DoS Days

AISLi from Within

JoPlain Vanilla

John Hughes

7 Steps Towards Creative Thinking

Most educators agree that creativity in the classroom is a positive thing. However, many of us don’t always agree on what creativity means or how we might achieve it. In this webinar I’d like to explore our definitions of creativity and the reasons behind them. In particular, I’ll challenge the belief that effective creativity is only about thinking ‘outside the box’ when in fact effective creative thinking often occurs ‘inside the box’. The webinar will include seven ways of making teaching (and management) more creative.

John Hughes (DTEFLA, MA) is an award-winning ELT author, trainer, and presenter. His course book series include ‘Life’, ‘World English’ and ‘World Link’ (National Geographic Learning) and ‘Business Result’ (Oxford University Press). He’s also the co-author of ‘Critical Thinking in ELT’ and the series editor of the ‘ETpedia’ Teacher Resource series (Pavilion ELT). As a teacher trainer, he has lectured on courses at Oxford University and trained teachers from around the world. His website is

JoPlain Vanilla

Rod Bolitho

Between Two Stools

Over the years, language teachers have been faced with a growing number of binary distinctions, e.g. accuracy vs fluency, use vs usage, teacher-centred vs learner-centred, behaviourism vs mentalism, grammar-translation vs communication, intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation, exam focus vs wider communicative goals, coursebook-based vs teaching ‘unplugged’.  This list is far from exhaustive. Teachers have often felt constrained to choose between two apparent extremes, and this choice may be strongly influenced by the prevailing culture of the institution they work in.  

While most of these distinctions have been advanced by academics as convenient thinking tools, I will argue that, on closer examination, many of them can be seen as false and even harmful, and that teachers and schools need to plot a way forward that emphasises good teaching and effective learning without a need to make dubious choices between opposing theories and beliefs.

I will propose a view of classrooms as social spaces and of language learning as an essentially human and social activity which can be promoted and facilitated effectively by teachers as leaders and critical friends.  I will conclude suggest some ways in which school leaders can use this post-pandemic new start as an opportunity to open up debate, re-examine priorities and to rethink their direction of travel. 

JoPlain Vanilla

I have been involved in English Language Teaching as a teacher, teacher educator and consultant for over 50 years.  Now working as a freelance after a career in both state and the private sectors, most recently as Academic Director at Norwich Institute for Language Education (NILE).  I have carried out training and consultancy assignments in more than 40 countries in all parts of the world, mainly for the British Council.  Co-authored books include with Brian Tomlinson ‘Discover English’ (Macmillan), with Tony Wright, ‘Trainer Development’ (, with Richard Rossner ‘Language Education in a Changing World’ (Multilingual Matters, 2020), and, also with Richard Rossner, ‘Language-Sensitive Teaching and Learning’ (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming 2022).  I enjoy walking, cooking and reading, and am a lifelong Liverpool FC fan



I will work on a couple of typical case studies: (i)  where there is tension between student/ parent expectations on the one hand and a teacher’s actions and decision-making on the other.  Small group work to discuss aspects of the scenario and work towards a resolution; (ii) planning a staff in-service session to start the new school year: what to prioritise, which issues need to be addressed, how to give everyone a lift and fresh impetus after the pandemic.

JoPlain Vanilla

Lucie Cotterill

As Good as a Rest? Managing Change in Challenging Times.

We are currently in a time when we’re told that change is needed more than ever for our language teaching organisations to remain competitive in the market, but at the same time the climate of unpredictability brought about by the pandemic has left our staff with a very real sense of change fatigue. In this session, we’ll be taking a brief look at some frameworks for managing change, the psychological effects of change on our staff, and how change can be implemented in a way that increases buy-in and reduces anxiety.

Lucie is a teacher, academic manager, and teacher trainer based in the South of Italy, where she works for IH British School Reggio Calabria as Director of Innovation. She has been in ELT for 20 years, during which time she has taught a range of learners and has held various academic management roles. Lucie is also the DoS Community Coordinator for IH World and tutors on the IH OTTI courses which form part of the IHWO Diploma in Academic Management. She is a member of the committee of the IATEFL Inclusive Practices and SEN SIG, acting as Social Media Coordinator, and she also writes and reviews primary materials for an Italian publisher. In her free time, Lucie is a puzzle enthusiast who loves walking in nature and watching stand-up comedy.

