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Announcing the 2014 Headway Scholarship

Exeter CollegeWhen John and I started writing Headway we had certain beliefs about ELT borne out of our experience as teachers and teacher trainers. And, like many teachers, we weren’t always entirely happy with the courses we used. However, we decided to stop whinging and have a go at creating a course of our own. We never imagined that Headway would become the chosen course of countless ELT classes round the world. We were flattered that so many teachers seemed to find our approach complemented and assisted their teaching.

Over the years we have hugely valued the many trips we’ve made to schools round the world, meeting up with teachers and students, and learning of their experiences and needs. Their stories – your stories – have influenced our writing. Nothing has given John and me greater satisfaction than teachers telling us how they felt that their students have made real progress using Headway.

As Headway became increasingly successful, we wanted to give something back to the ELT community to show our appreciation of all those students and teachers who were our inspiration and motivation. We decided to create the Headway Scholarship, sponsoring two students and two teachers from a country where Headway is widely used, to come to study in Oxford for a fortnight in the summer. We wanted to select students and teachers for whom such an opportunity wouldn’t otherwise be possible.

The first year of the Headway Scholarship was 2004, and the first country selected was Hungary – a country which has shown huge enthusiasm for Headway from the start. Over the following years, John and I discussed the country selection with the Headway team at OUP. Other countries in Europe were selected, then we extended the opportunity to the Middle East, Latin America, and most recently Ukraine and Turkey. The selection process has varied country to country, but each Headway Scholar has been a worthy recipient, having demonstrated their commitment – often via a competition – to English Language Teaching.

Liz and John Soars with four Headway Scholars at Exeter College in 2010

Liz and John Soars with four Headway Scholars at Exeter College in 2010

Although in the early years the Headway Scholarship was awarded to both students and teachers, it became apparent that the people who most benefited were the teachers. They attended the two-week English Language Teachers’ Summer Seminar, held at Exeter College, Oxford. These teachers have all been very enthusiastic about this course. Whenever we were able to, John and I met up with them. Many of them have written to tell us about what had been for them an opportunity of a lifetime, how much they’d developed as teachers, how they valued exchanging ideas with so many other ELT professionals from round the world, and how they would pass on what they’d learned to the wider ELT community back home. This is why we decided to dedicate the Headway Scholarship to four teachers.

And now there is an exciting new development to tell you about! The country selection has always been hard, and we hate to deprive any teacher of this opportunity just because of where they live. So to mark ten years since the first Headway Scholarship, this year we are making the Scholarship global! Wherever you are in the world, as a Headway teacher, you will be eligible to enter the Headway Scholarship competition to win a place at the 2014 Summer Seminar in Oxford.

The Headway Scholarship is very important for me, as it was for John, and I’m delighted it’s expanding in scope. As you’ll see from the competition entry information, it’s all about ‘Making a difference’, which is exactly what John and I set out to do all those years ago when we started writing Headway.

Good luck to everyone!
Warm wishes,

Liz Soars

You can find the application form and terms and conditions to enter the competition on the Headway Fourth Edition page.

14 March 2014 UPDATE: Please note, we are no longer accepting applications for the Headway Scholarship. We have posted the shortlist of applicants on the Headway Fourth Edition page.


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Oxford ELT shortlisted for two ESU Awards

ESU President's Award 2013 ShortlistedWe’re delighted to have been shortlisted for two English Speaking Union (ESU) Awards.

The Oxford Learner’s Bookshelf app for our enhanced e-books has been shortlisted for the prestigious ESU President’s Award, which celebrates the use of technology in the teaching and learning of English worldwide.

The app offers enhanced e-books of many of our most popular courses for use on iPad and tablets for Android™. Courses include English File, Solutions, Incredible English, Q: Skills for Success, and many others. The e-books turn the traditional Student’s Book and Workbook into a highly interactive and personal learning experience making the most of what tablet technology has to offer. Features that support language learning include integrated split-screen video, record and compare pronunciation practice, the ability to slow down audio for improved listening practice, automatic marking, written or spoken note-taking, and more.

The ESU judges were impressed with the range of accessible material and commented:

The design and quality of the software is strong and the interactive capabilities within the ebooks are beneficial to the learner.”

English for Football and Oxford EAP: A Course in English for Academic Purposes (B1+) have been shortlisted for the HRH The Duke of Edinburgh ESU English Language Book Awards, which recognise innovation and good practice in the field of English Language and English Language teaching. The judges assessed submissions based on their originality, practicality and presentation.

