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Category Archives: Aviation English

Aviation English Course: My TBLT Lesson Idea

One of the most exciting stages of designing a TBLT course is materials design. This TBLT lesson idea (I created on the TBLT course in 2019) is included in my Aviation English course materials (Module 3: Air Traffic Control).

Teacher’s notes + materials

Domain: Pilot/Controller communications

Learner need: vocational

Sector and/or profession: Airline Pilots / Air Traffic Controllers

Target task-type: Handle abnormal conditions in flight

Target task: Dealing with problems in flight and suggesting actions

Materials: YouTube video clip(s) of Live ATC communications – VASAviation; tapescript from clip(s) and handout with specific lines for micro-listening practice

Duration: 4 classroom hours (classroom hour = 45 minutes)


1.Learners watch YouTube video clip to tune into accents and get global understanding:

REAL ATC] Emirates B777 with EMERGENCY FUEL at Vancouver!

 (Learners read video transcript while listening)

2. Identifying the difference between standard phraseology and plain language. Learners read examples and decide in pairs which sentences are standard ATC phraseology and which are Plain English, then they write them under two headings: ATC phraseology // Plain English

3. Learners discuss the questions in small groups

4. Learners read two short texts: ICAO instructions on ATC Phraseology and Plain English use and they do True / False exercise

5. Short focus on contracted forms and connected speech patterns (e.g.  if you’d like; We’ll go to Vancouver; It’s about ten fifteen miles closer; … and understand you’re minimum fuel, I just wanna be clear here I can offer you…)

6. Micro-listening exercise with specific chunks to test recognition of function words and standard ATC phrases, plus some key vocabulary (synonyms are highlighted in the script)

7. Discussion on intelligibility & clear speech: Ls discuss the importance of effective aviation communication (ICAO guidelines and techniques for radio transmission)

8. Exit task:

Role play 1 & 2: simulation of ATC communications (reporting problems/incidents and suggesting actions)

[Learners are scored pass/fail according to whether they can perform the target task correctly]

Write an essay (around 250 words)

[Learners are scored pass/fail according to ICAO RATING SCALE, LEVEL 4: OPERATIONAL]


The lesson is based on Long’s version of task-based language teaching (TBLT). Target task is determined by needs analysis for a group of pilots and air traffic controllers (CEFR B2 level). In analyzing the discourse of ATC communications, this ATC live recording was chosen as representative. Beyond relevance, the materials aim to provide interesting tasks presenting sufficient intellectual challenge and the greatest possible approximation to real-world language use. Exit tasks are based on criterion referenced performance tests.

Focus on Form

Some difficulties that are likely to arise while students do the tasks include:

  • Difficulty understanding accent/connected speech and other pronunciation issues in performing the task
  • Possible communicative breakdowns in negotiating a solution
  • Focus on pronunciation issues: homonyms (no / know; to / too / two; for / four; here / hear; wait / weight; root / route; brake / break; dew / due; crews / cruise, aloud / allowed)
  • Focus on other language issues that can cause misunderstanding or miscommunication (ambiguity, synonyms, various accents, use of modal verbs, etc.)
  • Possible problems with teaching Aviation English as lingua franca (accommodation strategies, rephrasing, clarification, and so on)

Authentic materials in EFL classroom

Using authentic materials in EFL classes will engage students and keep them exploring and playing with English in a way that will help them use it in real life situations.

In this post I described two aviation English lessons I designed for upper-intermediate level students a few years ago. I used the authentic materials from the Internet.

This post was also part of an assignment I completed for a Serbian online seminar about developing information and media literacy in our schools.

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Learn English with Dreamreader


I learned a few days ago about, a very useful website for English language learners. The site was created by two EFL teachers who live and work in Japan, Neil Millington and Brad Smith. Several years ago they decided to create a site dedicated to offering students and teachers a free way to practice their English reading skills. I was curious about how the website came to be developed and read the post “The story behind the site.” where the teachers share their motivations for starting the site.

The site is a really great resource for EFL/ESL learners with a nice selection of activities/materials on a wide variety of topics. Not only does it offer academic English reading practice but it also features fun and easier content. There are five categories on the site: Easy English, Interesting English, Fun English, Practical English and Academic English. Most of the lessons across the sections have additional downloads such as worksheets (pdf) and audio for teachers/students to use. The website is very neat, easy to use, and it is updated regularly with new content.

You can learn more about the site by reading Michael Griffin’s latest interview on his wonderful blog where he spoke to Neil Millington, whom he met at a conference in Cambodia this year.

I also enjoyed reading the great post Dream Reader by Hana Ticha where she described her lesson and some lovely ideas she tried out with her students, and demonstrated how teachers can exploit the articles from the blog Dreamreader in a very effective way.

If you want to improve your English, go to , explore the site and enjoy learning English on your own.

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Good pronunciation in pilot/controller communications is vital to safety

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English Use in Aviation Communication

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ICAO Phonetics and Numbers

file2281270839769 Read the rest of this entry

Air Traffic Control Phraseology (Airspeak)


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Creative Writing

ImageThis activity was inspired by a great post by Jo Cummins Creative Writing Prompts 


Aviation English

Level: B1, B2

Write a short story of about 200-250 words.

1. You have 30 seconds to list items you can find at an airport. Write the story that includes all the words in the list but don’t set your story at or near an airport.

2. Use the following words in a short story: aeroplane, jazz festival, musician, baggage limits, saxophone, weapon, hold, fragile.

3. Amy Angler, 37, from Los Angeles, California, likes to always feel in control. She is strong-willed, determined and perfectionist. Put Amy at an airport where her plane is announced cancelled. She is on her way to the most important meeting in her career. What does she do?

4. Juliet Moore and Jason Tidwell meet on an aeroplane after his break up. One of them has a fear of flights.

5. The story starts when your protagonist says the wrong thing while going through airport security. Another character is a ski instructor who has stolen a photograph that belongs to your protagonist.

6. The story starts when your protagonist finds an old book on a friend’s shelf. Another character is a scientist who invents strange planes.

7. The story starts when your protagonist goes on round the world trip. Another character is a pilot who has a gift for poetry.

You could stick the stories up around the walls and the students could read them and vote on which was the most interesting, the funniest, the strangest, etc.