Federación Argentina de Asociaciones de Profesores de Inglés
A Bit of History
By Mario López Barrios
Back in the mid sixties a number of teachers at Universities and Colleges of Education had the opportunity to pursue postgraduate studies both in the UK and the USA thanks to Scholarships granted by the British Council and American agencies such as Fulbright and others. On returning to Argentina, they brought the academic experience they had made in those countries and also the idea of forming professional associations such as those that came into existence in those days in the USA and the UK: TESOL and IATEFL.
The ELT profession in Argentina lacked by then an organisation that would take care of the needs of teachers of English. So a group of teachers from the Córdoba Binational Centre IICANA, mobilised by the Director, Ruth Birmingham de Vita, gathered to give birth to a EFL Teacher’s association, «Asociación Argentina de Profesores de Inglés» (AAPI). Although I have not been able to track the exact date of its constitution, it must have taken place around 1969. Meanwhile, another group of teachers of English from the University of Tucumán, inspired by David Powell, lecturer at the Facultad de Humanidades of that University, created the Asociación de Profesores de Inglés de Tucumán. Still another association was created around the same time: Asociación Salteña de Profesores de Inglés.
By the end of 1970, AAPI invited representatives of the Associations in Tucumán and Salta, and also other ELT professionals elsewhere in Argentina, to get together in Córdoba in order to create a «Federación Argentina de Profesores de Inglés». After a number of successive meetings that were attended by representatives from the Provinces of Córdoba, Mendoza, Neuquén, Río Negro, Salta, Santa Fe, Tucumán and Buenos Aires (Capital Federal), the aims of the Federation were agreed and its statutes drawn up. The English Language Journal, a – today much missed – publication created by Aldo Blanco that issued its first number in March, 1970, served as an unofficial Federation newsletter, as it had a thorough coverage of FAPI’s activities as well as those of its member associations.
The acronym that identifies the Federation was changed to FAAPI in 1984, when it obtained legal status as a persona jurídica, and a name that better expresses its function was introduced.
What does the Federation do?
According to the statutes, the Federation has the following aims:
- To strengthen bonds between teachers of English and the cultural and educational institutions of Argentina and the world aiming at the dissemination of the English language and the improvement of its teaching.
- To encourage friendship and solidarity among the members of the member associations.
- To propose the passing of laws, regulations and resolutions involving the establishment or updating of norms tending to the professionalisation of the ELT teacher.
- To encourage the development of the teacher of English and to strive for the continuous improvement and updating of study plans, programs, and teaching methods in all levels of the discipline.
In order to comply with its aims, FAAPI provides the following services:
- The yearly FAAPI conference is the most important ELT event in Argentina. So far 27 National Conferences have been organised by different member associations.
- The provision of information and advice to the general public and national and local education authorities about aspects of the professional development of the teacher of English.
- The publication of brochures, flyers, newsletters and others, notably of ingles@info, a register of ELT in Argentina, as well as the regular updating of the Federation website at www.faapi.org.ar
- The dissemination of information concerning postgraduate studies and scholarships. Up to the present, and on three occasions, FAAPI has granted scholarships for teacher’s courses in the UK to members of sister associations.
- The promotion of actions towards the defence of the interests of EFL teachers.
- The establishment of ties with the umbrella organisation gathering the Associations of Teachers of Modern Languages (CAFANPLeVi) and of the Latin American EFL Teacher’s Associations (APLIAL).
Today, FAAPI gathers 25 Associations of Teachers of English disseminated all around Argentina: Bahía Blanca, Bariloche, Buenos Aires, Catamarca, Comodoro Rivadavia, Concepción del Uruguay, Concordia, Córdoba, Jujuy, La Pampa, Mendoza, Misiones, Paraná, Río Cuarto, Rosario, Salta, San Juan, San Nicolás, Santa Fe, Santiago del Estero, Tucumán, Ushuaia, Venado Tuerto, Villa Dolores, Zapala.
The executive committee
The present Chair of FAAPI is Norma Boetsch de Moraga, of the Asociación Salteña de Profesores de Inglés. An ACPI Member is also a FAAPI executive committee member: María Paola Sviatschi (Treasurer).