By 1st Lieutenant Manel Toumi, Canadian Forces Language School –
On 14 January, 2019, the Canadian Forces Language School (CFLS) welcomed 17 teacher students, representatives of 13 countries including Colombia, Georgia, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Thailand, Tunisia, Ukraine, Uruguay and Vietnam to attend the Language Teacher Training Course (LTTC) as part of the Military Training Cooperation Program (MTCP). The MTCP is based on the NATO STANdardization AGreement (STANAG) 6001, which describes language proficiency levels associated with listening, speaking, reading, and writing in a military context, and aims at strengthening cooperative relationships and contributing to the success of international missions by sharing expertise with other countries, to achieve effective communication between military personnel during international missions.
The LTTC is a four-month English language course, held biannually. The goal of this course is to teach the student delegates the Communicative Approach. This approach is a student-centered instructional method, based on fluency and interaction in the classroom with the purpose of leading students to more effective communication in real life scenarios.
The communicative lessons and materials are produced and presented to the group in a way that works to make English as fluent as their mother tongue. The material does not cater to the fact the students are ESL/EFL learners. The learning tasks used during the lessons are various, dynamic and based on real life situations. This motivates the students and helps them achieve their endeavors.
The course incorporates the use of technology. Computers, iPods, Smart Boards and online learning resources are provided for the students so that they are able to perfect their writing skills and online learning capabilities. The course also includes cultural briefings, military guest speakers, workshops and seminars. Emphasis is placed equally on pedagogical and cultural outings to various institutions, including visits to Canadian military institutions, tourist attractions and country landmarks. These outings give participants the opportunity to discover different parts of the country, to learn and foster their adaptation to the Canadian lifestyle. This all leads to more interaction and genuine communication with Canadians.
The program has taken great initiative to place the students with Canadian families to further develop their interactions and communications in English. A great amount of effort has been put in to ensure that students are made to feel comfortable and welcomed in this country.
Yuliia Khoroshylova, a student teacher from Ukraine, had this to say:
“When it comes to teaching you should have to bring your best self. However, it’s far from simple. A novice teacher is like a recruit who has to experience Boot Camp challenges before going professional. MTCP is definitely the one that can help you go from zero to hero, as its perfectly organized structure provides a comprehensive combination of teacher training procedures and provisions designed to equip prospective (and actual) teachers with knowledge and skills they require to efficiently perform their tasks in class. I do appreciate the chance to have joined the course as here we turn into students to take a fresh look at the way classrooms are managed and communicative lessons are built. For the seventeen weeks our lifestyle undergoes drastic changes – we relearn and apply our skills in a new way. Besides, the course is designed so that the ‘recruits’ improve their language proficiency to become more competent and confident for their career. The teacher-trainers carefully guide us through the course sharing new teaching techniques, providing illuminating feedback and helping in building our own teaching strategies we will successfully apply in future. Moreover, the MTCP LTTC includes cultural immersion since during the course the student-teachers from fourteen different countries closely interact with each other as well as plunge into Canadian history, culture and traditions. Thanks to this program and diligence of our teacher-trainers I have explored Canada and have been equipped with new teaching tools and strategies I can further apply when planning and running my lessons.”
The end result of this carefully planned and executed program by all the staff is for all the various countries to come together with the same process for both teaching and communication skills which leads to the success of international cooperation missions. It has been a memorable experience and the participants are very appreciative for it!
Photo courtesy of CFLS
This post is also available in: Français (French)