This year marks 20 years of the British Council ELTons Awards, the only international awards for innovation in English language teaching. Throughout 2022, the anniversary celebrations will honour innovators past and present. We'll take the chance to look back at the trends which have shaped our industry in recent decades and look ahead to the innovations of the future.
Each year, the British Council’s ELTons awards for innovation in English language education celebrate the most original courses, publications, projects, apps and platforms that are finding new ways to help English language learners and teachers around the world achieve their goals.
In the last two years, professionals in the global English language teaching community have shown extraordinary resourcefulness, finding ways to limit the disruption to learners’ education, at an unparalleled pace. The ELTons 2022 is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate teams and individuals innovating against the odds.
Read about all of the finalists in the five different categories for this year's awards below.
Innovation in learner resources
CNA - Cultural Norte Americano with Base B Editorial (Brazil)
In an immersive, extracurricular, and exclusive experience for learners aged between 6 and 12 years old, CNA Labs offers students the opportunity to develop linguistic and socioemotional competencies through projects, collaboration, and play. With a great focus on active learning and modern teaching approaches, students are at the core of their learning experience and are encouraged to explore and come up with creative and innovative solutions for real-life problems, learning more about the world around them and how they can contribute to make it a better place to live in. By interacting with peers from different age ranges, learners will develop collaboration, empathy, and critical thinking, getting better prepared for the challenges they might encounter in their lives.
Find out more about CNA Labs
Father and Son
BBC Learning English (United Kingdom)
Father and Son is a gritty TV-style whodunnit. The primary hook is its plot, but the series has been designed to maximise its educational potential. Episodes are divided into easily digestible bite-sized chunks. A weekly round-up programme for comments and speculation encourages audience interaction and conversation. Features and interviews provide a focus on the various roles in drama production. And stylishly designed PDF worksheets give learners a proper language workout.
“Seems to me like a Netflix series, plus it’s teaching me English, and that is why I’m watching it.”
Find out more about Father and Son
Helbling Shakespeare Series
Helbling Languages (Austria)
The Helbling Shakespeare Series is an exciting series that puts the Bard’s words centre stage.
Bring Shakespeare’s most famous plays to your class with this innovative series.
Each play is presented through eight key scenes in Shakespeare’s original language with a special focus on performance. Ideal for classwork and individual reading.
- Original annotated text with parallel modern text
- Understand and analyse sections with a focus on language and meaning
- Vocabulary expansion pages with online worksheets
- Cultural spreads with background information and project work
- ‘From reading to performing’ sections that explore all aspects of drama
- Exam preparation Fully dramatised audios of all scenes
- Videos of class performances and video lessons with step-by-step instructions on how to prepare the class for performing
- Cyber homework, worksheets, extra audios, templates and easy-to-read scripts on e-zone (Helbling’s LMS platform).
Find out more about Helbling Shakespeare Series
Helping Mother Nature Compost Faster: Using Chemistry to Transform Trash Into Treasure
Y.L.Teresa Ting and Lucia Stillo (University of Calabria) with Giuseppina (Giusy) Barci (Instituto Comprensivo Zumbini, Cosenza) (Italy)
If you don’t eat everything you cook, avoid dark-brown bananas, hate eggshells, you produce food waste. Although Nature transforms food waste into nutrients plants love composting takes weeks: too long to eliminate mountains of urban food waste. Incinerating or dumping food waste into landfills generates toxic gases that increase global warming.
Recently, university researchers found a way to accelerate composting, from weeks to only 8 hours!
“Helping Mother Nature Compost Faster: Using Chemistry to Transform Trash Into Treasure” is a CLIL-Project-Pack helping secondary-level students enter the problem-solving mindset of real-life university-level researchers, to re-live their discovery of “accelerated composting”.
CLIL-tasks fill super-sized Project-Pages (30x30cm). After finishing on-the-page tasks, QR-CODES link students to online tasks. Task by task, students gain B1-level English academic proficiency (and confidence) and also assimilate the cognitive and academic skills and literacies STEM researchers use when solving problems.
