About Us

Committee EFLTU

Creator of list and Chair

(Photo: Mathias Lindner, British Council Berlin)

Dennis Newson is the only  member of the  committee who has worked exclusively in the public sector .

He has an M.A. in History from Cambridge and a Postgraduate qualification in TEFL from Leeds.

He has worked in secondary schools and teacher training colleges  in  Ghana, Sierre Leone (West Africa), and Qatar (Arabian Gulf), The Norwegian Technical University, where he was the Lektor for technical English, and the University of Osnabrueck, Germany, where he was a Lektor in English for 25 years.Since his alleged retirement 5 years ago, he has worked for short periods for the British Council as trainer/expert in Kosovo and Sarajevo and presented at conferences in Cannakale (Turkey), Tambov (Russia), Berlin and Las Palmas.

He moderates 12 TEFL electronic discussion lists and contributes to several more. He is a qualified IELTS oral examiner.

He has a qualified and professionally experienced daughter who works for a pittance as a TEFL teacher somewhere in Europe – hence his personal interest in the pay and conditions of TEFLers working in the private sector.

Secretary: SHEILA VINE

Professional Background

Many years experience in Business and Professional Training in the United Kingdom and Germany. Working and teaching in accounting and credit control, banking and insurance, private and public sectors in industries including Engineering, Retail, White Goods, Media and Internet Companies. Including Bertelsmann, Weidmueller, Siemens, Hella, Miele, AVA and Benteler. She  holds  regular classes at the Volkshochschule Paderborn in writing and the Cambridge Business English Certificates and also at the Volkshochschule Bielefeld.

She holds a diploma in Teaching English as a Second Language, qualifications in Credit Control, Insurance and Sales, as well as a Degree from an English University. She is studying for an MA in Education with the same University and holds several other diplomas at advanced level. She has recently completed a course for online moderation of English as a Foreign Language Courses.

She offers training for employees and managers in English and communication including: -

Telephone training, effective E-mail and letter writing, negotiation, small talk,effective debt collection, accounting, customer relations, presentations and cultural awareness. 

She has extensive experience in teaching the Cambridge Business English Certificate at all three levels with an excellent success rate.

Liaison Officer FLTU: JOHN SYDES

John holds an LCCI Diploma for Teaching English for Business and teaches Business English and English for Specific Purposes.

He started teaching in Germany in 1980 and worked as a freelance EFL teacher until 1997.

He now runs a small team of teachers, teaching mainly in-company courses in the Munich area.

He was, and still is, very active in informing and trying to help freelance teachers over their problems with compulsory pension contributions and helps moderate a bulletin board for English teachers in Germany.

He has been involved in writing three EFL books for Oxford University Press in the last two years.

Although John is an "employer" of teachers, he has shown that he is very
concerned about the problems freelance teachers face. At a local level - he is on the committee of MELTA (Munich English Language Teachers' Association) and works closely with Aktion Butterbrot a Munich-based organisation fighting for better pay and working conditions for German language teachers.

Liaison officer France: LAURIE WHITESIDE

I’ve been an EFL teacher since 1993, and have worked in Spain, the UK and, as of August 2005, France.

In Spain I worked in private language schools and was less shocked by the poor pay and lack of job security as I was with the way many school owners flouted the law, often paying staff in cash with no proper contracts of employment or social security payments. I made contact with the local office of Comisiones Obreras office. On my behalf, they denounced my employer to the local tax office, which led to all staff being put on a contract. Following that, we set about setting up a branch of the union in my school.

In the UK I worked in private language schools before moving into Further Education and became involved with the university and college lecturers’ union, NATFHE. I have worked as a Regional Secretary and Branch Chair (the latter involving negotiations with employers) and would recommend them to anyone working in a college in the UK. They have even got involved in private language schools in the past, so if you work in EFL, I recommend you get in touch with them.

In August 2005 I moved to France for personal reasons. As yet I don’t know which union would cover me there, but I’m looking forward to finding out and doing what I can to organise language teachers there too.

Liaison officer Germany: Wolfgang H. Ridder

Wolfgang RidderJ. Wolfgang H. Ridder, MA is Director of Studies of the English section and Head of Department of the Modern Languages’ Department at the Volkshochschule Bielefeld, Germany. After having been IATEFL SIG Coordinator of ESP and GI SIGs, he has now stepped back into being the GISIG Events Manager. He is a trained comprehensive school teacher for Russian, Polish and English languages. He has an MA in Oriental Studies. His present specialisation is “English for Technological Purposes”. In his function as DoS he is responsible for at least 15 different staff development events in 23 European languages at his institute. His affiliation to professional organisations include: TESOL (past Chair of the LGBTF Caucus and past Member of the Standing Committee on Awards); NELLE (founder member and last Secretary General for 8 years); IATEFL (SIG Coordinator for ESP and GI SIGs, past member of the Central Coordinating Committee and present member of the “Membership Committee”); WBT-TELC (Chief Coordinator for the TELC-examination in “English for Technical Purposes” for the federal state of ‘North Rhine-Westphalia’); GLEE (Member of the task-force for the design of Anti-discriminatory Pedagogical Programmes for schools on the basis of religious, gender and belief convictions as formulated in the Amsterdam Treaty of the EU); DPGs of Bielefeld and of the Federal Republic of Germany (in both organisations long-standing member of various task groups, 1st Chair of the DPG Bielefeld and in that function advocator and Signatory of the “International Friendship Agreement between the cities of Bielefeld/Germany and Rzeszów/Poland”); verdi [previously “ötv”] (long-standing member of the Trade Union of Civil Service Employees).
As a member of IATEFL for over 28 years he has organised 10 mini-events in various European countries.

Co-opted members


Website team:


After moving to Germany from Ireland in the spring of 2003, Rory initially started teaching freelance. He has been employed by the Wall Street Institute since July 2003, gaining experience in teaching general and business English at different levels from beginner to advanced. He recently gained the Cambridge CELTA qualification from the Berlin School of English, June-July, 2005.

Rory is a committee member of ELTA-Rhine e.V. and is responsible for their website.

In addition to a strong interest in English, Rory is also very keen on music and completed an MA in musicology in 2001.


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