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Headway Scholarship 2014 – Winners announced

We are delighted to announce the winners of the Headway Scholarship competition 2014, on behalf of Liz Soars and the Headway Foundation.

Headway Scholarship 2014 applicants map

Around 230 teachers from 54 countries took part in the competition, which was based on the theme of “Headway makes a difference”. Using short stories, blog posts, photo montages, presentations, videos or podcasts, and even some lesson plans and research papers, the teachers illustrated how Headway has made a difference to students, teachers, and the community. They drew on a wealth of experience, as between them they had taught more than 115,000 students over 1600 teaching years!

As well as showing what Headway means to them and their learners, the teachers had to show what difference winning the scholarship would make to their own professional development. The various tasks were judged and moderated by a team of specialists, including author Liz Soars herself, and we can now announce that the winners are:

Hanna Dudich Magdalena Dygala Olga Gurchak
Marianne Chavarría Hernández Irina Krestianinova Gloria Rossa

Exeter CollegeEach of these teachers has won a place on a 2-week English Language Teachers’ Summer Seminar at Exeter College in Oxford, including flights, accommodation and meals – a wonderful opportunity to share and develop best practice.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Headway Scholarship and, thanks to the generosity of Liz Soars and the Headway Foundation, there are six first prize winners this year instead of four. To further celebrate this landmark, additional prizes have been awarded to 12 runners up, and so congratulations also go to:

Oksana Bondus Letizia Cinganotto Claudia Gambier
Catalina Iacobuta Kiomars Karami Maria Fernanda Montu
Elena Maximova Miglena Petrova Uliana Proshina
Magdalena Pedro Anna Savina Valeriya Tabarina

As a personal ‘Thank you’ to all the teachers who entered the competition, Liz Soars has recorded the below video, and everyone who applied will be receiving a Certificate of Acknowledgement.

Go to the Headway fourth edition page for more information, or the Winners Gallery to see all the winners.


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Webinar: Integrating academic study skills from A1

Students in lecture theatreSarah Philpot, Headway Academic Skills co-author, discusses the issue of addressing academic needs as early as possible in language learning. You can join Sarah for her upcoming webinar “Integrating academic study skills from A1” on 18th February.

During my 30-year teaching career I have, like many of you, no doubt, taught, a range of different class types: General English, English for Exams, IELTS, Business English, English for Medics, English for Academic Purposes, etc.

Obviously, during those years, a lot of things have changed. Typically in the past, adult students would do General English until they reached a certain level of competence, around B1, at which point many of them would chose a ‘special’ course to help them in their work or studies. This would entail learning different and new lexis, functions and skills.

However, with English being more and more a core requisite for Higher Education and for work in multinational and trans-national companies, young adult students in particular realise that they need not only a level of linguistic competence, but also the appropriate academic or professional competencies too, and as early as possible.

To a large extent, people wishing to enter the corporate world are already catered for – just look at the number of Business English course books, beginner to advanced, that are available. So, it struck me as rather strange that those with academic needs were not similarly provided for, and that those students would have to return to the old pattern.

This is where the Headway Academic Skills series came in. It seemed logical, not to say fair, that students planning to go into higher education should also be in a position to learn the appropriate lexis, functions, etc. at the same time as they are learning the difference between the present simple and present continuous!

In my webinar, I hope to show why this integrated approach is being adopted, and how we can do it. I will be drawing on material from Headway Academic Skills Introductory Level (A0/A1), and will be looking specifically at the importance of:

  • context
  • task type
  • lexis
  • register

in making a course more relevant to students who wish to continue their studies in an English-medium college or university.

Sign up for Sarah’s webinar on 18th February now.


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Starting study skills early – an integrated approach

Asian student in libraryAhead of her talk at IATEFL 2011 in Brighton, Sarah Philpot, co-author of the New Headway Academic Skills series, introduces the concept of an integrated approach to teaching linguistic competence and academic skills.

Study skills (aka academic skills) is not a subject that generally sets the heart aflutter. However, it is something that is dear to the hearts of many of our students. As more and more young people take their university degrees in English, so their need for good study skills increases. I’m sure that all of us who have taught students for IELTS or on pre-sessional courses are aware of the discrepancy between many students’ linguistic competence and their ability to successfully complete the academic task set for them – to write a coherent essay or read certain texts in a given time, for example.

As teachers, I think we need to address this discrepancy and the way I’m suggesting this could be done is by integrating or incorporating study skills into students’ English language course from the very beginning – yes, that really means A1.

The Headway Academic Skills series attempts to do just this by providing a short course that provides study skills which are explicit, have a clear development and are relevant and transferable.

Sarah will be talking on this topic in her session entitled ‘Starting study skills early – an integrated appproach’ at the 2011 IATEFL Conference in Brighton.

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