“Helping Mother Nature” goes beyond “using chemistry to turn trash into treasure”: it’s also about “using English to gain academic success and social agency.”
Find out more about Helping Mother Nature Compost Faster: Using Chemistry to Transform Trash Into Treasure
National Geographic Learning, Cengage Learning EMEA Ltd with Empatico (UK, USA)
Language, literacy and content for continued academic success in English.
Lift prepares multilingual teenagers with the academic language and literacy skills they need to study cross-curricular subjects and literature from around the world, participate in academic discussions, and apply themselves in and out of the classroom.
Guided explorations of literature and nonfiction, supported by stories told through photography and video, help learners make connections across disciplines.
A structured approach to skill-building, including textual analysis, close reading, and research, trains students for continued academic success in English.
Academic speaking and writing practice in every lesson prepares learners to make valuable contributions in the classroom.
Service-learning projects, inspired by the work of National Geographic Explorers, encourage learners to make a difference in their school, their community, and the world.
Digital teaching and learning tools hosted on the Online Practice platform help teachers plan, prepare, teach, and assess their classes.
Find out more about Lift
Speakout for Sustainability
Pearson English with BBC Studios (United Kingdom)
Communication can change the world – and being able to speak the same language can change lives.
Speak Out for Sustainability is a Pearson and BBC Studios project that gives learners and educators the opportunity to participate in a worldwide project designed to raise awareness and inspire interaction around key themes such as reducing our carbon footprint, avoiding water waste and combating deforestation.
With the environment being such a large focus of the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals, the Speak Out for Sustainability project offers an engaging learning journey through five environmental themes. It can help your lessons have a greener focus, helping students and teachers become more aware of sustainability and the climate emergency.
Find out more about Speakout for Sustainability
Innovation in Teacher Resources
An Introduction to Evidence-Based Teaching in the English Language Classroom: Theory and Practice
Pavilion ELT at Pavilion Publishing and Media (United Kingdom)
Does the evidence support common teaching strategies and practices? And how can teachers and trainee teachers actually examine what works in teaching? An Introduction to Evidence-Based Teaching in the English Language Classroom, a practical and accessible handbook in the Teaching English series from Pavilion ELT, defines evidence-based teaching, examines research findings on a variety of evidence-based teaching strategies and considers how they might apply to the teaching and learning of English language. It offers accessible research alongside tasks to try, plus concrete examples and activities from the field of ELT. The book is designed to be a supplement to any initial or in-service teacher education course as well as for teachers at any level who are interested in evidence-based teaching in English language classes. Available as both a paperback and a Kindle eBook, this 290-page book is accessible for teachers, teacher trainers and trainee teachers across the world.
Find out more about An Introduction to Evidence-Based Teaching in the English Language Classroom: Theory and Practice'
Breaking Through the Screen: Practical Tips for Engaging Learners in the Online and Blended Classroom
National Geographic Learning, Cengage Learning EMEA Ltd. (United Kingdom)
Through an exploration of real online teaching and learning moments from around the world, National Geographic Learning´s professional development title Breaking Through the Screen offers practical tips for engaging learners in the online classroom. In each chapter, authors Joan Kang Shin and Jered Borup connect theory to practice as they share strategies for making online and blended learning relevant and effective. Topics include content creation and curation, creating informative assessment opportunities, delivering feedback effectively, and the importance of building an online learning community.
Teachers of students at all levels with a range of teaching experience and comfort levels with online instruction will develop their ability to lead engaging and innovative English language lessons online with Breaking Through the Screen.
Find out more about Breaking Through the Screen: Practical Tips for Engaging Learners in the Online and Blended Classroom
English is Context
DELTA Publishing (Germany)
English is Context by Andreas Grundtvig, was inspired by Geoffrey Leech’s “Principles of Pragmatics”. In an eye-opening workshop on the idea of “how utterances have meaning in situations”, the author found the key to the one question that concerned him most as a teacher: how could he help his students when they had learnt the words, the meaning and place in a sentence, but didn’t know how these words behaved in context. And this is how English is Context started.
