We are taking a break from the usual to tell you about something special that happened over the weekend. God can move in academic circles and this development proves the point.
There was a panel discussion on women in in leadership in ELT on October 12, 2019 at the KOTESOL National Conference. It focused on issues confronting women in the field of English language education.
What was enjoyable about this is that women in Korea and those in leadership roles in East and Southeast Asia were invited and to participate. Each area is traditionally male dominant and this was a welcome change.
The speakers included: Ji-Hyeon Jeon, president of AsiaTEFL and a professor at Ewha Woman’s University, Chimed Suren, ELTAM board member and a researcher at the National University of Mongolia, Issy Yuliasri, TEFLIN representative and Lecturer of the State University of Semarang (Indonesia), and Camilla Vizconde, PALT representative and Department Chair at University of Santo Tomas (Philippines).
This marks the beginning of recognizing the roles women have in society. Grace Wang, the moderator and a friend of mine, was quoted in the Korea Herald saying this is “an exciting time for English-language teaching field” where we are “moving away from top-down, West-centric approaches and theories to what is considered model ways to teach the English Language.”
“Teachers at the grassroots level, rather than researchers in ivory towers” are increasingly being recognized as more credible authorities on what constitutes “best” English language teaching in local contexts.
“We need more teachers to become less comfortable with being directed on how to teaching, and more comfortable with venturing out to explore their own practice environments.”
A Facebook page was put on the same day of the conference and has grown considerably. Here are some highlights are worthy noting.
Kimberly Roberts, the current president of Daegu-Gyeongbuk chapter, says that they don’t get many women presenters at their workshops. This is her first step in changing that reality.
Kristen Razzaq, originally from London, is an elementary school teacher in Pusan. She asks the group what makes them curious.
Suzann Walters posted this as it reminded her of the panel. “Hi. Hey. You there. Imposter syndrome is lying to you. You are enough. And, you are good at what you do.”
Vanessa Virgiel, originally from the U.S., looks forward to the sharing of experiences and expertise.
Suzanne Walters, an English teacher in Seoul, is thirsting for knowledge and coffee and says that the panel helped her feel empowered by all the fabulous ladies in leadership in ELT.
Gyoung Sook Ahn is the director of the Kyoungsan Community Health Center. She has been an environmentalist for the past 30 years. She organized Dr. Ahn’s institute for nature care in 2003, which focused on children’s educational and spreading educational materials and the NIE (Newspapers in Education) contests. Her materials are all free of charge.
The purpose of this group is the support and encourage women in ELT to meet and rise above the challenges of a dynamic professional field amidst a rapidly world. The people in this group will help, support, and encourage each other just as we do in other areas of life. From those who are just embarking on an ELT career path, to those who are veterans of the profession and have served in ELT for many years, we all need support and encouragement.