Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.


Similar presentations


1 BUREAU FOR INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE COORDINATION BUREAU DE COORDINATION LINGUISTIQUE INTERNATIONALE NATOSPEAK: ENGLISH IN MULTINATIONAL SETTINGS Julie J. Dubeau, BILC Chair Opening Briefing Tbilisi, Georgia, 6 May 2013 Good morning distinguished guests, dear hosts and dear delegates: Welcome to the annual BILC conference. It’s a delight for me to be back in the wonderful city of Tbilisi – I had the pleasure of coming here five years ago on BILC business, and have been looking forward to returning ever since. I’d like to begin by thanking our hosts for organizing a lovely welcome reception last evening, indeed for volunteering to host this conference. We well understand the commitment of time and resources associated with this endeavour. I’d like to specifically mention the Training and Military Education Command of the Georgian Armed forces for their efforts, and particularly Ms Nato Jiadze for all of her work in ensuring we have not only the best facilities at our disposal, but also the best possible weather. Dear hosts, we thank you. Last night, I mentioned that this was the first time that a BILC annual conference was being held in a Partner nation, and that indeed, congratulations were in order. I also mentioned that BILC is quite a special and unique organization. We are a blend of civilian and military experts working toward the same goals. We are specialists in the language education field and this is our very own forum and opportunity to learn and share in order to advance together toward our objectives. During my welcome address I also mentioned that BILC family members, among other things, like not only to play hard, that is enjoying excellent food and drink in good company, but we also like to work hard. Yesterday we played, today, our work begins. We have a number of new delegates joining BILC this year. Put up your hand if this is your first BILC conference. Put up your hand if you have attended two to five BILC events. Now let’s see who has been to BILC more than 5 times? Maybe some of you have attended so many you can’t count them all… In fact, I noted that we are 67 delegates, from 30 countries, with about a third of you are attending BILC for the first time. My first BILC Conference was in 1994, held in Torino, Italy. Two delegates here in the room were also present (Chris and Gerard!). I had been working for ‘defence’ for 4 years, as French teacher, FL test coordinator, language tester & tester trainer and attending BILC was a real eye opener for me. I was NOT alone! Having the opportunity to meet with other language professionals working in a military environment was both reassuring and rewarding and that experience stayed with me for a number of years. I could not have imagined then that I would someday be addressing the delegation as the chair of BILC, but here I am. Anything is possible! On that note, I will begin my opening briefing. Next slide

2 Outline What is BILC? Programme of work: NATO Language Context Updates
Membership, Secretariat, Mission Programme of work: Events Cooperative Language Training Assessments Assistance to Testing Programmes NATO Language Context Conference Theme Updates This morning, my presentation will be three-fold: I will begin by saying a few words about our BILC organisation and programme of work; then I will address this year’s theme, before moving on to the BILC updates. I will also be happy to answer your questions at the end of the briefing. Next slide

3 Background BILC was established in 1966 as an advisory body to NATO. The founding members are France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States. 1967: Belgium, Canada, Netherlands 1975: SHAPE and IMS/NATO (non-voting members) 1978: Portugal 1983: Turkey 1984: Denmark and Greece 1985: Spain 1993: Norway 1999: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland 2004: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia 2008: Albania, Croatia Partner countries routinely participate. All nations are welcome to attend and/or observe. The BILC Chair presides over the Steering Committee which meets at the spring conference. Voting members are the heads of NATO delegations. BILC has been NATO’s advisory body for language training and testing since 1966, and from 1978 to last year, BILC functioned as part of the NATO Training Group, under the JSSG, the Joint Services Sub-Group. BILC now advises Allied Command Transformation (ACT) directly, specifically, Joint Force trainer (JFT) and has a recognized role in enhancing interoperability among partners. That said, we remain an independent body under ACT. Next slide

