The History of STAVELTA
There are more than twenty English Language Teachers Associations all over Russia. We start a series of publications about their past, their present, and their future. Your stories and ideas are welcome! Share your experiences and best practices! Let the world know about your local professional community!
It’s really a miracle that our Association came into being a couple of years ago and the miracle worker was and is Olga Shcheogoleva, who’s done a great organizational job by contacting the right people and inspiring them to support our initiative. Words of gratitude also go to the President of this University, Professor V. Shapovalov, whose consent and support (both by words and money) helped a lot to let T. Lomteva, Dean of Romance and Germanic Languages Department, feel free as to managing affairs, broadening the scope of activities that are due, and inviting new people to take part.
It all started with visiting a regular Umbrella Conference at Ryazan State Pedagogical University, which gave us the idea of setting up an affiliate on our campus – thus incorporating into Umbrella. Paper work having been done and official certificate received, we began doing the job of recruiting high school teachers and university professors who are currently the bulk of the membership. It was as high as 60 at the beginning and now it numbers 150 for teachers and 60 for university professors. People came under Umbrella from all over Stavropol Krai, Krasnodar Region and also the Republic of Karachayevo-Cherkessia.
We hold it worthwhile for students to participate in the work of the Association, thus sharing the knowledge and skills taught by British and American professors the same way as the teachers do.
In the year 2008 we held two seminars and welcomed British professors who talked and made presentations on important issues of current usage of English, such as Evolution of English and English Lexicography. In 2009 we were graced with the visit and talks of David Fay, English Language officer at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. He presented his workshops and both the students and the teachers liked the two-day seminar a lot as it suggested to them possible ways of introducing Internet resourses in foreign language classes.
The July NATE Conference in Kazan, attended by some ten of our members, was most beneficial from two major points of view – first, broadening our knowledge of ELT methodology, upgrading practical skills, and, second, providing a unique opportunity of being certified on the basis of attending specialized courses on testing and assessment conducted by Professor M.V. Verbitskaya and well-known expert on testing and assessment Christian Coombe. The June 2009 conference of STAVELTA (Stavropol English Language Teaching Association) provided an excellent opportunity to share authentic knowledge with its members at large.
Much work has been done and is currently being done by the activist members of STAVELTA. Among the priorities is the Access Microscholarship project devised for children who come from low-income families. We started with just one group of 7–8 graders, now there are two groups, plus we are planning to launch same kind of project for 5–9 graders. We’d say it’s a good way to make school kids part of the University environment before they actually become students. This year we were also successful at holding the Regional Foreign Language Olympiad on the University premises, and plan to make it a tradition of STAVELTA.
The November 2009 Umbrella Conference in Kaliningrad provided our people with fresh ideas for planning agendas for STAVELTA conferences to come, of which the closest is due in January 2010.
For further information, please, visit our website http://www.stavelta.ru