JoPlain Vanilla

Lou Mclaughlin

Eaquals Academic Management Competences Framework

The Eaquals Academic Management Competences Framework addresses the need for support for academic managers in terms of designing a clear path for their own development within an organisation or as they develop in their career and move from one organisation to the next. The framework provides a practical way of addressing this need both for managers and for their team.

Lou McLaughlin is the Executive Director of Eaquals (Evaluation & Accreditation of Quality Language Services). She is the Founder Chair of ELT Ireland, the network for ELT professionals in Ireland, served on the IATEFL Board of Trustees as the Associates Representative until 2021 and currently is a Trustee for the Bell Education Trust. Lou holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics, Masters in ELT, DELTA, TESOL Cert. in Leadership & Management and Trinity TESOL Cert. Her special interests are Young Learner teacher training, teacher cognition and management in ELT. Lou is a frequent speaker at international conferences and was the co-editor of Children Learning English: From Research to Practice (2015).

JoPlain Vanilla

Julie Wallis

Communicate, Collaborate and Create

The remit for this workshop was ‘something fun and active…it’s the last day’, so this is my attempt at engaging and motivating a wonderful group of people who are always up for a laugh, but have high expectations.A networking and team building workshop to foster future collaboration between AISLi schools and within your own school community, with some takeaways and practical ideas for your teachers to use in the classroom, too. Teambuilding activities and ice breakers help build trust and improve intrapersonal and interpersonal awareness. By creating personal maps, we will develop empathy and understanding within the group. Finally, we will discuss how to adapt the activity so that it is practical and appropriate to other professional and learning context.

Julie Wallis is the Director of The London School. She has extensive experience in leadership and academic management. Over the past thirty-five years she has delivered plenary presentations, workshops and training courses on academic management, methodology, CPD coaching and more specific workshops and courses on CLIL and teaching to learners with learning differences. She has worked for organisations including Eaquals, AISLi, LEND, NILE, Transform ELT, Pilgrims and Bell. She holds a BA, is DELTA and CertIBET qualified and is a trained inspector for AISLi, an inspector and Trustee for Eaquals, and IH London Trustee. More recently she has assumed a new role as President of AISLi.

JoPlain Vanilla

Jonathan Dykes

Virtual Reality for Language Learners

Until now, most of the VR materials that have been developed for language learners have been designed with individual students in mind. Typically, the student will enter a virtual version of a real-life location (a hotel, restaurant, station, or similar) and interact with an avatar or other content to be found in the virtual environment. While not denying its usefulness, such activities tend to be very proscribed and to focus on practising specific expressions, or simple language items that might be helpful in each situation. The VR4LL project has deliberately taken an entirely different approach. Rather than designing materials for individual students, our objective has been to develop materials that can be used in a classroom context by a group of students working and communicating together. This talk will outline the sorts of tasks that we have developed for students to undertake in different virtual worlds, explain the underlying methodology we have used, and illustrate how the activities work in practice.
Jonathan has spent most of his professional life in the language teaching industry. He started out as a teacher, working in Spain, Germany, and the UK, but soon moved into management, and ending up running a small multinational group of schools, several of which he started. He also set up Net Languages, one of the world’s first Web-based language schools, and in 2020 he co-founded Green Standard Schools, a global association of language schools that are committed to protecting the environment.

JoPlain Vanilla

Palmina la Rosa
Marta Brzoska

Beyond the Language Classroom

In this workshop, participants will explore ways of raising teachers and students’ awareness of life competencies in a language classroom  in a regular way. They will also perform a few practical tasks designed to enhance students’ 21st century competencies such as teamwork and critical thinking and  reflect on their personalities and performance both as individuals and part of their team. 

