Top DLIFLC instructor is TRADOC NCO Instructor of the Year

Top DLIFLC instructor is TRADOC NCO Instructor of the Year

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – Staff Sgt. Alex Rababah, the Military Language Instructor of the Year for 2017 at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, Presidio of Monterey, won the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command annual Instructor of the Year competition in the non-commissioned officer category for 2017. “It was an honor to win this competition knowing the caliber of those who enter this contest,” said Rababah “I competed against NCOs from all 37 TRADOC schools, mostly Advanced Individual Training instructors, but all of whom were extremely competent.” TRADOC applied a very comprehensive selection methodology to identify and select the most highly qualified nominees. The final winners would be chosen by a virtual selection panel, but Rababah faced one problem that other TRADOC schools would not. His teaching video in his Arabic class would have to be transcribed for the judges. Fortunately, a viable solution was found. Rababah was able to submit video of himself teaching the Army’s foundation instructor/facilitator course to the Army National Guard in San Luis Obispo, California, but it would also mean he would be teaching Soldiers whom he just met for the first time. Needless to say, Rababah was nervous. “After the 45-minute mark we took a break and I got a lot of positive feedback from the students,” said Rababah. “After it was over I felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.” Rababah was grateful for the Guardsmen’s encouragement, which reminded him of what he tells his own students. “I tell them every single day not to be afraid. From my own experience...
For the joy of teaching, instructor reflects on 50+ years

For the joy of teaching, instructor reflects on 50+ years

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – In 1961 the world was different than it is today. John F. Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States, Alan Shepard became the first American in space, and the first U.S. helicopters arrived in Saigon, South Vietnam, along with 400 personnel. And, at San Francisco State University, a young Siham Munir just finished his master’s degree in international relations and would soon begin a more than 50-year teaching career that is still going strong today. Munir, who is originally from Iraq, was concerned about his student visa status in the U.S. after graduation. A revolution in 1958 overthrew the monarchy in Iraq and Munir had “decided it’s not worth going back.” Then, while attending a party in San Francisco, he met another Iraqi who turned out to be a department chairperson from the Army Language School at the Presidio of Monterey. “He told me they need instructors to teach Arabic and that I should apply,” said Munir. “I never heard of it before, this Army Language School. I told him about my status and he said just apply and we will handle the rest.” Munir applied and soon began teaching Arabic to service members at the Presidio where he discovered the joys of teaching. The curriculum was to teach the Iraqi dialect in the morning and Modern Standard Arabic in the afternoon. “Teaching is not a difficult thing if you learn how to reach a student,” said Munir, who immediately found himself feeling right at home in his new profession. When Munir began teaching there were only...
Instructor wins Teacher of the Year by tailoring instruction

Instructor wins Teacher of the Year by tailoring instruction

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – Seung Baek, a team leader in the Korean School, is the Teacher of the Year for 2017 at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center. “To me this was a big surprise,” said Baek, who had forgotten that he was nominated after being named Teacher of the Quarter for the first quarter of 2017 at the Asian School II, which is the Korean School. “Then a few weeks ago the chairperson came to my class and said lets go,” said Baek. He was then taken to Dr. Hiam Kanbar, the associate provost of undergraduate education, who told him of his achievement and congratulated him. Baek was recognized for exceeding excellence based upon several criteria, but most notably for his creation of several authentic listening comprehension materials. Baek noticed that his Foreign Area Officer students began to have more difficulty in listening from the beginning of the second semester, and two students approached him for additional instruction on processing listening comprehension materials. Within 48 hours after the request, Baek designed several listening comprehension modules using resources that were readily available such as YouTube, Korean documentaries from South Korea’s Defense Media Agency, TV news articles, e-books, the Quizlet app, and subtitled all of the materials using video editing software. “This really demonstrates his passion for teaching and we are so happy that we have him with our school,” said Dr. Marina Cobb, dean of Asian School II. Baek said his passion for teaching comes from seeing students reach the “ah-ha moment.” “I get a lot of joy from this whenever I...
Middle East School II hosts Third Annual Student Day

