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April 2022 - Year 24 - Issue 2

ISSN 1755-9715

Together We Stand: Collaboration Within And Across Teachers’ Associations

Beatrix Price works as a teacher and a teacher trainer at the Language Pedagogy Department at the School of English and American Studies, ELTE, Budapest. As a teacher trainer, she gives talks, workshops and courses internationally. Her interests include holistic education, using art in foreign language teaching, child and teacher development and teacher wellbeing. She is a former president of IATEFL-Hungary. Her PhD focuses on EFL teachers’ continuing professional development supported by teachers’ associations. Email: 


Teachers alone?

It is often claimed that teaching is a lonely profession. In this article, I would like to argue for the exact opposite: a teacher is never alone. In the classroom the teacher is with their learners, in the staff room with their colleagues, and at home while writing lesson plans, obviously with the learners in mind. The same happens when the teacher is on holiday, collecting artefacts in order to use them as realias, when returning to the learners in the school setting. The teacher’s thoughts are always around their learners or colleagues, either as motivating factors or threats, but always present. However, there is some truth in being alone, too. Most of the time teachers work alone, prepare alone, reflect on their own and worry about things that they shouldn’t worry about on their own. Then revelation comes. By pure chance they discover that others are struggling, if not with exactly the same problems, but surely with something teaching related. Then discussion starts, and in more fortunate cases real professional discourse ensues, out of which comes awareness about one’s strengths in teaching, which is the key to teacher growth and development (Wong, 2011). Those lucky ones who belong to formal or informal professional organisations can get remedy for their questions either instantly or continuously. Professional online groups, such as Facebook groups, WhatsApp groups or other platforms, provide a plethora of creative activities, ready-made presentations, quizzes, books or film recommendations. Before the internet revolution, English Language teachers’ associations (henceforth ELTAs) provided the latest ideas and resources for practicing teachers, teacher trainers, materials writers and other stakeholders in the field of English Language Teaching (ELT). Today not only the internet revolution poses new challenges and questions for all ELT professionals but English as a global lingua franca, globalisation, commercialisation,  teacher precarity, diversity and ethical issues all set trials. Teachers can access online resources, join online communities and attend webinars free, thus paid continuing professional development (hence CPD) events and ELT conference attendance are decreasing. Therefore, as opposed to ELTAs’ original aim of providing CPD to members, recently the emphasis in ELTAs has shifted more towards providing a community where best practices, new theories and methods and above all, mutual support can be found. Apart from the tangible benefits that ELTAs offer, personal and professional growth is just as important, as intangible benefits, the sense of belonging to these professional organisations (Falcao & Szesztay, 2006). This can be seen in IATEFL’s statement on mission, goals and practices: “Linking, developing and supporting ELT professionals worldwide”.

Allwright (1991) is one of the early authors who considers ELTAs as important venues for teachers’ professional development. He emphasises the connection between professional development and the role of ELTAs and the positive effect on working on a horizontal level within interest-based groupings, rather than in top-down structure formal teacher training contexts, thus empowering their own resources, where teacher development happens from within. He refers to research carried out in Bangalore, India, where collaboration produced the participants’ research agendas as an outcome of collective work. He recapitulates the general consensus on teachers as researchers, or reflective practitioners, engaged in action research, in which the investigation is carried out by the teacher without the help of an external researcher.

How then do ELTAs provide support, on a local, a regional and on a global scale? An extensive body of research on teacher development has been generated within ELT recently, and yet teacher development in ELTAs, collaborative teacher development and collaboration within and across ELTAs have not been widely investigated. In order to fill this gap, in this paper I intend to familiarise readers with some forms of collaborative avenues and projects within and among ELTAs, partly as a description of good practice, partly as inspiration for further professional growth. I aim to provide an historical overview of ELTA research and describe some collaborative projects among ELTAs, identifying the purpose of their partnership, the types and forms of collaboration, and finally the tangible or potential benefits of mutual engagement. With this in mind, the primary readership of the current article is all those ELT professionals, teachers, teacher trainers, material writers, researchers and so on, who have or potentially have any connection to ELTAs and can have a direct impact on education. At the same time, the paper can serve as encouragement for potential ELTA members and leaders as well, to find teams where they can work together in professional networks.