The book is divided into three distinctive parts – A, B and C covering theory, practice and development of pragmatics in the ELT classroom. It provides a wealth of resources to help learners understand how language is used in context.
English is Context is as enjoyable to read as it will be enjoyable to teach. It is amusing yet authoritative; provocative yet without causing offence; whimsical yet well-documented; personal yet eminently practical.
Find out more about English is Context
Ideas in Action: Activities for Mediation
DELTA Publishing (Germany)
Activities for Mediation provides language teachers with a solid grounding in the theory of mediation, as defined in the latest update to the CEFR, as well as a wide variety of mediation tasks with clear aims and staging. This book aims to show not only why mediation is an important element in any 21st-century language classroom, but how to actually integrate it in your teaching immediately.
Find out more about Ideas in Action: Activities for Mediation
Psychology in practice
Helbling Languages (Austria)
This innovative book focuses on how to integrate an understanding of psychology into the everyday practice of language teaching in a sustainable way. It clearly lays out what concrete steps teachers can take to promote the positive beliefs, emotions, and attitudes that lead to successful language learning, whilst remaining mindful of the uniqueness and complexity of the individuals within their classes. Enhancing student psychology alongside their language skills is not only beneficial for their learning in the present but equips them with transferable life skills which will be of value and relevance in life more broadly. As such, this book of activities also meets contemporary calls for materials to address global and transversal skills in the ELT context.
Find out more about Psychology in practice
Excellence in Course Innovation
University of Dayton Publishing (Mexico)
Brain Juice is a 6-level primary course that supports students in their understanding of the world and the role they play in it as they become competent users of English. Through Brain Juice, children have the opportunity to be the change they want to see in the world; this is achieved by focuses on equality, diversity and inclusion, and on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the UNICEF Global Framework on Transferable Skills, both of which help children to develop the twenty-first-century skills they will need to thrive on the global scene. In this way, English becomes a bridge between local and global scenarios and helps children see their place in the world.
Find out more about Brain Juice
English Experience - Richmond Solution
English Experience - Richmond Solution offers students and teachers solutions that are well-founded and built on state-of-the-art pedagogies for a whole education, intertwining analogue and digital practices that empower students to become protagonists of their own learning.
English Experience’s main goal is to foster students’ whole education through language learning so that they can communicate effectively as they become better-equipped citizens.
We believe teachers can change the world through the achievements of their students.
Teaching English makes it possible to help students become better communicators, more critical citizens, more sensitive human beings, and more engaged individuals.
Find out more about English Experience - Richmond Solution
May Moo and Me
StandFor/FTD Educação (Brazil)
May Moo and Me provides pre-primary learners with hands-on, self-directed learning experiences in English. With a focus on the whole child, it seeks to develop students’ emotional well-being together with cognitive learning, encouraging confidence as they adjust to the school setting. Problem-solving, curiosity, and engagement of the senses serve as the catalyst for language learning, as each lesson is a story that invites learners to take on an active role.
Building on topics that are relevant to young learners, while playfully introducing natural, communicative language, each unit provides various opportunities for learners to express themselves. Among these are age-appropriate science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) and maker projects, pre-literacy activities, as well as plenty of play-based exploration.
Find out more about May Moo and Me
Oxford University Press (United Kingdom)
Transform your classroom into a collaborative learning environment with Synchronize. Students learn more than language as they create projects following manageable step-by-step tasks in each unit to achieve real, practical outcomes.
Students can personalise their learning through Project Builder and Project Log activities.Content-rich videos provide realistic language models and encourage engagement with learning. The digital Active Learning Kit helps students become autonomous learners and develop digital competence with gamified interactive practice. The Workbook has an innovative 2-in-1 format with a Project Log accessed from the back of the book. It provides a unique, fun and creative space for learners to develop ideas, celebrate success, reflect on their projects, and evaluate areas for development. Mediation activities facilitate communication and enhance understanding. Continuous assessment provides regular opportunities to informally check students’ progress, along with formal assessment via the Test Generator and iProgress Check.
