Posts Tagged ‘LSI London Hampstead’

The New Management Team at LSI London Hampstead

Monday, October 27th, 2014

We’d like to extend a warm LSI welcome to our new school director and assistant director at LSI London Hampstead, Maggie Carruthers and Kat Holloway.

From left to right: Kat Holloway and Maggie Carruthers

From left to right: Kat Holloway and Maggie Carruthers

Maggie Carruthers, our new school director, comes to us after seven and half years working as a school director for Kaplan in southern Brazil. Despite her rather Scottish sounding surname, Maggie actually hails from Brazil but has spent several years in London. With a CELTA, a BA in Law, and a Masters in International Law under her belt, Maggie is highly qualified and with a total of  14 years working in EFL as a teacher, senior teacher, academic director and school director, can call upon a vast amount of experience for her new role with LSI. Despite a busy schedule, Maggie still finds time to study for the diplomat exams, her long term goal being to work as a diplomat in Afghanistan.

Maggie: ” I want to make a difference to people’s lives , which is one of the reasons I love teaching. As a diplomat though , especially somewhere like Afghanistan,  I feel I could really help to change people’s lives for the better .”

Our new assistant school director, Kat Holloway,  also has plenty of international experience and excellent EFL credentials with both DELTA qualifications and a Masters in English. Earlier customer focussed roles included advising on unforgettable gap years for eager but often inexperienced students, looking for their first independent, global adventure. In Kat’s first ever teaching role, she was thrown straight in at the deep end. She spent 18 months working in Taipei teaching students ranging from the Kindergarten all the way up to international businessmen, surely a challenge even for the most experienced teacher!

Kat flourished though and was soon looking for a fresh challenge. Moving to Madrid, she worked at both the Chester School of English and Hylands working as a teacher, then teacher trainer and finally during the last year as the Director of Studies.  Kat is really happy about her move to London.

Kat: “I’m sure I’m going to love living in London, there’s always so much to do. The atmosphere at LSI is so friendly so I know I’m  going to love working here and being part of the LSI London Hampstead team. ”

Welcome on board guys!

A Fond Farewell to Sally

Monday, October 27th, 2014

On Friday 24th October  school director, Sally Muse, said a sad farewell after seven years at LSI London Hampstead. It was a poignant moment for all the staff at the school  as Sally has become such an established and valued member of the Hampstead team.

It only seems like yesterday when the then school director Tania  announced that one of our newly appointed teacher’s was a dead ringer for American actress Cameron Diaz – that was our introduction to Sally!

Sally being presented with the photo

Sally being presented with the photo


An amazing teacher ( student feedback can’t be wrong !), and highly driven, Sally studied for both  her DELTA and a  Masters in TESOL whilst working as both a teacher and then Assistant School Director at London Hampstead. At times it’s been gruelling as Sally worked hard,  putting in long hours to achieve the highest standards in both her work and studies – successfully so in both cases. Her highly professional approach was recognised by our management team and when the previous school director Greg relocated to our school in Berkeley,  Sally was the natural choice to replace him.

On Friday the staff at Hampstead organised a little ‘goodbye’ party. Just to ensure that she won’t be  forgetting us too quickly, Sally was presented with a fun ‘class’  photo of  the LSI London Hampstead staff ( in there younger days !)

” I’ve had a wonderful time at London Hampstead, ” commented Sally.  “I’ve learnt so much and have had so much support from my colleagues. That’s what I’m going to miss most – the staff and the students but I’m so excited about starting out  on a new phase of my life.”

From everyone at LSI we wish Sally well with her upcoming wedding and plans to pursue a  career in EAP in a university setting back in her home town of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

Tai Chi Class at LSI London Hampstead led by World Champion Ye Yongxiang

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

When Ye Yongxiang “Lillianna”  first arrived at LSI London Hampstead over a month ago she stood out as being a very special and talented lady. At the age of only 27 she is the current world champion in Tai Chi (Yang Style) winning this prestigious title in the ‘International Kung Fu Championship’ held in Hong Kong in March this year. Following in the footsteps of both her grandmother and mother (who herself was world champion 20 years ago), Tai Chi has always been a fundamental part of her life. Brought up in Shanghai in a highly educated family imbued with traditional Chinese values, she has been studying Tai Chi from the age of three initially from her mother but then from one of the top masters in Tai Chi.

Lillianna receiving her Gold Medal with her mother

Lillianna receiving her gold medal with her mother

Lillianna uses descriptions such as ‘moving yoga’ and ‘eastern ballet’ to try and explain the grace and poise of Tai Chi to complete novices. Despite being  a martial art and thus a contact sport, the emphasis in Tai Chi is in inner strength and controlled movement rather than physical force and has strong meditative and religious undertones.

“Tai Chi encourages a person to be more reflective, spiritual even and I feel it helps to give a deeper understanding of life. It’s so beneficial too in many ways – it helps to improve your coordination, sense of balance and relieves stress. The only downside  for me is the gruelling training schedule which leaves very little time for socialising with friends and for relaxation.”