This will give the attendees first-hand, interactive experience of some of the activities we can use to help develop skills through real life experience and team tasks, as well as how to set and proactively plan to achieve goals. 

The knowledge shared in this session is based on coaching techniques in the language context, feedback from our teachers and our overall experience in this field so far.

JoPlain Vanilla

Palmina La Rosa
In 2020, I attended the High Impact Leadership Course, held at the University of Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership. My involvement with AISLi stretches back to the early 2000’s when I took up the role of AISLi Director of Operations from 2005 to 2016, and then AISLi President from 2016 to 2020. I am currently the AISLi Accreditation and Inspection Coordinator. I look after the accreditation processes and inspection procedures and manage the AISLi inspectors’ team. I am also a Career Guidance Specialist accredited by ASNOR (the Italian Association of Career Guidance Specialists). I am dedicated to pursuing excellence conveying passion and enthusiasm for my work.

Marta Brzoska
Born and raised in Poland, I relocated to Sicily in 2008 where I have spent most of my career teaching English and running teacher training courses such as CELTA.  Since 2017, I have  been working as a Director of Studies at Giga IH Catania.  I hold an English Language Teacher Training College Diploma, BA in English Philology and DELTA. I am particularly interested in teaching English in exam preparation contexts and collaborating with teachers who want to be better able to deliver inspiring and successful lessons. I love exploring ways on how to adapt coursebook material so that lessons are always enjoyable and students can show genuine engagement in lesson content.

JoPlain Vanilla

Joanna Morrison Jones

Personalised Personal Development

We work in teams which are varied and diverse. Staff have different experience, knowledge, interests and aptitudes. It is clear that a one size fits all development programme is not the answer. Input does not always equal results. We personalise the learning for our students and we can in turn personalise the development for our staff. The presentation will outline the success and difficulties of developing a staff led personalised professional development programme. What are the advantages and disadvantages? Does it work for everyone?

Joanna Morrison Jones is the Academic and Didactic Manager for the British School Pisa group. She has more than 15 years experience working in ELT in different contexts within Italy. As an academic manager she is focused on managing staff development and welfare as well as ensuring quality content delivery throughout the group.

JoPlain Vanilla

Adam Scott

Self-directed,peer-supported, professional development

‘DIY-CPD’ sessions build on teacher reflection and critical incident analysis, turning standalone, one-size-fits-all INSETT sessions into thematic, guided opportunities for personalised, self-directed professional development. Their format allows all teachers to develop at their personal learning edge and by drawing on peer insights, they help to strengthen workplace communities of practice. This reflective, discursive engagement exposes teachers to a range of experience and expertise from peer insights to benefit their own chosen areas of professional need. This session demonstrates how a facilitated session may work and provides ideas for structuring a programme of DIY CPD within schools or local associations.

Adam is Senior ELT Consultant at Sensations English. He’s also a teacher, CELTA trainer, writes for major publishers, develops innovative DIY CPD projects, conducts classroom research, and is joint coordinator of the IATEFL Pronunciation Special Interest Group. Adam has wide-ranging interests across teacher development, language development, and learner identity and inclusion, alongside a career-long interest in advancing phonology practice.

JoPlain Vanilla

Richard Twigg

Virtual Reality Workshop

Richard Twigg has over 20 years teaching experience in the U.K., Malta and Italy and has been a teacher/teacher trainer for the last 15 years. In 1998 he graduated from Huddersfield University with a Certificate in Education (Further Education). He was then a lecturer at York College before he moved to Malta in 2005, where he obtained his DELTA in 2007. He is currently the director of English Consultancy and Mediterranean Training and he works as a freelance teacher / teacher trainer in Italy and Malta. He delivers teacher training seminars (face to face and online) across Italy for both MacMillan Education and Eli - National Geographic Learning, aimed at educators in mainstream education. He has delivered online teacher training programmes for the Malta ELT Council - Ministry for Education and Employment (MEDE), on behalf of the Malta Tourism Authority through Mdina International and also to a number of educators in mainstream schools in both Malta and Gozo

JoPlain Vanilla

JoPlain Vanilla