ELTA is a non-governmental, non-profit association of teachers of English in Serbia, affiliated to IATEFL (International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language) and TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages). By merging two teachers’ associations ELTAB (English Language Teachers’ Association of Belgrade) and YELTA (Yugoslav English language Teachers’ Association), ELTA was founded in 2003 with a mission to bring together primary and secondary English teachers, teachers working in higher education, private language schools, students of English, all language professionals, and professionals-to-be interested in ensuring excellence in English language teaching.
We thought we stood a better chance of accomplishing our mission if we united our expertise, effort, and energy. Today we have behind us 19 annual conferences (the last two were organized online), more than 25 rounds of seminars, more than 10 innovative projects and over 100 publications. We have brought together thousands and thousands of teachers who have shared their ideas, learned from each other, spread the word and motivated and inspired teachers throughout the region. And that is not all. From 2014, ELTA has been conducting the Access program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of State and implemented together with the U.S. Embassy Serbia, enabling 13–15 year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds to acquire English language skills, improve their knowledge of the American culture, and develop greater sensitivity to cultural differences. In these difficult times, we have developed and conducted several free webinars about distance learning with the aim of helping teachers find their course in the digital classrooms. And in the midst of pandemic, in June 2020, we managed to organize Learning Technologies SIG day which gave a breath of fresh hope to all of us.
But we do not go digital only. Throughout the academic year and in different towns all over Serbia, we offer teacher training seminars accredited by the Ministry of Education; we offer teacher training and refreshment courses held by our members on voluntary basis; we organize Young Learners SIG days and try to create innovative courses that would cater for specific needs of our members. We offer courses that help teachers improve their methodology or work on their creativity and motivation as well as courses that enable teachers to improve their language skills all along helping them work on their presentation and training skills. ELTA is a partner with numerous associations in the region (and further) and we always have our representatives taking part in the conferences and activities organized by those associations. Furthermore, there is ELTA Newsletter and ELTA Journal, which are published regularly and provide additional reading material as well as additional teaching/learning resources for both teachers and their students.
We believe we have built a strong network of highly trained and motivated professionals who are able and willing to transfer their knowledge to an army of teachers who would be able to further influence in a profound way their colleagues and students and participate in the changing of one part of education in Serbia.
Or, as one of our members has put it:
“If it wasn’t for ELTA I wouldn’t now be a teacher with around 70 hours of professional development, the 3-week teaching practice in London, loads of new skills gained at the seminars and dozens of new fellow-colleagues from all around Serbia. Mind you, all of that in just 1 year of my membership!” (Anica Đokić, primary school teacher from Novi Sad)
This in short sums up why ELTA Serbia has been on this course for all these years – with the aim to motivate and inspire, and to establish itself as a guiding beacon to everyone within the organization and beyond.
on behalf of the ELTA Board, Jelena Spasic, Serbia