TasTESOL began as TasAME (Tasmanian Association for Multicultural Education). It was established in the early 1980s with a wide range of members: ESL teachers in the Adult Migrant English Program and in schools, people who had links with Tasmania’s growing multicultural community, representatives of ethnic communities themselves, and people who had personal overseas travel and/or work experiences.
Initially, the focus was on attending to the cultural and educational needs of the migrants who were coming to Tasmania in significant numbers. Then during the early and mid-1990s the focus changed. While refugee numbers were declining, international student numbers were rising and English language courses and language centres diversified accordingly, catering for migrants, young travellers, business-people, university students and others. TasAME became less focused on other cultures, and more a professional association for English language teachers. Eventually, the name was changed to TasTESOL to better reflect the actual work of its members.
Today, Tasmania participates fully in Australia’s humanitarian migrant program. Accordingly, classes are provided for those learning English for settlement and work purposes, for business or further study and/or for enjoyment. The state also continues to attract many international students who want to learn English for courses in secondary and tertiary education. Hence, Tasmania now has a vibrant community of highly skilled teachers and tutors, dedicated to teaching English language through a range of education providers and training institutions.