The Army of the Czech Republic comprise the military, air force and support units. After joining NATO on March 12, 1999, the Czech Republic is completing a major overhaul of the extensive Czechoslovak Armed Forces which until 1989 formed one of the pillars of the Warsaw Pact military alliance. Czech forces have been gradually downsized and at the same time modernized and reoriented toward defensive posture. In 2004 the army transformed into a fully professional organization and compulsory military service was abolished.1
2.2 NATO The North Atlantic Treaty, which gave rise three years later to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (abbv. NATO) was signed in Washington, D. C., on April, 1949. At that time, ten European and two North American countries joined forces for the purpose of mutual cooperation and defence. Although security and collective defence have been NATO´s primary missions, the organization has been more than a mere military alliance from the very beginning.“ NATO´s fundamental functional principle is one of indiviseble security of its members: A threat to security of any of the members is regarded as a threat to security of all. The solidarity within the Alliance gurantees that none of the member nations will have to rely on itself in security matters. All decisions taken on the basis of discussions and negotiations among Allies must be approved by all NATO members.“ (10 Years of the Czech Republic´s Membership in NATO, pages 4-5 ).
The rich sixty years´ history shows that the Alliance has not lost any of its relevance and its role is irreplaceable in the present security environment.
2.2.1 Language Teaching in the NATO context According to Julie J. Dubeau, the National Standards Officer for Language Programmes:
English has become the operational language, although both English and French hold official status at NATO. Teaching and testing of the English language within the NATO community have gained importance in the last few years due to the addition of new countries in 2004 and a large number of peace-support operations.
(qtd. in Master Thesis, 2006)
As she mentions in her Master Thesis, English language teaching and testing plays a significant role not only for individual military members, but also for countries aiming to reach language goals. As she highlights this is the case of new NATO countries, of countries aspiring to join NATO or of any military or civilian members to find satisfying positions within NATO. Furthermore, all members must have a Standardised Language Profile (abbv. SLP) based on the NATO STANDARDIZATION AGREEMENT (NATO STANAG) 6001 Language Proficiency Levels, the common scale used in this sphere.As she adds: “For some countries this means making a great effort on gaining a large number of human and financial resources to language training, and ensuring that a significant percentage of the force has achieved the prescribed SLPs through national testing systems.All SLPs are based on tests in the listening, speaking, reading and writing skills, which have as criteria the STANAG 6001 scale“ (Dubeau , J. J., 2006, p. 3).
Comprehensive language testing systems (such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), the Cambridge Assessment of Spoken English (CASE), or the Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) Assessment,) generally have a central testing authority responsible for test development, on-going validation, training of developers and testers, administration and monitoring of its testing instruments and result.
(qtd. in Dubeau, 2006, p. 14)
The following chart compares the levels and the international tests mentioned above (Appendix 1).
As Ms. Dubeau explains:
The STANAG testing system presents itself as standardized, but in fact, each country must establish its own training structure, design its syllabi and teaching materials, implement a testing framework, develop tests, and monitor training outcomes. In an effort to share the load, many countries collaborate and exchange both materials and practices.
(qtd. in Dubeau, 2006, p. 14).
2.2.2 The origins of NATO STANAG 6001 scale In 1976 NATO adopted a language proficiency scale related to the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR)’s 1968 document whereby language proficiency descriptors had been elaborated. The scale was standardized to six base levels, ranging from 0 (= no functional ability) to 5 (= equivalent to an educated native speaker). In 1968, several agencies jointly wrote formal descriptions of the base levels in four skills-speaking, listening, reading, and writing. When the STANAG 6001 was first adopted in 1976, it responded to a NATO-wide need to define language proficiency, and to have a common standard among countries that would ensure a shared understanding of the language proficiency of members. The edition of STANAG from 1976 did not undergo revision until a few years ago when identified inconsistencies among NATO nations’ STANAG ratings such as varying interpretations, different testing approaches including achievement, job-performance, proficiency as well as different results for the same levels of proficiency were relieved. The NATO Standardizing Agency integrated the updated interpretation and published Edition 2, in 2003. In 2005, another similar international committee effort led to the development of ‘plus levels’ which were added as an optional component to the six base level document, in 2006. A plus level defined in this context as a proficiency that is more than halfway between two base levels, and as proficiency which substantially exceeds the base skill level but does not fully or consistently meet all of the criteria for the next higher base level. However, the fact is that there are potentially forty-six countries using the STANAG 6001 as criteria, and the interpretation differs from country to country (Dubeau, J. J., 2006, p. 6-7).
2.2.3 The Language Requirement
Presentations given at BILC2 Conferences and BILC Professional Seminars, stress the need of personnel in units operating or liaising with NATO land forces, air forces, naval elements or headquarters to be able to communicate in English.
Competency in English language skills is a pre-requisite for participation in exercises, operations and postings to NATO multinational headquarters.The aim is to improve English language skills of all personnel who are to cooperate with NATO. These individuals must be able to communicate effectively in English with added emphasis on operational terminology and procedures.
(qtd. in Master Thesis, 2006).
According to the previous document, such ‘goals’ include not only the improvement of the language proficiency of military professionals but also the integration of adequate language training as a part of their normal career development.
2.2.4 Criteria and language proficiency levels A STANAG, or STANdardisation AGreement, is an international military standard created by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) for regulating equipment, procedures, tactics, training and almost everything that affects the cooperation among the armed forces from different countries 3 .
STANAG 6001 is a language proficiency scale designed to allow comparisons of language ability in different countries. The scale consists of a set of descriptors with proficiency skills arranged into six levels, coded 1 through 6. In general terms, skills may be defined as follows:
2BILC - The Bureau for International Language Co-ordination (BILC) established through the British Ministry of Defence in 1966 is the consultative and advisory body for language training matters in NATO.
Language proficiency is recorded with a profile of 4 digits indicating the specific skills in the following order: Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing. For example, a person with the level SLP (Standardized Language Profile) 3232 has level 3 in Listening, level 2 in Speaking, level 3 in Reading and level 2 in Writing. (mentioned in Campaign, NATO STANAG 6001). There is no one official exam for the STANAG 6001 levels and countries which use the scale produce their own tests and are responsible validating their tests in terms of the STANAG 6001 levels.The original version of STANAG 6001 was created in 1976 and this document was modified in 2003. Summary of STANAG 6001 levels shows the general language requirements relevant for the particular skills (Appendix 2).
3. Basic concept of the English language training in the Czech Armed Forces
The beginning of this chapter is devoted to the English Language Training and Testing development within the educational system in the Czech Armed Forces from the 1990´s up till now. The situation of the current organization of the language teaching, including the description of individual courses, institutions and schooling centers, are presented in the next chapter.
