Jason R Levine is an English teacher, teacher trainer, and knowledge entertainer based in Paris, France. He has led student workshops and teacher training programs in nineteen countries in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and the Middle East. Jason writes and performs music as Fluency MC. He also creates materials for Oxford University Press and Editions Didier.
I first heard about the ELTons several years ago when I happened on a photo album on Facebook. I’d never imagined an awards ceremony honouring work in innovative English Language Teaching, nevermind one that included a red carpet!
Flicking through shots of fabulous folks in the field, I wondered if I’d ever dare apply. This past year I did. With the encouragement of students and colleagues, I entered the Fluency MC Song and Video Activity Book into the category of innovation in teaching resources.
At first, I was more than a little intimidated by the thought of who I’d be competing against, and my application showed it. The writing was stilted. I felt like a phony. I nearly gave up, however, I believed enough in my work to keep going and, eventually, I found the voice to talk about it.
To my surprise, my book was shortlisted. I was a finalist. I’d made the cut! I soon received an invitation to the ceremony in London, where the winners would be announced. I was proud and grateful to have earned endorsement from the British Council. Whatever the outcome in London, I now had the chance to promote my work with the coveted ELTons finalist web banner and logo. It was a fantastic way to get the word out.
The big night in London was another surprise. I feared it might be stuffy or worse, pompous, however it was nothing like that at all. The evening was fun and down-to-earth in every way. I met mentors I’d been hoping to meet and had great chats with people about collaborating on future projects. I’ve teamed up with two of them already: John Hughes for a post on ETpedia and Pete Jones for a post on Free IELTS course.
There was one thing I predicted correctly: I didn’t win. But I’m not sure it would have made much difference if I had. The experience of applying for an ELTon, becoming a finalist and attending the award ceremony was tremendously rewarding and it gave me the confidence to give it another go in 2018!