JSS  Vol.7 No.3 , March 2019
Thoughts about Foreign Language Teaching Planning Reform in Military Academies
ABSTRACT
In the process of transition from general foreign language teaching to military foreign language teaching, the main challenge facing the foreign language teaching reform in military academies is how to define and test the new foreign language teaching objectives scientifically. The paper points out that it is the key to solve the dilemma of foreign language teaching in military academies to grasp the special requirements of the application of military foreign language ability and integrate it systematically into the whole process of talent training. This study can provide a reference for the reform of foreign language teaching in military academies and provide some enlightenment for the reform of foreign language teaching reform in local colleges and universities.

1. Introduction

In recent years, with the increasing number of foreign-related military missions carried out by our army, new and higher requirements have been put forward for the foreign language ability of military personnel and foreign language teaching in military colleges and universities [1]. However, due to the long-term adoption of the general foreign language teaching mode in line with local universities, the foreign language teaching in military academies is generally lack of clear military application orientation in terms of teaching content, teaching methods and assessment standards. This kind of universal teaching mode is increasingly not adapted to the demand for special-purpose foreign languages (especially military foreign languages) in the expansion of military functions and missions in the new era, which results in the disconnection between the quality of personnel training and the actual needs of the military. It has become the consensus of the foreign language workers in the army to promote the transformation from foreign language teaching to military application. However, teaching reform is a systematic project, which cannot be accomplished simply by adjusting teaching objectives or changing teaching contents. From the perspective of practice, there are still some problems in foreign language teaching in military academies, such as the uptightness between teaching objectives and military demands, the unreality of training objectives supported by teaching contents, and the inaccuracy of assessment indicators in teaching effects. Based on the above considerations, this paper proposes a set of process methods to define, implement and test military foreign language teaching objectives by referring to the “competency-based planning” method of the us military, so as to provide references for the reform of foreign language teaching in military academies.

2. Challenges in Foreign Language Teaching in Military Academies

The purpose of military foreign language teaching reform is to train high-quality military personnel who are competent for foreign missions. Foreign language skills in military field has its own rules and characteristics, how to grasp this special requirement and integrate it into various links such as the setting, implementation and evaluation of personnel training objectives is the main challenge faced by foreign language educators in military academies.

2.1. How to Define the Teaching Objectives

The teaching objective is the foothold of curriculum design [2], which is the criterion of selecting educational experience, organizing teaching content and evaluating teaching results, and plays a leading role in all links of the whole educational activities. Serving military needs is the main goal of military foreign language teaching, but it is not easy to extract reasonable teaching objectives from military needs. At present, there has not been a large-scale survey on the demand for military foreign languages. Most colleges and universities only emphasize the importance of military application at a macroscopic level when making foreign language teaching plans, but they still lack an understanding of the essence of foreign language ability required by each post and task, which leads to the proposed foreign language teaching objectives being broad and not operable.

In addition, influenced by the general foreign language teaching tradition, foreign language educators always tend to define military needs with the original thinking mode and conceptual system, which makes some non-verbal ability elements fail to be well integrated into the teaching objectives. What is more challenging is that when setting teaching objectives, people usually tend to deduce the competency structure of military foreign language talents based on the relatively fixed post task requirements. Military in the field of foreign language requirements, however, there are often huge uncertainty, competitors, environment, conditions are in dynamic change, and its requirements and subject to change with the change of conditions also, which means that the army personnel is very difficult to use a foreign language in a state of ideal. If this uncertainty is not taken into account when defining goals, it will be difficult to effectively transfer the ability and accomplishment of students created by colleges and universities to real jobs.