Since the existence of the Czech Republic through the preparation period, the following entry to NATO and further till 2005 when the process of professionalization of the Czech Army was accomplished, the language preparation of military personnel has remarkably improved. It is my intention to show in detail the process of the development of the language competency of the members of our army which is considered to be very advanced. Despite many problems and difficulties in the implementation of the language concept intended for the member states in the framework of NATO to which the Czech Republic belongs either, we can consider this process successful. We are aware of the fact that there are certain deficiencies which were not possible to remove and which represent obstacles in the complete accomplishment of the language preparation. It is necessary to mention that the language preparation was in process before our entry to NATO but in a limited mode. English teaching was not a priority between the years 1993-1995 and that is why only selected individuals were studying it. In 1995 the army switched to the classification of the knowledge of language according to the norm NATO STANAG 6001. This schooling system was introduced to the Czech Army in connection with the planned entry to NATO. The usage of official languages within NATO thus became necessary. The language was to be English and for a limited group it was French. The second logical step was the necessity to create means for the measurement of the language competency of the members of the Army of the Czech Republic which had to be accommodated to the Czech conditions originating from a solid, adapted concept. According to PhDr. Vlasta Nepivodová, a language tester at the Department of Languages at Mendel University in Brno, the language preparation in the Czech Army was seemingly in advantage compared with the other resorts because the requirements of the profile of the graduate of the course were set by the descriptors (Appendix 3) of individual levels according to the norm STANAG 6001. However, the BILC standards were formulated very roughly and the national teams of all the states of the former Central and Eastern Europe applying for the membership in NATO had to create their own programme and teaching plans. They had to choose suitable textbooks and last but not least, create their own system of classification, i.e. system of testing originated from the descriptors. The Czech Army also had to face this situation. Since there was no official testing system, (Defence Language Institute was founded later in 2004), the centres functioning at that time, created their own independent testing teams. There was a lack of communication not only among these teams but there was also a lack of cooperation between the national teams of the current and new NATO members. These teams had no possibility of studying the documents dealing with the study and testing materials, nor were they able to compare systematically the test materials composed by the colleagues of different member states of the Aliance. It was the task of the Czech national testing team to interpret and work with the norm STANAG 6001 to a more concrete shape as specified by the testing specifications. Uniform interpretation and the usages of the standards of the norm STANAG were not centrally controlled, however it was being monitored and discussed at international meetings and many seminars of the representatives of the testing teams. Processing the tests to a concrete shape was in the competency of testing teams of different countries. Every national team was creating their own shape of the test format, i.e. selection of test types for reading and listening, the usage of testing techniques, selection of types of tasks, composition of criteria for the evaluation of productive as well as receptive skills and so on. The authors of the tests according to STANAG 6001 were limited by several factors. One of these aspects was the fact that the descriptors were written by native speakers for native speakers who perceived the language differently than non-native speakers who created the testing materials in a foreign language for their own army members. During the composition and creation of the materials it was necessary to consult an educated and experienced native speaker who had to be always available and who was supposed to be critically assessing them. It meant that one of the weak points in the initial introduction to NATO was the absence of the pretestation of every material and the following insufficient analysis of the very course of the schooling process as well as the interpretation of the test results (Vojenské rozhledy, 2005, p.123-124, transl. by the author). As the next weak point in the initial period of preparation turned out to be the organization and the way of teaching in different courses. Every schooling center interpreted the form and method in their own way and that is why there occurred apparent differences in the quality of teaching. Also the significant lack of uniformally trained tutors for this type of lecturing with a specific specialization contributed to this state. The majority of the lecturers came from the civic area and that is why they could not support themselves by the the practical as well as theoretical experience from the military milieu necessary for the full understanding of the education. The unsuitable choice of teaching materials represented also a big problem. This process was not centrally coordinated and the choice of textbooks depended in most cases on individual lecturers. In the course of the following years were used in the army facilities the following textbooks of English language: Angličtina pro samouky (Dr. Ludmila Kollmanová, Leda), Angličtina pro jazykové školy (E. Zábojová, J. Peprník, S. Nangonová, SPN Praha), The Cambridge English Course (M. Swan and C. Walter, Cambridge University Press), Look Ahead (M.D. Vivier, A. Hopkins, J. Potter, Longman Group Limited and The British Broadcasting Corporation),Headway (Liz and John Soars, Oxford University Press), and American Language Course (DLI, Lackland-Texas). It turned out that some of the teaching materials were not suitable for a given type of teaching. In the course of time and according to achieved results and experiences was this literature selected and limited to teaching materials such as ALC (American Language Course) and Headway. It was possible by means of ALCPT (American Language Course Placement Test), which was a part of the ALC textbooks, to differentiate and place the students to groups according to their level of knowledge. This meant for example that one group could start with the textbook ALC Book no. 1, the second group with the ALC Book no. 4 and the third group with ALC Book 10 and students did not have to waste time by concentrating on the stuff they had already mastered. DLIELC Lackland, Texas yielded us a helping hand in the form of already mentioned ALC textbooks with audiovisual materials and with the equipment and with the equipment of classrooms in all the schooling institutes (Chaloupský Jandová, transl. by the author).
There had been no substantial changes regarding the basic concept of language training in the Czech Armed Forces until 2002, when a new concept was prepared and a year later the system was introduced.
According to National Report - Czech Republic 20044:
Language training remains a permanent focus and goal in the area of education and professional training for military professionals. Within the context of the transformation of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic new measures have been adopted to improve the language proficiency of personnel in the defense sector. These measures will increase the effectiveness of the language training system implemented at both MoD´s military schools and military facilities throughout the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic. Particular attention is paid to those personnel planned for involvement in NATO operations.
The establishment of the Defence Language Institute meant a big step ahead concerning the military language training. DLI compiled all required materials and worked intensively on the stable concept adaptable in the conditions of the Czech Army. The principal aims were focused on the formation of the fixed reguirements and rating scales.
The mission statement of DLI has been the same since its establishment: ”The Mission of the Defense Language Institute 5 is to ensure sufficiently that trained and ready personnel be available to meet the foreign language skill requirements of the Ministry of Defense (abbrev. MoD) and the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic” (qtd. in National Report - Czech Republic 2004).
There has been a great development in this sector of military education since 2003. The essential role in the military language training is presented by the assistance with the Defence Language Institute English Language Center (abbrev. DLIELC), Lackland, AFB (Air Force Base), TX (Texas). Its continued support of teaching and the supply of testing materials, along with the availability of highly-qualified lecturers and specialists in testing, represents an invaluable help in improving the level of the knowledge of languages in the Czech Army.
5The Defense Language Institute at Vyškov was established on September 1, 2003 and Lt Col Ladislav Chaloupský was appointed the Commander of the Institute. Although the move from Brno to Vyskov in 2004 had an initial negative impact, DLI is now the largest institute within the MOD and has successfully dealt with the problems
3.2Courses organization According to the Czech Republic National Report 2005 , the language training is focused on specialized education for military professionals selected for work in NATO countries, including international operations and peaceful missions.
