First published online 16 March 2015
(L to R) Dr Malek Mohammed Juda, Dr Adil Ali Moussa (both from the Iraqi Ministry of Education), Claudia Civinini and Matt Salusbury
It’s widely acknowledged that there are major challenges to effective English language education in Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. British Council country director Amir Razman opened a meeting in early March on ELT in Iraq, attended by the Gazette, by saying, ‘You don’t need me to tell you that circumstances are difficult.’
ELT consultant Alastair Fortune reported back on working in Baghdad with ‘seven security guards and three armour-plated 4x4s’ just to visit some of the city’s primary and secondary schools. Security concerns make central and southern Iraq almost inaccessible to ELT trainers and consultants. This accounts for the lack of teacher training and the continued use of outdated methodologies which impact negatively on learners’ outcomes.
A dozen activists including trade unionists from the IWW union and members of the Angry Language Brigade (ALB) staged an occupation of the Speak Up School of English in London. The action, in support of a teacher who cannot be named for legal reasons, was observed by a Gazette reporter.
The group presented a letter detailing the employee’s grievances including unpaid holiday pay and teaching hours classified by the school as ‘training’. The Gazette understands that, ninety minutes later, management emailed offering a resolution.
A teacher in South Korea has been rejected for a job because she is Irish. Katie Mulrennan, 26, from County Kerry applied for a teaching job in Seoul, where she has lived for two years, according to BBC News.
Her application for a teaching post received the following response from an internet recruiter: ‘Hello I am sorry to inform you that my client does not hire Irish people due to the alcoholism [sic] nature of your kind.’
The message ended by wishing Mulrennan ‘the best of luck in the future’.