IATEFL associate members are groups who are affiliated to the organisation and agree to act as ambassadors. In return, they get certain benefits, including one free place at the IATEFL conference – on condition that the delegate attends the Associates’ Day. This year I was lucky enough to be the ELTAU representative.
It was my first time at an IATEFL (International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language) conference and the first time I really began to understand what the Associates’ community looks like.
It soon became apparent that Germany is somewhat of an anomaly: most other attendees seemed to be representing a country group. A few examples:
- English Teachers’ Association of Bangladesh
- Croatian Association of Teachers of English
- Nile TESOL Egypt
- IATEFL Hungary
- Association of English Teachers in Iceland
- the Japan Association for Language Teaching
- TEFL Kuwait
- IATEFL Peru
Another factor that seemed to set us apart from the majority of the other attendees was that their Associations work primarily with school teachers. Moreover, many have co-operations with government ministries or receive grants from state bodies. German regional ELTAs on the other hand are mostly self-funding and have a large proportion of self-employed members, I would say.
We were led through the day by Jean Theuma, the Associate Representative on the IATEFL board. The programme had several elements:
- Get-to-know-you activities in small groups
- Brainstorming and collating answers to a set of questions about the needs of more and less experienced teachers and how our organisations can attract, retain and nurture them
- A poster presentation from three of the Associations in attendance
- Spoken presentations from some of the Associations. They introduced
themselves and particular aspects of their work or highlights from the year
- News from the IATEFL board and a look ahead to changes afoot
The spoken presentations highlighted the variety of contexts, scale and creative ideas that the different Associations embody. It was quite amazing to hear about activities from national conferences, to summer camps focussed on Irish culture, to a members’ hall of fame, to round tables and peer-reviewed writing.
Some IATEFL News
At the end of the day, Jean gave a presentation to fill us in on the current activities of the organisation.
- has 40 associate members
- intends to collaborate more closely with the British Council over the
- plans to offer more opportunities to Associates for funding and networking
and would like to encourage more activity from Associate Members in the IATEFL Voices newsletter
She also informed us of something which affects Associate organisations directly:
IATEFL has revised its guidelines on branding, and will no longer allow local associations to include the acronym ‘IATEFL’ in their title. She outlined the reasons and assured everyone that there was a two-year transition phase and support from IATEFL would be available. For some associations, however, the news came as somewhat of a bombshell as it will require them to change their names.
I am so pleased that I had the opportunity to participate in this day, and indeed the whole conference. As it was still relatively small compared to previous years, I bumped into several of the Associate members over the course of the next four days and they felt like familiar faces. One contact made at the Associates’ Day has led to a workshop in collaboration with ELTA Rhine in the autumn.
Personal contact really is worth a great deal!
Rachel is events co-ordinator and vice chair of ELTAU (Ulm/ Neu-Ulm) and is loving all the opportunities provided by online working. Including taking part in workshops in the midst of a bike tour.
You can find her on LinkedIn.