Find out more about Synchronize
TransFor.Me Kids series
EXP Educational Intelligence with Macmillan Education Brazil, Kenver Publishing, Desenho Editorial and buld Inc (Brazil, USA)
The TransFor.Me series is based on the concept of creative trust. It is assumed that everyone can develop their creativity, especially when they overcome the fear of making mistakes and are able to turn their ideas into actions. We believe that the learner must be the protagonist of their own learning journey from an early age. They need the time and space to discover their talents, abilities and their values and beliefs that move them. TransFor.Me Kids focuses on this self-awareness so that students can naturally and easily create, contribute and connect with themselves and others. It has the dual focus of supporting students with developing language and real-world contextual skills so they become problem solvers ready to thrive in class and in any future that comes. Designed to refocus Education towards the unique and organic “human intelligences” that technology can’t replace and which students already bring with them.
Find out more about TransFor.Me Kids series
Keningau Vocational College with Macmillan Education and International House World Organisation (Malaysia, UK).
Dau Dau is a project that seeks to integrate all types of arts, particularly performing, literary, and visual arts to provide English language learners with a variety of options to develop their artistic talents, pursue their interests and create their own masterpieces. We guide and support students by providing them with the means, the strategies, and the platforms to showcase their work such as performing at art and literary festivals as well as publishing their work in magazines. We seek to revive folklore by getting the students to discover more about their cultural backgrounds and origins, learn to understand them better and reimagine folklore through their work. We offer alternatives for special needs learners to give them the proper support to partake in art activities such as sign language poetry and animated storytelling. We uphold inclusivity, diversity, and equality. Ultimately, we seek to create an accepting learning environment.
Find out more about Dau Dau
Classroom Practices: English as a lingua franca
StandFor / FTD Educação (Brazil)
The fact that English is the global language of communication is undeniable. However, how can teachers get to know more about how this fact affects their teaching? Find out more about what English as a Lingua Franca is and how you can become more aware of this trend in English Language Teaching by incorporating a more ELF-aware perspective in your classroom to give voice to your students’ own Englishes.
Find out more about Classroom Practices: English as a lingua franca
Famous Talking Portraits Museum
Mary Doulgeri (Greece)
A year-round project which resulted in the creation of an unusual Museum, where portraits can actually speak and reveal all the juicy information about themselves, was carried out with the 6th graders of the Primary School of Nea Potidaia. Cross-curricular activities (requiring the contribution of the English Language, Art and Technology) and collaborative work among students were essential elements of this successful recipe! The multiple benefits in regards to students' creativity, confidence and motivation are showcased in the exhibits of our Famous Talking Portraits Museum.
Find out more about Famous Talking Portraits Museum
Learning Unlimited with Fotosynthesis (United Kingdom)
Picture This! is a participatory photography and ESOL programme, developed and delivered as part of the Greater London Authority’s ESOL Plus Arts programme 20/21. Picture This! brings participatory photography into the ESOL classroom to support and enhance language learning, particularly for those with barriers to accessing formal ESOL provision. The process encourages and facilitates meaningful discussion, and enables participants to develop their skills and confidence, including photography and creative and descriptive writing skills.
The Picture This! team created and piloted two courses delivered online culminating in an online exhibition, a book of participants’ work and a free downloadable toolkit for ESOL practitioners with top tips and activity ideas. These resources can also be used to support teacher training.
Find out more about Picture This!
Project W - Veterans, Volunteers and William
Igor Kasian with The Ivano-Frankivsk National Drama Theatre and the British Embassy in Kyiv (Ukraine)
Project W - Veterans, Volunteers and William was devised as a drama and theatre project to help veterans of the first Ukrainian/Russian conflict (2014). Volunteer soldiers returning from the traumatic war in the east of the country came together to stage a performance of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. With the help of a Ukrainian professional theatre director and a UK-based ELT drama expert, the play was successfully performed in 2019 and 2020. In January 2022, the team reconvened to make plans to work together again, with the intention of staging more plays, but the Russian invasion put a stop to that idea.
