We are thrilled to announce that Brita Haycraft, co-founder of International House, won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Council’s ELTons awards ceremy. Brita was there in person to collect her award at BMA House in London’s Tavistock Square.
The ELTon Life Time Achievement honours outstanding leaders and innovators who have changed the landscape of our profession and had a lasting impact on the industry. Past winners include Alan Maley, Ingrid Fairbain and Brian Abbs.
Together with her husband, John, Brita founded the very first International House school 60 years ago in Cordoba. Swedish-born Brita met John in Oxford, they married and moved to Spain where John initially planned to work as a journalist. Instead, Brita and John started teaching English to the local people and soon their small school was also providing classes in Spanish and German.
Brita and John wanted to provide a welcoming language learning environment for cultural exchange and communication. Calling their small school ‘Casa Internacional’, to reflect the international nature of their classes, International House was born. Brita and John moved back to the UK and in 1959 set up the hugely successful International House London school. They pioneered the very first EFL teacher training qualifications, with their International House Certificate forming the basis for what is known today as the CELTA. Passionate about pronunciation, Brita was head of Speech Training at IH London and has written several books on the subject including The Teaching of Pronunciation: A Classroom Guide (Longman, 1975), It Depends How You Say It: Materials for Language Practice (Elsevier, 1981) and English Aloud (Macmillan Education, 1992). She has also written on the subject for the IH Journal.
As Brita and John added new schools to their fledgling International House network, they retained a constant focus on quality. All schools were (and still are) required to have regular inspections to ensure that the teaching, language training and facilities remained at the high standards that the Haycrafts expected. This quality approach to language training and teacher training is the Haycrafts’ legacy and has underpinned the continuing success of the International House World Organisation for the past 60 years. We would like to congratulate Brita for this public recognition of her lifetime achievement.
Lucy Horsefield, COO of International House World Organisation said:
“I am absolutely delighted that Brita Haycraft has been honoured with this well-deserved award in our 60th year. Brita and John Haycraft made a huge contribution to the ELT industry by creating an environment where teachers and students alike could flourish. Brita remains extremely committed to our network of schools and is a much-loved presence at our annual conference where she thoroughly enjoys meeting new directors. I know I speak for my colleagues all over the world when I say how proud we are of her and of the International House organisation that she built with John.”
Steve Brent, Director of International House London said:
“John and Brita started the International House network of schools and on behalf of all the staff, students and trainees – past and present – I would like to record our collective thanks as well as our congratulations on this award which is so richly deserved, and so appropriate during International House’s 60th anniversary year.”