4th English Language Professionals’ Association Conference Held in Addis

Regional English Language Officer (RELO) George Chinnery describes the books and materials available from the U.S. Department of State to promote English language learning and teaching at the 4th ELPA Annual Conference

The 4th English Language Professionals’ Association (ELPA) Annual Conference was held from April 28 – 29, 2018 at the Organization for Women in Self Employment (WISE) training center.

The two-day conference focused on the theme of “Building Reading Culture in Schools” and brought together more than 325 English language professionals from throughout Ethiopia and ten English Language Fellows based in Africa for discussions and presentations on teaching reading in the classroom.

The ten English Language Fellows, who are part of the Department of State’s efforts to teach English worldwide, promote English curriculum development, and enhance teaching professionalism throughout the world, presented at the conference.  Through projects sponsored by U.S. embassies, the fellows share their professional expertise, hone their skills, gain international experience and learn about other cultures.

Conference topics included:  “Encouraging a Fun and Meaningful Reading Culture on Campus,” “Using Literature Circles to Generate Discussion and Analysis,”  “Reading Games,” “Taking Reading Beyond Four Walls,” and “Igniting a Passion for Reading in Low-Resource Secondary Schools.”

In his remarks, U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Troy Fitrell said, “Studies have shown that students who read for enjoyment every day not only perform better in tests than those who don’t, but also develop a broader vocabulary, increased general knowledge and a better understanding of other cultures. In fact, reading for pleasure is more likely to determine whether a child does well at school than their social or economic background.”

ELPA, established in 2011 as a registered Ethiopian association, meets bi-weekly at Wemezekir (National Archives and Library Agency) in Addis Ababa to foster professional development in teaching English.  ELPA recently started new chapters in Assosa, Bahir Dar, and Hawassa.