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