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A year of firsts

The annual ELTons Innovation Awards saw a range of new winners

On 15 November 2021, the ELTons went truly global. Entries for the annual British Council awards for innovations in helping English language learners and teachers were received from 55 countries across six continents this year, while at the event itself 400 online viewers and nearly 10,000 viewers on Facebook from around the world joined the live audience of 200 in London as the new British Council chief executive, Canadian Scott McDonald, opened the ceremony.

For the first time, two Outstanding Achievement Awards were presented, one to an individual and one to an organisation. The new prize for an organisation went to the Hornby Trust, which funds teachers all over the world to take a Master’s degree in the UK. As the audience applauded, this year’s cohort of Hornby scholars, led by the chair of the Trust, received their ELTon from IATEFL president Harry Kuchah Kuchah, himself a former Hornby scholar .

Meanwhile, the individual Outstanding Achievement Award went for the first time to an ELT thought leader who is not UK-based. The father of Task Based Language Teaching, NS Prabhu, now in his mid-90s, was unable to attend, but recorded a short speech of thanks from his home in South India. Professor Prabhu, who taught in his native India and at universities in Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Brazil, is only the second non-native speaker of English and the second non-European to win the award.

Other global winners at the ceremony, which was brilliantly hosted by award-winning broadcaster Lauren Laverne, included the Hands Up project, which took the Local Innovation Award for its work with Palestinian teachers and children; while Brazil took the Course Innovation category with Our Languages from Stand For Publishers, part of FTD Educação.

The EU also did well with Spain’s Boolino taking the Learner Resource prize for its Fiction Express app and the Teacher Resource prize going to Delta Publishing, now owned in Germany, for the book Teaching English to Pre-Primary Children by Portugal-based Sandie Mourão and Gail Ellis, a long-time resident of France.

The Digital Innovation Award went to a pan- European team led by Lancaster University with members from Greece, Germany and Cyprus for their CIELL-Comics for Inclusive English Language Learning, an app designed to help dyslexic and non-dyslexic learners of English.

In another ELTons first, the ELTons’ Judges’ Commendation for Environmental Sustainability and Climate Action went to Sensations English, an online and app-based resource offering global news-based lessons covering world issues, such as climate change. Sensations English was also one of nine entries, from New Zealand to Oman, to receive a Judges’ Commendation for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Award.

Image courtesy of DAVID POULTNEY @IN-PRESS PHOTOGRAPHY LTDr0044 7860 146161
Liz Granirer
Liz Granirer
Liz has been a journalist for many years. She is currently editor of EL Gazette and has previously edited the magazines Young Performer, StepForward and Accounting Technician; been deputy editor on Right Start magazine; chief sub editor on Country Homes & Interiors; and sub editor on easyJet Traveller, Lonely Planet and Family Traveller magazines, along with a number of others.
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