Upskilling For Change
Upskilling For Change teaches and promotes
intercultural communicative competence to English
learners and teachers around the world.
Our vision is an ELT profession which reflects and promotes the truly global, intercultural, and evolving nature of the English language, where learners and educators are valued and not exploited, where the focus is on effective communication between cultures, and where quality English language learning is accessible to all who desire it.
Our mission is to change attitudes and ideas around English as a ‘prestige’ language, to decolonise our teaching, value our educators, promote and celebrate all languages, and to shift to a thinking in which English is a tool for international access and mobility, where access to quality English-language education is a right, not a privilege. We want to see a world where English is used to aid effective intercultural cooperation and communication and where the teaching and learning of it reflects that use.
Hadjer, Founding Member, Algeria
Upskilling For Change works to eliminate the following injustices from our profession.
We value all languages, respect cultural differences, and work to increase understanding and cooperation among those using English as a first or additional language. We understand that English is a vitally important tool for social mobility, and access to dignified work, and education.
Native-speakerism & accentism
Discrimination against English-language teachers and speakers who speak English as an additional language and against English speakers or teachers who speak English with an accent other than that of the dominant culture within ELT
Exclusive and profit-driven teacher training
Teacher training and education with a minority-world/Global North price-point making professional development difficult or inaccessible to majority-world/Global South educators
Profit-driven and unfair testing, and testing as gate-keeping
Unjust and profit-focused testing norms which create barriers to much-needed professional and educational opportunities for second-language English speakers
Lack of representation, and culturally inappropriate content
Unrepresentative and insensitive or irrelevant content in learner materials, based on the perceived supremacy and therefore dominant presence of certain cultures and ethnicities within the profession. Educator and industry-led materials and curriculum design which does not include or take into account the realities, values, and preferences of learners
Unfair and unethical recruitment policies and treatment of staff
Policies and practices which disproportionately and negatively impact teachers who speak English as an additional language, plus a lack of investment in educators’ professional development and wellbeing by many schools and academies
The prevailing view of ELT as a profit-making industry
The dominant thinking that learners themselves should bear the financial burden of their learning
Juan, Community Member, Venezuela
A working ability in the global lingua franca helps us all to access information and education, and to work, cooperate, and communicate across borders. In a globalised world, we need a shared language, while acknowledging its colonial legacy, English is currently the tool we have. It is estimated there are around two billion people learning English worldwide, however, there are a great many issues in ELT which instead of bringing us together, serve to further divide peoples and perpetuate hierarchies based on language ability, native languages and attitudes towards the lingua franca. Working with our international community of passionate teachers and learners of English from all over the world, we can use this language to bring people together and increase international cooperation and effective intercultural communication.
Zainab, Founding Member, Iraq
Upskilling For Change hopes to see a more just world by 2030 and is actively working towards this in the areas of Sustainable Development Goals 4, 8 and 10.
4. “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” Via its activities, Upskilling For Change provides accessible language and teacher training and works with a pay-as-you-can model, or offers activities for free. This way learning is accessible and unlimited for learners and teachers of English. Our focus is on the ‘global’ and we make sure to include the voices of teachers and learners from all over the world in the design and delivery of everything we do, in order that our products and activities are truly inclusive and representative.
8. “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.” English-language ability is one of the main barriers to employment and educational opportunities worldwide. Fair, dignified work is in many places dependent on an employee or potential employee’s ability to communicate, advocate, and understand their rights and context in the global lingua franca. In addition, native-speakerism and accentism are rife in many workplaces and Upskilling For Change works to combat these prejudices. Upskilling For Change believes in dignified, fair work not just for those learning English but for Upskilling For Change members, too. Every contributing member is paid the same rate and we operate with a flat structure in which everyone’s voice is heard.
10. “Reduce inequality within and among countries.” There is a direct link between English language ability and economic success both at the company and country level. Cooperation between nations and indeed within them often depends on the ability of those ‘at the table’ to effectively communicate with others from different cultural backgrounds whose values and ideas may be different to their own. Ability in the global lingua franca and competency in intercultural communication are both essential for countries and peoples to be able to work together without - or through - conflict in order to succeed economically and reduce inequalities within and between their populations.
Eloisa, Founding Member, Spain
Values and Principles
Dignity in Work:
Supporting English-language learners and educators to advocate for themselves in lingua-franca workplaces,
Committed to equal and fair pay for Upskilling For Change members and contributors,
Practising flat structure, shared decision-making,
Flexible and family-friendly working for all Upskilling For Change members and contributors.
Quality, Accessible, and Lifelong Education:
Promoting life-long learning and professional development for English-language learners and practitioners,
Providing and advocating for quality, accessible education for all people, everywhere.
Raising awareness about, providing and promoting culturally appropriate teaching and materials,
Listening to learners’ voices in all decisions related to their education.
Socially Responsible and Accountable:
Prioritising the social and environmental impact of the business and making business decisions accordingly,
Remaining accountable to the community we serve, and transparent in our decisions and actions.
Ethical business practices, and a commitment to continually reviewing how the business is operating and structured,
Upholding our commitment to a fair and inclusive environment both for Upskilling For Change members, the larger community, and contributors,
Respect for diversity and promoting equity among all people.
Respect for cultural differences, promoting and teaching intercultural communicative competence,
Promoting and teaching cultural competence, developing learners’ & educators’ cultural competence by providing knowledge and skills to interact respectfully and effectively with people from diverse backgrounds,
Respect for all languages and cultures equally.
Sahar, community member, Iran