, her thanks to Salma Tbaik, Project Officer, English and Education, British Council for accompanying her on the trip and ensuring that everything ran smoothly.
Claire has recently returned from a two-week trip to Cuba, where once again she was working alongside Alan Pulverness from TransformELT (https://transformelt.com/) on the annual ELT Roadshow. The Roadshow was organised by the British Council Cuba as part of their collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education to support their new English language policy, which aims to improve the level of English that is attained by university students upon graduation. This year the focus was on the CEFR and on the assessment of speaking and listening.
This year, Alan and Claire presented their plenaries and workshops at University ‘Marta Abreu’ of Las Villas, Santa Clara and University Enrique José Varona University of Cuba, Havana. They were joined by Tom Connelly (TransformELT) and Robert Williams (University of Westminster), who ran parallel sessions in University Oriente in Santiago de Cuba and University of Holguin.
In addition to the 50-tertiary level, highly qualified and experienced English teachers, who attended the three-day events at each university, this year’s plenaries were also attended by junior and senior high school teachers, and undergraduates, which made for an interesting dynamic. Claire would like to thank all the participants for their enthusiasm and participation during the sessions. She would also like to thank all those involved in the planning of the Roadshow, which is a significant undertaking, and the universities for their kind hospitality.
Claire has had a busy couple of weeks. She paid a return visit to Rabat to work with the same group of Middle and High school English teachers on the LearnEnglish Teens (http://learnenglishteens.britishcouncil.org/) mapping project. During the two-day workshop they finalised mapping the content from Teens to their Year 9 & 10 coursebooks. The teachers also created lesson plans to accompany the Teens content that they will pilot with their students later this month. They designed some excellent lessons and Claire wishes them every success with the trial.
After Rabat Claire travelled to Liverpool to attend the 53rd International IATEFL Conference (https://conference.iatefl.org/). She focused her attention on sessions related to teaching with technology and trainer development and came away with a couple of ideas to pursue! Best of all she caught up with a number of former colleagues and friends. She was especially delighted to meet the Cuban team, who she had worked with last year with her colleague Alan Pulverness, TransformELT namely, Yailet Landrove, British Council, Dr Santiago Rivera Pérez, Ministry of Higher Education, Dr Eduardo Garbey, University of La Habana, and Zoe Dominguez, University of Matanzas.
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.
Claire recently paid a flying visit to the beautiful and fascinating city of Rabat, Morocco’s capital. She was there to run a two-day workshop for English and subject teachers from Middle and High schools on the British Council’s LearnEnglish Teens website (http://learnenglishteens.britishcouncil.org/). The aims of the workshop were to familiarise the participants with the website’s extensive content and to present a template for them to map, in a principled way, this content against their English language coursebooks for Years 9 and 10. The teachers also had the opportunity to practise mapping the digital content, a task that they will complete post workshop in readiness for a short pilot study during which they will use LearnEnglish Teens with their students.
Claire would like to thank the participants for their hard work and insightful input during the workshop and to wish them every success with the pilot study.
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.