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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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 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.
Rabat Claire travelled to Liverpool to attend the 53rd International IATEFL
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
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
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.
We’ve updated our publications on the McIlwraith Education website. It now has the thirteen books we have had published, a range of over twenty articles in books and journals and samples of our conference presentations. The books include Rob’s latest in The English Ideas Project series and Claire’s co-authored book on Blended Learning in ELT. Apart from the books I’ve edited, I have also included research that our former colleague, Alistair Fortune, now retired, and I carried out into the Primary and Secondary education systems in Egypt as well as two non-ELT books. The first of these is an oral history of the crofting community in North Uist in the Western Isles of Scotland and my self-help book, Coping with Bereavement.
The articles range from the use of the e-Delphi technique in ELT research to Language-in-Education planning in Tunisia and the Common European Framework.
The presentations include investigations into Blended Learning and English Language Policy Implementation in Egypt and Colombia.
Congratulations to Claire and Rob for successfully
completing the Professional Certificate in Human Capital Investment Planning
course, which they studied online with abdi Ltd. This means they are now accredited ‘in the
leading methodology for planning, measuring and reporting the performance and
impact of projects, programme and activities of all kinds tracked through human
effort and performance’ (www.abdi.eu.com/services-overview/).
They would like to thank their tutors Jeremy Harrison and Jane Massey for their
excellent sessions and support, and are looking forward to putting their new
found skills into practice.
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
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.