Green Action ELT runs monthly events and discussions to help language schools take action from classroom to marketing to business model. It’s a great way to learn from experts and each other, share experiences, connect with like-minded colleagues and help build a green ELT movement.

Our events are open to everyone – whether you are thinking about environmental action for the first time or have lots of ideas and experiences to share.

If you have a suggestion for events or speakers, please contact us:

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Upcoming events

Reducing staff travel costs and emissions: sustainability and business travel

Friday 24 February, 14:00 (GMT)

Let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room: a large part of UK ELT’s impact on the climate crisis is due to flying.

When we think about the challenge of reducing our transport emissions, we often focus on student flights. But what about staff travel? Business flights are directly under our control and a much easier area to reduce emissions in the short-term.

So how can we keep up strong relationships with partners around the world, network with colleagues at industry events and keep up our professional development, while also prioritising sustainability? What is the connection between business travel and sustainability, and how can we begin to reconcile them?

Margherita Pasquini, HE study abroad coordinator and volunteer with CANIE (the Climate Action Network for International Educators), will share how she managed to reduce her professional travel emissions by more than 50% and still maintain strong relationships and meet student recruitment targets.

Like many people working in ELT and international education, travel is not only part of Margherita’s job but part of her life. She loves to visit new places and has built friendships around the world. But when we realise our frequent flying is helping to destroy our planet and risking the lives of those we love, it’s a hard truth that something has to change. Plus there’s lots to gain from a different approach!

Margherita will share practical tips on how to make real cuts to staff travel emissions without hurting our goals. Starting by first acknowledging her part in the climate crisis and doing some shocking calculations, Margherita became more intentional and consistent with online outreach, maximised her time abroad and embraced travel by other means. She will explain what she did in detail, highlight the importance of celebrating new kinds of goals and will share her hopes and plans for further change in the coming years.

This session is ideal for anyone who travels for work, whether for professional development, student recruitment or building relationships with study abroad agents around the world. Join us to learn more about the current climate crisis situation, how the English language teaching sector contributes and how to be an active player in making our sector more sustainable.

Past events

Climate justice: what’s it got to do with ELT?
Friday 20 January

Climate change is a social and political issue – the world’s wealthiest and most privileged people have and continue to contribute the vast majority of emissions, while poorer and marginalised people are disproportionately impacted by pollution, extractive industries and the deadly effects of climate change.

But what has this got to do with ELT? Find out how our schools can help create not only a greener, but a fairer and more just world.

Green story time: the power of picturebooks for all ages
Friday 16 December

Picturebooks not only contain rich, varied language and beautiful illustrations, but they’re an excellent way to grapple with difficult topics like the ecological and climate crises.

So storytelling experts Gail Ellis and Sandie Mourão shared some favourite green picturebooks for English language learners of all ages.

Sadly a recording of this session cannot be shared due to copyright.

ELT & ecology: how language shapes our world
Friday 25 November

Ecology and linguistics expert, Professor Arran Stibbe, helps us detect and challenge the assumptions and ideologies embedded in our language teaching and textbooks.

Can we afford (not) to be green?
Friday 28 October 2022

If you’re sceptical about green ELT, or your colleagues don’t think it’s necessary or a priority, this is a great session for you – it argues that green action is urgent, possible and beneficial to our language schools.

Green ELT for lower language levels
Friday 30 September 2022

This session explores how to raise climate awareness and encourage greener life choices with beginner and elementary learners with speaker Carol Samlal, ESOL tutor, branch chair for Natecla East of England, inclusivity and sustainability specialist, and outdoor enthusiast.

Environmental induction for summer staff
Friday 24 June 2022

This free, online training session offers simple, practical advice on how to green your school.

It aims to help and motivate all summer school staff – teachers, activity leaders, pastoral and administrative staff – whether currently interested in environmental issues or not.

How to turn your teaching materials green
Friday 29 April 2022

Kath Bilsborough shares simple and practical ways your can turn your existing teaching materials green, to discuss environmental topics in the classroom without new materials.

Taking your English language lessons outdoors
Friday 25 March 2022

A strong connection with nature supports deep learning, is beneficial for our mental health and supports and encourages environmental action.

