Tuesday 11 June 2019


The British Council ELTons awards for innovation in English language and teaching last night recognised the impact of writer and broadcaster Professor David Crystal. Alongside him winners included a chat bot for improving grammar, a playwriting project for young Palestinians and an internship simulation that challenges learners with working in a start-up.

Professor Crystal has been described as a legendary figure, with Stephen Fry praising him as “one of the shining voices in the world of linguistics”. Novelist Michael Rosen presented him with the Outstanding Achievement award.  

The independent judging panel selected the five category winners from a highly competitive field of 26 finalists. The awards’ 17th year drew 150 entries from 45 countries. Entries ranged from original courses and new apps to projects directly supporting English language teachers and learners.

Mark Robson, British Council Director English and Examinations said:

“The ELTons show that English language teaching, learning and assessment is genuinely global, and increasingly digital. Many of the winners and finalists teach essential life skills for international working and collaboration, through on-demand learning that fits into learners’ lives. We also see much-needed projects that help bridge educational inequality.”

The ceremony brought together more than 300 industry leaders in language resources, hosted by poet and writer Dr Benjamin Zephaniah at the Institute of Engineering and Technology in London.  

Winners and finalists of the British Council ELTons Innovation Awards 2019

The Award for Digital Innovation

Winner: Go Correct, Big Languages (Free UA)

A messenger-based chat bot gives adult students a simple way to practice speaking or writing English every day.


EF Immersion Challenge – EF Education First Limited

FlashAcademy® EAL – FlashAcademy® (Learning Labs Ltd)

Laureate English Level 1 and Level 2 Simulations – Laureate Education with Alelo Inc.

Undercover English – BBC Learning English


The Award for Local Innovation in partnership with Cambridge Assessment English

Winner: Hands Up Project, The Hands Up Project with United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine in the Near East (UNRWA)

Competition for children and young people in Palestine aged 15 or under to write and perform an original play in English.


Cambridge Natural Science and Cambridge Social Science - Cambridge University Press

ESOL Stepping Stones - The ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development (LuCiD)

Improving Language, Improving Lives: Resources for ESOL Tutors - The Bell Foundation with Learning and Work Institute, De Montfort University

Teach for Change Nigeria - Teach for Change Nigeria (TFCN) with iSERVE2050


The Award for Excellence in Course Innovation

Winner: Widgets Inc., Atama-ii Books

Students simulate being interns at an exciting new start-up where they work together to complete a series of challenges.


COMPASS - Richmond Publishing, S.A. de C.V.

FUTURE SUCCESS - Capital School of English

LB170 Communication Skills for Business and Management (LB170) School of Languages and Applied Linguistics - The Open University UK

On Task - Abax Ltd


The Award for Innovation in Learner Resources

Winner: Ready to Run, Digital Learning Associates ltd

Video-based learning materials for English language teaching, making the best of broadcast, vloggers, and other media through a single platform.


English in a Minute – BBC Learning English

Falar (inglês) é Fácil – Contraponto editors with Cristina Ferreira, English Exam Centre, and Cambridge Assessment English

Pearson English Readers, Marvel series – Pearson English

Stories Without End – Alphabet Publishing


The Award for Innovation in Teacher Resources

Winner: Teaching English Online, Cambridge Assessment English

A course offering the digital tools and resources to design and deliver effective online English lessons. 


A Syllabus for ListeningDecoding – Richard Cauldwell

Teaching and Developing Reading Skills - Cambridge University Press

Teacher Development Over Time - Routledge

The Ultimate Guide to Teaching English as a Lingua Franca for ELT Professionals - TEFL Equity Advocates & Academy

Understanding Teenagers in the ELT Classroom - Pavilion Publishing and Media


The Outstanding Achievement Award: Professor David Crystal OBE

Professor David Crystal is one of the world’s foremost experts on the English language. He is an enormous influence on English language teachers and learners worldwide. His work spans writing, research, talks, lectures, and radio and television broadcasts. 

Notes to Editor

For more information, please contact Amber Mezbourian: 

Amber.Mezbourian@britishcouncil.org  / +44 (02)07 389 4397.

Read more about the 2019 ELTons winners.



About the ELTons

The ELTons Awards for innovation in English language teaching are the British Council's own international awards. Now in their seventeenth year, the ELTons aim to find the latest, most original ways to learn and teach English from around the world, with awards for courses, resources for teachers and learners, digital innovation and for projects which bridge educational inequality: https://englishagenda.britishcouncil.org/events/eltons-innovation-awards

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 75 million people directly and 758 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.