We’ve come a long way: 2,500 members!

On February 27, 2020, our Facebook group reached a new landmark. Kath Bilsborough, founding member and one of the ELT Footprint admin team, looks back over all the things that have happened since our membership turned the 2000 mark on November 3, 2019.
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At ELT Footprint we love celebrating achievements and today is a landmark because the Facebook community has just reached 2,500 members. But the community isn’t just growing in numbers … it’s growing in reach and scope as well. In this post I’ll summarise a few key moments that we’ve enjoyed since we posted about reaching 2,000 members on November 3, 2019. In this time there have been more than 800 new FB posts with 3,600 new comments and 15,000 reactions! That’s right, 15,000! We also have three new Facebook moderators, Kate Cory-Wright, Nergiz Kern and Charlotte Giller, a very warm welcome to them.

Our new Facebook group members are based in all four corners of the world and it’s very exciting to get perspectives from places as far afield as Bangladesh, Algeria, Australia, London, Italy, Mexico, Senegal, Brazil or Sierra Leone. It’s also important to remember that ELT Footprint stretches beyond Facebook, with many ELT friends and colleagues engaging on Twitter, through the blog, in emails and in the real world at face-to-face teachers’ events. 

A lot of things have happened in the last three months. Here are a few of the things from our online communities:  

OUP Word Of The Year 2019 

On November 21, OUP announced its WOTY: Climate Emergency. This was big news in itself, for obvious reasons, but at ELTf we were particularly pleased that OUP chose to add us to their mailing list when they sent out their press release.

ELT Footprint website 

On Dec 18, we launched our brand new website. Please check it out if you haven’t already done so, and if you have any suggestions for things that we could add, let us know. The blog is the beating heart of the website and we welcome guest posts from community members and others. If you haven’t already done so, check out some of the recent guest posts. They are inspiring. If you have an idea for a post, please get in touch and tell us about it. We’d love to hear from you. There are no hard and fast rules for posts, they just need to be of interest to others in ELT who care about the environment.

ELT Footprint on Twitter  

In January, we started our Twitter account. It’s quite small at the moment. We’re still working on building a following and thinking how best to reach potential members who aren’t on Facebook. Please follow us if you’re on Twitter or suggest other like-minded people or groups who we could follow. We’ve started sharing an ELT Footprint ‘quote of the day’ here and on Facebook. If anyone has any favourite quotes that we could use, please let us know. 

FECEI Award  

On February 21, ELT Footprint received an award from the Spanish language schools federation for ‘The good of the sector’. It was an honour to get nominated and of course, we were thrilled to win. The award is recognition for the work that we do as a community. As we said at the time, this award is for everyone in our profession striving to reduce their carbon footprint and lead a more sustainable life.

ELT Footprint on LinkedIn  

Last, but by no means least, we’re delighted to announce our brand new LinkedIn group. This has been set up and is being managed by a new member to the admin team, Jodie Carnegie Fowler.  Thank you so much Jodie for volunteering to set it all up! Please connect with us if you’re on LinkedIn or share the information with friends and colleagues who might not be on Facebook.

But ELT Footprint isn’t confined to an online presence. The important work is going on in the real world. Teachers are teaching, schools are signing up to initiatives, associations are looking carefully at how they can organise in greener ways and much more. Part of our role is to create spaces and opportunities where all of this can be shared, heard, and, in the case of successful endeavours, copied. (Check out the Greening ELT series here on the blog for some practical examples.)

ELT Footprint has also been out and about at conferences and events in the UK and Spain.  We’re hoping to cast our nets even wider very soon!  

Events  

We are always delighted to get invited to speak about our work. Each time we give a talk or presentation at an event, we experience the ripple effect immediately with a flurry of new FB membership requests and emails or conversations about projects, ideas and initiatives. We’ll share news about each event as it happens but here’s a taster:

Jan 9-11, IH AMT conference, Greenwich  Christopher Graham closed the first day of the conference with a plenary talk (ELT in a climate emergency. Responsibilities and opportunities.) to the academic managers and trainers at this annual IH event in London.  

Feb 7-8, annual IH conference, Barcelona  Ceri Jones gave a plenary talk (Exploring our ELT Footprint), followed by a workshop on including environmental issues in the ELT classroom (Teaching with Hope) at this annual IH event. Charlotte Giller wrote about the two sessions here

Feb 22, FECEI annual conference, Madrid  Ceri Jones was invited to chair a panel discussion where representatives for teachers, school owners, publishers and exam boards discussed the question: How can we make language learning more environmentally friendly?

March 5-6, Better Learning Conference organised by CUP in Quito, Ecuador Kate Cory-Wright will be talking about Connecting your Classroom to Environmental Issues. 

March 6-8, annual TESOL SPAIN convention, Salamanca  Ceri Jones will be giving a talk about ELT Footprint and our impact in the classroom and on the profession (Exploring our ELT Footprint) on Saturday March 7. If you are planning to be at the convention, please call in and say hello! 

April 18 – 21 IATEFL Conference, Manchester  On April 18 Kath Bilsborough and Ceri Jones are giving a 30-min talk,  ELT Footprint – steps towards a greener profession. We are also busy planning an evening social event for Sunday April 19, (venue to be announced soon) where ELT Footprinters can meet up and get to know each other in person. And very excitingly, the closing plenary will be a panel discussion on environmental issues, The times they are a-changin’: our environment, sustainability and ELT.  Two of the panellists, Kate Cory-Wright and Owain Llewelyn, are founding members of our Facebook group. We’re very keen to see how far the ripples will travel, given that the audience will be a global one and the plenary will be streamed live as well as recorded for future viewing.  

May 15-16, Innovate Conference, Barcelona  ELT Footprint will be celebrating its first birthday at the Innovate conference and returning to the venue where Daniel Barber first declared a climate emergency for ELT in 2019.  Members of the ELT Footprint team will be giving a plenary talk, holding a drop-in session, doing a demo class and giving two workshops. Check out the programme for details.

 What next?  

Your guess is as good as mine! ELT Footprint is organic in nature and it’s impossible to plan with any certainty. But we are keen to grow, to spread the word, to continue sharing ideas, materials and resources and to celebrate every success no matter how big or small. It feels good to be on this journey together. It gives us hope that together we really can make a difference. Thanks to each and every one of you! 

2 thoughts on “We’ve come a long way: 2,500 members!”

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    Jodie Carnegie Fowler

    What a fantastic landmark and an inspiring collection of achievements, most importantly leading to real life changes and many ‘seeds’ being planted in the hearts and minds of all kinds of people! Well done everyone! It’s a pleasure and an honour to be part of the team…. Let’s see if we can get to the 2,500 member mark in the LinkedIn group too. Exciting times 😁😁

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