Thousands of teachers of English worldwide have been touched by the partnership of the British Council and the A S Hornby Educational Trust, explains Tim Phillips
During the fifty years of the Trust's existence, the British Council has supported the aim that A S Hornby's money be used for education and should “go back to the countries from which it comes”.
The British Council is a registered charity and non-departmental public body. We work towards the UK's long-term international priorities decided by the Foreign Office, which focus upon arts, English and education within a global network that includes a presence in more than 100 countries.
Our association with A S Hornby stems from when he joined the Council upon his return to England from Japan in 1942. He worked as a lecturer and teacher trainer in Iran until 1945, when he became a linguistic adviser to the Council in London. It was here that in 1946 he founded English Language Teaching, a journal which was to become highly influential as both a channel for his own ideas on language-teaching methodology and as a forum for those wishing to forge closer links between language teaching and developments in linguistic theory. The journal continues to this day as the English Language Teaching (ELT) Journal, now published by Oxford University Press.
In 1961, Hornby cemented the Council's involvement in his Trust when he nominated it in the charity's deed for the role of approving the appointment of new trustees, a responsibility that continues to this day.
In addition, using its global network, the Council administers the Hornby scholarship programme, which has enabled teachers of English from all parts of the world to study in the UK on postgraduate courses in linguistics and ELT.
This has been particularly significant for those teachers from countries where equivalent chances for study in the UK are rare. Not only have they shared their experiences of teaching English in challenging situations for the benefit of UK universities and students, but upon returning home the scholars have often played a leading role in their fields and have made an important contribution to developing English language teaching around the world.
In addition to the MA scholarship programme, the British Council and the Trust run a series of regional schools and workshops for English language teachers. These bring together teachers of English from neighbouring countries to participate in residential training events run by experts, often including Hornby alumni. All of this activity has fostered the development of teachers, especially those from Asia, Africa and Latin America.
In recent years, teachers from Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Burma have also participated, demonstrating how the work of the Trust with the Council has helped sustain and stimulate the ELT profession despite very difficult circumstances.
The Hornby international network grows year by year, not least through the boundless power and reach of the internet, ensuring that ASH’s benevolence stretches even wider than he could ever have imagined.
Tim Phillips is Head of Global Teacher Development at the British Council’s Manchester office
Long-lasting and far-reaching impact