Robert Buckmaster Consulting

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Projects

Montenegro PELT

March 2017

Macedonia PEP

March 2017

Serbia PELT

March 2017

Macedonia PEP

January 2017

Western Balkans

September/October 2016

Serbia Pelt

October 2016

Montenegro PELT

September 2016

Macedonia PEP

August 2016

Montenegro PELT

March 2016

Macedonia PEP

March 2016

Namibia

February 2016

Montenegro PELT

January 2016

Namibia

July 2015

Serbia PELT

June 2015

Serbia PELT

March 2015

Algeria

Nov 2014

Serbia PELT

Summer 2014

March 2014

February 2014

Montenegro PELT

January 2014

 

 

Current Projects

The English Ideas Project: a personal project to develop better English grammar and materials.

PEP Montengro March 2017

The final seminar for the PELT Project took place in Montenegro from the 20 to the 24th March. Mirjana Ivancev from Serbia and myself led a one week Moodle materials development course to kick start Moodle courses for the Montenegrin Armed Forces.

PEP Macedonia March 2017

After the PELT Conference I returned to Macedonia for the final workshop of the project there. We spent the week looking at reading and listening tasks for STANAG and progress and achievement tests, and created a set of tasks at different levels.

PEP Macedonia 2017

PELT Serbia March 2017

With the PELT Project closing at the end of March 2017, the PELT Board and British Council organized a Regional Conference with participants from Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Dr Claire Whittaker and myself organized and moderated the conference, which looked ahead to future regional co-operation and activities and drew up a roadmap of actions to be taken to ensure continued engagement on a regional and bilateral level.

PELT Conference March 2017

PEP Macedonia January 2017

Mirjana Ivancev from Serbia and myself led a one week Moodle materials development event with the teachers from the Centre for Foreign Languages, the Military Academy, and the STANAG 2001 Testing Team. The test team created a site on Moodle for test takers, including practice materials for the reading paper, while the teachers created further practice materials for their Level 3 language course.

Macedonia Janauary 2017

 

PELT Montenegro and Serbia September and October 2016

September found me once again in the western Balkans with a visit to Montenegro to work on Integrated Skills lessons with the MAF teachers. Then in October to Serbia to work on developing aspects of placement, progress and achievement tests with the Serbian teachers. I went on to visit Sarajevo on a fact-finding mission for a report into the possible regionalisation of the English language projects in the six countries of the western Balkans region - Albania, BiH, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. Towards the end of October I briefly visited Kosovo and Macedonia for the report, which I delivered in early in November.

Serbia October 2016

Serbia October 2016

Montegro September 2016

Montenegro September 2016

PEP Macedonia August 2016

In late August ten teachers and testers from the Centre for Foreign Languages, the Military Academy and the STANAG Testing Team in Skopje, Macedonia attended a 5 day workshop on Speaking and Writing Testing. During the workshop the participants drafted, trialled and revised STANAG Speaking and Writing Ratings scales for Levels 1 - 3 [including + levels]. Four candidates were interviewed, videotaped and evaluated in mock examinations. The new Writing Scales were trialled on sets of candidate scripts from STANAG test sessions. The format and contents of the STANAG Speaking and Writing examinations were discussed and suggestions for revisions were made. Speaking and Writing Achievement Test Rating Scales for Levels 1 -5 at the Centre for Foreign Languages were also developed, trialled and revised. The writing and speaking achievement tests at the Centre for Foreign Languages were evaluated and suggestions made for improvements.

The Macedonian Team

British Council Summer School Bebrene August 2016

The British Council, in conjunction with the Latvian Association of Teachers of English, organized a summer refresher course for teachers of English and teachers who teach subjects in English - CLIL teachers. I gave two sessions; one on the Deep Text and Dual Text approaches to reading and one on language. More information here.

Bebrene Summer School

PELT Montenegro March 2016

I returned to Montenegro in March to lead the MAF teachers in an intensive four days of materials development for reading and writing. The team created 25 units of reading lessons and four writing lessons. These are now ready for trialling.

The Montenegro Team

PEP Macedonia March 2016

The Macedonian MOD has invested in a Moodle Virtual Learning Environment set up to enhance delivery of courses, including English language instruction. The British Council organized a three day Introduction to Moodle training for English teachers in Skopje (2nd to 4th March). Mirjana Ivancev, a PELT consultant from Serbia, and I, led the training of 10 teachers and testers. The topics covered included the pedagogy of online learning and practical hands-on experience of Moodle, in preparation for future course development. The Academy teachers are planning to upload supplementary materials onto Moodle as a first step to gain experience before developing longer courses.The Macedonian Testing Team are considering putting information about STANAG examinations and practice test materials on the Moodle platform. Two teachers from Montenegro also attended the event and reported back to their MOD on the potential for Moodle.

The Macedonian Team

Training Namibian Defence Forces February 2016

Namibia sees it as essential that their military can contribute to peace support operations in Africa and throughout the world; to help achieve this the Namibian Defence Forces and the British Peace Support Team based in South Africa agreed a further course in the training of Namibian Defence Force personnel for peacekeeping and interoperability, to build on the work done last July in Windhoek. This course, the fourth English language training event for Namibian Defence Force personnel, was held from the 8th to 26th February 2016 at the University of Namibia Khomasdal campus. The three-week intensive course was delivered with Nick Fletcher.

The course was designed to improve the English communication skills of NDF soldier for peacekeeping purposes and concentrated on communication skills such as giving briefings, radio communication skills [through realistic practice with walkie talkies], and report writing. The twenty-nine participants did a lot of briefings on humanitarian assistance operations and problem-based scenarios, and role-played running checkpoints and vehicle searches (outside in the car park) to develop the practical skills which might save their lives in future operations.

