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Budapest November 2003...

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There was a Meeting of Teacher Associations (TEAs Meeting) in Budapest on 17-19 November 2000. The aim was for TEAs in the region of Eastern Central Europe to get together, share problems and concerns, and think together about ways of effective management and increased collaboration. Seventeen TEAs were represented from the following countries: Austria, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine, Yugoslavia .

This write-up intends to give you an overview of the Budapest TEAs Meeting. It consists of three parts. Part 1 contains quotations from a pre-meeting questionnaire which participants filled in. This will give you an idea of the different conditions TEAs work under, as well as some of the problems, issues identified by each TEA before coming to Budapest . Part 2 contains a brief summary of the key ideas emerging during our groupwork tasks and whole group discussions. This section is grouped based on the two main threads running through the Meeting: Home Issues and Regional Issues. We have included these summaries in the hope that they might provide a useful cheklist for future meetings of this kind.

Finally, in the last section you will find some specific action points which we agreed on at the end of the three days. Perhaps it is this section in particular which might be relevant to interested colleagues who did not attend the Budapest meeting.


1 Aims ( Bosnia and Herzegovina ) - "Our main priority now is re-establishing the national teacher network after the Bosnian war."

2 Committee, organisation, SIGs (HUPE, Croatia ) - "There are 10 members on the executive committee: president, vice-president, TESOL representative, public relations, accountant-treasurer, IATEFL representative, and four members from different regions. There are 9 regional HUPE Branches (at least 30 members each), and 4 SIGs: Young Learners, Teacher Development, Secondary Education, Tertiary Education."

3 Problems (SPELTA, St. Petersburg , Russia) - "Since all committee and council members work, it is difficult to get all of us together on the same day. [...] Membership fee is kept very low, since there are a lot of teachers who cannot afford to pay more, on the other hand this sum is very low in terms of overheads like paying the accountant, postage expenses etc. "

4 Problems (TEA, Austria ) - "Two things which pose a threat to us are the growing reluctance and demotivation of teachers due to governmental measures, and in-service training opportunities offered by other institutions / the state system usually free of charge. "

5 Partners (RATE (national) TETA (regional), Romania ) - "Our main sponsor and closest partner has always been the British Council. We also keep in contact with IATEFL UK , but nobody in the Ministry of Education is really interested in us."

6 Partners (IATEFL, Ukraine ) - "There are no real links with IATEFL headquarters and the IATEFL associates in other countries. I doubt if someone from the outside of Ukraine really knows what is going on here, in spite of great changes and a lot of activities that are being organised."

7 Sponsors (IATEFL, Bulgaria ) - "Although over the past ten years the British Council has been the main sponsor of conferences both financially and technically, there has been sponsorship from Open Society, Ministry of Education, USIS, Bulgarian and foreign publishing houses, BBC Centre - Sofia, Xerox, etc."

8 Sponsors (LATE, Latvia ) - "The British Council gives a yearly grant to cover administration expenses. They have also donated books to our library. We work well together though LATE as such doesn't really get any special favours or treatment."

9 Sponsors (IATEFL, Poland ) - "One edition of our Newsletter was sponsored by PEARSON. Up until 1998 publishers in Warsaw did not charge us for printing, we only paid for editing. We hope to encourage other publishers to sponsor future issues."

10 Regional centres (ATECR, Czech Republic ) - "There are 18 regional centres of the Association located in bigger cities. The centres are very active, they organise one-day conferences, workshops, seminars and short courses for local teachers as well as for anybody interested ... . Regional centres have small libraries used mainly by local teachers."

11 Events (MSSUA/MSATE, Moravia , Silesia ) - "The foundation of MSATE has had a great impact on the life of many teachers in Moravia . For the first time we were able to organise things ourselves, which meant being very flexible and independent. We could really feel the decentralisation. Instead of having to wait for someone to invite one teacher for a workshop to Brno or Prague, we suddenly were able to organise a workshop where sometimes even 50 teachers attended a workshop in Zlin, Olomouc, or other centres and the presenters did the travelling."

