Prof. Penny Ur of the Oranim Academic College of Education was awarded with
Queen Elizabeth II’s Order of the British Empire on Saturday for her services to
the English language.
“At first, when I got the call from the British
ambassador and he told me the news, I thought someone was playing a joke on me,”
Ur, who specializes in English, told The Jerusalem Post in a phone interview on
The call came about a month ago. Ur was asked to keep the award
secret until the information was released to the press on Saturday.
a great honor and very flattering,” she added. “I’ve been receiving messages of
congratulation all day, it’s very heartwarming. My family and friends are very
happy as well.”
Originally from England, Ur made aliya in 1967 with a
degree from Oxford University in hand, and lived in Kibbutz Mahanayim in the
“When I got there, people told me ‘Oh great, you speak
English and you are a teacher, you can be an English teacher,’ and that’s what I
eventually started doing,” she explained.
Ur quickly developed a love for
teaching and during the course of her career, with over 30 years of experience,
she produced numerous research studies on teaching the English
These studies later turned into a number of books published by
Cambridge University Press on language-teaching methodology, fluency and
accuracy in language teaching as well as the development of English as a lingua
“It feels good to have such recognition for my work,” Ur said.
“It’s great to see that my work is worth something and that people appreciate
“It’s still hard for me to measure how much I deserve it or not.
Sometimes I’m thinking there are so many other influential people in the field,
why me and not them?” To her, English is a basic necessary
“Everyone needs to know English to advance, communicate and achieve
things beyond the everyday tasks,” she said.
“As time passes, this
becomes more and more important.”