2.2. How to Put the Teaching Objectives into Practices

The target of foreign language competence derived from military needs must be decomposed and transformed into sub-targets and sub-targets that can match specific teaching contents and methods. In other words, the ability target extracted from the realistic context can only be transformed into the teaching target in the educational context, and then it can be implemented into various teaching activities. On the one hand, it is because any kind of ability goal usually needs multiple teaching links as support; On the other hand, there are differences in the knowledge system and discourse system between the military and colleges. The former lays more emphasis on application while the latter lays more emphasis on academics. The difficulty in realizing this transformation lies in the fact that the foreign language teaching system of military academies, which used to be dominated by general foreign languages, has formed relatively mature teaching contents and teaching modes in the long-term development process. As a result, both instructional designers and faculty members are likely to “priorities” their teaching activities, making it easy to formalize and instrumentalize the overall objective of services to military needs [3], it’s difficult to implement effectively. Make things more complicated, for the past few years the domestic foreign language teaching is heavy to construct knowledge system of the teaching goal and light pour to [4], thinking ability, cross-cultural ability, humanities cultivated manners target is lack of scientific knowledge system as support, leading to a lot of talent cultivation purpose nominally, difficult to achieve.

2.3. How to Test the Teaching Objectives

According to Wheeler [5], the course design process is a circle. Teaching objectives are not only the starting point, but also the end point, and the starting point of the new design. To realize the closed loop of the whole teaching process, the examination standard is of great importance. If the assessment indicators do not match the teaching objectives, it is difficult to judge whether the end point of teaching objectives has been reached. In addition, examination has a baton role, and the deviation from the teaching objectives of the assessment standards will even lead the whole teaching process detour. Military foreign language competence is the ability to use foreign language to achieve work goals in a military context. Therefore, in a strict sense, the core elements of the assessment standard should also come from a comprehensive analysis of the situations in which foreign language proficiency is applied, instead of just based on the teaching content of the course itself. The assessment criteria should also be whether the job can be successfully completed, not just whether the knowledge has been taught. However, due to the influence of the traditional teaching mode, the current assessment methods used by most major military academies and schools are still focusing on general English test band 4 and band 6 or focus on academic English IELTS, TOEFL, its result is part of the initial target of talent training are built on stilts, appraisal result is difficult to truly reflect the students’ position task competence. How to extract reasonable evaluation elements from post task requirements and effectively transform them into training and assessment indicators of military academies based on the principle of “being able to do things” is an urgent problem to be solved.

In a word, language learning without context is mechanically isolated. If we only consider the issue of military foreign language competence from the perspective of language itself, it is easy to overlook some key factors. Therefore, how to organically integrate the military requirements in the post tasks into various links such as the setting, implementation and evaluation of teaching objectives, so as to ensure that the overall goal of serving the military is not out of shape or disappointed, is the key and difficult point to be solved urgently in foreign language teaching of military academies. Before you begin to format your paper, first write and save the content as a separate text file. Keep your text and graphic files separate until after the text has been formatted and styled. Do not use hard tabs, and limit use of hard returns to only one return at the end of a paragraph. Do not add any kind of pagination anywhere in the paper. Do not number text heads―the template will do that for you.

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3. Thoughts to Solve the Dilemma of Foreign Language Teaching in Military Academies

One of the important reasons for the above problems is that there are big differences between the knowledge and skills taught by colleges and universities and the abilities required by military posts and tasks. McCauley [6] believed that, different from the institutional education environment, there are more uncertain factors in the actual military mission environment. The uncertainty is mainly reflected in two aspects: one is the uncertainty of the environment, that is, the factors that may affect the completion of the task are difficult to determine; Another is the uncertainty of the task, that is, the existence of multiple solutions to a problem. Taking the degree of certainty of these two aspects as the ordinate, McCauley divided four quadrants and mapped different competency types respectively.

“Capabilities based Planning” is a top-level framework and process method for weapon equipment Planning demonstration proposed by the U.S. department of Defense in the Quadrennial Defense Review Report in 2001. Unlike the traditional “threat-based planning” model, “competency-based planning” emphasizes the uncertainty of threats and believes that under the condition of optimal input-output ratio, the development of adaptability to uncertain factors or conditions is the key to the demonstration of planning [7]. The reason for this idea is that after the end of the cold war, the challenges faced by the United States have changed significantly, and new threats such as terrorism and regional conflicts are more unpredictable.

