This new podcast series explores the relationship between the climate crisis and language education. Across the ten episodes, we’ll hear from a wide range of leading practitioners working in the sector – teachers, trainers, researchers, publishers and authors. We’ll travel from Colombia to China, Moldova to Mali, and Palestine to Poland in our quest to share what’s happening at the cutting edge of climate action in language education. In partnership with Oxford University Press, we’ll also learn more about the origins of climate-related language, in both English and other languages, using the Oxford English Dictionary as our guide. 

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Episode 1: Taking the temperature ( Release date: 12 May 2021)

More details about Episode 1 can be found here: The Climate Connection - Episode 1: Taking the temperature | TeachingEnglish | British Council | BBC 

The opening episode of The Climate Connection considers what the ELT Community is already doing – and what it should be doing – about the climate crisis. The first interview is with Harry Kuchah Kuchah, President of the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language, who provides some general guidance on this issue whilst also talking specifically about his work in Cameroon and with young learners. Picking up some of Harry’s main themes, Deepa Mirchandani and Chris Graham talk about their forthcoming report Language Teaching for the Planet, which brings together the reflections and ideas of hundreds of professionals working in the ELT sector. In between, in From the Field, we visit the coastal city of Gabes in Tunisia, where we discover how one school is not only directly involving itself in environmental clean-up campaigns of the heavily polluted beaches, but is using the waste materials they find to learn English. And finally, in The Green Glossary, the term “Climate Emergency” – the 2019 Oxford Word of the Year – will be explained by an editor from the Oxford English Dictionary. 

Episode 2: Speaking youth – to power ( Release date: 26 May 2021)

More details about Episode 2 can be found here: The Climate Connection episode 2: Speaking youth - to power | TeachingEnglish | British Council | BBC

Young people are heavily affected by the climate crisis. It is they who will have the job of cleaning up the mess left by previous generations. Episode 2 talks to two young climate activists who have already made a significant impact in this area: Jouja Maamri and Sophia Kianni. Jouja is the UK’s delegate to the G7 Youth Summit, where she covers climate policy. She talks about the vital role language plays in addressing the climate crisis, effective ways in which young people can help this fight, and the links between climate and racial justice. Sophia shares with us her experience of setting up Climate Cardinals, a volunteer-led not-for-profit which translates climate information into 100+ languages. Continuing the focus on how young people are taking the lead, From the Field shares some fascinating insights into a project run by the Moldova English Teacher’s Association, who are bringing young people together, through language, to talk about the climate crisis. Perhaps the most famous youth activist of all is the focus of The Green Glossary, as we dissect the meaning of the phrase ‘The Greta Effect’.

Episode 3: Language recycling ( Release date: 9 June 2021)

More details about Episode 3 can be found here: The Climate Connection - Episode 3: Language recycling | TeachingEnglish | British Council | BBC

Our attention in Episode 3 turns to the classroom, exploring what teaching and learning methods can effectively address the climate crisis. Scott Thornbury charts the history of ‘green pedagogy’, discussing what kind of teaching approaches are not only effective for language teaching, but are also climate positive. The importance of the outside world inside the classroom is also the theme of From the Field, where we visit Voice in Nature English. This school, situated in China’s Yunnan province, inspires its students to use the natural world as a stimulus for language learning. In our second interview, Kieran Donaghy investigates the use of the visual in climate-related ELT materials, and Ceri Jones talks more generally about how ELT Footprint are trying to mainstream climate messages in language teaching. The Green Glossary focuses on the word ‘ecocide’, which has a longer history than you might imagine, and how prefixes and suffixes can be used for language awareness and development. 


Online Podcast 

Show Notes



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