Middle East School II hosts Third Annual Student Day

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – The Middle East School II at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center at the Presidio of Monterey held its Third Annual Student Day March 28. Student Day consisted of live performances and presentations of winning essays and videos by students who participated in the contests, with the overall winners being presented awards by the DLIFLC commandant, Col. Phil Deppert. Seaman George Bailey, who was the winner of the essay contest, read his essay about his given name and the Arabic name he received in class. “I love both my names – Arabic and English – George Bailey and Bilal,” said Bailey, explaining that both held historical significance. Bailey received his name from his paternal ancestor who fought in the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg, leading a battalion of black Soldiers. Similarly, Bilal ibn Rabah was freed from slavery and rose to a position of prominence in 632 AD. Both men were liberators, according to Bailey. “I love all the meanings they carry and I love being loyal to their causes,” said Bailey. Nadir Raffo, the school faculty president, said that instructors from all departments were committed to the students who were interested in participating in the live performances, essay writing or video contests. “They spent numerous hours in addition to their regular teaching hours and they put forth a great effort to accomplish the planned objective,” said Raffo. DLIFLC provides resident instruction in 17 languages at the Presidio of Monterey, California, with the capacity to instruct another 65 languages in Washington, D.C. The Institute has graduated more than...
Brown round comes back around at Presidio of Monterey

Brown round comes back around at Presidio of Monterey

By Brian Lepley Presidio of Monterey Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – A traditional symbol returns to Army training companies after 11 years away. The 229th Military Intelligence Battalion, along with all Advanced Individual Training units, has its first drill sergeants since 2007. Four NCOs graduated a two-week U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy conversion class Feb. 23 at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. By August, drill sergeants will be in charge of all Phase IV and V Soldiers at the Presidio of Monterey. Sgt. 1st Class Guy Smith and Staff Sgt. Neika Thompson of Company C, Staff Sgt. Carter McSwain of Co. F and Headquarters Company’s Staff Sgt. Huiying Liu are now on duty with the distinctive brown cover. They realize that managing platoons Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center students requires a different touch than AIT drill sergeants at Forts Benning or Sill. “DLI is a very high-stress environment. We’re here to mentor these Soldiers, care for these Soldiers, keep them within standards, and prepare them to join their next units,” Smith said. “We see a lot of older students here that have significant life experiences, a wide range of different age groups, so it’s a unique training environment.” The Army decided to replace drill sergeants in 2007 with AIT platoon sergeants. They were to act as mentors to trainees, preparing them for first unit of assignment and acclimating them to the operational Army environment. Based on reports from line units of discipline standards and attrition in the last few years, the Army reversed course. All current 229th platoon sergeants will become drill sergeants, a strategy Co. B 1st Sgt....
French War College language department heads visit DLIFLC

French War College language department heads visit DLIFLC

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – Jerome Collin, the dean of the French department at the Ecole de Guerre, Paris, or French War College, and Emilie Cleret, the dean of the English department, visited the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center March 20-22. The French War College is a highly prestigious graduate school for officers within the French Armed Forces and is similar to the U.S. Army War College and those of other services. Training also includes language education in French and English. “It was an absolute pleasure to host faculty members of the French War College. We have been collaborating with their College for about three years now, as a result of meeting them at the annual Bureau of International Language Coordination summits which we participate in,” said Associate Provost of Academic Support, Detlev Kesten. Collin observed French classes being taught at DLIFLC and met with students and faculty, while Cleret attended the DLIFLC Advanced Language Academy. She also presented at the academy on the subject of transformative pedagogy for learners at higher levels March 22. Transformative pedagogy was previously presented by former DLIFLC Provost, Dr. Betty-Lou Leaver, at the BILC conference in Riga, Latvia, May 2016. Students who attend the War College are usually at the mid-point of their career and selected by a competitive admission exam. Once they complete their course work, they usually go on to high level appointments within the French military. Two thirds of the students are French learning English, while the rest are foreign officers learning French. DLIFLC provides resident instruction in 17 languages at the Presidio of...
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