Category Archives: Education News Story

Claire at the ELTons

On Thursday Claire attended the 2015 ELTons Awards Ceremony at BMA House, London. The ELTons are international awards that recognise and celebrate innovation in ELT, which are run by the British Council and sponsored by Cambridge English Language Assessment. They reward educational resources that help English language learners and teachers to achieve their goals, and are ELT’s version of the Oscars.

The event, which was hosted by the Angela Rippon OBE, was extremely well-attended with the guest list reading like the Who’s Who of ELT. The nominees for the six categories (Excellence on Course Innovation, Innovation in Learner Resources, Innovation in Teacher Resources, Digital Innovation, Local Innovation and The Macmillan Education Award for New Talent in Writing) were exceptional this year.

The final award of the evening was the British Council Lifetime Achievement Award, which is designed to recognise members of the ELT community who have made a major contribution to the field of language learning and teaching. This year’s worthy winner was Henry Widdowson, who is a leading authority in applied linguistics and in communicative language teaching.

Visiting PEP Ethiopia

Here are a few classroom shots I took last week of learners in training rooms at the Ethiopian Ministry of National Defence (EMOND) Peacekeeping Co-ordination Centre in Addis Ababa and at Northern Command in Mekele. It was a very good visit. The British Council and the UK Defence Attaché asked me to look at the progress the PEP project has made since it started in 2008 and to suggest how it might develop in the next few years…

Preparing for South Sudan NGO Mapping Exercise

I’m preparing to leave for South Sudan to conduct a mapping exercise of different NGO initiatives supporting English language training for primary school teachers. There are a number of bodies and agencies involved including the Africa Education Trust, Save the Children, DFID, the Windle Trust, the Norwegian Refugee Council, World Vision International, USAID, the EU and UNICEF. It’ll be a busy couple of weeks…

March 20 Launch for MENA Perspectives collection at the ESU

I’m delighted that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Perspectives collection of research papers I edited will be officially launched at an evening event on 20 March at the English Speaking Union in London. The papers have been produced by both established academics and those at the very beginning of their careers. They were gathered together at a time of enormous upheaval across the MENA Region, but the researchers were still able to tackle a broad range of topics: interfaith dialogue; the influence of English on individuals’ life chances; social inclusion; and English in the workplace. It makes for an interesting read…

The Effect of Conflict on South Sudan’s Education System

Melany Markham’s article describes the challenging background to South Sudan’s education system and to next month’s ‘Language-in-Education’ conference. We have a strong team of presenters from the African Union, British Council, UNICEF, UNESCO and SIL and are looking forward to the official opening at an evening reception on 4 March…

UNESCO, DFID and British Council Agree to Conference Dates

My discussions with officials from the Ministry of Education and senior academics in South Sudan took place against a background of uncertainty last week. However, I was very pleased to be able to secure permission to openly discuss the possibility of reviewing and restructuring the country’s language policy, the length of time mother-tongues and indigenous languages might be used as a medium of instruction at Primary schools and how the Ministry’s polices might be practically implemented over the next 10-15 years. I’m delighted that my clients (British Council, DFID and UNICEF) seem pleased and very happy that UNESCO want to be involved in next month’s international conference on language-in-education that I’m managing…

Working with the SQA on ESOL Qualifications

A very busy few days. I have agreed a framework with the SQA to examine new qualifications for ESOL and Modern Languages at Level 4 and 5 and have been expanding the range of potential presenters for the Juba ‘Language-in-Education’ conference. (Including Dr Adama Ouane [formerly of UNESCO], Professor Sozinho Francisco Matsinhe, the Executive Secretary of the African Academy of Languages [ACALAN] and Professor Ayo Bamgbose, Emeritus Professor at Ibadan University.) And on Sunday I have two weeks in Serbia as part of a review of the MOD’s English language teaching and training strategy…