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How Twitter led to the birth of BELTA
Language teachers like communicating so it’s no surprise there is a large community of English language teachers all over the world who are active on Twitter.
In 2011, three of these teachers got to know each other through tweeting: Guido Van Landeghem (@europeaantje) who had been teaching in Spain in a private language school for some time and had recently moved back to Belgium; Mieke Kenis (@mkofab), who had been teaching English for 30-odd years and had only just become active on Twitter in the online ELT community, and finally James Taylor @theteacherjames, a freelance English teacher from Brighton (UK), who had been working in South-Korea.
When James moved to Belgium he was keen on joining a Belgian English Language organisation and immediately started his online search. To his astonishment he came up empty. Contacting his new twitter friends, James was surprised to find there was no such thing as an organisation for teachers of English in Belgium at all.
Boldly, he then suggested: why don’t we found one ourselves? There were plenty of reasons for the threesome to hesitate.
None of them had any experience in setting up and running an organisation and they were just three ordinary teachers, who did not have any connections with any of the official channels of education. But it was these doubts and what seemed like drawbacks at the time that were to be the foundations of BELTA’s mission and vision.
As the founding members were grass root teachers, they wanted BELTA to be an organisation for all English teachers, everywhere in Belgium, for all levels of education, for all language communities , for public and private schools and for freelancers.
BELTA’s official launch
The idea, the name and its first three members were in place, now BELTA needed to launch itself officially, present itself to the country, the world and the ELT community, and what better way is there than online? The official launch took place on 25 November 2012.
Shortly thereafter, the founding members were joined by Jurgen Basstanie and Ellen De Preter, and together they formed the first BELTA board.
BELTA’s first real life launch event took place in Brussels on January 12, 2013 with board members presenting to some 50 people.
From then on, BELTA took a flying start. The first members joined, the webinars were started, blog posts were written and posted on the brand new BELTA website and the first BELTA Day, which would take place on 1 June 2013, was planned.
Since those early days, BELTA has grown and developed into the organisation it is today, thanks to its loyal and ever growing membership base and the many board members and volunteers who have shown their commitment to the organisation over the years.
Therefore we would like to thank all those who have contributed since the start of BELTA:
Rianne Ariëns, John Arnold , Jurgen Basstanie, Bethany Cagnol, Krishnan Coenen, Joris De Roy, Véronique Henin , Mario Lecluyze , Vicky Loras, Heike Philp, Ludmila Strakova, James Taylor, Guido Van Landeghem, Anna Varna and Vedrana Vojković Estatiev.