Collaboration in ELT and ELTAs

What kinds of collaboration can we find in the discipline of ELT? Collaboration has many different forms in everyday practice among students, teachers in internal contexts of their institutions and other external contexts. Barfield (2016, p. 222) offers the classification of collaboration within the field of education: a) teacher collaboration (peer teaching/team teaching); b) collaborative learning (among learners); c) collaborative teacher development; d) collaborative research; or e) collaborative curriculum development. All these forms can naturally take different forms and formations, online or in-person, formal or informal, institutionalised or grass-root. The more informal types include professional dialogues or discussions of case studies, observing colleagues, team teaching, mentoring, exchanging resources, social gatherings or cultural events. Social learning is conceptualised with individual and collective growth (Vygotsky, 1978), mostly in collaborative work, where teaching and learning take place at the same time, in the form of sharing and growing. Formalized collaboration can be organised within institutions or grass-root initiatives in smaller units of ELTAs; such as book clubs, film clubs (Herrero, 2016), reading groups or research groups, professional development collaboration between self-help groups (Padwad & Dixit, 2015) or conducting action research (Burns, 1999). Atay (2008) evokes the benefits of teacher research, to develop teachers’ critical thinking, collaboration and pedagogical efficiency. She conceptualises collaborative action research which “aims at discovering, developing, or monitoring changes in classroom practice through interrogating one’s own and others’ practices and assumptions” (2008, pp. 139-140). Collaborative teacher learning among teachers can take form and place in various settings, from institutional context to ELTA conferences with more formal requirements, to free, voluntary participation. The results of these types of inquiries are often presented at national or international conferences but continuing professional development events organised by ELTAs also provide cooperative learning. In the course of the sporadic literature on ELTAs some ELT professionals provide evidence how teacher-initiated groups and communities enhance teaching and learning in collaborative professional organisations (Abebe, 2012; Barfield, 2014; Debacco, 2007; Gnawali, 2013). The same idea is emphasised by Selvi et al. (2018, p. 226): “in the field of education in which collaborative dialogue and support are regarded a sine qua non in the lifelong journey of being, becoming and preparing teachers for diverse teaching settings”. In a similar manner, Medgyes and Malderez (1996; as cited in Barfield, 2016) claim that educational change can be achieved with teachers' professional development through collaboration. Collaboration thus, be it in formal institutional settings or in grass-root organisations, takes place where teachers have the possibility to collaborate and interact with each other, where they can improve their knowledge, skills and abilities together. Barfield (2016) points out that collaboration is preferred when it arises out of participants’ own will and is acted out in a safe environment. This supportive setting is often the vessel for personal and professional growth in various professional groups in ELTAs, where teachers can feel secure to share both their concerns and their successes, hence appreciate collaborative learning.

Collaboration among individuals in professional development activities is omnipresent on all levels within ELTAs. Yet working together for smooth operation in smaller units of the organisation is fundamental, for instance in Special Interest Groups (SIGs), in Regional branches (BRs) in IATEFL, Interest Sections (ISs) or in caucuses in the case of TESOL, at regular CPD events or among any of these networks on a larger scale, among affiliates and associates. When running an organisation, it is crucial to collaborate within the executive board, the conference organising committee, in and among the SIGs and the Regional branches, with their coordinators or leaders and all the volunteers involved. Given the voluntary nature of ELTAs, all work is done in collaboration with others. Sometimes work is stressful, daunting and challenging. Everyone involved needs to take on responsibility but serve others, initiate but be ready to compromise, be assertive yet humble, teach others but learn from each other at the same time, utilise strengths and work on weaknesses, address threats, accept difficulties and try to turn them into opportunities. Studies on leadership learning reveal that personal and professional growth are additional benefits of volunteering and collaborative work within and across ELTAs and other ELT organisations. These include inter- and intrapersonal skills, communication, management and leadership skills (Bailey, 2002; England, 2020; King, 2018; Knight et al, 2018; Stephenson, 2018; Szasz & Bailey, 2018; Tercero, 2018). These skills are then used for the work in different committees, SIGs or BRs need to communicate with each other in order to balance the CPD events harmoniously throughout the year, in accordance with the annual conference of the association and other stakeholders’ professional events.