The Czech Republic National Report 2005 informs about the intensive programmes of language training consisting of full-time and external study courses. These both short-term and long-term courses are provided by the Defence Language Institute (abbrev. DLI) and its compliance with the Vyškov training and Doctrine Directorate. DLI offers a program of language training courses served at MoD´s military schools and at training and educational centres. All the studies culminate in passing STANAG (STANdardization AGreement) 6001 examinations. The following chart demonstrates the number of students trained in different foreign language programmes, English having priority and tested by the DLI from March 2006 through March 2007 (Table 1).
Table1. Number of students tested May 2006 - May 2007 at DLI
The language training programme in all courses consisting of intensive, combined, refresher
and enhancement courses includes also these crucial features (listed in National Report - Czech Republic 2004):
six to seven 50-minute training units per day
one mandatory lesson dedicated to listening practice in the language laboratories
maximum attention to the choice of textbooks and teaching materials
curriculum input from language training specialists from military language centres abroad (primarily DLIELC, Texas)
lessons conducted exclusively in the target language
instructors applying a highly communicative approach
use of authentic materials in the target language
The courses are designed according to the levels and intensity of language training:
- four-month intensive courses for SLP 1111
- four-month intensive courses for SLP 2222
- six or five-month intensive courses for SLP 3333
- “Combined courses“ (10 months, one week a month) for all three levels
- one- or two-week military terminology courses for specific purposes (for Rapid Deployment Force, UN missions, etc.)
- four-week refreshment courses for SLP 1111 and 2222
- eight-week refreshment courses for SLP 3333
- IMET Programme courses for all levels
- British Council courses for SLP 2222
(See National Report - Czech Republic BILC, 2003)
Institutions and training courses
As the central and largest language training facility of the defense sector, DLI operates a program of language training courses, coordinates language training at MoD training and educational centers and contributes to the conceptual development of the language training system of the Czech Army.“The DLI continues to maintain highly skilled teaching and testing departments, which supports: 12 intensive, longer-term, SLP-3 English courses (with eight students per course), 6 SLP 2 English courses (with ten students per course), and 17 English refresher courses per year ( mentioned in National Report, 2007). There is approximately 30 hours of teaching with the continuing individual preparation in SAC (Self Access Center) and homework processing. Native speakers from USA, Great Britain and France regularly participace in the teaching. The basic teaching material in the courses of English is American Language Course Book 1-34 (abbv. ALC) with these additional ones: English Vocabulary in Use, English Grammar in Use, Headway, AZ Discussions, Campaign. The concept of ALC books is to cover one book weekly. There is a bookquiz at the end of every book which is focused on the covered stuff. There is at least one hour a day dedicated to controlled listening in laboratory. In the intensive courses for SLP 2222 there are at least two lessons managed by native speakers and in the SLP 3333 the native speaker is present in the lesson every day. DLI’s resources are no longer allocated for lower level (e.g. SLP 1) language training of armed forces personnel. These very basic level courses are now handled by MoD-contracted agencies. In accordance with the STANAG 6001, DLI satisfies the linguistic requirements for our soldiers serving with multinational units abroad and continues to set the standard for military language education and testing (National Report, 2007).
The second largest MoD language training installation is the Education and Training Center in Komorní Hrádek maintaning an excellent standard of language teaching. The Center can accommodate 50 students, with the average of 30 students in its SLP 2 course, 8-10 students in its SLP 3 course, and 10 students studying the French language (National Report, 2004).
Additional students are trained at the following schools and facilities:
Military College of Ground Forces in Vyškov
Military Medical Academy in Hradec Králové
Military Academy in Vyškov
Military Technical School in Moravská Třebová
Military Technical School in Brno
Military High School in Vyškov
American Program in Prague
(Listed in National Report, 2004).
Language training is also conducted at the bases and garrisons in: Litoměřice, Lázně Bohdaneč, Přerov, Náměšť nad Oslavou, Olomouc, Prostějov, Čáslav, and Prague. Even when these installations have different chains of command and differing training needs, DLI ensures program consistency and quality by organizing testing seminars so that teachers from all installations from all installations are informed about the innovations and essentials changes of the language education (See National Report, 2004).
A significant role in the language educational process in the Czech Army plays also the University of Defence6. The requirements for the language competency are applied on the graduates of the University of Defence (abbrev. UD). In regard to the needs of the Defence sector in the framework of our NATO membership and the command of the Minister of Defence, graduates of the bachelor programme of UD are supposed to reach the level SLP 3 of the language competency according to the NATO STANAG 6001 which is in fact the upper intermediary level corresponding to the European level C1. The Centrum of the Language Preparation has consistently taken care of the education of the future military professionals. It is expected from University of Defence graduates that upon starting to perform their tasks, they will be able to work with documents in English and fluently communicate with other members of the NATO armies during mutual exercises, international missions and also during their stays abroad. The education takes place in special language classrooms (laboratories) which are in conformity with the latest trend of the educational theory and the teaching of a foreign language. It is supported by the utilization of information and communication technologies and new forms of teaching methods. Students have the advantage of individual preparation in the classrooms of the Self-Access Centre (SAC), where they can find a wide range of materials for the development of their language skills. It is very interesting and inspiring to teach by means of videofrequential technologies realised in cooperation with the organization ICI Wave (Quebec) and Canada School of Public Service (Montreal). There is a wide range of study materials at the portal of the University of Defence which is available for students as well as for the staff of the school. There is also a list of links to web sites with the content of various interactive tasks such us vocabulary, grammar, reading, listening and writing exercises. LMS (Learning Management System) BARBORKA
6UD Brno – was established in 2004 as the Defence Department´s single university- level educational facility.
is serving the purpose of the presentation of study materials, study management and communication in the framework of the combined study programme (Výuka jazyků na UO, 2009, transl. by the author).
Students of English have at their disposal also a range of other types of a material such as interactive CD containing a file of twenty lessons from the military environment with the focus on professional vocabulary of all units of the Czech Army.
The other training centers offer language learners nice classrooms equipped with modern teach-ware, whiteboards and audio visual devices of high-quality (Fig. 1). Most of these facilities enable a practice of listening for advanced students in comfortable language laboratories with high-tech headphones (Fig. 2).
Figure 1. Lessons at DLI at Vyškov.
Figure 2. Listening at DLI at Vyškov.
In line with the trend, the English language training was enhaced through the English language courses for specific purposes. These courses are designed to prepare potential NATO staff officers and other military personnel for their roles in the NATO Alliances. These courses are stimulating and wideranging and the language development is achieved by active participation in practical work. These courses are concerned with creating, understanding and using communicative skills necessary for fulfilling their professional functions effectively in NATO missions and operations. These trainings are held both in our republic and abroad. DLIELC offers a variety of resident courses at Lackland AFB (Air Force Base) Texas as well:
English Language Course for OSN Observers - Komorní Hrádek
English Language Courses for Staff Officers in Multinational Operations - a DLIELC Mobile Training Team (MTT) conducts this seminar for staff officers who arepreparing for positions requiring an advanced level of speaking and writing in English. The minimum class size is six, and the maximum is ten. The course is designed to teach communicative skills and the fundamentals of military writing.
Managing English Language Training (MELT) Course - this eight-week course is intended for international personnel who are or will be in English language training program (ELTP) managerial positions in their countries. Seminar participants are providedwith basic knowledge in various areas of administering, managing, and supervising .
American Language Course - this nine-week course focuses on language and study skills and terminology associated with technicaltraining and professional military education.
American Language Course for Aviation Leadership Program Scholarship - this is established for AF ALP Scholarship students and is used for funding purposes only. All students will complete aviation terminology.
Oral Proficiency Skills for Aviation (OPSAV) Course - this course is designed to help students achieve the necessary oral proficiency level The course offers extensive practice in pronunciation, global speaking proficiency,and listening comprehension within a variety of contexts and a wide range of formats. Particular emphasis is given to the comprehension of electronic voice communication over two-way radios and telephones.This training prepares students for the unique challenges of radio communication. While the course focuses primarily on routine, day-to-dayproficiency needs, a variety of aviation-related themes are woven into each lesson. and classroom materials. The course focuses on the communication skills needed for work and interactions in a multinational situation (Listed in DLIELC Catalogue 2010, p. 33).
A great attention is attached to studies abroad, because of the benefit of providing special practical training and qualifications that the Czech defence education system doesn´t support.
In 1999-2008 the total number of personnel sent abroad amounts to 3,949 (Table 2).
Table 2. Personnel assigned for studies in foreign countries,MoD in the Czech Republic
4. The Study
In the framework of my study dedicated to the development, course, fixed target and effectiveness of the tuition of the English language in the military milieu, I addressed several students from the ranks of the former as well as contemporary employees of the 21st Tactical Air Base Čáslav who attended the language training at the schooling centres, universities or international courses. I have documented their reports also with the attitudes of the representatives of the Defence Language Institute in Vyškov. The aims of this study are as follows:
Clarify the motivational incentives and to analyse practical experiences of the students of English in regard to the development of the Czech Army prior and after its entry to NATO according to the reports of the students.
Analyse the respondents´ opinions on the aspects of the English language training.
Summarize the information received during the open discussion with the respondents.
Compare attitudes of the Czech representatives of DLI Vyškov to the military language training.
Evaluate the utilization of the English language.
4.1 The motivational incentives and practical experiences of the
students As far as the results of the following study regards, the motivation of the individual students does not differ significantly due to the fact that the process of the language preparation has become necessary not only for individuals but also for whole groups to utilize in a given fiction. All the respondents had in common the same incentive such as to maintain their positions as well as the ambition to learn something new with the posibility of a professional advancement. After the entry of the Czech Army to NATO, the knowledge of English became essential during the training of special units and groups such as the air-fighter pilots and so on.
These claims are supported by the three following reports of the students of the total of 15 who describe not only their motives but also give their view as students on the teaching of the English language in the army. There is a report of a pilot, an air-traffic controller and also of a technician of the aircraft JAS 39 Gripen. Statements and opinions of the commander of the Air Base Čáslav are to be found at the end of the reports which support the fact that the language competency affected the prestige of our Air Force abroad.
In order to understand better the significance and the course of the study of English I include the two following cases.
Second Lieutenant Ing. Milan Nikodým (Pilot):
I personally first came across English at Military Academy in Brno in 1994 needless to say that it is not possible to compare with today’s level of teaching. There was no concept, nor purpose, nor qualified lecturers and necessary teaching materials. During my university studies I got only a rough notion about the language with no possibility to apply our knowledge in everyday conversations and during the air traffic. Of course, there were no demands for this either. All the communication took place in Czech and our ambitions to fly abroad were nill. Fortunately things took turn for the better and English got its way back to my professional life. The year 1999 proved to be for the Czech Army and especially for the Czech Air Force critical. As early as during the entry of the Czech Republic to NATO it was decided by the Air Force Headquaters that all pilots must be sufficiently equipped as far as a language competency regards because the air traffic would be further controlled in English. I was facing the decision whether to study English and be allowed to continue flying or not to study with the consequent result. This proved to be really a mighty incentive. I found the three-month preparation course for STANAG much more effective than the clumbersome way of life of a self-learner.
Further I asked a former pilot of MIG 23 BN, Ing. Petr Hrubý about the beginning of his studies.
It was hard for our generation to switch from Russian to English. Those of us who were complete beginners were in disadvantage as opposed to our younger colleagues. As far as I can make a comparison, the colleges with the knowledge of English gained at primary and secondary schools were almost ready to pass STANAG of the first level. However, for me and many of my contemporaries it was necessary to attend a preparatory course of a much wider extent. As it turned out, I found this course satisfactory and thus I fulfilled the conditions of the certificate STANAG 1111.
The question whether the entire language training was thus acomplished was answered by Ing. Petr Hrubý as follows:
This level proved to be satisfactory for the majority of the Air Force which was unfortunately my case. As a pilot I had to acquire a wider range of knowledge because in order to perform my function it was necessary to achieve the second level and to attend a special course of phraseology.
Ing. Milan Nikodým was of the same opinion when he added:
In order to attend aviation trainings and international missions it was necessary to reach the second level. I attended a three month course at the British Council, one of the schooling centers positioned in Brno. I found this course enriching not only as far as the content regards but first of all in terms of the professional approach of the lecturers, mainly native speakers with pedagogical education. As my colleague has already mentioned, it was not sufficient at all. Every pilot and commander of the air traffic had to possess English Correspondence permission - a licence to use the official English terminology. This authorisation was possible to achieve only after attending the above mentioned course of professional air phraseology.
And how was the general language in our army classified by Ing. Milan Nikodým according to his personal experiences?
During my activity in the Air Force I attended three English language courses in the duration of 9 months. I think that had I been dispatched abroad for half a year immediately after the school, everything would have been solved once and for all. I think, it is a sheer nonsense for a pilot to spend his most productive years in attending courses. That is why I see the aggravating mistakes of the initial concept of the military language education in the inadequate language preparation at the University of Defence. I suppose that the young applicants for aviation should be leaving the university with the required language level SLP 2222 at minimum. Passing the test of professional army phraseology and acquiring the licence should be a part of the study program. Scholarships abroad should not be missing. It would not be necessary for the graduates to be sent to courses at the time when they should concentrate on acquiring experiences. A person equipped with the knowledge of English will have no difficulties in attending any international missions and will be able to cooperate with the members of foreign Air Force and will be able to control and organize the work of international teams. Career advancement and salary rise also represent a big motivation. I am sure that the level of the knowledge of English is at least in our profession on increase. The new generation already had English at primary and secondary schools which makes them better prepared for their jobs. My generation as well as the older ones had to make up for this handicap.Nowadays there is a sufficient number of courses of a satisfactory level available and in contrast with the past there is a possibility to study abroad which is an invaluable help in acquiring certain language skills.
