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Teachers left behind as Italians head overseas

Claudia Civinini writes

Italian secondary schools are becoming more international. In 2013 there was a surge in students going abroad to study – 55 per cent more than in 2012 – and 68 per cent of schools were participating in international activities. The process, however, seems to have left some teachers behind.

This is what emerged from the National Observatory on School Internationalisation and Student Mobility’s 2015 annual report. The organisation was created by the Italian non-for-profit student exchange association Intercultura, with its surveys conducted by market researchers Ipsos.

The report gauged the internationalisation of Italian secondary schools by canvassing 480 teachers and 63 head teachers on their involvement in international projects such as student exchanges and international work experience for teachers. On the whole, it seems head teachers are satisfied with the internationalisation process. But while students and parents are enthusiastic, some teachers are still hesitant.

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Visa changes hit teen learners

Overseas 16–18-year-olds lose right to enrol in state-funded schools, reports Melanie Butler

A change in UK immigration rules, reported in the press as removing work rights from international students at state-funded further education (FE) colleges, appears to also hit a wide range of provision for 16–18-year-olds. The main changes, based on the information provided in a statement by immigration minister James Brokenshire to the House of Commons, and the new rules laid before parliament shortly before going to press, are outlined below.

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Indonesia improves its interoperability

Colm Downes describes an Anglo-Indonesian collaborative project with global reach

DEDICATED UNIT Indonesian UN military observers with their English teacher Lieutenant Dahlan at a training centre in Jakarta (Courtesy Colm Downes)

DEDICATED UNIT Indonesian UN military observers with their English teacher Lieutenant Dahlan at a training centre in Jakarta (Courtesy Colm Downes)

In Indonesia the British Council’s Peacekeeping English Project has just entered its third year. Funded by the UK Ministry of Defence, the reach and scope of the project is expanding, moving from specific English language support for the Indonesian Peacekeeping Training Centre to a range of English language initiatives across the Indonesian security and defence sector.

Working in cooperation with the Indonesian Ministry of Defence Education and Training Agency, we have planned a range of joint initiatives to increase English language learning and teaching across the Indonesian armed forces in 2015. In addition to developing specific English language training material for UN Military and UN Police Peacekeepers, the project is focused on teacher training initiatives and developing specific courses for military personnel preparing for postgraduate studies overseas.

Last June the British Council launched the pilot edition of English for UN Military Peacekeepers at IAPTC 20 – a global conference of peacekeeping training centres attended by the UN as well as military, police and civilian peacekeeping training centres from around the world. This is a practical training resource aimed at teaching UN military peacekeepers the English needed to improve interoperability and build relations with civilians on UN peacekeeping missions overseas.

In addition to units dedicated to traditional peacekeeping tasks, such as patrolling, monitoring ceasefires and escorting humanitarian convoys, a key part of the book is the integration of learning on preventing sexual and gender-based violence, human rights and international humanitarian law.

There is growing international recognition of the importance of language skills for personnel serving on UN peacekeeping missions. A recent global peacekeeping training needs assessment conducted by the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (UN DPKO) has identified ‘English for all peacekeepers’ as a priority training need for military, police and civilian staff. UN Security Council resolutions establishing new peacekeeping missions now include specific reference to recruiting qualified staff with appropriate language skills.

English for UN Military Peacekeepers is a practical resource developed to address this training need. Incorporating feedback received on the pilot edition launched in 2014, the British Council in Indonesia is working with military and language experts to produce a revised version for publication later this year. This new edition will include chapters specifically for UN Police, as well as a stand-alone set of resources for low-level language learners. English for UN Military Peacekeepers is being developed in such a way that it can be picked up and used by any UN military peacekeeper regardless of their mother tongue.