ELT conferences

One of the most often mentioned themes in the life of ELTAs is their conferences which is the highlight for both ELT professionals and the organisations as well. Aubrey and Coombe (2010) refer to conferences and their role in the professional development of teachers at institutions of higher education. Borg (2015) also highlights the benefits of attending conferences, together with Smith and Kuchah (2016) who argue that conferences as spaces initiate change, providing a place for knowledge-transmission and at the same time bridge the gap between teachers and researchers. Conference participation, presentations or chairing any part of the event have been the springboard for many prominent professionals in the field (Bailey, 2002; Gnawali, 2013; King, 2018; Knight et al, 2018; Tercero, 2018; Wong, 2011). ELTAs emphasise the purpose of their conferences as platforms for educators and other stakeholders to share the latest trends in education through collaboration, sharing and supporting (Raza, 2018). Additionally, conferences offer a chance for networking, career advancement and representation of their own affiliates and associates. For many colleagues the real icing on the cake in their yearly calendar is teachers’ conferences, where ELT professionals, like birds of a feather flock together. At these professional gatherings, teachers share what they excel at or what inspires them most in the field of education. But how have these professionals got as far as these conferences? There might have been a short route or a longer professional trajectory behind them but there are always others, the “influential others” (Price, 2020), who helped them prepare their path, someone who invited them along, nudged them to apply, until finally they found themselves there, and ever since they go back year after year.

Recently, COVID 19 has thrown ed-tech into the limelight (Deubelbeiss, 2021), as everyone involved in education had to acquire digital skills overnight, and now, after going back to in-person teaching and in-person conferencing, the questions remain: how to use educational technology in the future? How many skills and resources should teachers and ELTAs keep from their recently acquired new knowledge? How are we delivering our presentations? How are we organising the events? Can we trace the slightest change in the format and engagement? Could there perhaps be an optimistic alternative, a combination of the old and the new, a hybrid approach to new solutions, or are we heading back to the old precious, even if not to the chalk-and-talk but to our well-trodden paths? How much change has happened in the COVID era that could be perceived as long lasting, in order to serve the needs of our 21st century learners? Given how good conferences were in the past, I hope to see the renewal of them in the future, but it all depends on the collaborative mindset of the conference organisers. Fisher, Moore and Baber (2016) address this issue, investigating successful engagement in webinars and online conferences already in the pre-COVID era. Based on their findings and the experiences of the last two years, combining face-to-face and online, new solutions can be explored. Paran (2016) also advocates for more research, not just into conference issues but also the learning processes that take place at conferences in the form of professional learning. He claims that conference evaluation at the end of the event can be considered as practical type of feedback that an ELTA wants and needs – normally with the purpose of implementing improvements for the next conference. Such research does not often provide us with rich understandings of learning (Paran, 2016, p. 130). He also mentions another trial for ELTAs, namely to understand the needs of different parties in an association (teacher researchers, educators, members), both at conferences and other walks of life in an ELTA.

Apart from conferences, ELTAs hold monthly webinars, regional seminars, half day conferences, regular get-togethers, one-day events, colloquiums, symposiums and online conferences, regular meetings with talks and workshops in the branches; Saturday seminars, ‘expos’, CPD Days or SIG training days. In order to hold these events, two influential factors need to be met: 1) the members’ needs for these events and 2) the support given to ELTAs to hold these events. As part of my PhD research on ELTAs, I carried out an international inquiry with 54 ELTAs in 49 countries on five continents in 2019. Regarding conferences, an important item of data has to be recapitulated here from the study: “63% of all respondents, the majority of ELTAs in the current investigation organise an annual conference. Another 11% organise two conferences a year, and another 13% more than twice a year. A further 11% organise conferences biannually, and only one just once every four years. This means that the 54 ELTAs who completed the questionnaire organise a total of around 70 conferences a year.” To emphasise it again, 70 conferences a year, not including SIG events and other forms of shorter professional gatherings, and this is only a segment of the ELT global world. As we know, IATEFL has approximately 4,000 members in more than 130 associates and TESOL’s membership is around 10,000 in their 109 affiliates (Wheeler, 2018). Given the number of ELT events around the globe, the amount of time, work and effort that go into organising such events (voluntarily!), we could reconsider the concept of collaboration on a wider scope, on an ELTA level. This poses a question for ELTA leaders how to channel their energies more creatively and time efficiently into new formations in the future. 


