Prof. Penny Ur may live relatively anonymously in a small community in the North of Israel but even Queen Elizabeth II knows about her. Buckingham Palace announced over the weekend that the English teacher from Moshav Amnon will be honored with the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for her outstanding work in teaching English and for promoting collaboration between Israel and Britain.
The Order of the British Empire recognizes distinguished service to the arts and sciences, public services outside the civil service and work with charitable and welfare organizations of all kinds.
Prof. Ur told Yediot Aharonoth newspaper that she did not believe the good news when she first heard about the forthcoming honor. After the initial surprise, however, she said she was very thankful for the credit and said it will only highlight the importance of teaching English accurately.
The 69-year-old grandmother was educated at the universities of Oxford (MA), Cambridge (PGCE) and Reading (MATEFL). In 1967, she immigrated to Israel. Ur has 30 years’ experience as an English teacher in primary and secondary schools. She recently retired from the headship of the M.Ed program in foreign-language teaching at Oranim Academic College of Education, but continues to teach MA courses at Oranim and Haifa University.
English teachers worldwide rely on her teaching methodologies. Her books include Discussions that Work, Five Minute Activities (co-authored with Andrew Wright), A Course in Language Teaching, and Grammar Practice Activities (2nd Edition), all published by Cambridge University Press. She was also the editor of the Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers series for 10 years.