Welcome to BCFAI (Business Communication Facilitators Association of India)!
by Shweta Paropkari
Shweta is the vice chair and a co-founder of BCFAI. An avid lover of the English language, she started out as a corporate lackey and after a lazy sabbatical found her calling as an ELT specializing in Business Communication. Shweta has an MA in English, a certTESOL from London School of English and is a certified BE & IELTS trainer and a Cambridge Presenter.
She can be reached on LinkedIn.
Let me start by wishing you all a happy 2021 with the hope that the new year will indeed be happy and kind for us all.
Now let me ask you a question – do you teach alone? As in, are you the only Business English/Communication trainer in your company/ institute? If yes, what’s it like? If no, if you have others, again, what’s it like? I am asking because I’ve always been told that teaching is a social process. Every training I went to, every conference (in person/online) I attended told me that I had to have a supportive environment, other teachers to discuss the merits/benefits of my teaching ideas and materials I planned to use in class. But see, I teach Business English in an Engineering college and though we have an English Department, my colleagues and I don’t have anything to discuss. Or, they’d rather not discuss things with me (on account of them being super busy with academics and other admin work. Plus they don’t really relate to my work). And try as I might, I had the toughest time building a network of professionals in the same field as mine. The few I connected with were based out of India. So for the better part of the decade, I relied on myself and my ability to read, research and experiment.
In the winter of 2018, I went to London to get my certTESOL. There were 4 others in my class. When we started our teaching assignments (we have to teach lessons to students while a teacher trainer assesses our lessons, lesson plans, and materials used; it is a harrowing experience), I started discussing my ideas with others. For the first time since I started teaching, I finally understood why you need other trainers/teachers around you! The support they can lend, the advice they can give, the mistakes they can spot (the ones you miss of course) is the life-line you need in this emotionally draining (yet enriching) profession.
When Dolon Gupta reached out to me in September 2020 discussing the idea of launching a platform to connect BE trainers in India, I jumped. This was precisely what I needed! Yes, I am a part of IATEFL BESIG and it’s an amazing group. But the chance to build something at home? It was too irresistible to pass up. Especially considering that there might be people like me who need support!
Thus, BCFAI was born. The Business Communication Facilitators’ Association of India is a budding professional group for all Indian trainers or trainers teaching an Indian audience. BCFAI aims to connect you (or should I say us?) all with others of your (our?) elk. The founders, Dolon Gupta, Lalitha Murthy, Deepak Joshi and I worked hard for the past couple of months to put it together (the website, the events, the whole she-bang actually). We have networking opportunities, trainings, resource sharing, and so much more to offer. BCFAI will never suggest anything to you or for you that we haven’t either tried ourselves, believe in or have researched and know the facts about. Additionally, we will do our best to bring you content that is genuine and set in Indian context.
So welcome! If you haven’t joined us yet, please do. Give us the chance to show how we can help you and by association, the field of ELT, grow.
But don’t get too comfortable with the contents of the blog. We, at BCFAI, love changing up things and I am a fan of thrillers; I might just throw a (welcome) twist at you, just you know, to keep things interesting every now and then.
I and the others at BCFAI hope to make your acquaintance soon!