Collaboration within ELTAs

Following the previous thought, in the next section I bring some examples for collaborative projects in ELTAs. Smith and Kuchah (2016) claim that there is a niche in the field of research into ELTAs, therefore, ELTAs can also start their own investigations based on teachers’ real needs. This claim originated from a conference keynote in Cameroon and led to collaborative research among the members of the association. After a one-year follow-up investigation in different regional chapter events in the country, different phases of research followed, with the members of CAMELTA, the national ELTA of Cameroon. As one of the outcomes of the project, CAMELTA won an IATEFL award and was given external funding.  This process resulted the concept of ‘researching teachers’ associations’. Thus, Teachers’ associations’ research’ is conceptualised as a “systematic inquiry which is based on members’ priorities and officially endorsed by an ELTA, and which engages members as active participants in what they see as a collective project to improve understanding and practice” (Smith & Kuchah, 2016, p. 212). The CAMELTA research is fairly similar to the previously mentioned Bangalore project in India, where collaborative research in ELTAs would provide support to ELTA members in their professional growth. Smith and Kuchah (2018) later offer a toolkit for ELTA research, a checklist for starting a collaborative inquiry by any ELTA to empower their teachers. Although the CAMELTA example aimed at helping ELTAs in developing countries, the checklist can be used in any other context.

In the following example, this is exactly the aim, to inspire associations. Lamb (2012) describes how language teacher associations act as empowering spaces for professional networks. In the results of the study on Language Associations and Collaborative Support (LACS) within the programme of European Center for Modern Languages (ECML), Lamb (2012) claims that membership associations support their members through collaboration. The project aimed at finding out the roles of language teachers’ associations (LTAs), their challenges and the solutions they apply. The findings confirmed that collaboration promotes visibility, and LTAs “promote multiple levels of communication, and present themselves as rich and active networks characterised by diversity in varying (virtual, physical, personal, local, global) spatial contexts” (Lamb, 2012, p. 304). Lamb argues that LTAs are entrusted with offering language teachers a space where these professionals can grow and exchange views and knowledge in their particular contexts, especially at conferences which serve as the central events for the organisations. While Lamb’s (2012) study confirms that teachers’ associations functionality is more internal and they focus more inwardly, Xerri (2012) argues for more collaboration with external bodies, thus strengthening the ELTA’s external functionality, so that ELTAs can benefit if they collaborate with organizations that do not necessarily belong to the English teaching profession. Expanded networking is reiterated by Mahboob and England (2018, p. 35) similarly: “More effective use of member networks to grow contacts and collaborative opportunities can be used to broaden the reach of ELTAs. Specific efforts might be launched to work closely with policy makers, government and non-governmental agents, and with employers”. In other words, ELTAs can collaborate with and benefit from both ELT and non-ELT associations alike. The external stakeholders, for instance, publishing houses, language schools, examination centres, the ministry and other institutions, may support ELTAs in offering CPD events but at the same time are informed about the current issues in ELT which are crucial for them to stay up-to date. 


Collaboration among ELTAs

With regard to future routes, collaboration and working together are invaluable insights of ELTAs. Many European ELTAs, mainly but not exclusively IATEFL associates, have an attempt for interregional collaboration among themselves. They have partnership agreements with each other (Uludag, 2018, p. 21), based on the strength of their ties; either strong or light partnership agreements. IATEFL-Hungary’s partners, for instance, include IATEFL Poland, IATEFL Slovenia, APABAL in the Balearic Islands, ELTA in Serbia, ELTAM in Macedonia, HUPE in Croatia, META in Moldova, SCELT in Slovakia, TESOL France and TESOL Greece. Newsletters and conference delegates are exchanged on a regular basis, conference representation is provided and meetings are held for the international representatives during the conferences. Despite the contracts, it always depends on the current international coordinators and the executive committees how seriously these partnerships are nurtured. These partnership agreements are signed by the current presidents and filed by the associations, but unfortunately, these initiatives do not always bear fruit in long-term collaboration, due to the voluntary nature of the organisation.