Ing.Petr Hrubý concluded:
I attended five different language courses between 1999 and 2004. As far as I can judge, the introduction of military language courses was lacking a solid concept. The teaching was proceeding according to various materials and the extent and level was not set. The level of teaching was different because it was secured by various language agencies. It affected also the successfulness of final exams. We did not know what was awaiting us, we were learning bits from every topic but on the whole, we were not prepared at all. I must say that most of us failed and had to attend one-month preparatory course in order to be allowed to sit again for the exam which was very exhausting and for most of us demotivating. However, these deficiencies were gradually eliminated. I can say that the last course I attended in Prague in 2004 was intensive with a fixed concept and aims. When I look back at my student years I can say that I was enriched by this course more than by all the previous ones. It corresponded to the requirements raised during the during the STANAG exam of the second level. I would like to mention one more negative aspect of teaching which we students had to face. It was apparent, first of all, at the beginning and I am of the opinion that it was the weak point of the teaching. It regarded the communication between the teachers and the performers of the testings. Further, what was covered during the course was not a part of the exams. Lecturers were not aware of the content and the form of the exams and vice versa. The testers were not present in the lessons to see and compare whether the tests contained everything that was covered in the lessons. As far as my personal experience regards, this weak point was removed as well. When attending the last course we knew exactly how the exam would look like, we could also try a mock test which indicated to us our weak as well as strong points. This we found very encouraging and motivating.
To give an overview of the specific aims concerning the language proficiency of the employees of the Air Base Čáslav, there is nobody as competent as Colonel Ing. Petr Mikulenka, the Base Commander of 21st of AFB (Air Force Base) Čáslav. He commented as follows the posibility of utilization of the English language in the framework of NATO.
The knowledge of the English language in the Czech professional army should be automatic for every professional soldier especially after the Czech Republic was admitted to NATO. There are certain requirements set for every function. Unless the set of requirements are fulfilled, it is not possible for a professional soldier to perform tasks necessary for a given position or there are limitations of the duration of the function until all the conditions have been fulfilled. The length of the limitation is two years maximum. The level of the accomplished knowledge of the English language is a decisive factor influencing the choice of applicants for the position in question. In most cases a certain level of the knowledge of a language is a precondition. The language training of the employees at the Air Base in Caslav has been going since 1999 and as the commander of the Base Ing. Mikulenka put it: “The results are apparent and the prestige of the base is being improved year by year also thanks to the language competence of our employees.
(Translated by the author)
The commander gave the following response to the question whether language courses are in demand and where they take place:
The demand exceeds an offer. And because of the limitations of the schooling centre on our base (max. 30 students), the majority of the remaining students are forced to study in other schooling centres in Vyškov, Komorní Hrádek, Moravská Třebová or in Prague. The demand on the level and necessity to use the English language is given according to the category of the position. For example, there is an elite squadron functioning on the base which cannot do without a good knowledge of English which lies not only in the framework of the knowledge of general English but also in mastering of military terminology. The reason for this is as follows: The members of this squadron operate with the airplanes of the fourth generation JAS 39 Gripen, where all the technological procedures, documentations of maintenance, manuals and prescriptions are in English. What is more, there is a support team of the Swedish Royal Air Force working with this squadron and the communication and mutual solving of difficult as well as common problems take place solely in the English language. As this squadron ensures the air defense not only of our state but in the framework of NATO, it attends numerous exercises in the Czech Republic as well as abroad, so the knowledge of English is indispensable. If the service in international missions is also taken into consideration, where mutual help of other members in the framework of NATO is an indivisible part of it, then you have to agree with me that a quality education of the English language is inevitable and belongs to the equipment of every participant of this mission.
(Translated by the author)
After a short pause the commander added that almost all the pilots and technicians functioning in this squadron passed a preparatory course for the airplane JAS 39 Gripen in Sweden between the years 2004-2005, where it would have been unthinkable to succeed without good knowledge of English.
The English language is generally considered as the air language. That is why the entire controlling and coordination of air traffic is run in English. All the internationally valid regulations are published in this language as well as the tests and examinations of expertise are done in English regardless the country where they take place. Upon taking all these facts into consideration, it is clear that whoever wants to work for the Air Force will face the problem to learn and use the English language and radio correspondence. As a pilot, speaking of my own experience, I can affirm that air communication and mutual planning of flights in the framework of peace as well as combat missions takes place only in English. Every misunderstanding can have as an effect a fatal mistake. That is why the majority of the pilots of our base have passed through special language courses abroad, where their speaking and listening skills are being tested during the flight training. Also the introduction of English typed radio correspondence helped to quicken the air traffic and make it more flexible.
(Translated by the author)
At the end, he emphasized the fact that the performance of the base abroad was well appreciated as well as the cooperation with the employees judging from both the professional and language adequacy aspect.
Selected comments are provided below to demonstrate the thinking of a few students regarding their motivation for learning and using English for their professional career.
Warrant Officer Romana P. (Chief Warrant Officer):
Our base is visited by international delegations with which it is necessary to communicate. By means of English I find it possible to present my work and compare my abilities and the way of cooperation with my foreign colleagues. Healthy ambitions played quite an important part in this case – when it is possible to manage this language proficiency for a soldier from a lower rank, then so must I. And if I have mastered lever one, I feel motivated to achieve a higher competency.
Captain Ing. Roman H. (Air-traffic Controller) :
To join NATO, officers need to speak English. It is especially important for the traffic controllers. After training in the language course, I will be an air-traffic controller in English, too.
Captain Ing Jiří M. (Unit Commander):
As an aviation student, I must prove that I can communicate orally in English. I have chosen this course to improve my speaking and reading skills. All the documents and maintanance plans and instructions are in English and the important part of our everyday work is communication and discussion with the Swedish Support Group located in our Squadron.
Captain Ing.Tomáš M. (Pilot) :
As far as my biggest motivation regards, I have to state that it comes with the practical experiences of the air traffic control, especially with the arrival of a foreign aircraft during which all the communication had to be carried on only in English. It was not possible to solve difficult situations in Czech as usual after the previous experience which proved to be a big test of the language competency and of its usage in practice.
According to the contributions of several students who were studying by means of language courses, it is obvious that the strongest motivation factor for the study of English was the necessity to fulfill a professional requirement for a given function as a condition for further stay in the army. However, the following graph also confirms the fact that during the preparation and the consequent entry of our republic to NATO, the motivation to study English is remarkably different due to the practical usage of the language during the everyday activities of the member of the Air Force.The opening of a common cooperation and fulfillment of international missions effecting the obligation to study English as well as the increasing interest of the soldiers in English came with our entry to NATO.
Motivation factor to study English before and after the entry to NATO. It corresponds with the testimony of the technician of this air craft who confirmed that the main stimulus to study English was the prospect of becoming a technician of JAS 39 at the Air Force Base. As Second Lieutenant Miroslav Fiala said:
The knowledge of English language is absolutely vital for this function which came also with the very introduction of the fighter to the army in 2005. In 2004 I was sent together with a chosen group of technicians and pilots to a training course in Sweden. Prior to this I had to attend a quite demanding language preparation which was indispensable in order to attend this training course. As a holder of the SLP 1111 certificate I was forced to attend four-month intensive English language course in Komorní Hrádek with the aim of achieving the language level SLP 2222 which was a condition for attending the training course. I achieved the required level and became a part of a small group of technicians which was despatched for the training course to Sweden. This course was progressed only in English.