12 "Teaching across the Border" ( MSSUA/MSATE, Moravia , Silesia ) - "We have been involved in a project called "Teaching across the Border", where teachers from Austria taught at schools in Brno and our teachers from several areas taught at schools in Vienna . This was an excellent project, where we had to produce a detailed lesson plan after arrival in Brno/Vienna and the next day we actually taught the lesson. It was rather stressful, but exciting and the lesson plans were published."

13 Conferences (LATEUM, Russian Federation ) - "The regular LATEUM bi-annual International Conferences are invariably treated as hallmarks of academic and educational life in Russia and on a number of occasions have attracted attention of such eminent authorities as David Crystal, Michael Swan, Michael McCarthy, John Honey, Michael Lewis, Dennis Cunningham, Ken Wilson, Bas Aarts and Simon Greenall who keep coming to LATEUM events as Speakers and whose interest in the Association has always been both consistent and personal."

14 Newsletter (IATEFL, Poland ) - "Another issue we're constantly tackling is the lack of contributions to the newsletter and WWW site. What can we do to encourage more people to write?"




The following is a list of ideas which came up related to the way each of us might run our association more efficiently in our respective countries. We suggest that it might be used as a checklist at future TEAs meetings, or a resource of ideas to dip into at local Committee meetings.

1. Recruiting and retaining members

  • offer reductions (reduced fees for institutions, students and pensioners)
  • offer fringe benefits (e.g. discounts in shops, cinemas etc.)distribute leaflet listing benefits
  • offer to provide references / recommendations to active members (e.g. for scholarships)
  • reward long-time members (e.g. free books, certificates, priority when applying for grants)
  • send out subscription renewal reminders / invitations to events to ex-members
  • hold a prize-draw which only members can enter (prizes: books from publishers, sponsored study trips or attendance at conferences)
  • have a website with up-to-date information (e.g. about upcoming events, scholarship opportunities)
  • send out intro letters to pedagogic institutions, teacher training colleges etc.
  • have an IATEFL desk with leaflets, sample Newsletters at conferences, exhibitions
  • have local representatives to disseminate information about your association
  • if you have an annual conference, adjust membership renewal dates to the time of the conference


2. Publications

  • reduce costs by including advertisements e.g. for publishers
  • reduce costs of postage: smaller size
  • have an electronic version accessible through your website
  • include photocopiable materials, activities
  • go over Newsletters of other associates to broaden your range of publications (e.g. start a 'Meet a fellow teacher' column)
  • ask your readers for feedback: what kind of publications would they like to have?
  • have a (native speaker) proofreader
  • run workshops / seminars on how to write a Newsletter article (in order to increase the number of contributors)
  • get an ISSN number: increases the respectability of your publication
  • organise a prize draw for contributors
  • regional representatives can help with finding contributors
  • give priority to those who have contributed to the Newsletter e.g. when they apply for a travel grant


3. Conferences / events

  • compile a 'How to organise a Conference' checklist indicating deadlines and the name of the person responsible for each task (IATEFL UK has a good one that could be used as a starting point)
  • find student helpers from teacher training colleges / universities; reward their work with a free membership, book prizes, free attendance when they are not on duty; this way, the teachers of the future will find out about / get involved in the work of the association
  • advertise your conference well in advance in e.g. IATEFL Issues, IATEFL PAL
  • have higher fees for non-members
  • widen the scope/ type of presentations by e.g. including roundtable discussions (these could be organised by SIGs, or could lead to setting up new SIGs)
  • charge a fee for book exhibition space, stands for private institutions
  • ask participants for feedback
  • have a committee meeting shortly after a Conference to discuss feedback


4. Committee management & democracy

  • have job descriptions for committee members
  • when a new committee is formed, agree on basic rules of conduct (e.g. if someone can't come to a meeting, they have to find out about decisions; who is reponsible for setting the agenda and taking the minutes )
  • there should be some sort of reward for the work of committee members e.g. travel opportunities; all types of work should be rewarded in some way (e.g. it shouldn't always be the branch secreratary or the president who represents the association)
  • it is important to talk about sensitive issues (e.g. distribution of work and rewards) openly in order to avoid conflicts