The materials developed by the Indonesia team are also finding favour across the east Asia region. In Thailand the British Council has been working with the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2011 to train both Thai police and military personnel for UN peacekeeping duties. As Thailand bids for a non-permanent seat on the UN security council in 2017, its role on the global stage and in UN peacekeeping is a key to winning important votes. After piloting the materials in Bangkok, Brian Stott, head of English programmes, said, ‘These are exactly the kind of materials that our partners are looking for: relevant and focused on the UN peacekeeping situations that our trainees will meet on mission, but also rooted in current ELT best practice. We are sure that better-trained personnel will lead to increased opportunities for Thailand to be a regional leader in UN peacekeeping.’

In addition to specific language learning materials for UN peacekeepers, the British Council in Indonesia has also started developing tailored materials for ‘English for disaster management professionals’ in partnership with the Asean Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management.

At the British Council through projects and partnerships such as these we aim to play a key role in developing the linguistic skills of military, police and civilian experts serving at home and abroad. Improving language skills helps save lives, build stronger relations and enhance peace and security efforts around the world.


Colm Downes is the British Council’s English for peacekeeping project manager. For further information about English for UN Military Peacekeepers he can be contacted at colm.downes@britishcouncil.or.id

DEDICATED UNIT Indonesian UN military observers with their English teacher Lieutenant Dahlan at a training centre in Jakarta (Courtesy Colm Downes)

Malay teaching project forges ahead

Fiona Wright writes

To date, over 3,000 primary English teachers from the east Malaysian states of Sarawak, Sabah and Labuan have benefitted from the English Language Teacher Development Project (ELTDP) mentoring scheme, and now students and local families are getting involved too. The project is supporting the Malaysian Ministry of Education to make a step-change in the quality of English teaching in the country.

The main ELTDP project aims to improve the teaching and learning of English while raising teachers’ English proficiency, to increase the use of teaching aids and encourage the involvement of parents and the local community. The project focuses on developing teachers’ own reflective practice, allowing them to identify areas to explore within their mentoring relationship. One hundred and twenty mentors have been placed across east Malaysia, often in very rural areas, each working with a cluster of schools in an area.

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New Skills for Life launch

Matt Salusbury explains how Esol qualifications are about to change

By the time you read this, the official sign-off on England’s new state-sector Esol Skills for Life qualifications will have occurred, and awarding bodies can start to promote them. As we went to press, there was a lot of detail available on the new qualifications and to what extent they will be funded – but it was all waiting for that final thumbs up from the government’s Skills Funding Agency (which funds England’s Esol) and others.

The new qualifications will be administered by Pearson Edexcel, Cambridge English, the English Speaking Board (ESB), City & Guilds, Aventis and Trinity College London. There will be a certificate for each level (see below). Within each certificate there are now three individual ‘awards’, one for each unit – Reading, Writing, and Speaking & Listening. This means that there will be distinct learning outcomes for each unit.

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Harmonising a language policy – the Galician way

Matt Salusbury talks to Xabier San Isidro, language adviser at the Edinburgh Consulate General, on the implementation of bilingual language policies in Spain's autonomous regions


Can you tell us something about Clil in Galicia – what subjects are taught through Clil, at what sort of schools?

Policies carried out in multilingual Spain as a whole and in some of its constituent autonomous communities (those with two co-official languages) over the last thirty years merit special attention. Throughout the last three decades, since the autonomous institutions were created, a wide range of language policies have been implemented. The particularities of these policies have to do with specific sociolinguistic contexts, the civic and political resources engaged in implementing them and the diverse historical and ideological backgrounds the issue of language has in every place. Spain makes a very interesting case study due to its complexity and because it allows us to reflect on the interaction between the law (common laws versus diverse regional statutes), contrasting historical and sociolinguistic backgrounds in each of the regions, and the changing political contexts at the local and national level.

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Ireland intros quality Mark

Sue Hackett outlines ELT accreditation improvements

With the recent establishment of Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) in November 2012, the national accreditation scheme for English language teaching organisations (Acels), as part of the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland, was integrated into the QQI.

Since then, in line with Ireland’s international education strategy and the 2012 legislation that established the QQI, work has been ongoing on the development of a new International Education Mark for education and training providers in Ireland, including English language providers.

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