Every year teacher associations from around the world get together to share experiences, discuss common interests and challenges, and collectively plan different initiatives to take back home and implement considering our varied contexts, as it is an established tradition at the annual IATEFL Conference. In this brief entry, I share my reflections as a FAAPI representative (Argentina) who participated in the IATEFL Associates’ Day in stunning Liverpool.
After a warm and inspiring welcome by IATEFL President Dr Harry Kuchah Kuchah, who particularly welcomed representatives from Cameroon, Ivory Coast and China, we all worked in groups to share experiences and projects around five topics: (1) how to attract new members, (2) sustaining membership numbers, (3) inter-institutional relations, (4) budget management, and (5) how to carry out actions which are inherent to the associations’ missions.
As a FAAPI representative, I worked with colleagues from China, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, and Ivory Coast.
As we worked in groups, I could sense a healthy and empowering sense of collegiality and grassroots forward-thinking. It was refreshing and enlightening to hear stories from so many different contexts and realities and yet make connections and find common threads and ways in which joint projects could be set up. The group work activity was an excellent opportunity to reflect on the value, benefits, and challenges of voluntary work for the common good and for the strengthening of the learning professional communities we help create. It was a moment of reflection on the need to incorporate new members and let other colleagues take on more leading roles.
The meeting included associates’ presentations through which we learnt about other teacher associations’ undertakings, plans, and policies. As I was sitting there listening to my colleagues talk about their associations so passionately, I thought about this meeting as a powerhouse.
The Associate’s Day housed so much energy, so many stories, and such enriching voices that I could not avoid thinking about how collaboration can lead to synergy, which in turn, can be translated into sustainable actions for knowledge democracy and flow across associations.
Darío Luis Banegas
Darío Luis Banegas is a teacher educator and curriculum developer with the Ministerio de Educación del Chubut (Argentina), an associate fellow with the University of Warwick, and an active member of FAAPI and APIZALS in Argentina. He is also co-editor of the ELT Research newsletter published by the IATEFL Research SIG.