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Participants of the Faculty Shadowing Program for Language Instructors from Azerbaijan ended on Aug. 30. (DOD photo by Karl-Heinz Wedhorn)

By Roxanne Harrison
Partner Language Training Center Europe

George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (Aug. 30, 2018) – Two English language instructors from Azerbaijan completed a two-week Faculty Shadowing Program at the Marshall Center’s Partner Language Training Center Europe (PLTCE) on Aug. 30.

The Faculty Shadowing Program is a small but formal part of NATO’s annual Defense Education Enhancement Program (DEEP) for Azerbaijan, the aim of which is to provide professional development opportunities for instructors at the War College of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan. 

As part of the professional development program, the, were asked to reflect on their personal strengths and weaknesses as instructors of English. 

For their program at PLTCE, Roxane Harrison, program manager for English Language Programs, planned a mini research project and a classroom observation program based on the instructors’ self-assessment of their teaching strengths and weaknesses and their stated goals for the program. 

“It’s important that the short time these instructors spend at PLTCE is productive,” said Harrison, “once Khalilov and Amirova arrived to PLTCE, we further negotiated their overall program to make sure it was tailored to their individual needs and fully met their expectations. Ideally, these instructors should leave PLTCE with some sound teaching activities and techniques that they can apply in their own teaching contexts as soon as they get back home. ” 

Over the past two weeks, the Azeri instructors had the opportunity to observe the activities and methods employed by experienced PLTCE instructors for participants on the English Language Enhancement Course (ELEC) for the upcoming Program in Applied Security Studies (PASS). 

They also observed ELEC guest lectures from the PASS program and were able to compare a Specialized English Program with a more general English program. 

For their personal research projects, Khalilov focused specifically on the use of correction in a language-learning classroom, and Amirova focused on the use, advantages and disadvantages of technology for language learning in the classroom. 

The written research project added some academic rigor to the overall program and provided a theoretical background for practical techniques observed during their visits to the ELEC classrooms.

During a capstone presentation to highlight findings from their research and the program, both instructors thanked PLTCE and the ELEC instructors for their involvement in the program. 

“It has been a very productive and interesting two weeks for me,” claimed Ms. Amirova.  LTC Khalilov echoed these sentiments. 

Both instructors remarked on the professionalism of the ELEC instructors and highlighted several specific activities they had learned here. 

While sad to be leaving Garmisch and the Marshall Center, they both looked forward to getting home to start implementing new techniques observed in the NATO DEEP Faculty Shadowing Program at PLTCE.