I was very confident myself as a brand new holder of the STANAG 2222 certificate and hoped that there would not be any problems during the course for me to face. This did not turn out according to my expectations and I had to admit that I lacked the knowledge of a concrete aviation terminology. I had to make up for it by studying this parallelly with the course. There is no end to the application of the English language in my profession. The course I attended as well as all the manuals, documentation and technological proceedings are in English. Also the communication with the Swedish Support Group which is active at our base takes place in English. When I ask myself a question if all the effort and incentives leading to the achievement of the English language competency were worth it, I must say “yes“.
(Translated by the author).
According to Miroslav, generally, the English language competency opens new horizons for us which were unatainable in the past and also in this aspect, the level of English has been appreciated by the partners from the aliance many times as he admitted proudly:
Our American colleagues commented admiringly on our ability to communicate in their native language. I myself am confident of the fact that the level of the knowledge of the Czech professionals and not only of the Air Force is of a very high level when compared especially with the other non-English speaking members of the alliance.
(Translated by the author).
These are the reports of only a small group of professionals working on the tactical Air Force Base Čáslav.
Conclusion As it is obvious from the preceding commentaries and personal reports, there are specific requirements for every position in regard to the English language competency. It is not only the matter of the levels gained on the basis of the STANAG 6001 exams but also of acquiring a special English terminology for a given position. It represents in most cases hours upon hours of self-study which turns out to be in the long run a big advantage. It is also plain from the reports that in order to achieve this success, every individual had to go through differently long path which consisted of many obstacles.
These were possibly caused not only by the age of the students but also by the non-uniform concept of education and inadequateness of the technical and material equipment of the schooling centres. Also the incompetency of the teachers with no pedagogical education contributed to this situation which also influenced the length of language training. Nowadays, all the respondents hold the certificate of the STANAG language proficiency SLP 2222.
Not only the Czech Air Force, but also Ground Forces and special forces operate in the framework of NATO in various foreign operations and international fight missions which would be unworkable without high-quality preparedness of the English language.
Students’ view on various aspects of learning English
In order to ascertain the opinions of students as to different aspects of studying the English language, I conducted an open discussion with 15 students. These students attended the English course at the Air Force Base Čáslav intended to achieve the targeted knowledge of English as per SLP 2222. The results of this discussion served for the purpose of the elaboration of the analysis found further in the text.
4.2.1 Attitude towards learning English
English is regarded by more than half of the students (10) as a very popular language. Only 5 respondents regard English as a middle popular language. As far as the usability of the language is concerned, it is regarded by 12 students as very useful and by 3 as middle useful in the framework of its usability not only in the professional but also in the civil area.
This attitude of students towards the English language teaching affects their preparation for classes. 10 students take an effort in preparing themselves at least two or three hours a day, for the everyday six-hour classes. The next three students need at least three hours a day to be prepared. The two remaining students spend approximately one hour in preparing themselves. The time of self-study also depends on the age and family status of the students. Out of the total amount of 15 the students, there are seven students of the age between 30 and 40 years, six students of the age between twenty and thirty years and two students under the age of twenty-five. Out of these, 11 students are married, living with their families in the vicinity of the base whereas 4 respondents are single. These are commuting or staying at dormitories.
All the respondents devote their time for the preparation according to their abilities which is contributing to their effective mastering of English. There was no unwillingness displayed on the part of any of the respondents to improve their abilities and attend the lessons. Quite the opposite, some of the students used individiual consultations with the lecturers apart from the classes.
The students felt secure at the air base where they could fulfil their professional tasks without the need to take care of accommodation and thus feel free to dedicate their time to the self-study of the English language or to make use of their offices in the afternoon for that purpose after the end of the classes. This aspect was appreciated by 7 of the inteviewees. On the other hand, 8 students found these surroundings disturbing due to the fact that they would be called away from the classes by their commanders. The constant interrupting of the course had a negative impact on the other students. These 8 students rather preferred to be taught in schooling centres outside the air base due to these factors.
4.2.2 Initial knowledge and problems of the students at the beginning
All the students of this course had to sit for the entrance test - American Language Course Placement Test (Appendix 4) in order to ascertain the level of knowledge and adapt to the pace of the teaching process.
8 students scored more than seventy per cent and the other less than that. The biggest difficulties at the beginning of their studies were connected with the perceptive skills and vocabulary. This fact was confirmed by all the 15 interviewees. These two problems are closely linked together as the unsufficient vocabulary may cause obstacles in communication. There is no time, however, for the student to dwell on the meaning of unfamiliar words during the listening.
4.2.3 Teaching materials
The choice of a suitable basic teaching material is a frequently discussed topic. Only one third of the students regarded the set of textbooks - American Language Course as a suitable and sufficient teaching material, whereas two thirds of the students were rather dissatisfied with them. American English presented only in American military environment and the absence of the key to the exercises intended for a self-study were considered as critical drawbacks of these textbooks.13 of the 15 respondents appreciated the book quizzes, which represented complementing of the knowledge of every finished textbook and by means of which they were shifted to the following volume. The students agreed that this served the purpose of a very useful feedback reporting about their actual knowledge of the English language. They were tested according to the four language components found in the ALC course books (vocabulary (V), function (F), grammar (G), and skills (S)), by means of which they were informed about the quality of their knowledge, their progress as well as about the areas in which they stagnated in order to pay closer attention to them.
More than the majority of the students (9) approved of the implementation of the additional materials. The main acquisition of these materials consists in the broadening of the horizon of the non-military environment. The biggest success and usability of all the textbooks was accorded to Headway. The remaining students considered the implementation of additional materials as a pleasant distraction but also and more importantly as a burden as some tasks intended for a self- study were prepared from these materials.
All the respondents would unanimously welcome the possibility of the usage of interactive and multimedial teaching with the focus on general as well as military English. However, only 4 students would change completely the way of teaching, the other 11 would make use of this system as a complementary teaching. Generally speaking the new interactive method would be preferred by a younger generation.
4.2.4 Organization of the teaching None of the students had any objections towards the arrangement of the teaching as such. All the objections regarded the schedule of the course. 9 of 15 students complained about the time they spent in the classes per day. According to the opinions of the students, the teaching schedule should be reduced to four hours a day even if the course was made longer by this. All the students agreed unanimously that the total number of the students in a class should be between 5 and 10 students, definitely not 15 students or more. The equipment of the classrooms was regarded as satisfactory by 8 students, the remaining 7 students suggested improvements of design. There was almost no one satisfied with the audio laboratory as it was quite obsolete. Equipped only with a tape recorder, the quality of a listening is considerably influenced. All the respondents would welcome if the laboratory would be equipped according to the standard of the 21st century teaching.
