Our mission

Mentoring women speakers is part of EVE’s mission to improve the representation of women in plenaries and on panels at ELT Conferences worldwide. We were inspired by Tessa Woodward and The Fair List, which started back in 2012. The Fair List focused on plenaries in the UK and set up a mentoring programme with British Council. Over time, and working with Tessa and the Facebook group Women in ELT, we developed a list of our connections in the ELT community who could act as mentors for this important task. We work alongside Teachers’ Associations to make a difference to the ELT landscape.

Our mentors

EVE has been overwhelmed by the generosity of ELT professionals from around the world who want to give back by mentoring women wanting to become plenary speakers. We currently have over 50 mentors, women and men, on our books, all of them highly experienced as conference and event speakers. These professionals often say that one of the best things about mentoring is that they get as much out of the mentoring process as the mentees.

Want to become a mentor?

If you are an experienced ELT professional and think you’d like to become a mentor, read the articles about our programmes listed below.

The British Council Teaching English website has an Introduction to Supporting and Mentoring Teachers. You can also take a look at What is Mentoring? The information on The Fair List’s list on What makes a good Mentor is also useful. If you’re still interested, contact us and ask us how you can be involved. We’d love to hear from you!

Who do we work with?

We work with Teachers’ Associations. We are always led primarily by the specific local needs of the TA. Since 2020, we have worked with Teachers’ Associations in Africa, North Macedonia, Latin America/Caribbean and Serbia.

In the Autumn of 2020, EVE and Africa ELTA co-created a pilot mentoring programme to mentor eight women to become conference speakers for ELT events.

We evaluated the programme using focus groups, surveys, self-assessment and reflections. There are two articles on the programme by Amira Salama and Sue Leather in IATEFL Voices, Issue 278 and Issue 281. The Africa-ELTA Newsletter, Issue 9, August 2021, also features articles by each of the mentees.

Starting in the Autumn of 2021, EVE: Equal Voices in ELT added another programme with ELTAM MK, the ELT Teacher’s Association in North Macedonia, creating a programme to suit local conditions and needs and in collaboration with the TA. You can read an article by Slavka Karkamishevska and Maureen McGarvey on their mentoring relationship in The Teacher Trainer, Spring 2022.

The mentees in the EVE-LAC Mentoring Programme

In 2022, we ran a programme with Latin America/Caribbean TESOL, again making adaptations to suit local needs. Read Mentor Sandy Millin’s blog on the final presentations here.

And onwards!

In 2023, we have programmes with ELTA Serbia , TESOL Macedonia-Thrace Northern Greece and LAC TESOL.

We are also planning an online conference in late May 2023. Speakers will be past graduates of some of our mentoring programmes.

How are we making the programmes sustainable?

Sustainability is an important part of our mission. We are using a ‘shadowing’ system in which some mentors follow the organisers of a programme through one full programme cycle. Those ‘shadowers’ , experienced mentors themselves, then become organisers on future programmes. In this way, we plan to have an organising team that can carry the programmes forward.

Our steering committee

Our steering committee is made up of four ELT professionals: Sue Leather, Alex Popovski, Maureen McGarvey and Christopher Graham.

Sue Leather  is an ELT consultant and author with over 35 years’ experience. She holds an MA in Education from the Institute of Education, University of London. She has worked with Ministries of Education and organisations such as the British Council, training teachers, teacher educators and managers worldwide. Her professional interests include working with educators in resource-poor contexts and extensive reading.

Aleksandra Popovski is a teacher and teacher trainer. She holds an MA in Professional Development for Language Education (University of Chichester). Her interests include visual arts in language teaching, reading comprehension strategies, and original readers. Aleksandra is the current Vice President of IATEFL. 

Maureen McGarvey is a freelance consultant with over 35 years’ experience, specialising in teacher training and development, academic management development and whole school transformation initiatives. She wrote the Educational Management module for the Aston MSC in TESOL and has tutored the academic management module for Westminster University MA in TESOL. She has worked on programmes with organisations such as IHWO, the British Council and EAQUALS.

Christopher Graham holds a degree in Politics from Warwick University, a Cambridge DELTA and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is a freelance English language teacher educator, researcher and author.  He has worked in the field since 1981 in over 30 countries for the British Council, ministries of education and international publishers.