Wednesday 25 May 2016

Some of the best things to do in Portsmouth

If you are a bit short on funds, have a look at this blog post to get some ideas of the fabulous things you can do in Portsmouth for FREE.

A photo posted by LSI Portsmouth (@lsiportsmouth) on

Wednesday 18 May 2016

10 Tips to choose your Pre-sessional course

It is not easy knowing how to choose the right course to help you gain entry into the university of your choice.  Below, our Pre-sessional Director of Studies Robyn gives you 10 of the most important points to think about when choosing your course.

 1Experience: Look for how long the institute has been running their course.

2 - Location: Is it in the same city as the University you want to go to? For example if you want to go to the University of Manchester, look for a course in Manchester.  This will save you money because you won’t need to move again, and you will be familiar with the city.

3 - Cost: How much does the course cost? What is included in the cost? How big will the classes be? Are your books included? How many hours per week will you study?

4 - Opportunities:  How many opportunities will you have to practice? How many essays will you write and get feedback on? Will you do presentations? Will you have lectures?

5 - Direct Entry: Will you get direct entry to the university or will you have to take another IELTS exam?

6 - Pass Rate: How many students pass the course every year, and if students fail what are the reasons they fail?

7 - Relationship with the University: Does the Pre-sessional course provider understand exactly what is needed by the university?

8 - Accreditation: Does the course provider have inspections that check the quality of the courses they provide? For example British Council or BALEAP accreditation schemes.

9 - Staff Qualifications: Do the teachers have for example an M.A. in Applied Linguistics or a Teaching Diploma (i.e. DELTA).

10 - Student Feedback: What do past students think about the course, is it good? What do other people say?

We hope this helps you with the very difficult decision.  If you need any more help, then do get in touch with us.  If you would prefer to watch Robyn explain the points, watch her here explaining in a video.

If you would like to read this in another language please click below:

In Arabic
Chinese - (China / Singapore / Malaysia)
Chinese -  (Hong Kong / Taiwan / Macau)

Wednesday 11 May 2016

Portsmouth to the Philippines - Hands across the Water

Recently two of our teachers took a few weeks out to go and do something amazing.  Here Caroline Gwatkins explains what:

Please click photo for full image
In January 2016 Portsmouth and Southsea Rotary team of 3 Teacher Trainers set out from Portsmouth feeling much like the explorers of old. Our destination was the PCF Tondo School in Manila. Our objective; to run a holistic whole-school professional development course for the teaching staff, with special emphasis on the pedagogical use of the £67,000 worth teaching and other materials provided by the Club. 

The school, founded by Jane Walker in 2002, is situated in one of the biggest rubbish dumps in the world. Before going we had no idea of what this meant in practical terms, how 'big' is 'biggest'? What we found was indescribable. For anyone who hasn't experienced the lowest levels of poverty and deprivation first hand it's impossible to imagine - I have no adequate words to paint an image of how people can live and maintain their dignity in such slum surroundings. 

Built out of containers and painted bright purple, the school has both primary and secondary departments. It is constructed like a fortress with all the classrooms around a central patio which is used for games, meetings and functions. As each classroom has windows onto the central patio as well as windows looking out over the rubbish dump and river, the noise level has to be tightly controlled.

The curriculum follows the National Curriculum as far as possible and there are a wide range of extra curricula activities with specialised staff. The Foundation, which is ultimately responsible for all that goes on, is also housed in the same building giving ample opportunity for departmental communication. This is an area that needs some attention, for example we found that some of the teachers were not aware of the interdependence of the two organisations. 

The catchment area for the school is wide and unsafe so it is necessary for children and staff to be picked up by a small fleet of buses. Children arrive at school in time for breakfast and leave after having had a cooked lunch. 

The young staff make up with enthusiasm what they lack in experience and professional expertise. Once they understood that our primary objective was to help them in their professional development they responded with interested eagerness. They all attended the Professional Development Course, all the departments working together, learning about and developing their teaching skills. The course was divided into 2 main parts: classroom observation with evaluation and feedback followed by our presentations linked to round table discussions and finally, their presentations on what they had learnt and what they wanted to do next. 

However, this is not the end of the process, the course has now gone online and through the virtual teaching platform Edmodo it will continue for another year. In this way it is hoped to be able to turn around an essentially negative situation into a more positive one by providing new professional development possibilities. The team will continue to focus on the importance of motivation (both teachers and learners) and continuous learning as core principles. Huge project requires huge amount of work energy and passion. 

We have been through so much with this project. Our initial response to this unique opportunity was excitement and eager anticipation. On arrival the heat and the time difference hit us hard and, still reeling from this, we were overwhelmed by the stark reality of the school and its surroundings. Nevertheless, the project was enormously successful and inspired by the enthusiasm of the staff, we are hopeful for the future and looking forward to working closely with them. This type of project is fundamental for the community. Theirs and ours. Its impact is global.

Caroline Gwatkin
Joanna Glos
April 2016

Friday 6 May 2016

Saying Goodbye to Two Stars!

We are very sad, but happy for them, to be saying goodbye to two of the loveliest staff members we have.  Yvonne the lovely teacher, who puts her total heart and soul into every lesson.  Nick, a brilliant teacher and super helpful IT man (thanks for all your help Nick).  For anyone who wasn't able to make the leaving speeches or leaving drinks here are some reminders:

Yvonne is stopping teaching and moving to Greece to start an amazing new life, and Nick is moving to Oman and will continue teaching.
We are really going to miss these two larger than life characters! ;-(

Wednesday 4 May 2016

An Executive Student's Experience of Portsmouth.

One of our Executive Students recently made a little video while he was staying with us. We think it is really interesting to see Portsmouth and LSI through the eyes of a students.

Thank you to Lothar for taking the time to do this for us, we really appreciate it.