Formalizing Language Teacher Association Leadership Development

  • Andy CurtisEmail author
  • Ester de Jong
Part of the Second Language Learning and Teaching book series (SLLT)


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.


  1. Bachkirova, T., Jackson, P., & Clutterbuck, D. (2011). Coaching and mentoring supervision: Theory and practice. Berkshire: McGraw-Hill and Open University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bailey, K., Curtis, A., & Nunan, D. (1998). The self as source: Pursuing professional development. Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle.Google Scholar
  3. Besner, G. (2015). Here are 4 ways to develop a culture of respect and trust. Entrepreneur.
  4. Bowman-Perrott, L., deMarín, S., Mahadevan, L., & Etchells, M. (2016). Assessing the academic, social, and language production outcomes of English language learners engaged in peer tutoring: A systematic review. Education and Treatment of Children, 39(3), 359–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bush, G. (2003). The school buddy system: The practice of collaboration. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.Google Scholar
  6. Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary: Buddy,
  7. Christison, M., & Murray, D. E. (Eds.). (2009). Leadership in English language education: Theoretical foundations and practical skills for changing times. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Coombe, C., McCloskey, M. L., & Anderson, N. J. (Eds.). (2008). Leadership in English language teaching and learning. Ann Arbor, MI: Michigan University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Conger, J. A., & Fulmer, R. M. (2003). Developing your leadership pipeline. Harvard Business Review.
  10. Cox, E., & Ledgerwood, G. (2003). International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, 1(1), 1.Google Scholar
  11. Cruz, M. I. E, & Kwinta, A. (2013). “Buddy System”: A pedagogical innovation to promote online interaction. Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development, 207–221.
  12. Curtis, A. (2017). Methods and methodologies for language teaching: The centrality of context. London: Palgrave Macmillan Education.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Curtis, A., & Sussex, R. (Eds.). (2018). Intercultural communication in Asia: Education, language and values. New York, NY: Springer.Google Scholar
  14. Delaney, Y. A. (2012). Research in mentoring teachers: Its role in language education. Foreign Language Annals, 45(S1), 184–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. ELT In Context. (2015–2017). Alexandria, VA: TESOL Press.
  16. Ferrar, P. (2004). Defying definition: Competences in coaching and mentoring. International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, 2(2), 53–60.Google Scholar
  17. Fletcher, S. (2000). Mentoring in schools: A handbook of good practice. London: Kogan Page.Google Scholar
  18. Fletcher, S., & Mullen, C. (Eds.). (2012). Handbook of mentoring and coaching in education. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  19. Freyberg, J. T. (1967). The effect of participation in an elementary school buddy system on the self-concept, school attitudes and behaviors, and achievement of fifth grade Negro children. Graduate Research in Urban Education & Related Disciplines, 3(1), 3–29.Google Scholar
  20. Gardiner, W. (2012). Coaches’ and new urban teachers’ perceptions of induction coaching: Time, trust, and accelerated learning curves. The Teacher Educator, 47(3), 195–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hinds, J. D. (March 2016). The buddy system: Everyone gains when kids read together. School Library Journal.
  22. Jones-Berry, S. (2016). New ‘buddy’ system for future nurse leaders. Nursing Standard, 31(11), 7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kamhi-Stein, L. D., & de Oliveira, L. C. (2008). Mentoring as a pathway to leadership: A focus on nonnative-English-speaking professionals. In C. Coombe, M. L. McCloskey, L. Stephenson, & N. Anderson (Eds.), Leadership in English language teaching and learning (pp. 38–49). Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  24. Lopez, P. J., & Gillespie, K. (2016). A love story: For ‘buddy system’ research in the academy. Gender, Place & Culture, 23(12), 1689–1700.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Merriam-Webster Dictionary: Buddy,
  26. Mukundan, J., Hajimohammadi, R., & Nimehchisalem, V. (2011). Professional development interest of Malaysian math and science teachers in the English for teaching math and science (ETeMS) buddy system. Journal of International Education Research, 7(1), 81–87.Google Scholar
  27. Murray, M. (1991). Beyond the myths and magic of mentoring: How to facilitate an effective mentoring process. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  28. Pyle, D., Pyle, N., Lignugaris/Kraft, B., Duran, L., & Akers, J. (2017). Academic effects of peer-mediated interventions with English language learners: A research synthesis. Review of Educational Research, 87(1), 103–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rotheram-Borus, M. J., Tomlinson, M., Gwegwe, M., Comulada, S., Kaufman, N., & Keim, M. (2012). Diabetes buddies: Peer support through a mobile phone buddy system. The Diabetes Educator, 38(3), 357–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Silverman, R. D., Martin-Beltran, M., Peercy, M. H., Hartranft, A. M., McNeish, D. M., Artzi, L., & Nunn, S. (2017). Effects of a cross-age peer learning program on the vocabulary and comprehension of English learners and non-English learners in elementary school. The Elementary School Journal, 117(3), 485–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Vanderkam, L. (2015). Why already busy people are more likely to get more things done. Fast Company.
  32. West, R., Edwards, M., & Hajek, P. (1998). A randomized controlled trial of a “buddy” system to improve success at giving up smoking in general practice. Addiction, 93(7), 1007–1011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of EducationAnaheim UniversityAnaheimUSA
  2. 2.College of Education, University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations