Claire in the Western Balkans

Claire recently returned from a two-week trip to the Balkans that took her to Skopje in Macedonia, and Sarajevo, Banja Luka and Tuzla in Bosnia & Herzegovina (BiH). On the first leg of the trip she delivered a four-day ‘Teaching with Technology 2’ course to largely the same group of English teachers from the Macedonian Armed Forces and instructors from the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who had attended part one earlier this year. The main aims of this course were to refresh and update the participants’ knowledge on the websites, tools and apps introduced in the first course plus more, and to create activities to accompany their syllabi for either class or home use. The group were extremely creative and during the four days built up a good-sized repository of tasks that they can now trial with their students.

During the second half of her trip, Claire carried out a situation and needs analysis into English language teaching and learning in the Armed Forces of Bosnia & Herzegovina (AFBiH). The findings from which will feed into the creation of an English Language Learning Strategy 2020. Claire was already familiar with the context having worked on the British Council’s Military English Support Project in BiH between 2003 and 2007. Moreover, last February she returned to gather data for her chapter on the role of English in the AFBiH for the recent publication entitled The Status of English in Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, this trip gave her the chance to review more thoroughly the current system for English language teaching and learning and to identify the areas where attention needs to be focused. She would like to take this opportunity to thank the BiH Ministry of Defence, the AFBiH and the international stakeholders for their invaluable support while she was in country. She looks forward to working with them further over the upcoming months to help them develop the strategy.