Teachers Helping Teachers

The Teachers Helping Teachers Special Interest Group (THT SIG) has been active since 2004 and was officially formed in 2008. It grew out of the efforts of the late Bill Balsamo, who at the time was president of Himeji JALT. Bill never visited a country he didn’t like. And for Bill, this meant thinking about “how can we collaborate together to help teachers?”

The first THT event was in Bangladesh in 2005 and since then THT trips have been made to Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

A Typical THT Trip

A typical THT trip involves Japan-based teachers volunteering their time to go to a selected country and making two or three presentations usually on teaching techniques that are appropriate for the audiences. These range from elementary teachers to university teachers, with various levels of training and expertise. The one thing they all have in common is a desire to learn more about teaching. Traditionally, our teacher-training conferences, seminars, and workshops exhibit practical, student and teacher-friendly approaches to language education that are informed by current research in the field. Occasionally there are opportunities for volunteer teachers to observe classes and even teach a class or two. Volunteers normally pay for their travel and lodging while visiting the countries. Some teachers have also brought their family and their Japan-based students, who have also participated in the programs. The Vietnam and Kyrgyzstan programs have also had Japanese language teachers participating along with English teachers.

Current THT Countries (listed alphabetically) with their country coordinators:

  • Bangladesh - Patrick Dougherty, Steve Cornwell
  • Kyrgyzstan - Brent Jones, Roger Palmer
  • Laos - Chris Ruddenklau
  • Myanmar - Kevin Ryan
  • Nepal - Randall Bollig, Catriona Takeuchi-Chalmers
  • Vietnam - Michael Furmanovsky, Joe Tomei, Carlos Budding


The Teachers Helping Teachers/Bangladesh English Language Teachers Association (THT/BELTA) 11th Annual Conference on Language Education will be held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, from September 21 to 22, 2017.


THT Kyrgyzstan 2017 Conference, Seminar & Workshop is scheduled for September 7 to 16. Four separate events will be held in the capital Bishkek and the cities of Osh and Jalal-Abad. The theme this year is “Paths Toward Successful Language Learning.”


THT Laos programs are normally held in February and March. THT Laos offers support for teachers, trainee teachers, and students in elementary schools, high schools, teachers training colleges, colleges and at the National University of Laos. In the past THT participants have also been able to participate in Laos TESOL.


The Myanmar program holds multiple workshops over the course of six weeks (tentatively scheduled for August 5 to September 12, 2017). The workshops last four days and cover the basics of Communicative Language Teaching theory and practice. If time allows, there is an additional day to visit classes for observations or to do a demonstration lesson. 


The first official THT Nepal program was held February 24 to March 5, 2017, starting with the Nepal English Language Teachers Association (NELTA) Conference and continuing with a full slate of workshops for Nepali high school and university teachers. 


The 12th annual THT in Vietnam was held March 22 to 24, 2017, at Hue University College of Foreign Languages. With school in session we were able to expand our activities and do some guest-teaching of undergraduate classes followed by our usual seminars and co-presentations with graduate students. 

The THT Journal

THT also publishes a journal, the Teachers Helping Teachers Journal, an anonymously peer-reviewed journal comprising research articles, reports, and lesson plans. Submissions of a practical nature (including lesson plans and activity ideas) are particularly welcomed. While it is not a requirement that the submissions be directly related to a presentation at a THT event, please note that the readership of the Journal is both THT members and the populations we serve in our THT locations, so submissions that address the needs and interests of that broader population are especially welcomed. If you are interested in submitting or volunteering, contact the journal editor, Pat Dougherty at pdougherty@aiu.ac.jp

For more information about THT and its programs email us at thtjalt@gmail.com