We also have records of short- or long-term collaborative projects as well, usually funded projects, for formal ELTA collaborations. Without any exception, all these collaborative projects aim at a) sharing best practices and challenges; b) collecting and providing resources;  c) implementing new innovations;  d) supporting established or helping setting up new teacher associations (Almási et al., 2016; Rahman & Shahabuddin, 2018). A number of events were organised in the middle of the first decade of the 21st century; the first Teachers Association (RTA) Conference in Sri Lanka, in February, 2004, followed by another meeting in Pakistan, October, 2004. A RELO-organised meeting was held in the same location in 2005 in Karachi, Pakistan, and then the ‘Strengthening Teacher Associations (STA) project 2007-2008 was organised and supported by the British Council in Central and South Asia. The purpose of these regional projects was to help the national ELTAs to develop, by strengthening their activities and expanding their membership (Pickering, 2008). The expected outcome of the STA project was to create a regional network in which more experienced ELTAs would support younger ones, thus ensuring sustainability in their work. Rahman and Shahabuddin (2018)  later reflect on the STA project, claiming that the networking element had been somewhat neglected and more emphasis had been laid on delivering training in leadership and management, strategic planning, marketing and communications, project and events management, strengthening and expanding ELTA products and services for teacher members. Nevertheless, another project was launched soon in the area, ‘Sharing Best Practice: Strengthening and Extending Teachers’ Associations in South Asia’ in 2011, supported by the British Council. Representatives of seven ELTAs participated in workshops, focusing on “strategic planning, skills development, skills related to leadership and management, marketing, fund-raising, sponsorship, the maintenance of membership databases, enrolment, raising awareness and greater acceptance of ways of promoting more transparent succession within the ELTA” (Rahman & Shahabuddin, 2018, p. 198). As opposed to sponsored collaborative projects, it is also argued that collaborative research should be the norm, due to its resource-efficient nature and global reach. As seen from the findings of the regional networking projects in South Asian ELTAs, including BELTA (Bangladesh English Language Teachers Association) and SPELT (Society of Pakistan English Language Teachers), the most striking results are effectiveness, sustainability, continuity and productivity. Both ELTAs confirm that as an impact of collaboration, organisations get stronger, as they improve the quality of activities and initiatives; they are able to attract more members and retain membership.

In the same manner, these principles guided three European ELTAs in a two-year collaborative project funded by Erasmus+ in the European Union, with the objectives to develop and modernise their organisations and to find new avenues through international cooperation. The three ELTAs were as follows: a) APABAL, a reginal/local ELTA in the Balearic Islands in Spain, b) IATEFL-Hungary and c) LAKMA, the national ELTA in Lithuania. The acronym ‘CITA’ stands for Co-operation and Innovation in Teachers’ Associations in English. It also has a Spanish meaning, as the initiators of the project were from Spain; ‘cita’ in Spanish means ‘appointment’. In the CITA project (Almási et al., 2016, p. 86), the authors claim: “innovation, internationalisation and the establishment of appropriate links for further co-operation and impact have been the main achievements”. Two of the national ELTAs have had a relatively long history and experience, both associates of IATEFL, whereas the third ELTA was a newly-established local/regional ELTA. The three ELTAs shared good practices and implemented best solutions from each other’s work, organised several teacher trainings for their teachers and each conducted collaborative ELTA research as part of their project. After joint ELTA research, teacher trainings, publications and implementations of best practices, a final product, the fruition of their work was a publication, the forth ELTA handbook (“CITA” Guidelines for running sustainable teachers’ associations”) in the history of language teachers’ associations,  in IATEFL. It followed three previous handbooks, Allwright’s (1988) first handbook of practical ideas on how to set up an association or add certain aspects if the association is already existent. Then Falcao and Szesztay’s (2006) improved third edition covered new aspects, such as collaboration for ELTAs; and then came the third handbook, edited by Gomez (2011), for already established ELTAs that were looking for new directions for the future. The CITA project also concluded that CPD in ELTAs does not only depend on good will of the participants but it is context-dependent. The hope is that “… common work will surely be useful for other teachers and professionals, and will be reflected in the daily teaching practice of our members, providing a direct impact on the education system” (Almási et al., 2016, pp. 86-87).

In the CITA project the participating partners were able to work in a collegial relationship, not establishing any hierarchy. A similarly interesting scenario can be seen in the collaborative ELTA project between TESOL France, a national, experienced ELTA with a long history, and the relatively young, Africa ELTA (at the time of the project called Africa TESOL), a continental ELTA. The original idea in 2015–2016 was to provide support to teachers in individual national LTAs in sub-Saharan Africa, with the help of TESOL France and later one of IATEL’S SIGs, the Global Issues SIG (GISIG).  Bicknell and Lo (2018, p. 150) give an objective reflection on their inter-continental collaborative project, with its strengths and weaknesses, underlining the unforeseen potential pitfalls in the “zigzag trajectory” of the enterprise; however, they also highlight the possible payoffs of the work. In hindsight, we might attribute this project as a foundation for many positive changes in ELT. Since this project, Africa ELTA has become a strong organisation, with 23 affiliates and six conferences since 2016, with high online visibility and a rich professional life, including the recent ‘Female Leadership Mentoring Program’, another example of international collaboration, and the ‘Decentring ELT webinar series’ with their activism on localisation.  Africa ELTA, formerly known as Africa TESOL, has also presented itself as an exemplary model on their name change project, reflecting on the roles of an ELTA. They argued in a membership address in December 2020 in the following way: “Based on feedback received from some members and affiliates leaders during many consultations and discussions over the past weeks, our current name, “Africa TESOL” does not reflect our mission, and successful relationship and collaboration with members and affiliates in Africa. As a regional association, we would like to have a name that better describes our daily endeavours”. They included their membership in the process of change and accepted different viewpoints in the collaborative decision-making which resulted in the name change to Africa ELTA. In addition, in different contexts across Africa, local initiatives take place in the form of trans-continental collaboration, such as Action Guinea Bissau working with teachers both remotely and in person, through GISIG on educational, environmental and re-building projects, and other, just as important activities.

