Jennifer Roberts & Aliona Buresh

The Local-Global Problem: Making Skies Safer by Teaching Aviation English

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Jennifer Roberts, Aviation English Specialist, College of Aeronautics, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Jennifer Roberts is a faculty member in the College of Aeronautics at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Worldwide, serving as the Aviation English Specialist to develop and implement aviation English programs. Before coming to Embry-Riddle, she served as an English Language Fellow in Indonesia through the US Department of State where she focused on teacher training and program development, shortly after receiving her MA in Applied Linguistics and ESL from Georgia State University. Currently, Jennifer is focused on creating robust aviation English programs which can serve the diverse needs of aviation personnel, including both ab initio and recurrent training for pilots, air traffic controllers, and maintenance technicians. To inform such curricular decisions, she is looking at the level of English language proficiency necessary for training in particular settings, such as those beginning flight training, and on developing programs to train qualified ESL teachers in aviation English instruction.


Aliona Buresh, ESL Instructor, Embry-Riddle Language Institute

With an M.A. in Educational Leadership/TESOL, Aliona Buresh is a full-time ESL Instructor in Embry-Riddle Language Institute. She has been working with ERLI teaching different skills to various groups of students for five years. She enjoys developing curricula and helping her students to succeed. This year Aliona is working on developing a new course on Human Factors for international students. To accomplish that, she is working closely with professors in Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Aliona is multilingual. Besides speaking English, she speaks Italian and Russian.

The Local-Global Problem: Making Skies Safer by Teaching Aviation English

According to ICAO Doc. 9835, in aviation, communication was ranked as the number one issue to consider in all aspects of human interaction. Communication was reported to be the leading factor in several aviation accidents. Ability to send and receive information while piloting an airplane is of crucial importance. A simple miscommunication can lead to a global disaster. According to Griffin (2002), the number of international travelers per year augmented from 25 million in 1950 to 664 million in 1999. In addition, by 2020 this number will be 1.18 billion. Many international students come to the USA to pursue aviation careers. However, in order for them to be successful, it is not enough just to pass TOEFL/IELTS with a high score. According to ICAO Doc. 9835, future pilots need to be at least level 4 on the ICAO language proficiency scale. Based on research, our language team with a flight instructor has developed content-based lessons to teach students Aviation English. What the presenter observed is that teaching Aviation English also helps to develop students’ critical thinking skills which are so essential in American universities. Techniques to developing such content-based classes as well as needed resources will be shared with the audience.

The presentation will introduce and briefly review the basis for teaching Aviation English. The presenter will demonstrate and go over the materials and activities that were used for lessons on Aviation English. Work done by students will be shared in forms of pictures. The main objectives of the presentation are to demonstrate to the audience the importance of teaching Aviation English as well as to share certain ways to develop needed materials.