How long to Level 4?
Learner VariablesStarting pointTimeLearner styleMotivationPersonalityEnvironment
Aviation English Training How long to Level 4?200 hours for measurable improvementImmersion environmentsIntensive learningTeacher-ledAcademic programsReading; writing, grammar, listening/speaking
Canadian Civil ServiceTrue beginner (ICAO Level 1)
Canadian Civil Service Level 3 (can describe process but not explain process.
Aviation English Training100 hours @ DLI Level 1++ Level 2Defense Language Institute, USAImmersionIntensiveTeacher ledSpeaking/Listening OnlyAviation specific
Aviation English training: Best PracticeTeacher-ledImmersion IntensiveTESL qualified teacher/material developerCommunicative, interactiveLearner-centeredAviation-specific
TestsMaterialsProgramsTeacher Training ProgramsPersonnelSTANDARDTOEFLAcademia
100 hours100 hours - 200 hours 100 hours - 400 hours200 hours - 600 hours
Role of General EnglishBasic LevelsUntil Aviation-specific material more availableWhy aviation English at low levels/InterestMotivationRelevance
Practical suggestionsDocument 9835TESL input especially for test DEVELOPMENT and curriculum developmentStart early. Stay the course. Believe it is possible!
06/29/1039Long note section here: be sure to scroll all the way to //end//: That testing in the aviation industry is very HIGH STAKES. We call a test high stakes when it has a serious impact. Controllers/pilots are often mid career. They have until 2008 to learn English. Just stop for a moment. Consider your job. Your life. Your family. Now imagine if learning French or Russian to the ICAO Level 4 became an overnight requirement for you, and you had until 2008 to learn French or Russian. It would be no joke. We can make a rough, rough, estimate of 1000 hours from beginner to Level 4, minimum. (This explained more later.)Elaine Shohamy has published a recent book on the the Power of language Tests to affect peoples lives. She correctly points out the potentially negative impact tests can have on the lives of test-takers. The kind of language testing with which those of us in academia are most familiar, college entrance exams TOEFL or IELTS. These tests impact on the lives of 18, 19 year old college applicants, or graduate students. Failure means missed opportunity to attend university or to receive graduate stipends. But, now rachet up the ante. Our target audience are 35, 45 year old men and women, professionals in the middle of their careers, with a very short time frame in which to learn or acquire a fairly high level of English proficiency. How far away from Level 4 are pilots and professionals today? Depends on where you look, but one survey in Latin America found that 70 80% of the controllers were at the ICAO level 1 or 2. How many hours of training will they need?Training need is enormous and important. Secondly, the impact on professional careers of pilots and controllers is counter-balanced by the high-stakes impact of passenger safety. I think by and large the flying public has been mostly unaware of language issues in aviation. Assumeed English is and has been official language of aviation for many years. Without measurable criteria, difficult to talk nail down lack. Now that the ICAO has implemented proficiency criteria, this area is likely to receive more attention. Airlines will have to demonstrate compliance by 2008.
Besides obvious safety impact, there also the impact on the perceived safety of flight by flying public.
Another high stakes issue is that language testing and training is relatively expensive, primarily bc of time factor. Pilots, controllers, airlines deserve best practice in language teaching and testing. //END//Contrary to what some programs would have you believe, there is no magic bullet for language learning. There is no substitution for time and effort. There is no substitution for time and effort.
However, there are good, sound teaching methods. Pilots and controllers are busy professionals. And they deserve the highest quality, most efficient methods that the field of professional language teaching can provide.
As you move to implement your language training programs, look to work with professionals with standardized, certifiable qualifications.
Teacher led is best. CALL or CBT only as support to real training. CALL or CBT unproven in language learning: research on teacher led. Little research on CALL: 30 minutes max= boring. Not interactive and ll all about interactions. Some assistance, but maybe not all. Children, no effect. What will the necessary aviation English language training look like? How long? How delivered? Where?
Categorically: language learning is not like flight training: cant predict total number of hours with any certainty. Way too many variables. However, if I have made that clear that NO ONE CAN PREDICT WITH ACCURACY HOW LONG, then let me share with you some numbers we do have so that we can make some reasonable guesses. Based on some research, and long experience. 200 hours is minimum for MEASURABLE IMPROVEMENT. That doesnt mean 200 hours to LEVEL 4. It means that less than 200 hours of language training produces no measurable improvement of language skills.
However, these numbers come from immersion (English speaking country) intensive (25 hrs week) academic programs. With reading, writing, and grammar study, in addition to speaking and listening. And they are in teacher-led programs. Additional info from Defence Language Institute in USA. LI: 100 hours level 1 to level 2. Level 2 is a low level 4 icao, roughly. Based on this scant research and long experience in language learning, we can generally estimate a minimum of 100 hours for a measurable progress, wbut with much variation according to learner starting point, motivation, teachng method used; in country or in an English speaking country. A broad (wild, really) estimate might be between 800 and 1,200 learner contact hours required from level 0/1 to level 4. Minimum of 6 months full time intensive immersion study for true beginner to reach level 4.
CBT for language learning is interesting but not proven and so far not very useful for real communicative language learning.
Teacher led is best. CALL or CBT only as support to real training. CALL or CBT unproven in language learning: research on teacher led. Little research on CALL: 30 minutes max= boring. Not interactive and ll all about interactions. Some assistance, but maybe not all. Children, no effect. In academia, a bottom-up approach to the development of infrastructure to support the STANDARD was applied, an organic approach. First students came to US and UK, universities hired teachers to help them with English, Slowly, materials were developed, eventually published, when the market became evident, teacher training programs were implemented, and tests were developed. At some point, a few certain tests became to be used as the Standard the gate keeping tests. Now, accrediting organizations (notably the Commission on English Accreditation in DC) and many teacher training organizations support the academic English market. To illustrate what I mean,
It is just that the stakes are so high in aviation training and testing that the need for efficient training and reliable, valid testing becomes ever so muc