EULEAP: EUropean Lecturers of English for Academic Purposes

There’s a new kid on the block: EULEAP, a network of EUropean Lecturers of English for Academic Purposes. It’s not incorporated officially, simply coordinated technically as a Ning social networking site, and is open to anyone who is involved in teaching English (or in teaching in English!) in tertiary education:

Martin Bradbeer (TH Wildau) and Nicola Fox (Oxford University Press) recently organized the first Berlin area conference for EAP, and this network is aimed at building good connections among those who met there and growing new ones, as well as preparing the follow-up event in Berlin for next year.

This network will probably need to become more formally established to allow for sponsorship and more organized administration. But that requires quite a bit of work. If it were to become an association, there’s the politics of having an independent or an IATEFL affiliated group. For the time being, I’m (just) the Ning moderator. Since I’m also the events coordinator at ELTABB and a member of the BESIG Online Team, I’m a bit worried about becoming active in yet a third association.

But I’m really happy that there are now open lines of communication in an area I want to become more at home in. So here’s wishing EULEAP a leaping start!

Agenda-setting at a teachers’ association

Exciting times for me: I’m honored to be the events coordinator for ELTABB, the teachers’ association for Berlin-Brandenburg. I was only able to volunteer for this job because I can draw on wonderful teacher networks that have grown over the years.

At the moment I am a classic “fast follower”, looking at what other associations are doing and taking my leads from them. When I was a member of the board at MELTA, we embraced the idea of, in addition to our free, membership-based workshops, hosting an income-generating course that provides participants with an internationally recognized certificate. That course has in fact just taken place. Helen Strong, the events coordinator at MELTA, ran Mark Powell’s certificate course in Coaching One to One in Munich, and it’s run elsewhere as well. I’d like us to follow the model here: We charge a fee that is lower than the price charged elsewhere and saves the cost of travelling and staying abroad. Unfortunately, our expenses are higher here than those of our sister organisation, but the course will still generate a bit of income that we can invest in other workshops.

I love the idea. But what signal does hosting a big, fat, expensive course send out to those trainers who can’t afford it? Berlin is not Munich. Even a fee that is far lower than that originally charged may be out of reach for many, if not most of our members. It would be devastating to communicate to our members:

Them that’s got shall get
Them that’s not shall lose
So the Bible said and it still is news
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that’s got his own
That’s got his own

Yes, the strong gets more
While the weak ones fade
Empty pockets don’t ever make the grade
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child that’s got his own
That’s got his own

Billie Holiday / Arthur Herzig Jr.

So if we offer this, we need to balance it out with an equally attractive offering that is aimed specifically at skilling up and providing a market advantage to those teachers who are willing to invest a bit of time regardless of their income.

I think providing a high-end workshop on how to incorporate technology in teaching, a free members-only event subsidized by the membership fee, would be just the thing. So that is my agenda. And the wonderful Carl Dowse (the mind behind and manager of BESIG Online and a Cert ICT tutor for TheConsultants-E when he’s not lecturing fulltime (!) at the University of Applied Science in Essen), bless him, would consent to do it. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this not only finds acceptance, but also turns out to be highly attractive to our members.