Further issues / questions:

  • Several associations do not have an office, or only have a 'guest office' e.g. at a university department. It would be crucial to have a permanent office, with fax / e-mail possibilities.
  • It is increasingly hard to find people for committee posts, as this work is done on a voluntary basis. How can we make committee posts more attractive?
  • Some committee members might hold on to their posts for too long. How can we ensure that there is a healthy rotation and new people are encouraged to join?
  • What sort of events should we organise? E.g. Annual conference, regular local events, summer schools, cross-border workshops ?
  • Should annual conferences have a theme? Perhaps alternate open and theme-based conferences.
  • How to renumarate the work of Conference organisers? Should/can they be paid?
  • Have a mix of native-speaker plenaries and local/ regional ones. This might help to strenghten the attitude that native-speaker professionals are not necessarily superior to their non-native colleagues. In addition, it might help to promote regional collaboration.
  • If there is a lot of professional activity going on already in your country (e.g. summer schools, Conferences, one-day workshops) perhaps your association can help by co-ordinating and publicising these, rather than organising further activities.



1. Ratinonale for regional networking ( or ... Why bother anyway?)

  • Present ourselves as a force to reckon with and a region that has a lot to offer to the profession.
  • Raise the credibility and status of our profession through joint effort.
  • Work together to change perceptions and stereotypes.
  • Education is about development.
  • Breaking barriers.
  • If we don't bother, noboby will.
  • Forum for encouragement.
  • It's our professional obligation.
  • To make our voices heard.
  • Learn from each other.
  • Being away from routine can allow us pay better attention.
  • Internet & globalisation. is it a threat or an opportunity? Can we turn it into an opportunity?


2. How can we make our national conferences more regional?

  • Extend agreements with other TEAS for mutual representation.
  • Invite non-native plenary speakers from the region.
  • Organise discussion forums with regional relevance and regional participation.
  • Look after international guests (e.g. a student or teacher is assinged to look after each guest).
  • Organise a 'Meet Fellow Professionals from the Region' session where non-local presenters each get 3 minutes to introduce themselves and their presentations.


3. How can we ensure that national conference dates don't overlap?

  • Publish dates in ELTECS Info, IATEFL Voices and PAL, and in local Newsletters.


4. What alternatives to national Conferences exist and what is their potential for
    regional networking?

  • Regional Summer Shools
  • IATEFL East
  • Cross-border events
  • Exchange visits


5 What would be the benefits of setting up an 'ELT in Eastern Central Europe '


6 What might we gain by setting up regional SIGS?



  1. We looked at the proposed agenda for the Associates Day of the Brighton IATEFL Conference, and suggested some changes in order to give Associates more of an opportunity to share their problems and ideas. Some of these suggestions have been built into the programme.
  2. We all agreed to sign up for IATEFL PAL and to use this electronic network as our main means of communication. Martin Eayrs [email protected]
  3. Two topics were suggested for a future regional seminar / summer school: 'Managing TEAs', and 'Helping teachers to present / publish their ideas'.
  4. We agreed to share job descriptions for the various committee posts. A sample of these will be available in a booklet to be distributed at the Associates Day in Brighton.
  5. We agreed to share checklists which might be relevant to each association, e.g. how to organise a conference, tips for writing a newsletter article. A sample of these will be available at the Associates Day in Brighton.
  6. We agreed to prepare a database of members willing to present at regional conferences, with background info, contact addresses, and reference persons. Stanislava Ivanova ([email protected]) has created a template: http://www.egroups.com/database/IATEFLbg?method=reportRows&tbl=1
  7. We agreed that the Associates Day in Brighton and the IATEFL East Conference ( Plovdiv , May 2001) are good opportunites to continue the dialogue started in Budapest .

IATEFL - Darwin College, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 70NY, UK

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