Teaching English enhances cooperation with Australia’s neighbours
1 June 2012
Defence is enhancing Australia’s relationships with South East Asia and the South Pacific by providing training to foreign militaries, including teaching English.
Schools that work with the ADF to provide the language training gathered in Hanoi,Vietnam from 29 to 31 May for the Regional English Language Schools (RELS) Conference. Teachers from Australia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Tonga, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vietnam came together to develop ways to improve English language training.
The Defence International Training Centre (DITC), which offers English and cultural training for foreign personnel posting to Australia, as well as assisting our regional neighbours with English programs, also participated in the conference.
The Commanding Officer of DITC Wing Commander, Sean Unwin, said the conference was an ideal opportunity for English teachers to get together and discuss ways to develop, implement and maintain pathways for teacher training in the region.
“The aim of the RELS Conference is to collaborate with regional language schools on the continuous improvement of their English language programs,” he said.
“It is vitally important for us to assist foreign teachers in developing English courses, as the interaction with our neighbours contributes to Defence’s regional engagement mission.”
The RELS Conference is supported by the Defence Cooperation Program, an Australian international engagement initiative to assist the development of foreign defence forces through military training, advice and support.
The Defence International Training Centre is part of the Australian Defence College and provides Australian familiarisation training and English language courses for foreign military personnel from the South West Pacific, South East Asia and the Middle East.
English language and English teacher training is a key enabler for the Department of Defence’s other more traditional regional engagement activities such as military training, exercises and exchanges.
Supporting the teaching of English allows a common language for communication with foreign militaries, which is fundamental to being able to work together.
This includes working in operational areas, but also when neighbouring countries work together on combined exercises, or in providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
When the Defence International Training Centre is teaching English to countries in South East Asia and the South Pacific, it is also an opportunity to teach our neighbours about the culture of the Australian Defence Force, and also Australia.
Many of the training materials and reading materials are developed in Australia, and learning about our culture as well as English has proven vital for working alongside our neighbours in all facets of Defence’s international engagement.
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999