Happy birthday! ELT Footprint is Two Today!

Two years ago today the ELT Footprint community was founded when we first opened our group on Facebook. Share your stories with us to celebrate our second anniversary!
ELT Footprint is Two Today!

To celebrate ELT Footprint’s second anniversary we’re looking back over the past twelve months and highlighting examples of positive action from the community and beyond. It’s important to remind ourselves constantly of all the great work that everyone is doing to raise awareness of environmental issues and fight against climate change. 

Our ever-growing community

The ELT Footprint community continues to welcome members from all over the world on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and beyond.  It’s difficult to know exactly how many of us there are, but we know we have members all over the globe and working in so many different contexts, covering practically every single aspect of the English Language Teaching profession. 

If you like stats, here are a few! 

  • Our Facebook group  currently has 3,600+ signed up members from all over the world from Buenos Aires to Bangkok, from Moscow to Madrid. 
  • Our website has received just shy of 20,000 views from 95 countries (our most popular section is the Materials section). 
  • We have 395 followers on Twitter and 127 on LinkedIn. If you’re using either and haven’t followed us yet, come on over and help us boost the community’s presence.  

Meet the mods! 

Our group of dedicated moderators has grown as well, with Charlotte Giller, Nergiz Kern and Jodie Carnegie Fowler joining the team over the last 12 months or so.  A big thank you to all of them for all their work and dedication behind the scenes. 

Here are a few examples of some of the local projects that our moderators have been involved in over the last year. 

Daniel Barber is involved in a campaign to save the Kentish Plover, a bird which nests inconveniently on the beaches. Teams along the Cadiz coast are locating and protecting nests. It’s a local movement at the interface of the human and non-human world, combining community action with a love of the living world. 

Kentish plover

Charlotte Giller is talking to the local Escuela Oficial de Idiomas about starting a used pen collection and recycling scheme. Once it’s up and running, the plan is to approach the local council to invite other educational institutions to participate.

Ceri Jones has joined an eco group at a local school to promote projects and campaigns across the curriculum, including developing a school garden and raising awareness of local ecosystems.  

Kath Bilsborough has installed solar panels in her home and is supplying energy to the local grid. 

Nergiz Kern has been collecting information on how fully immersive virtual reality is used to raise awareness about environmental issues and educate people. There is research behind why this seems to work. Using special VR apps and documentaries, people can experience environmental issues in person as if there, which can increase empathy and so hopefully lead to more action. She’s going to write a blog post and share some of these apps, resources and research that has been conducted.

Jodie Carnegie Fowler does daily “free” online coaching sessions. Topics have included the role trees play in increasing our chances of surviving the century and other global issues. Students “pay” for the sessions by making a donation to a charity or doing a random act of kindness. The charity for the tree month was The Word Forest Organisation.  

Action in the Community 

Anna Bellinger, ELT Footprint’s artist in residence, has been exploring the human relationship with the natural world in her paintings, and the disconnect between the two. One painting of a local tree, the Stone Pine, is broken down into smaller units so that the original can no longer be seen. ´Wood for the Trees´ will be on show in El Puerto de Santa Maria (Spain) from the 4th of June.

Wood for the Trees Anna Bellinger

Elen Evans, long-time member of Footprint, heads up Stem Ginger Education which gives STEM (science, tech, engineering and maths) an environmental focus and makes it accessible to all children through project and task-based learning in English. 

Owain Llewellyn has overhauled his ELTsustainable website of free lessons at  eltsustainable.org. With Ben Compton he continues to run Language Teaching for the Planet, an online course for teachers. It is scheduled to run again in September. Owain, Ben and Milica Vukadin are also busy creating lessons for Green Standard Schools.   

Harry Waters launched his website Renewable English in February 2021 offering a supplementary English course aimed at raising climate change awareness. He is currently involved in a joint venture with Pearson and the BBC, Speak Out for Sustainability. You can read more about it here. 

We know that everyone is involved in doing something and there are so many more stories that we’d love to share.  Please get in touch with your story (or that of someone you know).  You can share them here in the comments or over on FB, Twitter or LinkedIn – watch out for #ELTFootprint2Today. 

ELT Footprint in the wider ELT community 

There has been a steady increase of interest in ELT and its role in promoting environmental issues over the last 12 months. ELT Footprint has been represented at a number of these events. 

18-19 Sept 2020 Innovate ELT conference Various members of the ELT Footprint community took part, both presenting and contributing to discussions on a number of different aspects of greening ELT

14 October 2020 TEDx ELT Footprint Countdown  Christopher Graham and Elen Evans spoke as part of the event organised by ELT Footprint UK. It was an exciting day, mixing huge names in the world of sustainability with speakers more relevant to our sector. 

15 October 2020 British Council ELTons Awards 2020  ELT Footprint won the ELTon award for Innovation in Teachers Resources

15 January 2021 Meet MaWSIG webinar – Reinventing the green wheel  Kath Bilsborough and Ceri Jones ran a join webinar on writing materials on environmental issues. You can read about the webinar on the MaWSIG (IATEFL Materials Writing Special Interest Group) blog. 

21-22 April 2021 English UK conference  Owain Llewelyn, Ben Crompton and Milica Vukadin illustrated a variety of ways of integrating sustainability in our classes, and Christopher Graham talked about the landscape of Green ELT. He also wrapped up the conference with the British Council’s Colm Downes, another key member of the group, and Dianna Torosyan, in the closing plenary. You can watch recordings here.  

6 May 2021  The TEFL Development Hub  Daniel Barber led a session on normalising environmental issues in our classes. You can see some of the ideas that came up on this Padlet board. 

Many Footprinters continue to share informative links and great ideas with the FB community, providing super resources that all of us can quickly access for use in class and beyond. There are simply too many to mention everyone here, but a couple of our recent favourites were posts by founding members Ana Castro Alonso and Brent Simmonds. Our thanks to each and every one of you who contributes to all the conversations throughout the community – keep them coming!

And finally, here’s to twelve more months of positive action with the ELT Footprint community! 

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