Following accounts by anonymous members of the Marxist TEFL Group and by Kiczkowiak himself of what I said about him, here’s my side of the story.
In November 2017, I published this short post on my old blog:
Every day on Twitter there are inspirational advertisements for the TEFL Equity Advocates.
They invite everybody to join in the fight against the discimination of NNESTs.
When you go the TEFL Equity Advocates web site, you see promotional stuff about training courses that Kiczkowiak runs or supervises if you click on the Webinars and TEFL Equity Academy options on the home page.
The just cause to stamp out discrimination against NNESTs should, in my opinion, be rigidly separated from Kiczkowiak’s attempts to sell his own stuff.
42 comments were made.
Extracts from the Comments section
Kiczkowiak defended his actions, and I replied:
I think it’s wrong for you to use the TEFL Equity Advocates brand to promote your own teacher training courses because the former is a just cause and the latter is a private money making venture. There is the potential for you to take advantage of people’s interest in the just cause in such a way that your private training courses benefit. Note I say “the potential”. I’m not accusing you of anything, except perhaps poor judgement.
I limit myself to saying that pages promoting your private teacher training courses appear on the Tefl Equity Advocates website and that you use the TEFL Equity Advocates logo to promote your courses on Twitter and Facebook.
In reply to Anthony Gaughan’s question about Nick Bilbrough’s Hands Up project I said:
If Nick uses sponsorship to finance his work for the charity, that’s fine, as long as there’s a proper contact that anybody donating money can see, and as long as he’s not lining his own pockets with money donated.
If Marek were to set up a charity, the same would apply. But he’s using the TEFL Equity Advocates brand to promote his own commercial, teacher training courses and he’s free to do what he likes with the money he makes from those courses. Whether or not he uses some of that money to finance his cause is not the point: it’s still unfair practice, in my opinion. He should call his academy the Marek Kiczkowiak Academy or something, and he should advertise his courses separately.
And in reply to Kiczkowiak’s request for me to explain what I meant by “conflict of interests”, I said:
In business, the issue of a conflict of interests is a common one. It arises when a person who has a public position in government or as head of a charity or non-profit making organisation also has personal interests which might benefit from his or her official actions or influence.
In this case, your position as founder of TEFL Equity Advocacy clashes with your personal position as a teacher trainer who advertises his courses on line. There is the chance that the goodwill created by the non-profit making TEFL Equity Advocacy activities will benefit your personal commercial interests. The TEFL Equity Academy, which can be accessed directly from the TEFL Equity Advocacy website, is a private business venture. Even calling it The TEFL Equity Academy seems to me to be wrongly taking advantage of a strong brand name of a non-profit making organisation.
How much would a teacher wanting to promote courses similar to the ones you offer have to pay to generate the amount of publicity and goodwill that you get from being associated with TEFL Equity Advocacy?
Russell Crew-Gee made this comment:
“Since then, it has grown to now feature a regularly updated blog, a job board, and most recently on-line teacher training courses on TEFL Equity Academy. Similarly to the rest of TEFL Equity Advocates activities, the aim of the courses is to further raise awareness of the profound ‘native speaker’ bias in ELT, and to give teachers the tools to overcoming it.”
The above quote is taken from the home page as displayed on my phone. As one can clearly see, the Academy is mentioned, as a link, on the opening page. Hence Geoff’s premise that the Academy is being promoted directly by the Equity Advocacy website is undeniable, a Factual Reality.
Near the end of the comments section, Kiczkowiak finally said “I do agree that clearing things up a bit is a good idea. Transparency is definitely the key”. Changes then appeared in his website, but I invite readers to visit his website and to judge for themselves whether or not Kiczkowiak is using the logo and brand of TEFL Equity Advocates to promote his own commercially-run “academy”.