4 BILC Secretariat Chair
Steering Committee BILC Secretariat As of May 2013 Chair J. Dubeau GRB ( ) DEU ( ) USA ( ) CAN ( ) Senior Advisor Dr. R. Clifford Secretary J. Vasilj-Begovic And as many of you are aware, a BILC communiqué was sent a few weeks ago to the national points of contacts of each delegation informing of the change of chair, and that our Canadian authorities had volunteered to support us as secretariat until 2014, at which time, another nation should step forward to take the responsibility. We will keep you informed on these developments, as they unfold. So, what is BILC’s raison d’etre? What purpose do we serve? Next slide Associate Secretaries Language Testing Programmes P. Garza Language Training Assessments K. Wert

5 BILC Mission & Vision Mission: To promote and foster interoperability among NATO and PfP nations by furthering standardization of language training and testing. To support the Alliance's operations through the exchange of knowledge and best practices, IAW established procedures and agreements. Vision: To achieve levels of excellence where progress made by one is shared by all. Slide 5 As our mission and vision statements capture, our primary mission is to promote interoperability through standardization of training and testing practices. Our goal is to foster the exchange of knowledge and best practices. The BILC vision is to share progress made with member nations, partner nations and any nation who wishes to advance in the field of language training for military purposes. How is this done? Through the secretariat, there are a variety of initiatives that aim to foster these exchanges and promote standardization. Our American colleagues are responsible for two important programmes: the Assistance to Language Testing programme and the Cooperative Language Training Assessments. I will speak a few words about those later. First, two main events form the backbone of BILC: Next slide

6 Two Main Events: BILC Conference in Spring
May 2012 was hosted by the Czech Republic – “Lifelong Language Learning, Enhancing Educational Effectiveness” The 2013 Conference will be hosted by Belgium-Theme & dates TBD BILC Professional Seminar in Fall October 2012 was hosted by Slovenia– “Back to Basics: Recipes for Instructional Success ” Hosted by Sweden in Stockholm: Oct 2013 “ Diligent Design: Building Blocks to Maximize Learning” The BILC Conference in the Spring and The Professional Seminar in the fall each offer opportunities for language teachers, testers, managers and military language stakeholders to learn, exchange and contribute to the collective effort. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the 2012 hosts, the Czech Republic and Slovenia for the two very successful events last year. And I am pleased to announce the dates and the theme of our next Professional Seminar which will be held in Stockholm: October. The theme we have chosen is “ Diligent Design: Building Blocks to Maximize Learning” and we are currently exploring some of the following sub themes: Instructional design techniques, Innovative test designs and formats, Designing training plans and lesson plans, Blended learning models, Measuring instructional success, Thinking outside the classroom box, etc. We’ll hear more about the Stockholm Seminar from Ingrida Leimanis on Thursday. The other very productive ways through which BILC fulfills its standardization mandate are the two assistance programmes. Next slide

7 BILC Programmes Assistance to National Testing Programmes
Moldova May 2012, Ukraine Nov 2012 Planned: Russia June 2013 Language Testing Seminar (LTS): 2 weeks, 2X per year Advanced Language Testing Seminar (ALTS): 3 weeks, 2X per year - Offered to graduates from the LTS NEW! Language Standards and Assessment Seminar (LSAS) July 2013 The first is called the Assistance to National Testing Programmes – organized by Peggy Garza, who works at the Marshall Center. The Goal of this programme is to assist nations in establishing, restructuring or improving their testing systems. This year, Peggy and BILC delegates have worked with Moldova and Ukraine. Peggy & Jana are continuing the collaboration with Russia next month. These visits are done at the request of nations. The Language Testing Seminars and Advanced Language Testing Seminars continue to provide real hands-on opportunities for language testers to acquire the professional skills and to standardize their interpretation of the STANAG 6001 descriptors. I am also pleased to announce that BILC will be offering a new seminar called the Language Standards and Assessment Seminar, designed for language teachers and language program managers. The two existing BILC testing seminars are intended specifically for STANAG 6001 testers. Now, other language teaching professionals, who are not STANAG testers, can participate in a seminar that will cover STANAG 6001 familiarization, classroom assessment and guidelines for building language proficiency consistent with the STANAG 6001 descriptors. The LSAS will take place from 3-11 July 2013 at the Partner Language Training Center Europe, George C. Marshall Center, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, the same location as the LTS and ALTS. The second programme is run by Keith Wert Next slide

8 BILC Programmes Cooperative Language Training Assessments
Goal: To assess language training programmes and offer recommendations 2012: Russia in September Georgia in November 2013: Russia September STANAG 6001 Conferences - 2012 Copenhagen, 2013 SHAPE The visits are, as the name suggests, cooperative. At the request of a nation, Keith and a small multi-national team of language training professionals assess a nation’s institutional capability to deliver training in order to provide recommendations. It is through these efforts that BILC has been most tangibly effective in supporting nations’ training and testing programmes. It has been gratifying for the secretariat and the many facilitators at the seminars and collaborators involved in the visits - to see real progress in many nations, both long-standing NATO and Partner nations. Indeed, with these two programmes, the two main conferences or events, the language testing seminars, and with the STANAG 6001 Testing conferences (last year organized by Denmark) – and now considered an ‘official’ BILC event and included in e-prime, BILC has provided as many opportunities as possible for the military language training community to advance in English as well as in foreign language training and testing. As we are all well aware, military language training is a huge endeavour, and it carries high stakes and high costs. Since the early 90s, there has been a tremendous push in all nations to train large numbers of military personnel to have functional or operational or professional skills in the English language. And the many missions, exercises and deployments have forced or provided opportunity (depending on how you view it) opportunity for nations to teach foreign languages and in many cases less commonly taught languages. But there are challenges. Next slide

9 Military / NATO Language Context: Complicated and Complex!
Each nation is responsible for own training / testing programme No common tests - only a common standard - STANAG 6001 Nations certify their military and give members SLPs based on own STANAG - based tests. SLPs of job descriptions may or may not reflect actual language requirements Compatibility of NATO & national requirements Language “Targets” Each nation is responsible for its training / testing programme. There is no overarching language training/testing authority – all is done nationally – and in good faith. BILC is an advisory body only - we certainly suggest, but we do not prescribe. We must acknowledge that in the language training and testing world, the military environment is somewhat of an anomaly. There are no common tests - only a common standard - BILC is the custodian of that standard, still, this is atypical in the language testing world whereby a central authority normally controls language testing and accuracy of results. But, we all certify our own military and give members Standardized Language Profiles (SLPs) based on our own STANAG– based tests, and there is no way to verify if those test instruments provide results that are valid and reliable. We have made progress: Almost a decade ago, BILC accepted a NTG tasking to help nations standardize through Benchmark testing and a BILC WG created a Benchmark Advisory Test – (The BAT) to be used by nations as an external measure against which nations could calibrate their national STANAG tests. Over a dozen nations have taken advantage of this tool to get an unbiased view of their SLPs. This is still today a useful tool at nation’s disposal, but its use is voluntary, and it is but one piece of the NATO language puzzle. Another piece is the fact that SLPs of job descriptions may or may not reflect actual language requirements. BILC has not been involved in the assignment of SLPS and argued for a number of years that it may be the case that not all positions in all HQs require level 3 skills across the board, and that it might be useful for nations to know which ones do. A rigorous Language Needs Analysis (LNAs) of positions would be informative, to say the least. Furthermore, nations must reach Eng language “Targets” which may or may not be realistic goals, for example of aiming to train all officers to level 3 is an incredible challenge for many nations. In some nations, we know it is extremely difficult to find qualified teachers with this high level of proficiency. As a dear BILC colleague occasionally quips: “Having all military personnel trained to level 3 is not a policy, it’s a fantasy”. In some nations, the onus is on the military member not only to reach this level, but to maintain it. It is a challenge. This next graphic shows there is great linguistic diversity among NATO’s partners, all of whom are expected to understand and speak international English for operational and staffing purpose. Next slide