Similarly to the aforementioned collaborative initiatives, Laxman (2018) reports on another  regional LTA meeting held in 2017, at the 33rd SPELT conference in Pakistan. Members of six ELTAs (SPELT, NELTA, BELTA, TESOL Arabia, TESOL Sudan and TESOL Greece) tried to envision a short-term and long-term collaboration between some Asian and African LTAs. ‘Language Teacher Associations Network’ was proposed as a possible label for such a system. In the same manner, as the previously mentioned European ELTAs, joint conferences, the exchange of delegates going to conferences and collaborative research between and among the ELTAs were suggested. Laxman (2018) emphasises that ELTAs should share their successes, challenges and set up future initiatives.


Better together

From all the examples given, I conclude that ELTAs promote collaboration on an individual level and on an organisation level as well, in order to fulfil their mission. The mission statement of IATEFL-Hungary (2018) states that “We promote collaboration among English language teaching professionals by organising national and international projects with local and global impact. By doing so, we aim to support a high quality of ELT in Hungary for all.” Being part of a community makes a great difference in teachers’ CPD. There is guidance, support, opportunities to learn and practice, an open but safe space for sharing, socialization and networking, all providing practical assistance for professionals in their efforts to constantly evolve as educators. Nonetheless, this only applies to those highly motivated ELT professionals who wish to grow, both personally and professionally, because there are always constraints and obstacles to change and development. Barfield (2016, p. 223) poses a number of challenges for collaboration, which are in direct correlation to volunteering and taking on leadership positions as well. These include: 1) space and time; 2) the quality of willing interaction; 3) openness and honesty of dialogue; 4) negotiating goals and different interests; 5) question their own deeply held beliefs, interest and engrained views; 6) critical reflection and compromise.

Leaders of ELTAs not only aim to achieve their goals through continuously developing their own knowledge and skills and thus remaining effective teachers in their own profession but at the same time they devote their time and energy to providing opportunities for other professionals to foster collaboration and co-operation to enhance their professional growth. Knight et al. (2018) in their auto-ethnographic narrative conclude that one of the benefits of ELTAs is that they provide their members with the opportunity to connect internally with members of different groups but also externally with members of different ELTAs.  Despite the hardships, ELTAs thrive through harmonious relationships, where inspiration is stimulating, and motivation is a key component. Knight et al. (2018, p. 303) point out how much they benefitted both personally and professionally from various professional organisations and volunteer positions, so they urge everyone to:

  • Find the right team.
  • Reach out and collaborate.
  • Do not try to do everything alone.
  • Help others to achieve their goals.
  • Create local and global networks.
  • Build long-term relationships.
  • Build, notice, and appreciate good relationships.

In the present paper I set out to to demonstrate that ELTAs are ideal places for bringing together educators who wish to do their best for ELT and EFL learning. From professional development between individuals to collaboration across ELTAs, both on a micro level and on a macro level, there are different options and avenues for all parties involved. Nevertheless, as we have seen, collaboration is not always easy. Despite the hardships, ELTAs thrive through harmonious relationships, where inspiration is stimulating, and motivation is a key component. Almási et al. (2016, pp. 83-5) give hints for running sustainable ELTAs, how to achieve innovation and improvement, as well as improve the impact of the ELTA’s activity. In accordance with the key findings of their co-operation and other previous projects, some of the key principles are demonstrated: efficient communication strategies, visibility, social media presence, encouraging members to volunteer, reaching out to external bodies for recognition and acceptance, and most importantly, connecting with similar associations at both national and international levels. These are key components to innovation, internationalisation, further cooperation and impact on the profession. These lead ELTAs closer to each other, so that they can learn from each other’s successes and the challenges, and enhance their collective impact by holding a mirror to one another. In the words of the African proverb “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”; and I think all teachers know that it is better together.



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