ELTons 2015

Receiving the 2015 British Council Macmillan Education Award for New Talent in Writing for the EAP Shakespeare materials I developed for the University of Leicester was something very special indeed. I started developing these materials two years ago and, through an ongoing process of designing, piloting, and editing over this period of time, I saw them growing from a collection of lessons to a set of coherent and organic course materials that form the basis of the two credit bearing courses delivered at the ELTU to students in the Erasmus and Study Abroad programmes. I hope it will inspire other teachers to bring to their students drama, prose fiction and poetry in order to develop their reading skills and trigger reflection, critical thinking and meaningful discussions.

EAP Shakespeare is a set of classroom teaching materials based on Shakespeare’s plays in which I try to explore the texts from both literary and linguistic perspectives. The materials were designed having in mind a hybrid approach to Shakespeare that should reflect the needs and interests of my students: mostly Europeans and Korean learners doing a wide range of undergraduate courses, from literature to TESOL to management. When I designed the materials, my major concern was to help my students better understand and creatively engage with Shakespearean texts at the same time that they develop their academic reading and writing skills, critical thinking, and language awareness.

The entries for the ELTons are judged by a panel of independent ELT expert and I was very pleased with their comments when they said that the materials constituted ‘a detailed, thoughtful course making Shakespeare’s works fresh, appealing and relevant to high-level English language learners.’ Apart from the thrill of winning such prestigious award, I am particularly happy because this was given to a course that brings literature into EAP. There is still considerable resistance from some professionals to the idea of including literature in academic English courses. I hope this award will serve as evidence that it is possible to bring together literature, language and academic content in meaningful and innovative ways in order to provide high standards of tuition to international students.

I am very thankful to the British Council and Macmillan for the award. It means a lot to me. It means recognition from my peers in the ELT industry for the work I have been doing in the field of literature and language.

Thanks to my colleagues at the ELTU, especially to Jock McPherson, the Erasmus Programme Coordinator, and Phil Horspool, the ELTU Director, for their incredible support and for giving me freedom to put my ideas in practice. For me, bringing an ELTon to the University of Leicester also means achieving public recognition for the high quality work developed in our department.

My very special thanks to all my students for responding so well to the courses. Without their participation, feedback, and participation in the process, I would not have been able to develop the materials to the stage they are now. Thank you guys!

Thanks to Eduardo, my son, for his suggestions, feedback, constructive criticism, and for his generosity in letting me include some of his own writing in the materials.

And of course, thanks Will!!

The English Language Teaching Innovation Awards (ELTons) are the only international awards that recognise and celebrate innovation in English language teaching. They reward educational resources that help English language learners and teachers to achieve their goals.

The 2015 ELTons Awards ceremony took place on Thursday 4 June in London at Tavistock House and was attended by key names in the ELT industry, including materials writers, scholars and researchers in the fields of education, linguistics and literature, publishers, representatives of UK universities, and educational authorities. The Awards ceremony was hosted by Angela Rippon, OBE.

For more on the ELTons, please visit http://englishagenda.britishcouncil.org/eltons


LMCS Events at Manchester 2015

There are currently fifteen Special Interest Groups (SIGs) at IATEFL covering a wide range of specific aspects in the field of English language teaching and learning. One of these is the Literature, Media and Cultural Studies SIG (LMCS) and, as a member and current coordinator, I am proud to say that our PCE and SIG Days were some of the best things of the whole 2015 Conference. You may rightly think I am biased – I certainly am. However, this is not only my opinion but one expressed by a number of speakers and delegates at the conference.

I would like to publicly thank everyone involved in the organization of these two events, starting with the members of our SIG Committee (Alan Pulverness, Amos Paran, Carel Burghout, Christien van Gool, Dario Banegas, and Heather Doiron) for all the commitment and good work. Thanks also to our previous coordinator, David A. Hill, who originally had the idea of having a PCE on poetry in the classroom. Thanks for inspiring us David!

Thanks to all our guest-speakers and friends who presented at the PCE: Alan Maley, Carol Read, Claudia Ferradas, Haria Bociek, and Jeremy Harmer. The event was only possible due to your generosity and if we received such amount of positive feedback, this was because of the brilliance of everyone’s presentations, including those of given by some of our committee members.

Thanks to the speakers who presented at our SIG Day for having chosen to include your talks and workshops in our SIG programme: Sandie Mourao, Benjamin Dobbs, Jennifer Schumm Fauster, Alan Maley, Inas Kotby, and Lisa Peter. You added diversity, inspiration and meaningful content to our SIG Day.

My heartfelt thanks to all delegates who attended the presentations on both days. Your participation, contribution to the discussions, and enthusiasm was contagious and helped make the events the real success they were.

Last but not least, thanks to everyone at IATEFL Office for the support. Very special thanks to Eleanor Broadbridge, the IATEFL SIGs & General Administrator, for her incredible hard work and even more incredible patience.

If you are an LMCS SIG member you will be receiving our Newsletter with the write-ups of the conference presentations. The next issue will focus on the PCE and the following one will be dedicated to the SIG Day. If you not a member yet, please do contact IATEFL to join the LMCS.