Killing Two Birds with One Stone: SPELT’s Professional Development Programs
One of the major functions of language teacher associations is to provide a range of professional development opportunities for its members (Lamb, 2012; Paran, 2016). Accordingly, the Society of Pakistan English Language Teachers (SPELT) offers a variety of programs including monthly workshops, the annual conference, and short and long-term training courses. SPELT, like other language teacher associations, is also run by volunteer members. One of the problems faced by language teacher associations is the dearth of volunteers willing to spend time and effort on organizational work (Gomez, 2011). However, in SPELT, an interesting observation through the years has been that many of the participants of SPELT’s long-term professional development program (the International Certificate in English Language Teaching or ICELT), offer their services as volunteers for the organization at the completion of their program. Normally, they start as members of a sub-committee and then, as they hone their leadership skills, they move up to important leadership positions in the SPELT working committee. This chapter investigates the impact of the ICELT program on participants’ personal and professional skills and attitudes and their motivation and experience of their volunteer work with SPELT. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 6 ICELT participants turned teacher leaders; all of them started their professional journey as ICELT participants and are now serving the profession as leaders through the SPELT platform, and/or in the broader teaching-learning scenario in Pakistan.
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