From the perspective of “competency-based planning”, “competence” is a composite concept that includes objectives, standards, conditions, methods, tasks and other elements. The US department of defense defines it as “the ability to accomplish a series of tasks through a series of ways and means under certain standards and conditions, so as to achieve the desired results”. And “competency-based planning” is a process of gradually determining the above capability elements in accordance with the standardized process. This process mainly includes the following links: assuming possible action scenarios according to the mission and tasks, defining clear capacity development goals based on the scenarios, looking for the gap between current and expected capabilities, proposing targeted capacity solutions, and selecting the best feasible planning schemes based on the input-output ratio. In the above links, defining capacity development goals is the key to “capacity-based planning”.

Although “capacity-based planning” is mainly used by the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and other countries’ militaries, the concept and method of this framework also have important reference value for the design of teaching plans in the field of education. First of all, as mentioned above, how to make foreign language teaching objectives effectively meet the task requirements of diversified posts is the difficulty of the reform of military foreign language teaching. While “capacity-based planning” exactly proposes a set of standardized process for determining capacity development goals in uncertain factors, which can provide solutions to this difficulty. Secondly, “competency-based planning” does not view capability objectives in isolation, but integrates the definition of capability objectives with the conditions and methods for capacity development and the standard system for capacity testing, so that the proposed scheme is more conducive to the implementation and testing of training objectives. Moreover, “competency-based planning” is a decision-making method, which emphasizes the selection of the best capability development plan based on the principle of “minimum investment and maximum benefit”, which is more in line with the demands of education managers.

Although “capacity-based planning” is mainly used by Canada, the UK, Australia and other countries’ militaries, the concept and method of this framework also have important reference value for the design of teaching plans in the field of education. First of all, as mentioned above, how to make foreign language teaching objectives effectively meet the task requirements of diversified posts is the difficulty of the reform of military foreign language teaching. While “capacity-based planning” exactly proposes a set of standardized process for determining capacity development goals in uncertain factors, which can provide solutions to this difficulty. Secondly, “competency-based planning” does not view capability objectives in isolation, but integrates the definition of capability objectives with the conditions and methods for capacity development and the standard system for capacity testing, so that the proposed scheme is more conducive to the implementation and testing of training objectives. Moreover, “competency-based planning” is a decision-making method, which emphasizes the selection of the best capability development plan based on the principle of “minimum investment and maximum benefit”, which is more in line with the demands of education managers.

4. Put the Goals of Talents Training into Practice

To implement the realistic demand target in the teaching link, it must be divided into the solution first. It is important to be careful that there is a risk of losing key information in the process of breaking down the target. This is because even if it is a simple and clear ability target, there is a lot of unpredictability in the context of practice. This unpredictability mainly comes from the uncertainty of context and task requirements. For example, “the ability to establish and maintain a good relationship with a task partner” may define the task situation in the following dimensions (see Table 1).

Through Table 1 you can find out: In order to achieve the goal, the students need to have the ability to apply knowledge skills to solve real problems in certain conditions. For example, communicate with colleagues with different temperament. To manage to express our wishes in the context of a difficult contact mechanism; In the case of potential conflicts, negotiate with the other party. Just as Spady [8] points out that reality is often needed for a comprehensive ability, a single language skill is rarely seen in a single way, often “listening―writing and combining” “reading and translation.” In extremely complex situations, it may even be affected by multiple factors. For example, in the case of a difficult contact mechanism, the other person with a difference in culture establishes a communication mechanism. In reality, the idealized state of language application is not present, and its real state often has a lot of variables. Based on the above analysis, the teaching scheme has a certain direction and reference. For example, cultural differences may affect the establishment of relationships, so they can teach cross-cultural communication in curriculum Settings. In some

Table 1. The main influence factors of the “partnership with the task partner” and the relationship of the task force.

cases, it is not very ideal to make a good relationship, but if you want to achieve a smooth cooperation, you can increase the number of communications in the noise environment by listening to the practice. The teaching method is diversified, the course is not the only option, there is also the project design, the after-school activities and other kinds of teaching form. For example, “opening a book intelligence retrieval course” can be used as a means of teaching for the task of a new task in a rare area of time, but the goal can also be implemented in the form of online courses or after-school projects. But no matter what teaching means, we must serve the overall ability development goal.

