“Teachers have three loves: love of learning, love of learners, and the love of bringing the first two loves together.” – Scott Hayden

Intensive English Program Academic Coordinator and ESOL Instructor Chris Elliot loves the “ah-hah” moments, the moments in the classroom when he witnesses students learning something new about culture, language, or the world.  Chris brings over 25 years of experience to student-centered, communicative English instruction at the International Language Institute of Massachusetts. Originally from Binghamton, New York; he has been teaching since 1996 and has been at ILI since 2008. Originally, Chris was drawn to the school due to its social justice values and commitment to educational access for all. Over 10 years later, and ILI still surprises him with how it never rests, always bringing language instruction to so many corners of the Valley.

ILI’s mission is to promote intercultural understanding and diverse communities by providing high-quality language instruction and teacher training. ILI is much more than a language center. The school has a defined Statement of Principles that focus the school’s values and work to actively uphold its mission. Chris believes that the world needs more tolerance, compassion, and humility and that ILI upholds its principles by providing free classes, volunteer opportunities, and scholarships while supporting both students and teachers alike to keep learning and evolving.

Educators have had to pivot and balance in continuous ways over the past two years. In addition to becoming well versedChris Elliott with four of his students. in Google Classroom, Zoom, and apps to teach English online and in person; Chris says that working during the pandemic has opened his mind to new ways to engage students, make lessons relevant, and encourage participation online and in person. As a teacher at ILI, he considers himself in good company. Chris finds inspiration in his colleagues for coming up with improved and creative lessons and cool new teaching techniques, admiring how they strive to stay student-centered and boost student talk time. Anchored by the belief that language education is important because cultural understanding fosters empathy, he also finds the multilingual multitaskers that make up his classrooms inspiring as they balance studying, working, and staying positive. He’s passionate about helping students find their voice in English while also opening their minds to new perspectives. Seeing a student reach their goals such as attending university, getting a job, or speaking English more effectively make him proud.

Whether in or out of the classroom, Chris engages with potential and current students by creating resources and content that aim to help them navigate and progress with their language education and experience. He has written many news items for ILI’s blog that are accessible for free on our website.

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Fast Facts: Chris Elliott Trivia

Resides in Shutesbury, MA

Lover of: cats, coffee, and vegan treats. Loves traveling to waterfalls because the sound and feel of water gives peace ofStudio picture of Chris Elliott mind.

Hobbies include: making music, collecting records, and being a cat dad.


Reading: science fiction and political commentary

Watching: comedy and horror

Listening to: vinyl funk, jazz, classical, prog, metal, and rock

Quote to live by: “Don’t believe everything you think.”

In addition to being an English teacher, Chris is a singer/songwriter, guitarist, poet, and musician, releasing music and performing around New England as a solo artist Christopher Elliott and in the duo Austin and Elliott. You can find him at www.austinandelliott.com and Facebook, Spotify, YouTube, and Bandcamp.

For more information about learning English with ILI, visit Learn English or email macey@ili.edu .

To support ILI’s mission and to learn more about becoming a donor, visit Donate.