October 3, 2017
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NEWS FROM THE AFFILIATES
HELTA HONDURAS TESOL: ITS ORIGINS AND IMPACT ON HONDURAS TEACHER TRAINING
Grazzia María Mendoza Chirinos, HELTA Honduras TESOL, Tegucigalpa, Honduras

HELTA Honduras TESOL is the Honduran Association for English Language Teachers which started its work and activities in November, 2014 thanks to a grant provided by the Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) from the US Department of State. It was one of 50 winning projects from over 2500 worldwide.

Our mission is to influence ELT in Honduras by empowering teachers; strengthening their skills in the areas of methodology and pedagogy of English language teaching and learning at all levels in both the public and private context; promoting and spreading writing development in connection with research in the ELT field; and finally, working collaboratively with other teacher organizations worldwide that share the same goals.

Thanks to the Regional English Language Office in Mexico City, the US Embassy in Tegucigalpa and the AEIF funding opportunity, we started activities in 2015 and in 2016 we developed training activities through regional events in the north, east, center and south regions of our country.


2015 Regional Event CCS; 2015 Regional Event Comayagua; Regional Mini Conference El Progreso

In 2017 we are moving towards a more underdeveloped region, the west and also complementing the work we start in the east, south and north regions. All of these steps towards teacher training have been significantly successful: 

2015

Regional events: between 60-120 attendees each; Annual Conference: 167 attendees + 35 presenters

2016

Regional events: between 20-120 attendees each; Annual Conference: 347 attendees + 37 presenters (we could have had 450 attendees, but we had to send away participants as we never expected so many and we lacked materials)

2017

Regional events: between 60 -100 attendees each in September, October and November; Annual Conference: 476 attendees + 60 presenters

 

We also reactivated Honduras’ affiliation with TESOL International Association in 2016. It was very rewarding to be able to receive this honor. As President, I felt it meant great things would be in store for our teachers and this humbled me and filled me with more energy for the team. This year, 2017, we also became an IATEFL Associate and I had the chance to be part of their event in Glasgow. Wow! The possibilities now are endless for our country; we can have a significant impact and create collaboration with many experts in the field worldwide. Honduras is now everywhere on the ELT map and for us this is rewarding and motivating. It encourages us to work harder! We are looking into more collaboration scenarios. Who knows, TESOL Arabia? The Japanese Association of Language Teachers? We will eagerly look forward to what type of collaboration the future holds in store for us!

We are currently constructing our website; we have a basic one operating that is slowly being updated with presentation handouts and our communication newsletters. This is mainly for informational and publicity purposes and is published annually; usually at the conference or a month afterwards. We are preparing our 3rd issue for September-October 2017 in which we will report on activities from this past year and on the upcoming projects for 2018 which undoubtedly will be full of surprises, successes and achievements!!

If you click the hyperlink that follows: HELTA you will see some basic information. We have been using our Facebook (FB) page and our FB group which we have found to be very successful. Follow us and like us on FB, register at our website and you will find more about what we are doing. We have a weekly worldwide reach of 2000 - 4000 people and of those numbers 65% are engaged in and around 50% interact with our posts. Additionally, the numbers improve during conference time reaching up to 20000 people and managing to attain 100% engagement in our posts.

One of the greatest benefits for us has been being a part of the Regional TESOL Group for Central America and the Caribbean, a group that we are leading at this time for the period 2016-2018. We will be hosting the 14th biannual Regional TESOL Group Conference in 2018. ELT experts from 15 to 16 different countries will be sharing their knowledge with our teachers. It will be a first-time event in our country and something that will lead to more opportunities for our teachers! This group provides support to all participating associations in the form of advice, encouragement, ideas and many ways that make associations everywhere engage and innovate.

We have come a long way, even when at times it has been very challenging. Most of the time our biggest issue has been funding and I think this is the case for language associations everywhere. However, little by little we are building our reputation and thanks to this, more partners want to become involved and collaborate with us. The key, we believe, is keeping a positive attitude and understanding that God takes care of us and our work. He values our efforts and allows us to move forward. Our main goal is to show potential collaborators and stakeholders that we walk the walk, and talk the talk. We commit and see through; every goal we set up we accomplish. We feel that eventually more people will come on board and join us in our effort to make education better in Honduras and, of course, in our region. At the beginning it was only our small, but enthusiastic team; now we also have binational centers, public and private universities, publishers and people who either want to be part of our work or want advice for their work collaborating with us. So, yes, we see a bright future ahead and we will make the work of this association a sustainable one!

We may not be a large association but we are surely growing steadily and working towards the empowerment of English teachers and the improvement of English teaching in Honduras!

 

Grazzia María Mendoza has an M.Ed. in International Education and an M.A. in TESOL. She has been teaching English for 24 years and has been a presenter internationally at TESOL International Association and other TESOL affiliates since 2007. She is the current Chair of the EFLIS and served from 2012-2015 as Chair of the International Participation Award for the Awards Committee. She has reviewed proposals for TESOL since 2009 and is HELTA Honduras TESOL’s current President and is the President of the Regional TESOL Group for Central America and the Caribbean for the 2016-2018 period.

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