In Focus: The New Zealand Association of Language Teachers (NZALT)

The New Zealand Association of Language Teachers - Te Rōpū Kaiwhakaako Reo o Aotearoa (NZALT) is an independent non-profit organisation which has been supporting language teachers since 1974.  This article looks at who NZALT is, what NZALT does, and how NZALT functions to support us all as a language teaching community.

Who is NZALT?

NZALT is a community of language teachers, researchers, and teacher educators.  It is predominantly volunteer-run and made up of teacher membership. Any language teacher can join NZALT.  The current membership fee is $50 per annum with a group rate for language departments with more than 10 teachers.  The NZALT focus is on the teaching and learning of all languages other than English, including NZSL, Pacific, and community languages. NZALT works closely and collaboratively with ESL teaching colleagues acknowledging our many commonalities and welcomes ESL teachers who are interested in joining or participating in NZALT events.
The governing body of NZALT is made up of the Executive team (President, Senior or Junior-Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary), the Regional officers, and supporting coordinating roles.  Operating both at regional and at a national level, NZALT is able to support teachers throughout Aotearoa.

Meet the current NZALT team

Annabelle Sinclair, HoD Languages Wellington Girls’ College

Senior Vice-president, Treasurer:
Martin East, School of Cultures, Languages and Linguistics, University of Auckland

Christine Williams, Deputy Principal, Waitaki Girls’ High School

Regional Officers:

Auckland:  Florent Pieri 
Waikato:   Annabel Rowlands 
Victoria:  Annabelle Sinclair 
Canterbury/Nelson:  Anne Robertson 
Otago contact: Chrystal Gardiner
Canterbury contact: Susan Johnson 

Networks of Expertise Co-ordinator:   Jeni Lemberg 
Online PLD Co-ordinator: Madlen Kunath 
Community Languages Coordinator: Juliet Kennedy 

What does NZALT do?

NZALT’s aims are to:

  • promote the learning and teaching of all languages
  • represent the body of New Zealand language teachers to Government, and at national and international conferences
  • support activities, needs, and PLD of all language teachers

The organisation promotes, represents, and supports in a wide variety of ways.  NZALT is a go-to forum for any language-teaching concerns, issues.  It works closely with language specific organisations and other groups and institutions supporting language education.  NZALT has a collective independent voice which can actively and authoritatively advocate for language teachers and language education, for example on issues such as the NCEA review.
NZALT provides language teaching and learning PLD in numerous ways.  It holds a biennial International Conference.  Due to Covid-19, this year’s conference has been postponed until July 2021.  In the conference off-year, LangSem - a one day conference, organised by the regional officers and members, takes place in most regions.  

In addition to conferences, ongoing PLD is run throughout the year.  Teachers can join an NZALT inquiry cluster which meets on a termly basis and remains in touch throughout the year.  These clusters are formed regionally and are tailored to the needs and interests of the teachers within the cluster.  An array of online webinars and workshops are also available.  The current focus has been catering for online teaching and NCEA.  However, NZALT is able to develop online workshops based on teacher need.  NZALT is also able to support all community language teachers and projects with PLD and advocacy.  Information about clusters and online workshops and webinars is sent out via the NZALT Newsletter and also available on the FLS-Centre for Languages Facebook page.  You can also find contact details for NZALT at the end of this article.
NZALT currently has MoE Networks of Expertise (NEX) funding to facilitate PLD for language teachers.  NEX funding is aimed at providing support in delivering curriculum, teaching and assessment support to teachers by putting them in touch with other teachers to share knowledge, experiences, and practices that ‘work’ for diverse students. This focuses on building sustainable peer to peer, professional support through local, regional or national networks.  It also ensures that teachers have access to ‘just in time’, practical support.
The work of NZALT and FLS-Centre for Languages is complementary and has the shared goal of supporting and building language education.  Together we are able to provide wrap-around support for language teachers throughout Aotearoa according to needs, sector, and geographical location. 
If you would like to find out more about NZALT PLD, events, and newsletters you can contact:
Jeni Lemberg, NZALT Networks of Expertise Coordinator:
or visit the NZALT website: