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INTO event to encourage more inclusive classrooms

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INTO event to encourage more inclusive classrooms

Helping teachers at INTO’s UK centres to support, educate and include international students with special educational needs was the aim of the recent INTO SEN Training Event.

Helping teachers at INTO’s UK centres to support, educate and include international students with special educational needs was the aim of the recent INTO SEN Training Event. During an action-packed two-day conference at INTO Queen’s University Belfast, employees from UK INTO centres shared their experiences of teaching SEN students and of working within the latest SEN Guidelines. The term 'special educational needs’ refers to those who find it harder to learn than most people of the same age due to learning problems or disabilities. Students with SENs may, for example, find reading, writing or mental mathematics challenging; have trouble expressing themselves clearl… Read the full article
Helping teachers at INTO’s UK centres to support, educate and include international students with special educational needs was the aim of the recent INTO SEN Training Event.

During an action-packed two-day conference at INTO Queen’s University Belfast, employees from UK INTO centres shared their experiences of teaching SEN students and of working within the latest SEN Guidelines.

The term 'special educational needs’ refers to those who find it harder to learn than most people of the same age due to learning problems or disabilities. Students with SENs may, for example, find reading, writing or mental mathematics challenging; have trouble expressing themselves clearly and understanding what is being said; and be unable to organise themselves and/or behave appropriately.

“International students who arrive at INTO’s study centres may have SENs that were either not recognised in their home country, or not evident during the admissions process,” said SENs specialist and event organiser Anne Rowan, an English Teacher at INTO Queen’s University Belfast.

“This training event was an opportunity to highlight the issue of SENs, as well as for teachers to share their experience of managing and supporting students with SENs with their colleagues around the UK. I came away both inspired and better informed and hope that others did, too.”

“The challenge now will be to build on the good work already being done at our centres and encourage even more teachers to participate in what we are hoping will become an annual conference,” added INTO Director of Teaching and Learning Richard Samuels, who was also instrumental in the organising and content of the event.

Presentations and workshops during the two days included how to recognise SENs; how to promote inclusive classrooms; how to ensure inclusive assessment practices; and confidentiality and the legal landscape. 

The event led to some pledges and tangible actions regarding the teaching and management of SEN students within our centres. These included providing in-centre SENs training for teachers and others and sharing best practice and teaching resources between INTO employees. There was also much discussion on how best to encourage agents, parents and students to disclose SENs on the application form so that plans can be made to support them before the start of their programme. 

Feedback following the event was overwhelmingly positive: “It was a really interesting and valuable couple of days, thanks so much to Anne and Richard for running it all. Anne, INTO Queens is very lucky to have you and all your SEN expertise! I’m especially looking forward to passing on and trying out the SEN friendly materials,” said Eloise Bicket, an English Teacher at INTO Glasgow Caledonian University.

“The event was the start of something new at INTO. I am meeting with the Academic Director and then we take it from there. Thank you to Richard for bringing us together, and to Anne for organising the event and sharing all your hard work. Let's all keep this going!” said Andreas Droulias, Foundation Teacher at INTO City, University of London.

“Looking at SEN issues in the case of international students, from the learning and teaching perspective, and the aspect of inclusiveness was very relevant, informative and stimulating. I have learned a lot and I am ready to pass on my newly acquired knowledge to my colleagues at INTO University of Stirling,” added INTO University of Stirling Teacher Dr Olga Mausch-Debowska. 

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Moving up – Lauren Dodd

Director of Student Experience at INTO Suffolk University Lauren Dodd has always been a ‘people person’ and, since obtaining a Geography degree at the University of Leeds and an MA in Arts Management, Policy and Practice at the University of Manchester in 2011, her career has reflected that very clearly. Prior to her last role, as Program Coordinator at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington State, Lauren had amassed six years of solid experience on the student side of things at INTO centers in both the UK and US. First up after her own studies was a year at INTO Newcastle University as Student Services Coordinator, and a further year as Student Services Team Leader there. She then shifted her gaze North America-wards, moving to Corvallis to become Student Services Assistant Manager at INTO O… Read the full article
Director of Student Experience at INTO Suffolk University Lauren Dodd has always been a ‘people person’ and, since obtaining a Geography degree at the University of Leeds and an MA in Arts Management, Policy and Practice at the University of Manchester in 2011, her career has reflected that very clearly.

Prior to her last role, as Program Coordinator at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington State, Lauren had amassed six years of solid experience on the student side of things at INTO centers in both the UK and US.

First up after her own studies was a year at INTO Newcastle University as Student Services Coordinator, and a further year as Student Services Team Leader there. She then shifted her gaze North America-wards, moving to Corvallis to become Student Services Assistant Manager at INTO Oregon State University. Following two successful years, in 2015 she ascended to Student Services Manager before moving to Gonzaga University last October.

One year on, and she is back at INTO – this time at INTO Suffolk University where, as Director of Student Experience, among other things, she oversees all aspects of on-campus housing and dining, arrivals and airport transfer, crisis management, student conduct, engagement, orientation, and supervises the INTO Suffolk University Welcome Desk.

When asked why the slight volte-face and return to INTO, she doesn’t hesitate. “When I moved into a non-international student affairs role outside of INTO, I quickly realized how important the ‘international’ part of my work was to me.

“I was an international student in college [she spent a year studying at the University of Queensland in Australia as part of her Geography degree] and it was the most transformational experience of my life. I wanted to make a difference in other international students’ lives by helping connect them to the local culture, the university, and other students. 

“I also missed working with international affairs and being part of the vibrant and supportive INTO family, and so vowed to get back into the company as soon as I could!” she says. It was this determination that led to her spotting the advertisement for the Director role, submitting a persuasive and powerful application and, ultimately, starting the job in January 2018.

She is enjoying the fact that as a fairly recent (the first INTO students arrived on campus in Spring 2018) addition to the INTO family, INTO Suffolk is in a growing phase. “As it is a small center at the moment, you get to know the students by name and establish strong connections with them,” she says. “I enjoy the challenge of building the student experience functions from the ground up as it allows for a high degree of creativity and innovation. I get to combine everything I learned in my previous roles and experiences and create something brand new and beautiful!”

The slight downside of the center’s newness is, that, “when building something from the ground up, there is sometimes no foundation to lean on, especially if the process or procedure does not exist yet! This can be difficult, but I work in a very supportive team and we have many wonderful students, so that what makes it all worth it!”

“It’s all about taking opportunities as they come up and getting involved in different projects and initiatives in the Center and across the university. You can gain a deeper understanding of where you need to grow personally and professionally if you expose yourself to different ideas and departments. INTO is also a huge global network, so get to know who’s in it! The more connections you make, the more opportunities you may have if you are looking to move up in the future.”

That said, Lauren is very happy where she is right now. “I am sure I will still want to be doing this in five years’ time, as I feel like this is my calling in life, and to do it every day is a great privilege. As a director of a start-up centre there will still be a lot of growing, developing and creating to do. I am hoping to have achieved a fully-functioning, comprehensive student experience with 100% student satisfaction in five years’ time.”

She is keen to extol the positive aspects of working for INTO. “One of the best aspects of the company are the people, which may sound clichéd, but I’m not kidding! I have met many exceptional individuals working for INTO and am genuinely a better person from having had the opportunity to learn from and be supervised and mentored by them,” she concludes. Find out more about INTO Suffolk University

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Lauren Dodd Photo

Golf tournament is hole-in-one for INTO Giving

The late summer sun smiled on the players in this year’s INTO UEA Golf Day, whose heroic efforts yielded a record-breaking £5,326 (US$7,000) for INTO Giving. More... Read the full article
The late summer sun smiled on the players in this year’s INTO UEA Golf Day, whose heroic efforts yielded a record-breaking £5,326 (US$7,000) for INTO Giving. More...
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2018 Golf Pic 3

Success blooms for four INTO UEA students

“Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result,” said Oscar Wilde. The Newton A-Level and International Foundation programmes at INTO the University of East Anglia create just the right conditions, say four of its former students, all of whom have already found success in their chosen fields. Celeste, who is from Malaysia, went from the two-year INTO Newton A-Level Programme to Cardiff University to study medicine and, having graduated this summer, has just started working as a junior doctor on the wards which, she says, “has been exciting, but incredibly nerve-wrecking.” She is grateful for her positive initial experience of studying in the UK. “The tutors in the Newton Programme were wonderful at helping us with our applications, such as organising mock interview sessions and even … Read the full article
“Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result,” said Oscar Wilde. The Newton A-Level and International Foundation programmes at INTO the University of East Anglia create just the right conditions, say four of its former students, all of whom have already found success in their chosen fields.

