A quick post to give my support to three good ventures currently doing their best to improve the ELT world.
1. SLB Cooperative
The SLB Cooperative, founded by Neil McMillan, provides language services to companies, organisations and individuals in Barcelona and beyond. Their objective is to provide a whole range of resources and professional development opportunities to members and associates, which in turn enables them to deliver the best possible service to clients. They do English classes, translation, editing, proofreading, and other language services, and they also offer low-cost or free language classes and translation services to those individuals in the community who are otherwise unable to afford them.
As they say on their website, the SLB is “a forward-thinking organisation, not a traditional school or language academy.” Being a cooperative, they cut out the middle-man, and offer clients a personalised service, at great value. What makes them different is that they work for themselves and for each other, and not under a manager who does not understand their jobs. At SLB, they value quality over quantity and service over sales. To become a member, you contact them, and they invite you to an interview. If everybody is happy, you join. By paying your membership fee, you are a full member of the cooperative. Each associate has the same responsibilities, and the same right to vote. Each associate has the same share in any potential profits, if the cooperative vote to award dividends at the end of the financial year. They have very nice premises in Gracia, where members meet, pool resources, hold training sessions, and can use a well-equipped classroom. There’s a a great atmosphere in their centre, numbers are growing, and I’m going to join next week!
2. TEFL Equity Advocates
TEFL Equity Advocates opposes discrimination against non-native speaker teachers (NNESTs) and has quickly established itself as a powerful voice for change. Its blog has over 2,500 followers, and there’s no doubt that in the last 2 years they’ve made a huge contribution to the fight. Their aims are
- Acknowledge and expose the discrimination of NNESTs in TEFL.
- Sensitise the public to the problem.
- Debunk the most common and damaging myths and stereotypes about NNESTs.
- Reduce the number of job ads only for NESTs.
- Give self-confidence to NNESTs.
Decentralising Teaching and Learning is Paul Walsh’s blog. He created the concept of “Decentralised ELT”, believing that the teaching of languages is over-centralised. When asked to describe Decentralised Teaching in one sentence he says “The central tenet of Decentralised Teaching would be: Devolving power, resources and responsibility down to the learner in order to optimise learning. He has a very good ‘dummies guide’ to his teaching methodology on the About page, and there are some great blog posts, free lesson plans and other resources on offer.