I can’t remember how I discovered BALEAP, but I can remember the relief I felt when I came across the community. I was developing my EAP career and was beginning to have the opportunity to influence course design, teacher development, and assessment on a pre-sessional course. The Can Do Framework and the TEAP Competency Framework were an invaluable source of guidance, as were the resources from conferences and PIMs I attended and presentations that were made available online. Then the Testing Guidelines came to my attention and were frequently referred to in my research and for practical application. More recently, I have been directly involved with the TEAP scheme and with TAFSIG, which has given me the opportunity to connect with and benefit from a huge community of practice.
I first began attending BALEAP events when seeking professional development opportunities after starting a new role as Teaching Fellow in EAP. I have been an active BALEAP member for more than 5 years and participated in a number of BALEAP events, conferences, PIMs and webinars. The information shared by EAP Practitioners at these events has had a direct influence and positive impact on both my teaching practice and research. In addition, these events are excellent venues to meet other EAP Practitioners and not only spark and exchange ideas but also collaborate which I find very motivating and rewarding. From personal experience as a SIG convener, involvement in a SIG community and/or committee with a shared pedagogic/research interest can also provide opportunities for interesting exchange and collaboration. In addition, BALEAP membership has been particularly helpful in my role as Pre-Sessional course leader. The accreditation scheme provided constructive and important feedback for our Pre-sessional courses and identified areas for enhancement as well as highlighting good practice. I have also found BALEAP members to be very generous and supportive when seeking expertise and advice on particular areas of practice e.g. assessment. BALEAP membership provides me with access to a supportive and helpful community and opportunities to develop my own practice and practitioner research.
I have been fortunate to be an institutional member of BALEAP since I started working in EAP. The first benefit I’ve had from it is the sense of community: the supportive mailing lists, the regular live events and the open-access resources available on the website (e.g. those produced by the Testing Working Party). This community has helped me position myself in terms of my role in EAP and the areas that I would like to explore further. The introduction of SIGs has pushed the organisation into new territory, with more international participation and practitioner-led activity than ever before. I have found it inspiring to see the range of interests and expertise within the community and am excited at how the organisation will evolve as a result. Thank you to all the supportive, caring and knowledgeable people I have met through BALEAP!
If you would like to tell us about your experience of being the BALEAP member, please get in touch with the Information Officer firstname.lastname@example.org