Celeste, who is from Malaysia, went from the two-year INTO Newton A-Level Programme to Cardiff University to study medicine and, having graduated this summer, has just started working as a junior doctor on the wards which, she says, “has been exciting, but incredibly nerve-wrecking.”

She is grateful for her positive initial experience of studying in the UK. “The tutors in the Newton Programme were wonderful at helping us with our applications, such as organising mock interview sessions and even a week of shadowing in the university hospital,” she says.

“Doing my A-levels here allowed me to acclimatize to life in the UK before entering university. I also enjoyed the challenge of leaving home and living abroad for the first time - making new friends, learning about different cultures, broadening my horizons.

She is not sure exactly what the future holds, but is committed to medicine and, for now, is simply concentrating on working hard to qualify as a doctor. “I always had an interest in pursuing medicine in school, but it wasn’t until I did some work experience that I knew it was for me. It would be a long and tiring day volunteering at the stroke rehab centre, but at the end of the day when you got a smile or a thanks from a patient, it was incredibly rewarding.”

Yeow Win Yean (Giselle, pictured) also moved on to a top UK university via the Newton A-Level Programme and has just graduated from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) with a Bachelor of Laws with Honours degree.

She says that the Newton Programme helped her to prepare for university life and describes the teaching as, “incredible… I am so thankful to have met such wonderful teachers as they were always there for me whenever I needed help in my studies, and gave me useful advice and feedback on my university applications.”

The programme also taught her, “how to cope with pressure, as it is demanding and definitely challenging. It shaped me into a good planner and a determined and disciplined student. I also made so many smart, caring and kind-hearted friends during my time at INTO.

“I chose to study at QMUL because it is well-known for its LLB programme and its excellent teaching. Furthermore, the School of Law has links with major law firms and famous chambers… And studying in London means you get to experience living in one of the most exhilarating cities in the world, with so much history and so many unique spots waiting for you to discover.

She has definite plans for the future. “I will be attending the Bar Professional Training Course at City, University of London, as I wish to train as a barrister,” she says. “I am drawn towards a career advocating for clients in courts, having been inspired by my father, who was a politician and always encouraged me to voice my opinions.”

A degree in Economics and Finance at the University of Leeds was the next stepping stone after the Newton A-Level Programme for Hayley.

After graduating, she returned to Vietnam, where she works as Personal Assistant the CEO of an educational consultants – a job she finds immensely satisfying. “We help high school students get into the best US colleges and universities by working closely and nurturing them in an intellectual environment. We also prepare them for the type of thinking, reasoning, arguing and researching that they are expected to do well in a university environment.

She acknowledges the huge role in her success played by the Newton Programme – an experience she describes as, “Amazing! The best thing about it was the small class experience and the individual attention I got from my teachers.

“My favourite memory is of Chemistry practical lessons - I had a lot of fun carrying out experiments. Peter, my Chemistry tutor who, sadly has since passed away, was quite a character and was one of the most dedicated teachers I have ever had, as was every other teacher in the Newton Programme!

“I discovered a passion for craft beer during my five years in the UK, and hope to open a brewery in the future! But, for now, I am focusing on improving myself and accumulating essential skills to be a good leader and business-woman.”

Further study is the goal of Li Wen Tan, who passed the International Foundation in Mathematics and Actuarial Science at INTO UEA three years ago, and has just graduated from the University with a First-Class Honours Degree in Actuarial Science.

“I chose to study abroad to train up my independence and to meet people from around the world,” she says. “The best thing about studying at INTO UEA was that I got massive support from lecturers. And the best thing about UEA is that the environment is perfect for studying. Studying Actuarial Science in UEA also gave me the chance to study in AVIVA, and have 8 actuarial exemptions upon graduation,” she says.

“INTO UEA prepared me well for studying abroad by allowing me to experience and feel comfortable in Norwich before proceeding on to university life. Certain subjects taught during my Foundation programme, such as accounting and economics also benefited me in my first year of university, as this meant I had more time for other, tougher subjects.

“I am very fortunate in that I will be studying at Imperial College London for the next academic year, and am planning to gain some working experience in the UK afterwards, and before going back my home town.”

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Giselle 3

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