Marshall Center Participants Improve English Language Skills, Ready for Security Foundation Course
By Christine June
Public Affairs Office
George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (Aug.13,2019) – Eight participants from six countries are attending the English Language Enhancement Course at the George C. Marshall Center for Security Studies here until Sept. 9.
The next day, they will be a part of the next Marshall Center’s Program on Applied Security Studies, which will run from Sept. 11 to Nov. 20. PASS is the Marshall Center’s largest and lengthiest resident program, running 10 weeks and involving about 100 participants from countries around the globe, including Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa.
This ELEC is a specially tailored program for participants who will be attending PASS. All the reading, presentations and seminar discussions are in English only during PASS.
“The PASS ELEC gives these course participants the possibility to improve their English capabilities and their language skills overall,” said German Army Col. (GS) Ralf Klewin-von Fintel, PASS course director. “It will make it easier for them to be part of the plenary and panel discussions, and especially, for presenting the outcomes of the capstone exercise.”
He added that PASS participants need to speak, think and read in English quickly during plenary presentations, seminar discussions and just talking with their fellow participants from around the Globe.
Ralf Klewin-von Fintel presented to the ELEC class what to expect from PASS and some information about Germany and Bavaria, which will home to these participants for more than three months, Aug. 13.
The Marshall Center's Partner Language Training Center Europe developed the five-week English intensive language enhancement course for PASS candidates who are moderately proficient in English.
Candidates nominated by their governments to attend PASS are required to be fully proficient in the English Language. More than 120 U.S. embassies worldwide administer the English comprehension-level test to determine future PASS participants’ proficiency in English.
“This is an absolutely unique language program, which combines language skills development with the authentic PASS content,” said Peggy Garza, chair of the English Language Programs Department for the Marshall Center’s Partner Language Training Center Europe. “We designed the course to improve participants' oral communication and listening comprehension skills, while focusing on course-related terminology necessary for successful attendance in the PASS resident course.”
Garza said this design includes reading materials, presentations by the PASS leadership team, classroom discussion, and videos. She said that the participants become familiar with the terminology used in PASS, while improving their understanding of the nature of security threats and challenges facing the world today.
She added that the ELEC contractors – Jim Hinze and Thomas Soule – provide an atmosphere where the participants are at ease and able to practice and improve their English communication skills.
“A typical day in ELEC would be vocabulary review from the previous day and from PASS material such as study guides,” Soule said. “We teach what they will actually do in PASS to the greatest detail possible.”
He added that some vocabulary also comes from new and current events on security studies.
“We also work with them with their writing,” said Hinze. “We help prepare them for the 1,500 word essay that they will need to do in PASS.”