19 Award-Winning English Language Teaching Innovations

“The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, what the world needs most are dreamers that do.”

—Sarah Ban Breathnach

The ELTons are highly regarded international awards that have been recognizing innovation in English Language Teaching (ELT) for 16 years. Each November, innovators are invited to submit their projects and products for consideration in five separate categories: Excellence in Course Innovation, Innovation in Learner Resources, Innovation in Teacher Resources, Digital Innovation, and Local Innovation. The submissions are judged by a panel of experts in the field of English language teaching.

In March, the shortlisted projects and products are announced and the project contributors are invited to the awards ceremony, which takes place in London in June. In addition to announcing the winners, the British Council Lifetime Achievement award is given. The blue carpet event is live streamed for anyone to watchvonline.

Find out about the 2018 nominees here. We wish them all good luck! Follow @BCELTons or the #ELTons hashtag on Twitter to find out when the event is live streamed.

Below, discover a list of past winners that provide teachers with free resources.

Excellence in Course Innovation

Students for Peace (2017)

View a digital version of the first of its four English series, which helps secondary school students develop English fluency and skills to promote peace and tolerance.

Dyslexia for Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (2014)

This free online self-study course is 10 units and covers 4 main topics: understanding dyslexia, understanding the effect of dyslexia on learning, classroom management and teaching techniques, and assessment.

Innovation in Learner Resources

Develop EAP: A Sustainable Academic English Skills Course (2017)

This is a free course for university students based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Download a free PDF of the course booklet and a file to upload to Moodle with a variety of assessment tools and engaging activities that develop students’ academic skills as they reflect on their role as responsible global citizens.

Literacy for Active Citizenship (2016)

Learning Unlimited is a not-for-profit organization that provides books and resources to ESOL teachers, programs, and communities with a focus on adult and family learning and literacy. Some of the resources include: the Parents’ integration through Partnership (PIP) Toolkit, PIP into the Kitchen (a collection of over 20 recipes from 12 countries), Family Learning in Prisons – A Complete Guide, and Maths4Us (three  online courses to help adults manage money better and support their children with math).

Sounds: The Pronunciation App (2012)

This was the first app to win an ELTon. It is available for iOS and Android devices. The free version provides access to the Interactive Phonemic Chart in British and American English.

Innovation in Teacher Resources

Tigtag CLIL (2017)

Teachers can access one free science and geography lesson about various materials, their composition, and their uses. The lesson is complete with short film clips, learning objectives, a glossary, a word bank, description of instructional strategies, and engaging activities. The online digital lessons are based on the CLIL approach and aimed at learners ages 7 to 11.

Digital Video – A Manual for Language Teachers by Nik Peachey (2016)

The digital book is available at a very low price and Nik Peachey offers several free resources, lesson plans, activities and valuable information for teachers integrating technology on his various blogs.

Life Skills (2015)

Find several lesson plans for adult learners to download on a variety of topics, such as social skills, critical thinking, networking, time management, cultural awareness, and study skills.

Film English by Kieran Donaghy (2013)

Find several lesson plans and activities based on film clips.

Teacher Training Videos by Russell Stannard (2010)

Features screencasts and tutorials for teachers to introduce them to various free web tools and apps to teach English learners.

Lesson Stream by Jamie Keddie (2009)

Previously called TEFLClips. This website provides tons of free lesson plans based on engaging YouTube videos for English learners of various levels and ages.

Digital Innovation

Text Inspector (2017)

Analyze up to 250 words of an English text you want to use with learners for free. Just copy and paste the text into the website’s box and a score will be given as well as statistics and information about the difficulty and level.

Mooveez iOS/Android App (2016)

Learn English with famous movies and documentaries. Scripts and subtitles are provided along with grammar exercises. You can also create audio flashcards based on the movie.

Little Bridge (2015)

The free basic account allows teachers to create 20 student accounts. Little Bridge is an online platform where children worldwide, ages 6 to 12, meet others in a virtual English speaking community. Children play games and complete activities to improve their English and learn how to respect and communicate with learners of different cultures.

Cool Speech by Richard Cauldwell (2013)

Find lesson plans, recordings, and other resources to help instructors teach listening and pronunciation more effectively.

Mary Glasgow’s Magazines (2009)

Find print, audio, and video resources to help teens learn grammar, speaking, pronunciation, listening, reading, and writing.

The Macmillan Education Award for New Talent in Writing

Academic English for the 21st Century Learner by Aylin Graves (2016)

Find free pdfs of several of the lesson plans from the book to enhance students’ Academic English.

EAP Shakespeare by Dr. Chris Lima (2015)

Find free pdfs of lesson plans to help students learn Academic English and about Shakespeare and his famous writings.

Compass by Lizzie Pinard (2014)

Find free pdfs of lesson plans for upper-intermediate adults. Each of the 12 one-and-a-half-hour lessons complement each other and focus on culture.

What other important English Language Teaching Awards do you know about that recognize the incredible contributions to our field?

Our contributing writer Shelly Terrell has attended two ELTons ceremonies for the shortlisted projects she co-organized, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. If you want to receive more of Shelly’s tips for online resources for teaching English, check out her other ESL Library posts!


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