British Council celebrates English language learning

09 June, 2015

The British Council has revealed the winners of the annual ELTons awards, celebrating innovation and excellence in ELT course provision and materials.

Angela Rippon OBE presented the 13th ELTons Awards Credit - Frank Noon

Now in their 13th year, the awards were announced in a special ceremony hosted by the British Council at BMA House in London and presented by writer and TV presenter Angela Rippon OBE.

Speaking at the ceremony, Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive at the British Council, said, “The ELTons winners are about making the world a better place. It is more than helping more people to speak English. It is about social inclusion, justice, diversity and equality in all the materials produced for learners of English.” He added that the key stipulations for the judges in the ELTons were innovation and functionality of the products.

Oxford University Press (OUP) was a big winner on the evening: the Oxford Discover series won the Excellence in Course Innovation award, a course that the judges said was “genuinely innovative in the way 21st century skills are built into the whole programme”; and the Oxford Learners’ Dictionary of Academic English collected the Innovation in Learner Resources prize.

The Digital Innovation award – presented by English UK Chief Executive Eddie Byers – was claimed by Little Bridge, a multi-platform resource for young learners of English. The judges said it was “an attractive and comprehensive online world of English with lots of fun activities to sustain children’s engagement while learning”.

Other awards winner included: the Talk English project administered by Manchester Adult Education and Manchester City Council to help low-level English speakers engage with the community in the Local Innovation category; Dr Chris Lima for his EAP Shakespeare teaching materials in the Macmillan Education Award for New Talent in Writing; and Life Skills published by Macmillan Education for Innovation in Teacher Resources – an award presented by Jane Dancaster, Principal of Wimbledon School of English.

Henry Widdowson, a leading authority in applied linguistics and communicative language teaching was the recipient of the 2015 British Council Lifetime Achievement Award. Accepting his award, he discussed his goals in closing the gap between theory and practice.

Anna Searle, Director of English Language at the British Council, said, “The diverse range of winning projects and products being recognised highlights the continued and exciting growth of the sector as a whole, as well as celebrating the important achievements and developments within English language teaching.”

She added, “The awards also support the significant growth in global demand for English language teaching, with teachers and learners adopting innovative approaches to language learning in order to respond to the changing needs of learners.”

Host Angela Rippon OBE opened the awards with insights from her 40-year career in journalism and broadcasting as well as a brief experience of teaching English in Kenya that she said demonstrated to her that English represented the key to freedom for many students.

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