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Working across Cultures – Issues in Managing a Teacher's Association

by Alan S. Mackenzie, Senior Training Consultant,
British Council India & Sri Lanka & Amol Padwad,
President ELTAI

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Table 2: Perceptions of ELTAI and British Council members of each other's operational norms

General View of Organisation
Point UK trainer’s/ BC members’ Perspective ELTAI members’ Perspective
How is a TA viewed? Professional organisation Charitable trust
Community of professionals Social gathering
How far ‘commercial’ interests are important? One of the top priorities Not so important
Attitude towards records-keeping, documentation Serious, professional Liberal, lenient, lax
Should the TA be profitable? Yes Making surplus not highly important, essential to break even
What are success indicators for a TA? Large and diverse membership, Membership loyalty, Range of products and services, economic viability, potential for expansion Number of members, number of events, attendance at events


Marketing of the TA
Point UK trainer’s/ BC members’ Perspective ELTAI members’ Perspective
How far is marketing important? Marketing extremely essential Not so important
Ways of marketing Range of channels from flyers and website to peripherals (the handout lists 17, to be added to by the participants) Focus on ‘conventional’ ones (basically events and website), not keen on peripherals, advertising, etc
How much to spend on marketing? Should form a significant part of the budget No need to spend much on marketing


Point UK trainer’s/ BC members’ Perspective ELTAI members’ Perspective
Assuring membership loyalty Involve members in TA activities planning and implementation It’s the job of the leaders/ ‘core teams’
Need to develop a sense of belonging Not recognised
Need to highlight personal and professional growth Not recognised
Ways of attracting new members (Aggressive) Marketing Soft promotion at events, depend more on word-of-mouth publicity
What brings members to the TA? Chances of PD, networking and personal advancement Personal relationship, social bonds
Who should count among members? Teachers, teacher educators, policy makers, institutions, publishers, ELT companies, NGOs, educational authorities, freelancers Mainly teachers and institutions


Point UK trainer’s/ BC members’ Perspective ELTAI members’ Perspective
Frequency of communication with members Higher the better Only needs-based and limited
Nature of communication Personalised communication more valuable General impersonal communication seen as normal
Channels of communication Range of channels from letters and newsletters to website, SMSs, emails, social networking sites General newsletters and website announcements
Direction of communication Both TA-to-members and members-to-TA communication important More attention on TA-to-members communication
Communication with non-members Importance given to regular communication with non-members (like other stake-holders, sponsors, etc) The need is not fully recognised


Point UK trainer’s/ BC members’ Perspective ELTAI members’ Perspective
Location Impressive, high-quality, in keeping with brand image. 5-star hotels = expensive; imposing to delegates not used to such spaces. Impressive institutions: PR for location volunteering services. Solidifies institutional ties btw school and organisation.. Cheap. Normal to teachers = real school context.
Information Web-based, high quality positive PR-value. Paper-based, officially sanctioned,

Brief opening ceremony. Large # presentations in short time: attracts more presenters, increases range of presentations in conference.

Short breaks to enable more presentation time

Long opening ceremony (expected). Fewer presentations over longer period to increase audience attending each one. Most people at conference are attendees not presenters. Longer breaks to enable socialising.
Timing Tightly controlled. Dealt with as necessary.

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