Editor’s note: In this piece, TIRF Trustee Michael Carrier (left) shares updates from his activities in May and June.

Last month, TIRF Board member Michael Carrier finally surfaced from several weeks of seclusion in a recording studio, where he produced a series of radio programs for the Foreign Office of the British government. These activities were fortunately not about Brexit but rather a series of short programs in English, with explanations and guidance in French. The materials are being designed to help young people in Francophone West Africa improve their listening comprehension skills.

One series of programs was about general English situations (especially for individuals in hospitality industry contexts). The other series was about workplace English, developed to help people prepare for working in an English-speaking office environment.

In addition to radio programs, the project also involved designing a series of lexically simplified newspaper articles for placement in the French language newspapers of West Africa. These articles, about local West African topics, were produced to help people improve their reading skills in English, to help them with their future education and employment opportunities.

Besides radio programming, in June, Michael Carrier was able to raise the TIRF flag high in a series of language educator conferences in central Europe.

Michael spoke at the International Certificate Conference in Berlin, Germany on intercultural awareness, and repeated that theme in Brno in the Czech Republic (or Czechia as it is now called).

In Brno, the topic was ”How to incorporate intercultural awareness training into the training of language educators.” In this multicultural era, it seems important that we should add this extra strand to the development of teacher competences. Teachers engage not only in teaching the mechanics of the language but the intercultural implications of communication in multilingual settings – especially in European workplaces.

Taking advantage of the fast trains in central Europe, Michael was able to speak in the Czech Republic in the morning, glide through the beautiful Moravian countryside eating lunch at 100 miles an hour, and two hours later give a talk on management strategy in language schools at a different conference in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. The ELTforum conference brings together people from a number of countries across central and eastern Europe. This year, it featured teacher training experts, Pilgrims, who are celebrating their 45th anniversary. The program brought together a number of distinguished speakers, such as Alan Maley and Mario Rinvolucri, to the region.