As far as the evaluation of teachers regards, 10 students were satisfied with their approach, 5 refused to express themselves. The requirements of the teachers were regarded as demanding yet effective by 12 students. 3 students considered them as adequate. 11 students were satisfied with the teachers’ classroom instructions which they regarded as student-centred and fast faced. 7 of all the respondents appreciated the instructors´ meaningful language activities that remarkably improved their absorption and understanding of the English language. 11 students regarded the teachers as qualified possessing a professional aproach. All the students had already attended at least one course in the past and thus being able to compare qualities of various teachers, they unanimously agreed on the necessity of trainings and seminars for teachers and a concrete as well as transparent concept of teaching and preparation for every lesson. There appeared some suggestions and requirements on the part of the students regarding to the animation of the lessons by means of activities such as watching the news with the consequent analysis, watching movies in English with subtitles and so on. Upon the questiom if they appreciated conversation with native speakers, all 15 said “yes“. However, a constant presence of a native speaker was regarded as necessary by 9 students, as needless by 3 students. The remaining 3 students did not express themselves explicitly.
4.2.5 Views regarding the importance of the individual language skills in
regard to military professions
As all the respondents unanimously agreed, the language skills are directly proportional to the function and the professional enlistment of every individual soldier. However, as far as the career of military professionals regards, do the respondents consider the ability to speak English as the most important. 5 students out of 15 prefer listening with a comprehension, 5 prefer knowledge of technical English and vocabulary, 3 students consider reading skills with comprehension important for their profession and for 2 students is important writing and grammar.
As far as the demandingness of preparation for individual skills regards, the majority spend most of their time by the study of grammar and elaboration of grammatical exercises and composition of essays. It is interesting that according to 12 students, the vocabulary is rather extensive, however it is adequate to the level of language competency for which the students are being prepared.
Preference of the language topics
All the effort of the lecturers is to lead the students towards topics clearly defined in the MoD specifications. These topics (thematic areas) comprise mainly military as well as general topics. According to the respondents, the following topics were regarded as important: military ranks and commands, organization and structure of the army, branches of the Army, armaments and equipment, uniforms and drill training. As far as the general conversational area regards, the students preferred topics connected with employment, arrangement of appointments, attending to official matters and commentaries to the local as well as foreign events.
The concepts of the students regarding the practical usage of the language
The question how to make use of English in their professions was answered differently by the students according to their enlistment. 3 interviewees will utilize it in conversations and 2 in the work with documents, 5 with manuals in English and the 5 remaining ones for the flight correspondence and the air traffic control.
Of course that all the students expect to make use of the knowledge of English in their personal lives, on holidays, on business trips as well as on international missions and trainings.
Attitudes of the students towards the demandingness and suitability of the test STANAG 6001 itself in regard to the content of the language course.
I have to state that out of 15 students, 6 passed the exams according to SLP 2222, 7 students partially succeeded, 2 students were able to succeed only in one of the skills which was unsufficient according to the requirements given for their positions. After personal consultations with the students, I came to the conclusion that the most difficult part of the exams was listening with comprehension and speaking. The least difficult part was writing.
12 students were astonished by the usage of British English only in the recordings of the listening part, 3 students were disappointed by the choice of the topic for the conversation, 6 students found the exams very demanding and the remaining 9 students as adequate to the preparation and knowledge gained in the language course. The approach and willingness on the part of the examining comitee were evaluated positively by 13 respondents.
Conclusion According to the results of this analysis, the age of the students differs, which has a dirrect impact on their attitude towards the English language training. As to the undertaken survey, the students are quite satisfied with the course of teaching, however, they would prefer shorter teaching blocks and the prolonged year span of teaching at least for 4 months. The language itself is very popular among the students. It is obvious that a frequent absence of the students in the lessons caused by their professional duties has a disturbing effect on the systematic language preparation. Because of this, the majority of the students would prefer that the teaching take place in distant schooling centres. There is, however, one positive aspect, that the problem is not caused by the quality of the teaching but by the negative influence of the disturbing elements acompanying the process of teaching at the home base. Also the fact that they are close to their families is not ideal for self-study because of the need to attend to family matters.
There is one more thing to complete, namely the selection of the teaching material, which should contain, according to the students, military as well as general English, provided that it is not English courses for Specific Purposes. Also the set of the ALC textbooks dedicated by DLIELC in Lackland proved to be a good choice for the thorough preparation for the exams according to STANAG 6001. The only objections that appeared regarded the one-sided focus on the American variation of English and the necessity to suply with keys the exercises intended for self-study. According to the views of all the respondents, the availability of keys would aleviate the teaching in lessons where quite a substantial time is dedicated to the checking of these exercises. The implementation of modern medial and interactive elements (e-learning included), which is already in process at some of the teaching centres, would contribute to the acquisition of the knowledge of the language during the regular classes. These elements are preferred especially by the young generation. As far as the organization of the teaching regards, there were no negative coments of the students, to which also contributed quality preparation of the lecturers and the gradual unification of the concept of teaching. What the respondents would, however, modify was the schedule and the maximum number of students in classes, as it is apparent from the study. As another disadvantage they consider the fact that they were not able to communicate with native speakers which would contribute to their language skills and motivation. As far as the expectations, interests and wishes of the respondents regards, the majority of them unanimously agreed that the teaching programme should be made more attractive. They would welcome the implementation of authentical texts with general themes, according to the needs of the students and not only as a supplementary material.
Another positive discovery I have made is the fact that the students consider passing the test according to the norm NATO STANAG 6001 as their personal goal in the proscess of the language acquisition. It serves as a proof that the students are fully aware of the importance of study of English for their work of military professionals.
4.2.9 Attitude of DLI representatives in Vyškov It could be considered as very beneficial to compare the students’ attitudes with the remarks of some of DLI representatives, the views and opinions of the authors as well as coordinators of the English Language training in the Czech Army which are also illuminating for this study.How do they view the English language teaching development in the Army of the Czech Republic? It is plain from their responses, that they themselves had to undergo some difficulties at the beginning.
They admit that goals were set too high for many countries to reach including the Czech Republic. The testers from DLIELC Lackland had quite high requirements of training for STANAG 6001 exams in countries where the English language learning tradition hadn‘t been established yet. Firstly, it was necessary to accumulate all the facts and prepare the teaching to conform with the the STANAG 6001 criteria and to be accommodated to the settings where it should be implemented. It was necessary to set up the curriculum and to implement it to all the schooling centres. In order to achieve this, it was important to equip these centres accordingly with unified teaching materials, which was not easy due to the inflexibility of the system. The fact that there did not exist any supervising institute intended for the coordination and analysis of the Military language training led to chaos at the beginning. All the representatives unanimously confirm that the realization of the new concept was started together with the establishment of DLI in Brno in 2003. A detailed analysis was initiated by means of which causes of the problems were searched together with the constructive solution of these problems. What measures had to be taken?
Our principal objective was to clearly define the content and the length of the course and the media used. As we became the only testers in the Czech Republic, we had to clearly define the concept of test plans according to the duration and type of the course in question. We worked hard at the preparation of the test materials and the development of tests such as the teaching point level including the format, test standard and criteria. As a part of this study it was also necessary to focus on the student’s profile (knowledge, experience, motivation, learning style, age, cultural aspects, attitude, etc.) In the seven yearsof our existence we have taken a big step ahead. All the DLI teachers have corresponding qualification, they edify themselves incessantly, attend special actions, methodical courses and seminars in the Czech Republic as well as abroad. Native speakers, qualified lecturers participate only at the chosen centres for the time being. Military people provide materials and professional skills, which proved to be immensely beneficial for our work. It is our aim to maintain the achieved standard and to highten it by means of verified methods.
4.2.10 The utilization of the English language ACR and its members can be contented with the course of the language preparation and the achieved level. At present, out of 34,657 of total MoD service and civilian personnel, 11,188 individuals hold STANAG 6001 English language certificate (Table3).
Table 3. Number of military personnal holiding STANAG 6001 English language certificate, MoD, 2009. This number does not give report about the actual number of soldiers who acquired any level of language competency. It is mainly due to the fact that after 1999, the year of our entry to NATO, our army had undergone significant structural changes with the releasement of 10 000 soldiers where a part of them disposed of certain level of knowledge of English. There is a set number of positions for each country in the framework of the NATO structure where it is necessary to fullfil STANAG levels of language proficiency apart from necessary education and the professional requirements for given functions. In favour of the high level of the language competency of our professionals speaks also the fact that although they are incorporated into the NATO stucture, they do not encounter any problems of language communication and moreover, they are praised and approved by their aliance colleagues. In order not to speak only about statistic data I decided to provide the readers of this thesis with one practical example where the language comptency plays an important part.
It is the case of Command Sergeant Major (abbrev. CSM), Luďek Kolesa, Senior Enlisted Leader, for NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation. He got the opportunity to put to test his language skills at embattlement when he served in the United Nations Guard Contingent in Iraq (UNGCI) between April 1994 and May 1995. There followed other missions where he was able to deepen his professional knowledge as well as his language skills. This period proved to be very productive as far as development and improvement of the language regards. In the year 2000 he was despatched to Brusel to the headquarters of NATO. During his three-year period of duty at NATO Headquarters (abbrev. HQ), he was elected Secretary, and later President of the NATO Aide-de-Camp Association. On 1st August 2003, he was appointed as the first-ever Command Sergeant Major of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic. He was not satisfied with this already very successful career and with all his modesty he set out to achieve further aims. CSM Ludek KOLESA completed the American Language Course at the Defense Language Institute, Lackland AFB, Texas, and then Class 54 of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy in Fort Bliss, Texas. He graduated on the top twenty percent of his class, and was awarded the “International Leadership Award” after being named the top international student of Class 54. In 2005, CSM KOLESA graduated from the BMATT Senior Sergeant Majors Course. In 2007 he was selected the first non- American for the appointment for the biggest naval base in the world, headquarters of the strategic NATO forces in Norfolk as Senior Enlisted Leader, for NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation.7
5. Conclusion In conclusion, I summarize and describe my viewpoint on the English language training based on the findings of the collected information and statistic data supplied by DLI or other schooling centres or personal reports of students.
After the “labour pains“ which were acompanying the introduction of English to the educational system of ACR from the very beginning, I can state that this process has now reached its adulthood. It is a living organism which keeps on improving and developing. The first steps of the implementation of the language teaching according to the norms STANAG 6001 were heavy and clumbersome and needed to be attended tobut it was possible to achieve the current state by means of them. Nevertheless, maturity is not a proof of perfection, on the contrary, it is necessary to monitor the teaching, to learn from the mistakes of the past. It is necessary to pay constant attention to the preparation so that the study of a language is most effective with a stable value. Besides, the language competency is prestigeous for ACR as well as for every military professional not only here but abroad also. The present state of the English language training in ACR could be characterized by the increasing rate of successfulness of passing STANAG 6001, the improvement of the work of teachers and lecturers, their endeavour to prepare precisely teaching plans and last but not least the high motivation of the students. It is apparent from the reports of the chosen members that the highest factor is the taxative established requirement on the knowledge of English as far as the requirements on positions regards.
It is also necessary to point out the possibility of enlarging the language skills and most of all the professional knowledge by attending the English courses for specific puproses, which are offered by ACR in a big range covering almost all the military professional areas. At present, quite a substantial number of our professional soldiers make use of attending these courses in the schooling centres of the armies of the NATO countries. The most utilised and appreciated are the short-terms as well as long-terms courses organised by DLI Lackland in Texas, which has been a big support of our army in the process of establishing and development of language teaching for military personnel. After the accomplishment of the courses it is possible to work in the military structures of NATO. It is also important to mention the increased possibility of the application of the personnel in the civic sector after the end of the active military service.
It is obvious from these facts that the education is taking the right course and by maintainig this trend, ACR should be able to assure its allies of its professionality and interoperability.
This bachelor thesis is called “The English Language Training in the Czech Armed Forces“ and the aim of this work is to outline the English language teaching development and to describe the current state of the English training in the Army of the Czech Republic.
This work is divided into 2 parts – theoretical and practical. The former provides information concerning the historical background, development and the present system of the the English language training of military personnel. The latter consists of the analyses and evaluation of the students' as well as DLI representatives' response based on their personal experience.
The main objective of this work is not only to describe the process of the English Language training but also to highlight the importance of the language proficiency for all military professionals of the Czech Army.
Tato bakalářká práce je nazvána “Výuka anglického jazyka v Armádě České republiky“ a cílem této práce je nastínit vývoj výuky anglického jazyka a popsat současný stav výuky angličtiny v Armádě České republiky.
Tato práce je rozdělena na dvě části – teoretickou a praktickou. První část poskytuje informace o historii, vývoji a současném systému výuky anglického jazyka vojenských profesionálů. Druhá část se skládá z analýzy a vyhodnocení odpovědí studentů i zástupců jazykového institutu na základě jejich vlastních zkušeností.
Hlavním záměrem této práce je nejenom popsat proces samotné výuky anglického jazyka, ale také poukázat na význam jazykové vybavenosti pro všechny profesionály Armády ČR.
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Chaloupský, L. Jandová M.(n.d.). Poznámky k výběru studijní literatury při výuce anglického jazyka v rezortu MO. Retrieved January 12, 2010, from http://www.army.cz/avis/vojenske_rozhledy/2000_1/eng.htm.
DLI Catalogue of Materials, Courses and Support. (2010). Retrieved March 12, 2010, from http://www.dlielc.org/catalog/DLIELC%20Catalog.pdf.
Dubeau, J. J. (September 2006). Are We All On the Same Page?. An Exploratory Study of OPI Ratings across NATO Countries Using the NATO STANAG 6001 Scale. Retrieved June 19, 2009, from http://www.bilc.forces.gc.ca/rp-pr/doc/OPIRaterSTUDY.pdf.
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