letter to members

February 09 2016

Dear Members,

The MATEFL Committee feels it opportune to clarify certain issues regarding
MATEFL and the new regulations set out in the ELT Council’s (formerly the EFL
Monitoring Board) Policy document and subsequent pronouncements.

Firstly, MATEFL is an association of teachers and we are completely independent of
the ELT Council and FELTOM, the latter being an organisation
representing 19
language schools.

Secondly we would like to remind all our members that our aim as set out in our
Statute is to share ideas and techniques amongst us. MATEFL is an association of
teachers, for teachers and by teachers. Teachers who lead and/or attend our
workshops subscribe to this concept. They come of their own free will, in their own
free time, because they are interested in developing themselves and supporting the
development of other teacher colleagues.

This stance reflects how we view development, which has been described as ‘a
process of continual, intellectual, experiential and attitudinal growth’ (Lange, 1989)
and one in which ‘Teachers are not viewed as entering the programme with
deficiencies [as they are in training] …..[but where] more emphasis is placed on what
teachers know and do and on providing tools with which they can explore their own
beliefs, attitudes and practices.’ (Richards, 1989). Both of these definitions imply that
training is what is imposed by schools, organisations and institutions whereas
development is what teachers choose or request for themselves.

Thirdly, MATEFL is a not-for-profit organisation. Your membership fees contribute to
everything that needs to be paid for whenever we run workshops/talks/presentations.
A full breakdown is given at our AGM. No committee member receives any payment
whatsoever for all the administrative work that goes into running MATEFL and the
workshops, inviting prestigious presenters from outside Malta, producing the
magazine (newsletter), running the website and Facebook page or any of the other
local and international obligations we have.

Fourthly, we are also pleased that the work we do in terms of encouraging teacher
development has been recognised by those who have devised the TEFL Cert. Policy
document and that our workshop sessions have been included as approved CPD
hours when teachers apply for their permit to be renewed.

However, this has also placed MATEFL in a difficult position. It seems that in the
absence of training or development opportunities provided by some schools, many
teachers who are not members at the present time will turn to MATEFL sessions to
fulfil their required ‘CPD’ hours. This may well cause considerable strain on our
resources and structure (for example bigger venues, increased number of
workshops, increased amount of secretarial and administrative work carried out by
volunteer committee members) and we are thinking hard about how to meet a
sudden surge in membership. Another immediate consequence of the new CPD
requirement, for example, is that paradoxically the expenses incurred by a dramatic
rise in membership may actually exceed increased income as things stand and we
are urgently considering some cost-cutting changes. We hope, therefore, that all our
members understand that this new situation has created an immense challenge for

There is a further challenge, beyond the logistical and financial ones described
above. The nature of what we do and stand for changes significantly if a large
number of new members come to our sessions unwillingly, simply in order to satisfy
a requirement which has been imposed upon them. For such teachers, CPD
becomes CPT: Continual Professional Training. This may affect, amongst other
things, the very nature and atmosphere of the workshops themselves. It may
perhaps also ultimately affect the nature of MATEFL, something which many of us
would be very sad to see.

We hope that this clarifies the above issues. We would also kindly ask you to bring
this information to the attention of your colleagues, whether or not they are current
members of MATEFL. 


Alan Marsh

President, MATEFL

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