Tyler Heath

Tyler Heath, ESL Instructor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Language Institute

Tyler Heath teaches English for Academic Purposes and Aviation English to ESL students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida. He has collaborated with teams from different departments of the university to create curricula and materials for Aviation English courses for international students. Tyler holds an MA in Applied Linguistics-ESL from Georgia State University.


Adapting Safety Management Systems Literature for a Non-Native English Speaking Audience

Although ICAO 9835 provides significant guidance for oral proficiency standards amongst aviators, it currently offers no reading proficiency requirement for aviation personnel. However, some critical areas of the aviation industry require employees to negotiate standard textual information as a significant part of their work. Since virtually all of this text is written for an audience of native English speakers, it may be difficult for a NNES – such as an aviation maintenance technician, international pilot, or safety management systems manager – to easily understand the materials. Were these difficult texts to be misunderstood and/or abandoned by such employees, there would be an opening for a gap in safety, performance, or efficiency.

Due to its lexical complexity and intended audience, most literature detailing the fundamentals of safety management systems is functionally inaccessible to a growing population of NNESs who require it. My presentation will review strategies for adapting safety management texts for a NNES audience, as well as show potential tasks that students or readers can use to assess their understanding of them. In addition to a presentation reviewing the process, by which those strategies and tasks were undertaken, attendees will have an opportunity to examine a booklet on safety management systems that I have been developing for a NNES audience.

This presentation will shed light on the difficulties presented within complex aviation texts and provide strategies to approach those problems.