As President of our national English Language Teachers’ Association of Macedonia-ELTAM, I was given a task to write a welcome letter for the conference brochure. It’s not an easy thing to do because you have limited space and number of words, and you have to think about who your readers are (200 something English language teachers from different countries, not an easy crowd to please). Of course, I couldn’t get out of it so…
Dear conference participants,
we bid you a warm welcome to the 10th ELTAM International Conference – Educate and Empower. This year we are celebrating not only our 10th jubilee conference but also our 20 years of work in the field of ELT in the Republic of Macedonia. ELTAM has had two decades of challenges, struggles, friendship, and laughter. I believe I can say with utmost confidence that ELTAM has empowered a great number of teachers, professionally and personally. That is why we have chosen Educate and Empower as the theme of our conference.
Empowerment has recently become the key concept in promoting social engagement across the globe. Movements and initiatives such as #MeToo, #ELTtoo, EVE= Equal Voices in ELT, Women in ELT, calls for more inclusive education for children with special educational needs and members of LGBTQ community – all these have empowerment at their core.
As educators we are responsible for providing our students with the skills and knowledge not only of the subject matter but also the skills and knowledge for life in a world of constant change. However, we cannot empower our students if we are not empowered ourselves as teachers. Frances Bolin (2002) defined teacher empowerment as “investing teachers with the right to participate in the determination of school goals and policies and to exercise professional judgment about what and how to teach”. Understanding what teacher empowerment is IS crucial. It will help you, us take that first tentative step towards true empowerment.
Therefore, educate and empower yourselves and your students.