Congregate for Change! 9 Advocacy Groups & Events Enhancing ELT

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

—Margaret Mead

Social media and the Internet has made it easier for people to congregate to advocate over issues or causes. Many of these causes gain support through hashtags on Twitter (#) or by creating Facebook groups. This makes it easier to organize events and share resources. English Language Teachers are passionate about their learners and field; therefore, it should be no surprise that many have gathered to advocate for equality for their learners and colleagues. Below are some of the causes, which are ensuring all English language teachers and their students are treated fairly no matter their gender, culture, economic status, or native language.

Gender Balance Advocacy

EFL Talks, founded by Rob Howard, is hosting an incredible free online event highlighting Inspiring Women in ELT on March 10 and 11th. Join the online web platform during the time to see 24 women in ELT delivering inspirational messages in 10 minutes with only 10 slides! ESL Library blogger, Shelly Sanchez Terrell, will be one of the keynotes along with past IATEFL president, Marjorie Rosenberg.

The Fair List was founded by Tessa Woodward. The website describes the Fair List as “an annual award that celebrates excellence of gender balance in plenary speakers, presenters and speaker panels at ELT events in the UK.” The goal is to promote “wider coverage of relevant topics and a more balanced perspective on the issues affecting both women and men” in ELT.

The Women in ELT Facebook group was founded by Nicola Prentis and has over 1,000 members. The description encourages the women who join to “network, share resources, discuss anything that relates to being a woman in ELT, disagree, agree, agree to disagree and get stuff done.”

The Women in TESOL Facebook group is moderated by Joy Fujii and Hershey Wier-Global. Females who join the group exchange ideas and resources related to these themes: institutionalized discrimination in education, the hidden agenda of mainstream media, the unequal hiring of ELT females at universities, harassment, and progress towards a more egalitarian educational system.

Equal Opportunities to Shine

EVE: Equal Voices in ELT is an idea conceived by Fiona Mauchline and Sue Leather that recognizes through badges ELT conferences and events with gender and highly proficient speaker parity. These events are listed in the EVE calendar and awarded one of three badges (purple, green, or platinum). Follow the cause on Twitter, @EVE_elt.

TEFL Equity Advocates and Academy was founded by Marek Kiczkowiak in April 2014 to advocate for equal professional opportunities for ‘native’ and ‘non-native’ English speaking teachers. TEFL Equity encourages schools and learning institutions to establish egalitarian employment policies and have listed those who do in their Hall of Fame. TEFL Equity also features a job board and the TEFL Equity Academy to train teachers. Follow the cause on Twitter, @TEFLEquity.

Advocacy for English Language Learners

Heart ELT is a movement to help provide funding and resources for refugee children in Iraq to have a safe learning place to play and sing. The Heart School began with crowdsourced funds and now the organizers publish books with activities donated by leading international ELT authors and teachers. Support the cause by donating an activity, purchasing one of the books, or offering services as an editor, proofreader, designer, or illustrator. ESL Library blogger, Shelly Sanchez Terrell, is one of the ELT authors who has donated an activity.

#TESOLAdvocacy is a Twitter hashtag started by TESOL International to promote their TESOL Advocacy & Policy Summit. However, the hashtag is also used to share news about policies impacting immigrants and refugees. TESOL lists several resources and support for teachers who are concerned about policies impacting their English Language Learners.

The Disabled Access Friendly Campaign organized by Katie Quartano and Paul Shaw, was a 2014 ELTons winner. Unfortunately, the movement seems to be on pause, but Marisa Constantinides has collected blog posts by various ELT teachers, which explore disability issues and develop students’ social awareness and empathy of these issues.

Which causes are you passionate about in ELT? What organizations or resources help you advocate?

If you want to receive more of Shelly’s tips for online resources for teaching English, then check out her ESL Library feed!



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