About The Society Of Pakistan English Language Teachers

The Society of Pakistan English Language Teachers (SPELT) is a professional body committed to the training of teachers, to teach English effectively. Our mission is to provide a professional forum for members and practitioners teaching English as a Foreign or Second language, to facilitate effective communication and to improve the teaching standards of English in Pakistan. We achieve our goals by conducting monthly academic sessions, publishing quarterly journals, facilitating teacher training workshops and organizing annual international conferences on vital themes in the English language niche.

The Beginnings of SPELT

In June 1984, four English Language Teachers sat together wondering how to initiate a forum that could get English Language Teachers (ELT) together. This was a long felt need since 1978, when one such attempt had been made. In that attempt, we tried to give equal representation to all provinces; the President was from Punjab, the Secretary from Karachi, and Treasurer from NWFP and the Academic Secretary from Balochistan. Those were not the magic days of email. The plan never got off the ground and the committee never met again!

English teachers from all over Pakistan met at a Karachi conference in Islamabad in 1983, and again in 1984. The need for an ELT forum was voiced again. This time four teachers from decided to take the lead to meet and find a way to establish a language teachers’ association.

After a lot of discussion, it became clear that it would be best if we followed these principles:

  • A non-hierarchical system, based on merit and actual work of office bearers, would be required so that it would not hamper work that needed to be done, despite the continued dominance and deference demanded by senior teachers within the Pakistani culture.
  • Complete transparency would be needed in financial matters
  • Meticulous programme planning and punctuality would be required for professional credibility
  • The needs of the teaching community and community in general would have to be kept in view while addressing academic issues.

The vision of how SPELT was to conduct itself was clear, but the initiators realized that the strong support of the teaching community and schools was necessary for its success. Self- help and teamwork became the motto. Those who worked selflessly in the first year of SPELT’s inception were called the ‘founder members’ (eight in number). The policy was to network and acknowledge efforts of all those who helped in whatever little way they could. This built a trust in teacher who got to know about SPELT’s activities. A teacher coming to one of the meetings reflected, ‘On the way, I was thinking of our SPELT family…I feel lucky that as an English teacher, I have niche…poor other teachers!’