Formalizing Language Teacher Association Leadership Development
Like many boards of directors, TESOL International Association has a system in place to support new board members, and to help them take on and carry out their roles and responsibilities efficiently and effectively. The informal and voluntary coaching-mentoring arrangement is known as a ‘buddy system’; an idea which goes back at least 50 years (Freyberg, 1967). In this Association, the arrangement is open-ended and flexible, based on a second-year Board member accompanying a new Board member, during the first Board meeting attended by the first-year member. In recent years, these pairings have been more carefully matched, but the problem has been that both parties are often already extremely busy professionals, even before joining the Board, and more so afterwards. Therefore, after that initial Board meeting, in spite of the best intentions of both parties, little or no follow-up usually takes place. In light of the limitations of such a ‘buddy system’, this chapter will present a case study on the success of a more systematic and structured—but still open-ended and flexible—approach to leadership coaching-mentoring, involving a recent Past-President and a recent President-Elect of the Association, in a mutually beneficial and enlightening, professional teaching-learning relationship over a year.
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