The process should be based on the goal of talent training, and the way to think is to “develop a target that needs to be learned, rather than” what ability to do in a certain course. This is consistent with result-oriented teaching and output orientation. Of course, not all problems can be solved by foreign language teaching. For example, solving the problem of “communication mechanism” is likely to require knowledge in areas such as management and computer science. This is also the advantage of “based planning”, which helps teach planners to find and locate potential ability to see and locate them more accurately.

5. Assess Talent Training Goals

The evaluation of teaching effect should also be based on the analysis of the situation dimension of the task and the practical experience of military experts. The emphasis on the assessment should be to be able to accomplish a task in a certain situation, not just a degree of mastery of certain language skills. In this paper, the author can analyze the sub-tasks and points of the tasks required by the “realization goal”, and combine the contextual elements that affect the task, and define the evaluation indexes accurately. For example, the target of “influence against the enemy” can be broken down to “identify opponent attitude” and “develop psychological warfare products”. The factors that affect the process of this series may include the “time of completion of the task”, etc. The following measures can be formulated in comprehensive analysis: 1) how many cultural groups are familiar with the psychological characteristics; 2) how long it will be possible to identify an opponent’s attitude; 3) how long will it be possible to make a psychological speech leaflets?

Of course, this approach must be a set of evaluation indicators that match the talent training goals, and must be applied to the application. In contrast, the traditional single test results are difficult to accurately define the ability of the person who is responsible for the job.

6. Summary

The biggest difficulty in the programming of foreign language teaching is to develop the goal of foreign language ability, and to reflect the overall pull of the talent culture in the design, implementation and evaluation of the teaching. In order to make the various parts of the teaching program the implementation and the fall, the systematic thinking mode must be taken systematically, and the connotation and extension of “ability” are comprehensively considered. The U.S. military “based planning” framework provides new ideas and countermeasures for solving these problems in the education area. The framework expands the definition of foreign language ability and integrates the elements, methods, standards, tasks, and other elements into the entire planning process, making it an organic whole body. By reference to this method, we can provide creative solutions for a series of common problems such as “target and process disconnect” and “method of evaluation mismatch” in education.

It is worth noting that the “based planning” is a complex process involving many departments and links, which is based on the example of the application value of this method in the field of military foreign language education. The US military has also encountered some difficulties in the process of implementing the framework. How to get deeper into this framework and absorb the reasonable ingredients of it will be further studied in the future.

Cite this paper
Li, M. , Li, G. , Qi, X. and Wang, N. (2019) Thoughts about Foreign Language Teaching Planning Reform in Military Academies. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 7, 491-498. doi: 10.4236/jss.2019.73040.
References
[1]   Wen, Q.F. (2012) The Challenges and Countermeasures of College English: Curriculum Theory. Foreign Language Teaching and Research, No. 2, 283-292. [In Chinese]

[2]   Tyler, R.W. (1949) Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

[3]   Stenhouse, L. (1975) An Introduction to Curriculum Research and Development. Heinemann, Lon-don.

[4]   Fu, Y.S. and Peng, T.Y. The Thinking of the Building of National Defense Language in the New Situation. Journal of Yun Nan Normal University (Philosophy and Society). [In Chinese]

[5]   Wheeler, D.K. (1974) Curriculum Process. University of London Press, London.

[6]   McCauley, D.H. (2014) A Competence-Based Approach to Joint Professional Military Education (JPME): Educating the Joint Force for 2020 and Beyond. Canadian Military Journal, 15, 53-58.

[7]   Caudle, S.L. (2005) Homeland Security Capabilities-Based Planning: Lessons from the Defense Community. Home-Land Security Affairs, 1, 1-21.

[8]   Spady, W.G. (1994) Outcome-Based Education: Critical Issues and Answers. American Association of School Administrators, Arlington.

 
 
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