Friday 03 June 2016

The world’s best innovation in English Language Teaching (ELT) was celebrated last night in London as the British Council, in collaboration with Cambridge English Language Assessment, announced winners of the international ELTons Awards. 

Now in their fourteenth year, the annual awards, run by the British Council in collaboration with Cambridge English Language Assessment are the only international awards to recognise innovation in English Language Teaching (ELT) globally and are recognised as the most prestigious award in the multi-billion pound global sector.

The winners in six categories celebrating innovation and excellence in English language teaching products, publications and services around the world were announced at a ceremony welcoming representatives and past winners from the UK and global ELT community, at BMA House in London.

Host, Alan Maley, an ELTons Lifetime Achievement Award winner and representatives of organisations across sectors, including Cambridge English Language Assessment, FutureLearn and EnglishUK introduced nominees and welcomed winners to the stage.

Selected by a panel of judges, awards were given for projects that covered active citizenship, language learning through feature-films, activities for teachers in low-resource classrooms across Africa and academic English for international students beginning university. 

The ELTons Awards is also an occasion to recognise those who have made a lasting impact on the English language teaching profession, through the Lifetime Achievement Award. This year’s award recognised the extraordinary career, as well as expertise and integrity of professor, author, researcher and champion of equality, Catherine Walter.

Anna Searle, Director English Language at British Council said:

“All those nominated in last night’s ELTons Awards can be proud for representing the best new innovations in the global English language teaching sector and our congratulations go to the winners. This year’s awards reflect that the English language teaching sector is finding ever more innovative ways to improve English language teaching and learning for today’s global economy. We’ve seen resources addressing the needs of learners and teachers across contexts, from international students in their first year of study to those in low-resource classrooms across Africa, as well as using feature films, TED talks and video in the classroom. 

“A theme emerging is the use of life-changing and personal human stories and authentic voices to enrich students’ skills for work, study and life. Our congratulations go to all the winners. We also give our warmest thanks our main sponsor Cambridge English Language Assessment, for their collaboration, and to Macmillan Education, for sponsorship of the Macmillan Education New Writing Award” said Searle.

Winners of the British Council ELTons Awards for Innovation in English language teaching 2016

  • Excellence in Course Innovation Award


By Paul Dummett, Lewis Lansford and Helen Stephenson

National Geographic Learning with Cengage Learning

Featuring remarkable people communicating passionately and persuasively, TED Talks provide the ELT classroom with inspiring ideas and an unparalleled source of authentic language input. Keynote invites students to explore these life-changing stories and develop a deeper understanding of our world that is underpinned by a carefully designed language syllabus, Keynote enables students to express themselves powerfully and proficiently in English – in their professional and personal lives.

  •  Innovation in Learner Resources Award

 Literacy for Active Citizenship

 By Rose Ades, Tinhinane Cheloul, Ilham Sadi, Nazma Shaheen, Lee Yoon Teng, Valona Renner-Thomas and other contributors

Learning Unlimited Ltd

The Literacy for Active Citizenship graded ESOL/literacy readers were developed as part of the Active Citizenship and English ESOL integration project, led by Learning Unlimited (LU).  ESOL learners / volunteer befrienders wrote original stories about funny, personal and less typical aspects of everyday life in the UK, which were edited by the LU team to create two graded versions of each story; Entry 1 and Entry 2+. Each of the 20 published titles in the series includes key words, comprehension/discussion questions and supporting activities

  •  Innovation in Teacher Resources Award

Digital Video – A manual for language teachers

By Nik Peachey

Peachey Publications

Digital Video is an ebook / manual designed to help teachers develop their digital skills and use video to build online courses or activities for their students. The book mixes text and images with embedded video instruction and focuses on practical examples of how to exploit a range of web based and mobile applications. There are video tutorials and step by step illustrated guides to build teachers' confidence with the technology while the lesson plans and examples demonstrate pedagogical exploitation. The book also tackles how to build technology into more familiar approaches like task based learning, CLIL and blended learning.

  • Digital Innovation Award

Movies – Enjoy Languages

By the ‘Movies team’ of Archimedes Inspiration, a.s.

Archimedes Inspiration a.s.

“Movies for iPad” features film titles that have been adapted into fully-fledged materials for modern foreign language learning. Convenient, fun, interactive and entertaining.

Major benefits:

•Films are translated by our language specialists.

•Original transcript and the translation are arranged into two columns that run simultaneously with the film.

•The original script or translation can be covered at any time.

•It is possible to go back to any line of the script and repeatedly replay it.

•Bilingual audio flashcards: the user can create them easily from the script and use them to practise vocabulary and drill pronunciation.

•Pop up footnotes clarify idioms and cultural elements of the text.

•Grammar and comprehension exercises in the Exercises Part.

•By learning through films, users can improve their vocabulary and pronunciation as well as the ability to understand authentic language.

  • Local Innovation Award

Teaching English in Africa

By Jason Anderson

East African Educational Publishers Ltd.

Teaching English in Africa is a 272-page practical guide for primary and secondary school English language teachers working all over the continent. It focuses on the challenges faced by African teachers and offers practical, proven solutions to assist with all aspects of their work. These include ideas for free or low-cost reusable resources, suggestions for effective teaching with large classes, example lesson plans, over 50 activities, games and songs that require only a chalkboard or paper, and both reflective and practical tasks to help teachers and trainee teachers develop professionally as they use the book.

  • The Macmillan Education Award for New Talent in Writing

Academic English for the 21st Century Learner

By Aylin Graves

This is an academic English textbook series available in two levels for university students who are non-native speakers of English. The first book puts particular emphasis on introducing students to the basics of academic language and skills, while the second book equips them with more advanced skills as they settle into their departmental studies. Together, the two books help students navigate their first year of university. The course is based on the themes and skills that 21st century institutions promote in order to prepare effective citizens for an increasingly complex world.

  • The ELTons Lifetime Achievement Award

Catherine Walter

Catherine Walter is known by many thousands of teachers and students worldwide as a teacher, lecturer and researcher, most recently as University lecturer in Applied Linguistics at the Department of Education and Fellow of Linacre College, University of Oxford and Vice-Principal of Linacre College (until 2015), as well as Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Education, University of London, and at academic and teachers’ conferences in over 30 countries worldwide. She is perhaps most renowned by the global ELT community, as the writer of many significant resources on the bookshelves of classrooms worldwide. These include: The Cambridge English Course, The New Cambridge English Course, The Good Grammar Book and How English Works (co-written with Michael Swan). Over the years, her expertise has been sought by the Bell Educational Trust, the British Publishers Association, the University Council for General and Applied Linguistics and the British Council. Catherine Walter has a passion for equality, holding welfare, equality and equal opportunities positions at the University of Oxford and the Institute of Education. Catherine Walter was also the first female chair of the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL) and then president.


Notes to Editor

For more information, please contact Tim Sowula in the British Council Press Office on +44 (0)207 389 4871 or

Photos available on request.

About the ELTons

The ELTons (British Council Innovation Awards) are offered to outstanding new language learning products and services, and aspiring ELT authors, that use innovative ideas to help learners achieve their goals, or to innovative research which has clear practical benefits for English language teaching. 

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.

We work in more than 100 countries and our 8,000 staff – including 2,000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the arts and delivering education and society programmes.

We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A core publicly-funded grant provides 16 per cent of our turnover which last year was £973 million. The rest of our revenues are earned from services which customers around the world pay for, such as English classes and taking UK examinations, and also through education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and supports prosperity and security for the UK and globally.

For more information, please visit: You can also keep in touch with the British Council through