Green ELT teaching activities
Friday 25 February 2022

Raising awareness and empowering students to take action is one of the most impactful things we can do as educators. Harry Waters (Renewable English) share lots of tips for engaging classroom activities.

Measuring and auditing your environmental impact
Friday 10 December 2021

To take positive action you need to keep track of energy consumption, waste and travel miles and all your other impacts on the environment.

Creating an environmental policy for your school
Friday 19 November 2021

A good policy not only provides structure and guidance, helping you make real changes, but is one way to demonstrate your commitment to staff and students.

Offsetting and mitigation
Friday 29 October 2021

Reducing emissions is the most important part of taking climate action and in July you came up with lots of great ways to reduce and green our UK ELT transport.

But what about the emissions you can’t cut?

Attracting green students
Friday 1 October 2021

How can we improve and promote our environmental credentials to appeal with increasingly environmentally aware students? We discussed marketing, sustainability and greenwashing.

Marketing and sustainability
Friday 24 September 2021

With the green market growing and many language schools emphasising their green credentials, we discussed attracting environmentally aware students at English UK’s ELT Marketing Conference.

Green ELT opportunities and obstacles event - transport and travel
Transport and travel
Wednesday 14 July 2021

Thanks again to everyone who joined us to explore a very tricky topic. Together we considered short term measures, such as flying better and offsetting, as well as more long term changes like increasing online teaching, long stay experiences and encouraging train travel.

Green ELT opportunities and obstacles event - motivation and action
Motivation and Action
Wednesday 16 June 2021

How do we translate our knowledge of the crisis, our fears, hope and ideas into action? We discussed how to motivate ourselves and others. How can we overcome denial and feelings of powerless? And how can we encourage change in our colleagues and organisations.

Green ELT opportunities and obstacles event - savings and costs
Savings and costs
Wednesday 19 May 2021

In our first ‘Green ELT opportunities and (overcoming!) obstacles’ session, we discussed the challenge of putting environmental responsibility in the budget, cheap, free and cost-saving activities. Thank you to everyone for sharing their excellent thoughts and ideas.

A green paper textured banner that reads: The green ELT landscape
The landscape of green UK English language teaching
Thursday 22 April 2021

On World Earth Day Chris Etchells, founder of Green Action ELT, gave an overview of Green ELT – from what the climate and ecological disasters mean for ELT to practical ways to green your organisation and emerging opportunities for our profession.

Chris covered actions for both organisations and individuals and shared his personal reflections on reconciling business interests with the need to ensure a safe future.

A green paper textured banner that reads: sustainability in the classroom
Practical ways of including sustainability in your language classroom
Thursday 22 April 2021

Green Action ELT invited three teachers, working in very different contexts but all passionate about environmental education, to present their ideas and answer your questions on sustainability in English language teaching.

Milica Vukadin, Ben Crompton and ELTsustainable founder Owain Llewellyn offered practical ideas to help you put environmental sustainability at the heart of your ELT.

A green paper textured banner that reads: Build back greener UK ELT
Build back better, greener UK ELT: a community discussion
Wednesday 24 February

As we look forward to the end of the Covid-19 crisis, what future do we see for our profession?

Instead of returning to ‘normal’, could we seize this moment to build better ways of working? What changes should we keep to improve our profession?

These were the questions we asked and together we began to create a collective vision for the future of English language teaching.

Creating an online, paper-free syllabus
Thursday 21 January 2021

Alicja Szyszkowiak conducted an online training session on Zoom about how to create a paperless online syllabus. With reference specifically to junior summer courses this session will also be of interest to any ELT organisations interested in online syllabuses.

How to reduce Your digital carbon Footprint
Thursday 10 December 2020

Technology expert and co-founder of Green Tech South West, Hannah Smith shared advice on reducing our digital carbon footprints at work and at home. Her mission: to raise awareness about the environmental impact of digital tech.

UK ELT & the climate crisis: a TEDx event
Wednesday 14 October 2020

As part of the global TED Countdown initiative, we presented short talks from leading thinkers on climate change and, with the help of our own local speakers, discussed ways for UK ELT to help in tackling the climate and ecological crisis.

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