English for Football, written by Alan Redmond and Sean Warren, and described by the judges as “a handy, simple and effective guide”, is written for students who want to communicate better in English in the world of football. Part of the Express Series of short, specialist courses, English for Football features international players’ experiences of learning English, key topics such as narrowing the angles and cutting inside, and a forward by Sir Alex Ferguson. Each book comes with an interactive MultiROM, containing realistic listening extracts and interactive exercises for self-study.

Oxford EAP B1+, written by Edward de Chazal and Louis Rogers, is part of Oxford EAP, a three-level course which develops the essential skills and academic language for students preparing to study in English at university, whatever their chosen subject. Praised by the judges for being “clear and professional in design”, the course integrates the four main skills and academic language, and features authentic texts from Oxford textbooks, as well as videos of lecture extracts.

We look forward to the announcement of the winners, which will be on 2nd December 2013.

iPad is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
Android is a trademark of Google Inc.


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Top 10 @OUPELTGlobal blog posts of 2012

Welcome, everyone, to 2013!

2012 was a great year for our blog, so we just wanted to share with you our top ten posts for the year. This isn’t a list of our favourites; this is a list of your favourites, by the number of views for each post.

So here they are:

10. 10 Commandments for motivating language learners: #9 Create a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere in the classroom by Tim Ward.

9. Teaching ‘screenagers’ – how the digital world is changing learners by Tim Falla.

8. Fun with flashcards by Weronika Salandyk.

7. Introducing the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary App by OUP.

6. How ESL and EFL classrooms differ by Kate Bell.

5. Six steps to writing transactional letters in the FCE Exam – Part 1 by Michael Duckworth.

4. Why do people follow fashion trends? by Rebecca Arnold.

3. 20 most commonly misspelt words in English by Kieron McGovern.

2. 10 Commandments for Motivating Language Learners by Tim Ward.

1. Introduction to project work – what is a project? by Tom Hutchinson.

Interestingly, four of our top ten most viewed posts were published in 2010. We like to attribute this to our continued commitment to bringing you the highest quality articles from some of the ELT industry’s finest educators.

And we intend to continue this trend in 2013.

Happy New Year, dear readers!

Oxford University Press ELT Global Blog Team


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ELT Journal: Special Issue

ELT Journal: Special IssueKeith Morrow, who is retiring after 17 years as Editor of ELT Journal, reflects on the key developments in various areas of English language teaching during this time, as identified by contributors to the latest, special edition of the journal.

Have you had a birthday recently? Or a significant anniversary? Well, I have – not a birthday, but I have just received through the post the last issue of ELT Journal with my name on as editor. I’ve been editor for 17 years, so you can understand why I’m a bit misty-eyed!

For this issue we invited contributors to look back over my time in office and identify key developments in various areas of ELT during this period. We also asked them to peer into the future to see what the future might hold.

The result – though I say so myself – is a terrific overview of practice and principles in our field. But as I read and re-read the articles, I noticed two recurring themes. What do you think about them?

1. There is still a huge gap between theory and practice:

In his article, Alan Waters compares the 1996 and the 2009 versions of ‘Headway Intermediate’ and shows that the more recent version has “an increased emphasis on exposing students to and giving them opportunities to put the ‘target’ grammar into practice”. So what happened to all the work promoting the idea of learning language through using it, and even to task-based learning?

Amos Paran’s article is about developments in the teaching of the four skills. He identifies new insights into the nature of all four areas which could have profound pedagogical implications, but concludes that in the classroom little has changed. “We … have increasing evidence that what was a veritable teaching revolution in the 1970s, with a variety of communicative approaches to language teaching, has not in fact filtered down to the teaching profession to the extent that we like to think it has.”

2. Teacher education is not much help to teachers in the classroom:

Carol Griffiths surveyed teachers to find out what their professional worries were. She found that overwhelmingly they were to do with ‘classroom issues’ such as class management. As one of her respondents says ‘What happens in the classroom usually clashes with the theory’.

Amos Paran develops his theme by writing “…the picture that emerges is of teachers battling with the conflict between their beliefs, their training, the realities of the classroom, the demands of parents and learners, the requirements to demonstrate immediate attainment, and the increasing focus on exams.”

Does that sound familiar? And does current pre-service or in-service provision help teachers here?

The special issue is now available online to subscribers at http://eltj.oxfordjournals.org. Abstracts of articles are available free of charge, but even better is the fact that two really interesting pieces are available for free download.

One is an overview of the ‘Key Concepts in ELT’ features that appear regularly in the Journal; the other is a mammoth ‘Review of the reviews’ giving an overview of the book and materials reviews published since 1995.

If you want to find out what has been going on in the field over the past 17 years you can access them from http://eltj.oxfordjournals.org.

It’s time for me to stroll off into the sunset. I wish the new Editor of ELT Journal, Graham Hall, the very best of luck.

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