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Here you can find detailed descriptions of each award category, including the Judges' Special Commendations. 

The judges will evaluate the awards based on innovation and functionality, and the category descriptions below. They will consider the potential for significant reach and impact of the materials, and the potential impact of the innovation on the future of English language teaching/learning and the wider ELT market.

English teaching and learning is considered to be the teaching and learning of students where English is not their first language, and therefore includes categories often referred to as EFL, ESL, TESOL, and EME/EMI.

The examples accompanying the descriptors below are not intended to be exhaustive. They are examples of the types of innovations that could be submitted. We encourage applications for a wide variety of products and services that may belong to a category.

Excellence in Course Innovation

This award recognises innovation in English Language courses. Typically, applications in this category will possess some or all of these features:

  • Learner materials and teacher guides.
  • Supplementary or practice materials.
  • Audio, video and/or online support materials.
  • Formats may be books, and/or printed and/or online materials.
  • Multi-level materials.

Innovation in Learner Resources

This award recognises innovation in any product or service across any media intended for learners, which can be used as self-access or as in-class material. It is not intended that complete courses will be included in this category, rather it might include products and services such as:

  • Supplementary materials (extended reading materials, vocabulary or grammar support etc). Formats may be printed or available online.
  • Specialist materials (products and services for specialist groups such as specific professions, students with specific academic goals, examination preparation etc).
  • Services or activities designed to improve learners’ English through self-access. 
  • Individual skills support (products and services intended to develop speaking, listening, reading or writing skills, or fluency, or core skills).
  • Works of reference intended for learners (such as dictionaries, grammars etc).

Innovation in Teacher Resources

This award recognises innovation in products or services aimed at developing and supporting English language teachers and might include:

  • Training courses and materials intended specifically for teachers (they can be in any format, printed, audio, video, digital, online).
  • Works of reference intended for teachers (such as reference grammars etc).
  • Education or development services or materials (intended to promote in-service development or enhanced knowledge or skills).
  • Materials banks (online resources including downloadable activities etc).

Innovation in the Use of Technology 

This award is intended to recognise innovative uses of technology in a product or service that enhances English language learning or teaching. This may include:

  • English language learning and teaching products and services which use new technological innovations, e.g. artificial intelligence, gamification, learning analytics, predictive learning, Virtual Reality (VR)/Augmented Reality (AR) etc. 
  • English language learning and teaching products or services which make new or original use of more established technologies, e.g. apps, platforms, video assisted learning, social media etc. 

Local Innovation

This award is intended to recognise innovation in creating learner or teacher solutions to meet a specific local need. 

It recognises and rewards the use of initiative and resource in restricted, trying or limited circumstances beyond the writers’ control, and which can make a significant contribution to overcoming these difficulties. 

It is for innovation within a specific local context which are developed at a local, national or regional level. 

Examples might include:

  • Development of local networks intended to promote teacher or learner development.
  • Development of localised materials or syllabuses.
  • Use of specialist materials or techniques to overcome local difficulties such as a shortage of specialist English language teachers.
  • Innovative use of technologies to overcome geographical problems in keeping teachers and learners in contact with each other and with support agencies.

The British Council reserves the right to change the category of a submission where award administrators deem appropriate. You will be advised of any changes.

ELTons Judges’ Special Commendations

If you've entered your innovation for one of the main award categories above, you can also choose to be considered for three special commendations.

Find out more about the Judges’ Special Commendations.