2020 – 27th Annual Conference, Belgrade

Speakers, Presentations & Workshops

Michael Carrier

Innovation in language teaching: theory and best practice

What is innovation in language teaching? This talk and workshop looks at the theory and practice of innovation and engages delegates in tasks that reflect upon their own approach to innovation and encourage them to come up with innovative solutions to issues in their teaching context.

One of the key aspects of 20th and 21st century life is the speed and range of innovation.
Our lives have changed dramatically from the way people lived in our grandparents’ time.

A key factor of modern innovation is disruptive innovation, as outlined in the work of Clayton Christensen at Harvard.

Bookshops have closed, video rental stores have closed, Cd sales are falling, film cameras hardly exist, and now the textbook business looks like the next to collapse. People are losing their jobs to automation, robots and AI.

All have been attacked by disruptive innovation that has undermined organisations by bringing new products and services to market at a lower cost with enhanced convenience, providing a more attractive value proposition for customers.

How could this affect language education? Will the rise of innovations like translation apps or online teaching, computer-based testing and online homework marking ad undermine your approach to teaching?

We need to understand and learn from this so we can identify best practice and design innovations in language education.

Successful innovation is underpinned by change management theory, and teachers need to be empowered to develop the new skills they need through appropriate training and support.

It will suggests that innovation needs to be approached carefully so that it is not imposed from above, but provided as a resource to empower teachers, for them to integrate into their curriculum.

Workshop tasks will help participants look at & share innovation in their institutions, & how improving the learner experience can help the school build its advantages.


Michael Carrier is managing director of Highdale Consulting, working with various educational organisations.
He has worked in language education for 40 years as a teacher, trainer, author, and director in Germany, Italy, Poland, UK and USA, and lectured worldwide. Michael has an MA in Applied Linguistics and an MBA, and is engaged in both the academic and management aspects of ELT.

He was formerly Executive Director of Eurocentres USA, CEO of the International House World schools network and Director, English Language Innovation at the British Council in London.

He has published many articles & ELT coursebooks, including the Front Page series. His area of specialisation is educational technology and his latest book is ‘Digital Language Learning’ (Routledge).

He is currently serving as Trustee of the TIRF research foundation, Board member of ICC – the European Language Network, Governor of International Students House in London and was formerly on the boards of EAQUALS and ELTJ. He is also Chair of the UK Government’s ELT Working Group and a member of the British Council’s ELT Advisory Group (ELAG).

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a mamber of the Society of Authors and the Oxford & Cambridge Club in London.