This is not a product for sale, it's an idea that could be recreated in other places and situations to help people to find help from drama therapy.
Find out more about Project W - Veterans, Volunteers and Willian
We are authors of our own stories!: Building collaborative spaces for teachers’ development
Tacna English Language Teachers' network (REDIT) with RPC Editores Académicos EIRL (Peru)
Teaching English in secondary education in public schools can be a very demanding job since teachers deal with national policies, local policies, and learners’ motivations or needs. Additionally, the curation, adaptation or creation of educational material that makes sense to our pedagogical projects needs special attention. In the face of this puzzle, teacher collaboration and networking play a fundamental role in interweaving all these factors efficiently. And not just that. Our community of learning also finds ways for teacher expression to create a better place for us to live in. Tacna English Language Teachers’ Network (REDIT) is engaged with a Peruvian quality education.
Find out more about We are authors of our own stories!
- Digital Innovation
Aylee Learns English
Mindojo (Israel, Ukraine, Russia, Azerbaijan, the United States, Italy and more)
Aylee Learns English is an innovative, AI-driven solution to the demands of the language learning market.
We believe we are making the first highly effective and affordable ESL learning app for kids: a platform of sophisticated educational mini-games.
Mindojo taps into AI to achieve a deep level of personalization previously not possible, using its machine learning algorithms to provide a curated, gamified learning experience that adapts to the individual learner’s needs and abilities.
Find out more about Aylee Learns English
EF Hyper Class
EF Education First (UK)
Hyper Class is the online classroom of the future.
It transports students through immersive virtual environments and collaborative live experiences to simulate real-life communication and build confidence with the use of language.
We empower our teachers with their own virtual production studio, to help focus and guide students’ attention, react to and target learning needs and create seamless dynamic learning experiences.
Find out more about EF Hyper Class
Talk@Ease mobile app
Digital Language Solutions Ltd. (Hungary)
Have you been studying English for a while but are still unable to speak it?
Practice English speaking with British and American conversation partners in life-like scenarios with the use of AI, speech recognition and voice control technology. Voice-command-enabled exercises help you improve your English speaking skills even while your hands are busy and you can’t look at the screen.
Gain a valuable conversational routine with our unique TALKBOT and speak English with confidence!
Find the Talk@Ease app in the App Store and Play Store or via www.talkatease.com
The Prime Machine HD
Stephen Jeaco with Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (China)
The Prime Machine HD is a free app for English language learning, teaching and research. It runs on iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows and macOS. It gives students and teachers access to multitudes of corpus examples that are organised and presented to make patterns of usage clear.
With tPM you can:
- Get hundreds of examples for words and phrases and view them on your phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer;
- See how synonyms and related words are used differently;
- See frequency data and collocations;
- Play guess-the-missing-word games to build your knowledge of words and collocations;
- Use corpus examples for assignments, research or data-driven learning worksheets;
- Analyse a sentence, a text or a collection of texts using the DIY Text Tools.
It is available from the App Store, the Microsoft Store, Google Play and from www.theprimemachine.net.
On the website, there are free guides totalling 100 pages to use and adapt.
Virtual Reality for Language Learners (VR4LL)
Molehill Holdings SLU with Jantar, IH Split, IH Bucharest, IH Sofia, Dante (Spain, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria)
“The best English lesson I’ve ever had” is the sort of user recommendation we’re all looking for.
In this case, the statement was made by an adolescent student from Pisa, Italy, who had just spent part of his lesson repairing a communications antenna on a space station in one of our virtual worlds. But he wasn’t working alone. He was guided by his classmates who were providing him with instructions, and who could see exactly what he was seeing, thanks to a simple casting device. Other virtual worlds we have created include a desert island, a city in ancient Rome, and an ice world. Comprehensive teacher’s notes explain how the technology works, and include suggestions on how tasks can be exploited to obtain a range of different language outcomes. The only investment needed is one Oculus headset. The VR materials and teacher’s notes are available free of charge.
Find out more about Virtual Reality for Language Learners (VR4LL)