10 NATO Global Partnerships
Slide 10 Collectively, there are at least 36 different native languages spoken by the forces that were assigned to ISAF, and at least 24 by those assigned to KFOR. Of the 46 Troup Contributing Nations (TCN)s collectively contributing forces for those operations, English is a foreign language for all but six (AUT, CAN, GBR, IRL, NZL, and USA). So 40 out of 46 communicate through a second or foreign language. "The status of English is such that it has been adopted as the world's lingua franca for communication in Olympic sport, international trade, and air-traffic control. Unlike any other language, past or present, English has spread to all five continents and has become a truly global language." (G. Nelson and B. Aarts, "Investigating English Around the World," The Workings of Language, ed. by R. S. Wheeler. Greenwood, 1999) So English is the de facto - Lingua Franca , the common language, but still, we do not always understand each other. Is there a facet that adds to the communication challenge in a military environment? Next slide

11 What is NATOSpeak? What is common to military language use?
Acronyms and expressions? Is it purely lexical? Is it standardized? How do you measure it? How do you best learn it? Can we train for it? Should we? Is it because of NATOSpeak? What is it? We are well aware that there are a number of labels placed on specialized Englishes or English for specific purposes or contexts. Legalese is a term which refers to the lingo prevalent in the legal community; medicalese is the term used to refer to jargon used in the medical community. Is there such a thing as militarese or a military language? One peculiarity of the military world is the high number of acronyms used. Do these abbreviations suffice to constitute a language for specific purpose denomination? Is it really a question of acronyms? Is it merely lexical? And what happens to the understandability of language for outsiders, for those who have not yet become part of the NATO discourse community, for those who are just beginning their career in the military or just starting to learn English? Hum. And if a mil member has strong proficiency in English, is the acquisition of the military lingo a problem? Does this acquisition happen fairly quickly? Should it be measured separately? Would it be fair to test them on this competence before a deployment if they’ve only learned general English? Questions… Next slide

12 We know nations generally have robust training system, where huge investments of money and many hours are spend on language training. That said, despite our best efforts, we are continuously made aware that there are gaps in interoperability due to language shortcomings. Next slide

13 Language Shortfall English skills lacking
Inadequate harmonization of req & procedures Need for proficiency is increasing Documents & correspondence - too lengthy, too complex Content/intensity of lang. trng falls short Native speaker not always proficient in communicating in multinational environment Despite the hard work, language is still viewed as a critical factor in the interoperability shortfall: Responses to a survey from ISAF and KFOR revealed that deficiencies in English language skills were perceived to be significantly detrimental to mission. Here are the 7 key conclusions relating to English Language deficiencies from the report: Read conclusions from separate sheet. Basically, the report sates that the complexity of interoperability of forces deploying to NATO led operations is overwhelming even when they have good Engl lang skills, so imagine without the skills… Informative, isn’t it? 13

Various cultural / linguistic backgrounds impact the variant spoken – Native speaker ownership of language? English as Lingua Franca (LFE) construct? Is LFE separate from culture to which it predominantly belongs? "…English has two main functions in the world: it is a language for international communication and it forms the basis for constructing cultural identities. The former function requires mutual intelligibility and common standards. The latter encourages the development of local forms and hybrid varieties. (D. Graddol, "English in the Future," in Analysing English in a Global Context, ed. by A. Burns, Routledge, 2001) Another quote: "The use of English as a language of wider communication will continue to exert pressure toward global uniformity as well as give rise to anxieties about 'declining' standards. But as English shifts from foreign-language to second-language status for an increasing number of people, we can also expect to see English develop a larger number of local varieties. These shifting norms regarding English are interesting – what about French, Spanish, other languages? Do they belong to the culture of origin? Do we tend to perceive other languages differently than we do English? and yet, in order to be mutually intelligible, we need standards. ELF or LFE is a system of communication that is so open, fluid and random and it varies so much from one working or social context to the next that because of its unpredictability and number of varieties, no standards can be formulated or applied. There is presently no construct. So back to NATOSpeak – that may be part of the multinational challenge – and that, ladies and gentlemen, is why we are here. In order to delve a little deeper in our linguistic context, in order to understand the interplay between the numerous factors of English in multinational settings. This week, we will have the opportunity to dig a little deeper and perhaps shed light on concrete areas where we, as the BILC community, and stakeholders in this issue, can identify areas of interest on which we could focus to bridge this interoperability gap. This week, we’ll be working in study groups to investigate specific aspects of this discussion; delegates will provide us with more information on English as a lingua franca, on the Plain language movement, on deployment lessons learned, on ways of improving language abilities and maintaining skills. We'll be hearing about testing and training, in English and other languages… In fact, there will be no time at all to sleep on the job - Next slide 14

