English Language Teaching – The Profession, The Professional, Professionalism

In ELT “professionalism co-exists alongside practices that would not normally be associated with a traditional understanding of the term, such as low pay, job insecurity, a lack of any coherent career structure”, Copley, K. (2018). Torres –Rocha refers to this as “a disadvantaged status” (2019).

The Webster’s New World College Dictionary definition of the word ‘profession’ meaning “a vocation or occupation requiring advanced education and training and involving intellectual skills” and ‘profession’ meaning “engaged in, or worthy of the high standards of a profession”, as cited in Farmer, F., Pérez, L. V., & Roo, Q. (2005), highlights the need for a high level educational background as a pre-requisite to becoming a teacher in ELT. Nowadays, with increased scrutiny into quality standards in ELT, high professional standards are burgeoning and the number of ELT teachers up-skilling and completing Master level degrees in ELT is trending upwards at a rapid rate. ELT “requires a specialized knowledge obtained through both academic study and practical experience” (Torres – Rocha, 2019).

Often the ELT teacher is considered the poor second cousin to the mainstream teacher or university lecturer. This could not be further from the truth and is changing – especially in the current world climate. Sometimes referred to as an ‘industry’ the ELT sector is one that straddles numerous education establishments and in Australia in particular remains the backbone of Australia’s third most important revenue generator: International Education. The ELT sector ranges from EAL in primary schools, secondary colleges and Adult Learning centres (e.g., AMEP) to ELICOS in university preparation programmes. In ELT we should “claim a place in the ‘system of the professions’” (Ferraro, R, 2022), for it is clear from the Professions Australia (cited in Professional Standards Council, 2022) definition that teachers and managers in ELT are professionals, precisely because they are a

“disciplined group of individuals who adhere to high ethical standards and uphold themselves to, and are accepted by, the public as possessing special knowledge and skills in a widely recognised, organised body of learning derived from education and training at a high level, and who are prepared to exercise this knowledge and these skills in the interests of others.”

This conference will explore the different professional landscapes in ELT locally and globally and the impact they are having on world economy, education and future generations.

Copley, K. (2018). The Theory & Practice of Professionalism in ELT. The Asian EFL Journal Quarterly, 103.

Farmer, F., Pérez, L. V., & Roo, Q. (2005). Ways of looking at professionalism in ELT. Professionalization in Language Teaching.

Ferraro, R (2022) Professionalisation of the English Language Teaching (ELT) Profession. Australia Council of professions.

Professions Australia. The Professions, Public Interest and Competition Policy, 2000, cited in Professional Standards Council (2022).

Torres-Rocha, J. C. (2019). EFL teacher professionalism and identity: Between local/global ELT tensions.

Call for Abstracts – NOW OPEN

English Language Teaching – The Profession, The Professional, Professionalism

There are a variety of speaking and participation opportunities available for the 2023 conference! The focus questions for the event are:

  1. How does quality assurance underpin our Profession?

  2. What does it mean to be an English Language Teaching Professional in Australia, ASEAN and beyond? How does this relate to the global context?

  3. What does Professionalism mean to you and how can NEAS support enhancement of English Language Teaching in Australia, ASEAN and beyond?

NEAS is now seeking abstracts for the below categories.

Plenary speaker

30 mins + 5 mins Q&A

Plenary presentations must be based upon the conference theme / questions.

Lightening Talk

3 mins

A strictly timed, short, sharp, engaging presentation which answers:

“What methodology or technique changed your view of yourself as a teacher / professional?”

A presentation intended to spark discussion among conference participants. The intent is for these talks to provide a venue in support of new ideas and newcomers to the ELT community. Lightning Talks are a great way to get early feedback on a work in progress, to demo a new tool or technique, or to find potential collaborators!

Communities of Practice – Panel Member

30 mins + 5 mins Q&A

Participate on a panel of experts to answer questions delivered by the COP Convenor. In this forum you will be able to share your professional experiences, tips, strategies, and insights. There are six NEAS COP areas to choose from.

Sponsored Strategy Session

30 mins + 5 mins Q&A

Sponsors of the NEAS Management Conference are invited to present a strategic session based around the conference theme, current industry trends or new technologies.


Up to 10 minutes

Do you have a special talent that you would like to showcase during the conference? E.g., a theatrical or creative presentation, dance, song, poetry reading or film screening? Whatever it is, we would love to see it!

Recommend a Speaker

Do you know of an awesome speaker that you think would be suitable for the NEAS 2023 Management Conference? This could be an up-and-coming teacher or professional with an interesting project to share, a company that could give a demonstration of their new and innovative technology relevant to the sector, or even a celebrity speaker that you think could nail the theme! Let us know who you want to hear from!

Familiarisation tour

In 2023, for the first time, NEAS will facilitate familiarisation tours in conjunction with five of our endorsed ELT Centres. Would you like your Centre featured on this exclusive program and itinerary? Let us know!

We want to put your passion on a pedestal – so submit your abstract now! Those selected to take part will receive a complimentary conference ticket and will be spotlighted not only to conference attendees, but to over 18,000 stakeholders affiliated with NEAS worldwide via the NEAS News and social media platforms!


day online & LIVE event

up to


CPD accredited


on-demand access
to content




Virtual events,
interactive content
and networking


partners &

Download the 2023 NEAS Management Conference Flyer (PDF)

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