First ALAF Awardees from Mongolia at the University
28 July 2008
The University is hosting six senior English language teachers from Mongolia under the Australian Leadership Awards Fellowships (ALAF) program, funded by AusAID. The Fellowships aim to develop leadership and build partnerships and linkages with the Asia-Pacific.
It is hoped this first-ever visit from the University of Humanities in Ulaan Baatar will lead to further exchanges. The four-week intensive program is designed to build their capacity in English-language teaching as the Mongolian Government will establish English as an official language within the next decade.
"English is very important for our country," said Professor Manaljav Luvsanvandan, Head of the Centre for Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Humanities.
"English has become in our country the most important foreign language; for our young generation it is a tool for finding a good job, for study at home and abroad, and for the national exams."
Dr Ann Cheryl Armstrong, Director for Professional Learning, said the Faculty worked closely with the Fellows to develop "a focused program that catered to the specific needs of the Mongolian group".
"This included information on language learning and teaching methodologies as well as information on the emotional intelligence aspect of language."
The Mongolian academics spent their first week at LingFest 08, a series of six linguistics events held at the University.
"The conference was very much dedicated to linguistics and paid so much attention to other languages, particularly indigenous languages," said Professor Manaljav Luvsanvandan. "That was a striking thing for me as a linguist.
"I have enjoyed the attitude of Australia to other nations. I have found out that Australia is very multi-cultural and I am impressed very much."
The Mongolian academics have since completed a one-unit study, English for Specific Purposes, taught by Dr. Lindy Woodrow, and are now undergoing training in methodology and curriculum development with Dr Lesley Harbon, a senior lecturer in Languages other than English education within the Faculty of Education and Social Work.
Another Fellow, Oyuntsetseg Namjildorj, said: "The University of Sydney teachers are wonderful and are helping us very much. The training is very well organised and we are very satisfied. We have learnt many things."
"They are engaged and open to new ideas and new teaching methods. And it certainly enriches the ability of Sydney staff," said Dr Harbon.
"The Fellows are leaders in their departments and their faculties. We can see that already there is an interest in a continued dialogue after they go back. I would like to see us engage in a greater way in Mongolia like we already do in China."
Dr Armstrong agrees. "I am confident that our collaboration with the University of Humanities will continue. Both universities are keen to actively pursue further opportunities for training, education, and research projects. It has been a very interesting experience. It's not every day that we have Mongolian professionals visiting. In fact, this is the first Mongolian project supported under the ALAF - the University is delighted to be part of this program."
The Fellows return to Mongolia on 26 July.
Contact: Claudia Liu
Phone: 02 9351 3191