Checkpoint search

PELT Montenegro January 2016

The Montenegrin Armed Forces and the British Council Montenegro identified a need for a short intensive course in Radio English for pre-deployment training and brought together nine teachers from Montenegro, Bosnia and Macedonia to create such a course. The teachers wrote and immediately trialled the course with a group of 14 soldiers, at the Danilovgrad base near Podgorica, over an intensive week of work. The result is a 20 hour course focused on revising and practicing Radio English. The course has a very straightforward methodology and could be taught by soldiers in places where teachers are not available. The course will available to be used in all three countries and will provide an essential component of pre-mission readiness training.

Montenegro soldiers radio exercise

Training Namibian Defence Forces July 2015

At the end of July, 40 members of the Namibian Defence Forces gathered in Windhoek for English language training for peacekeeping operations. The training took two weeks and was facilitated by myself and Nick Fletcher.

Namibia training July 2015

In the picture you can see participants explaining how vehicle checkpoints work.

PELT Conference June 2015

The first PELT Regional Conference was held in Belgrade on the 23rd and 24th June. Participants from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia gathered to discuss regional co-operation and how to widen the project throughout the region.

PELT Serbia Conference June 2015

In the picture you can see representatives drafting three year project plans.

PELT Project Serbia March 2015

PELT March 2015 Participants

The PELT Seminar in March focused on developing the skills required by Military teachers in Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro to develop high quality teaching materials based on listening texts. The twenty-three teachers who took part learned how to source, download, edit and convert video and audio files, and script and record audio. One team produced a set of general English and Military English paper-based lessons using a collaborative model of materials development, while the second team of Serbian teachers from J7 and the Military Academy worked on drafting listening materials for their Moodle courses. The materials were all peer-reviewed and trialled. The course was held in Ruma, a small town just outside Belgrade from the 9th to the 13th March.

2014: Algeria Secondary School Assemblies

In November School Inspectors and Teacher Trainers in Algeria received training in materials development and training skills for the British Council and Algerian Ministry of Education.

Ouargla, Algeria

In Ouargla a small group of 24 teachers, who you can see in the picture above, were trained. In Algiers the group was larger: 68 teachers. Below, some of the Inspectors and Trainers are discussing the material they will create.

Algiers

2014: The Programme for English Language Training (PELT) in Serbia and Montenegro

McIlwraith Education are working with the Serbian and Montenegrin MoDs to improve the teaching of English in their institutions.

Over the summer course writers worked on-line to create two Moodle-based Reading Skills courses.

In March 17 participants took part in paper-based materials development and on-line course planning in the Tara mountains in Serbia.

Teacher;s discussing online courses  

One group planned two on-line Moodle courses while the second group created a set of paper-based materials to supplement their courses which use Headway and Campaign. The materials will be available to the teachers in an on-line repository when they have been trialled and revised.

In the photograph you can see teachers discussing the content of the on-line courses.

In February we did a Moodle course called On-line Learning written for Serbian military English teachers.

PELT Montenegro Materials Development January 2014

In January 2014 teachers from the MOD, the Institute for Foreign Languages and Double L language school in Montenegro had a seminar on developing teaching materials.

In the 4 day seminar the teachers were introduced to the key ideas of material design and then we worked intensively on producing a set of materials to meet some of their needs.

   

PELT Discussion

A discussion about materials

We created a variety of materials from simple Find Someone Whos to full lessons with recordings.

In the picture on the right you can see three teachers recording conversations set in a restaurant.

As we recorded in the base canteen there are authentic background noises, which make the tasks both more real and challenging to students.

We produced 18 sets of materials and these will now be trialled by the teachers and revised.

   

A Recording Session

A Recording Session

The approach we used was the 10-P Model which I developed in Estonia during my work with the Peacekeeping English project.

Past Projects - Highlights

E-Learning

In 2004 I created on-line learning materials for police officers using the Open Space Virtual Learning Environment and more recently, in autumn 2005, I created web-based materials using the Author Plus Online system and tested the effectiveness of these against face-to-face teaching.

ESP Materials Development for English Language Teaching

Materials writing training and workshops focused on developing quality materials quickly.

Corpus Linguistics

I developed a criminal justice system corpus of one and a half million words and analyzed this to produce a key word list which specifies which words police officers, at an upper-intermediate language level, should learn.

Digital Media

In 2005 I ran a course for teachers from Poland, Lithuania and Estonia on how to film and edit digital media for use with their students. The teachers, who had no experience of shooting video films, successfully story boarded, filmed and edited two five minute films in three days. This was also a fantastic team-building exercise.

Language Centre Management

I advised the managers of the Public Service Academy and Border Guard School on quality improvement of the language teaching at these institutions ranging from placement testing to recruitment to the use of the Common European Framework.

Strategic Planning

While running the Justice and Home Affairs Peacekeeping English Project in Estonia I devised an innovative exit strategy to ensure the continuation of co-operation between the Estonian and Latvian police training institutions. These were: training teacher trainers, developing a critical friends relationship between the partner institutions and developing an on-going joint project - the web Police-Rescue dictionary.

Team Building

In my four years of working with the Peacekeeping English Project I did a lot of team building in different situations with a wide variety of teachers and managers from countries as far afield as Uzbekistan, Georgia and Armenia, Slovenia and Romania.

Grammar: the ELT Verb Worksheets

In this personal project I wrote a book about the ELT verb and prepared these grammar worksheets to support the ideas in the book.

© Robert Buckmaster 2016               Contact Me