15 Some people like to live dangerously!!
And now for the third and last part of my briefing: The updates. Next slide

16 Updates NEW! BILC Website
NEW! STANAG for Non-Specialists LNA – NATO SACT Statement from BILC re IS equivalency table WG on Level 4 - Final report WG on Translation & Terminology - ongoing Slide 16 Now for the updates…. I have good news and bad news. The good news is that we will have a new website! As many of you know, the Gov’t of Canada regulations made it impossible for the BILC website to continue being hosted on Canadian gov’t server. After many obstacles and delays I am pleased to announce that we have purchased the domain name and that we are now hosted on a commercial server. The bad news is that this was supposed to already be finished. Setting it up was somewhat more complicated than I anticipated and we are still in the process of fixing all of the broken links, of polishing up all of the pages and organizing the information so that it is functional and attractive. That said, we hope to be “live” any day now, and will send an to all announcing the ‘re-birth’ of the BILC website, asap. Next item is the STANAG for Non-Specialists document which we produced last year: has been through a number of drafts, but it is now a final document that is available to all for distribution. It will also be available on the BILC website. It is intended for HR staff and other non language professionals to use as a quick reference. We will pilot its use when we assist SACT with the language needs analysis of HQ posts. Which brings me to bullet number three: The former Chairman and I travelled to ACT in Norfolk, Virginia in March to have meetings with education specialists, with our BILC POC, Cdr Khilkevich, who will address you later this morning, and we met with JFT – Joint Force Trainer, General Viereck whom we briefed on the work BILC has performed this year. I’m happy to report that it was confirmed that BILC will be assisting that HQ in the next round of positional reviews and we will perform a small LNA of positions. More to follow on that later this year. Another issue that has recurred this year relates to a table of language scale equivalencies produced by the International staff and posted on the NATO website. We were made aware of this table last year and our former Chairman wrote to the IS to tell them that BILC would not recognize it as accurate.   As the custodian of STANAG 6001, BILC considers such charts and tables as rough approximations and does not recognize transferability of levels and results on tests from one scale to another with the notable exception of the ILR (Interagency language Roundtable) proficiency descriptors. It is our view that test results acquired on non NATO STANAG test should NOT be recognized in terms of STANAG levels. BILC has drafted and will issue a formal statement to this effect, after it has been presented to the steering committee later this week. It too will eventually be posted on the BILC website for nations to use as a support mechanism. Next, the BILC WG on Level 4 has produced a Report for nations who want to know more about the complexities tied to testing at this very high level of proficiency. An executive summary is available and the full document will also be posted on the website. Last but not least, the BILC WG on Translation and Terminology has completed Phase 1 of their review of terms in AAP-5 in order to supplement with additional definitions where needed, and are moving on to the next document. You are welcome to speak with our Austrian delegates for details of this important work. That’s it for my briefing. This week, as I said, this week should prove informative and interesting-- so, as a last comment, I invite you to work hard, play hard and aim high!! What’s the worst that can happen?! NEXT SLIDE

17 QUESTIONS? Enjoy the conference!

18 Contact us:


Similar presentations

Ads by Google