ETAI was founded in 1979 as a grass-roots non-profit teachers’ association run on a voluntary basis, by teachers for teachers. Its aim is to provide professional support, advice, teaching ideas and background knowledge to teachers of English in Israel. It complements, but does not compete with, similar services provided by the Inspectorate and the Ministry of Education. Its membership of nearly 1000 teachers is from Jewish, Arab, Druze and Circassian schools all over Israel.
ETAI aims to promote professional excellence of the English teaching profession in Israel, and hence the level of English learning by Israeli students.
ETAI contributes to the creation of a professional English teachers’ community, whose members provide support for each other and practical teaching ideas through study days and conferences.
ETAI is committed to fostering universal humanistic values as an integral part of teaching English in the Israeli educational system. It sees the teaching of English as an international language as a contribution towards global understanding and peace.
ETAI holds three major conferences a year: in the south, north or center and in Jerusalem. The winter and spring conferences are one-day events: the main national conference in Jerusalem (in the summer) is two days.
To supplement these major conferences, ETAI holds a number of ‘mini-conferences’ at different times in the year. These are local four-hour events held after school hours to cater for the needs of teachers in specific areas. They are free for ETAI members; non-members pay a small entrance fee.
All speakers in all the conferences give their services free; most of them are themselves practicing teachers.
Finally, ETAI publishes the ETAI Forum three times a year, which is distributed free to members. This is a journal written by teachers for teachers which includes a number of practical teaching ideas and photocopiable classroom material as well as ongoing discussions of professional issues, information on ETAI events, suggestions for useful websites, and so on. Its editors work voluntarily, and contributing authors get no fee for articles.
Connections with other bodies
ETAI is affiliated to both IATEFL (the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language) based in the UK and TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) based in the USA.
ETAI works in close cooperation with the Inspectorate of the Ministry of Education in Israel.
ETAI is also in constant contact with the British Council and with the Public Relations Department of the American Embassy. Both generously contribute speakers and materials to our conferences and mini-conferences.
The future of ETAI – Survival!
Like any other non-profit association, ETAI depends for its survival chiefly on the membership fees of its members; contributions from publishers who exhibit at conferences; and registration fees for conferences from non-members
(members pay nothing for mini-conferences, and a much-reduced fee for the major ones). We do our best to keep both membership and conference fees as low as possible, taking into account the modest incomes of most English teachers.
We depend heavily on, and are deeply grateful for, the voluntary work of our National Executive Committee members and other members who give of their time and energy, after school, to organize and speak at conferences,
and write for the Forum.