Sparkling English nets chic rewards

March 28, 2003

It may not have been the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, but at least they rolled out the red carpet.

The Eltons were billed as the "Oscars for the English-teaching world" by the British Council, which launched the awards at a glitzy gala dinner dance in London last Thursday.

A multimedia course from the BBC to help children learn English through the dance moves of pop group S Club and a videoconferencing link between students in Japan and Leeds Metropolitan University were on the shortlist for the English Language Teaching Innovation awards.

Other hopefuls included a self-study CD-Rom from Anglia Polytechnic University, a study of how non-native speakers pronounced English from Oxford University Press, and a resource book for teachers from Cambridge University Press.

In the end, the award's Oscar-sized wooden figurines went to Warwick University's CD-Rom lecture guide featuring lecturer, journalist and broadcaster Germaine Greer; to a BBC multimedia package that included a Footballers' Wives -style soap opera; and to Flo-Joe, a popular independent website offering tips on how to succeed in the Cambridge English-language exams.

The British Council was happy to let the champagne flow at the event, targeted at the £1 billion English-teaching market that brings about 700,000 overseas students a year to the UK, many of whom go on to further study at a UK university or college.

The Eltons coincide with the release of pictures taken by young UK photographers aiming to challenge stereotypes of British lifestyles and culture.

Cherry Gough, the British Council's deputy director for English-language teaching promotions, said the initiatives were designed to combat growing competition in the market from Australia, Canada and the US.

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