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Announcing the winners of this year’s ELTons

Celebrating its 20th year, the British Council ELTons Awards ceremony, which honours innovation in English language teaching, took place in November 2022. The event was hosted by author, poet and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen, or Grandfather Nice, as he is aptly known in China.

The list of winners from around the globe once again underlined the fact native speakers of English are not the only source of great new ideas when it comes to teaching English. Austrian publisher Helbling took home the Learner Resources prize for the eponymous Helbling Shakespeare series, which combines reading and performance.

Authors Riccardo Chiappini and Ethan Mansur came on stage to receive the Teachers Resource Award for their book, Activities for Mediation, published by Germany’s Delta Publishing. In an era when EFL writers are lucky to get a mention on book covers, it was a pleasant surprise to see them handed the trophy.

In the face of strong competition from Brazil and Oxford, Mexico snatched the ELTon for Excellence in Course Innovation for Brain Juice, published by Dayton University Mexico. Meanwhile, Brazil’s May Moo and Me series, written by Danielle Herson and Lucy Crichton won a Judge’s Commendation for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, received by publishers Stand For/ FTD Educação. The Judges Commendation for the Environmental Sustainability and Climate Action award went to Pearson and BBC Studios for their global project Speak Out for Sustainability.

The UK came out top in the Local Innovation category, despite fierce competition from as far apart as Greece, Malaysia and the Ukraine. The winner was Picture This!, a project from Learning Unlimited with Fotosynthesis, which took participatory photography into ESOL classes for adult migrants.

The award for Digital Innovation went to a multinational, with Swedish-owned and Swiss-based EFL giant Education First for EF Hyper Class, which provides teachers with “…their own virtual production studio”. Although it was managers and IT geeks who filled the award stage, the speech from the EF representative receiving the trophy ended with a special thanks to the teachers.

And as for the authors, most of whom were missing not just from the stage but from having their names on the nominations for the work they had written, they did have their moment in the spotlight when the Award for Outstanding Achievement was announced.

Professor Penny Ur, OBE, whose books have long been loved by classroom teachers and whose endless work with teachers across the world garnered her votes from Africa to Argentina, flew in from her home in Israel to receive the award from author and previous winner of the award, Catherine Walter, as the grandfatherly host and author, Michael Rosen, stood by smiling and applauding with the rest of the audience.

Image courtesy of PHOTOGRAPH ©DAVID POULTNEY ©BRITISH COUNCIL
Melanie Butler
Melanie Butler
Melanie started teaching EFL in Iran in 1975. She worked for the BBC World Service, Pearson/Longman and MET magazine before taking over at the Gazette in 1987 and also launching Study Travel magazine. Educated in ten schools in seven countries, she speaks fluent French and Spanish and rather rusty Italian.
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