Lillianna in training

Lillianna in training

In addition to training, Lillianna teaches Tai Chi to students in Shanghai, some of whom are International students and business people. “My plan is to be able to teach at a higher level, maybe even internationally, and to do that I need to improve my English. I’m planning to take the IELTs exam and so decided to enrol on a course at LSI London Hampstead. Being here in some ways has been a bit of a holiday as I haven’t been able to do all my usual training and it’s been great fun socialising with my fellow students”.

Lillianna kindly agreed to give a demonstration lesson to her fellow students and teachers. After the initial warm up, Lilliana performed some classic Tai Chi movements before her enraptured audience and ended with teaching some basic Tai Chi movements. If you want to catch some clips of the class , check out our Tai Chi Class video.

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TV, Radio and Host Families – Three focus areas for Learning English Outside the Classroom

Monday, May 19th, 2014

When it comes to giving advice about language learning, no one comes more qualified than Patricia Vonscheidt, our Junior Programme Director at LSI London Hampstead. Patricia has hosted workshops and delivered talks to national TEFL conferences.  Here are a  few of her words of wisdom…

Patricia Vonscheidt, Junior Programme Director

Patricia Vonscheidt, Junior Programme Director

When learning a language abroad, we should try to take advantage of everything that comes our way to enhance our experience and improve our listening and speaking skills, and more so if we can get our hands (or ears) on authentic materials, such as TV programmes, radio shows and even everyday conversations with host families!

How can you use authentic materials to improve our everyday conversation? And how can we practise them?

TV: soap operas like Doctors, EastEnders, Coronation Street, to name but a few, can provide ‘colourful’ colloquial language which can be put to practice immediately with classmates or friends. Here are some tips:

  • Watch programmes live at home with subtitles: if you hear new words or phrases, you can quickly write them down, and try repeating them (you can check the meaning later!)
  • Watch them on iplayer services: this is a great option as you can stop and go back as many times as you want, to repeat, and practice the new phrases or structures

Radio: news programmes, interviews, adverts and songs can offer excellent ways to develop our skills further:

  • Listen to your chosen programme and be ready to write as many words as you can, don’t worry about spelling, or meaning. More often than not, these words or expressions will be spoken again and you’ll get a chance to check them.
  • As with TV, most radios are available online and therefore it is possible to listen, pause, and play again. This gives you the chance to repeat and write down what you hear.

Host families: when having a meal or sharing some time with them, always ask them when they use new words you don’t know, have your notebook at hand and make sure you write an example of the new vocabulary. Your hosts will always be happy to explain and be of assistance in your language learning experience!

Try out our tips and see the difference it makes to your language skills in no time at all!

Patricia in action at an annual International IATEFL Conference

Patricia in action at an annual International IATEFL Conference

Did you know? Some Quirky Facts about London

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Our LSI team in London have put together some of their favourite facts about this fascinating city. 

May2014OldLondon In 1811 London was the first city in the world to reach a population of more than one million people and remained the largest city in the world until it was over taken by Tokyo in 1925 . With a population of 8.2 million London is still the largest city in European Union.
May2014SPauls St Paul’s Cathedral is the second largest church in the UK, has the third largest dome in the world and possesses Europe’s largest crypt where amongst others, architect Sir Christopher Wren, painters Joshua Reynolds and JMW Turner, and national heroes Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington are buried.
May2014BlackCab To get a London taxi license to drive one of London’s iconic ‘black cabs’, you have to prove that you know every single street and landmark in London. It’s called “The Knowledge” and takes 2-4 years to memorize.
May2014LondonZoo London Zoo is the world’s oldest public zoo. Originally opened in 1828 to members of the Zoological society for the scientific study of the animal collections, it finally opened to the public in 1847. The Zoo, one of the UK’s largest zoos, is located on the edges of Regent’s Park and is commonly referred to as ‘Regent’s Zoo’
May2014EalingStudios Established in 1902, Ealing Studios in West London are the oldest continuously working film studios in the world. Whilst best known for its 1950s comedy classics such as ‘The Lady Killers’, the studios are still used for TV and film work such as the period drama ‘Downton Abbey’.

If you have some interesting trivia you’d like to share about London send them in to lon@lsi.edu . Why not come and join us in London– we look forward to welcoming you to LSI London Central or LSI London Hampstead !

A Bird’s-eye view of London – Our travel tips

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Here are our top tips to get some amazing views of London!

May2014Monument The Monument
Standing 62 metres high, this stone column was built in 1677 to commemorate the Great Fire of London which began in a baker’s shop 62 metres from its base. After climbing 311 steps up the stone spiral staircase, you are rewarded with one of the best 360-degree views of London from the viewing platform. Our opinion: hard work but worth the climb and don’t forget the souvenir certificate.
May2014O2walkway The O2 Rooftop Walkway
The O2, originally named the Millennium Dome due to its unique shape, is one of London’s largest entertainment venues. In 2012, a 380 metres long walkway was constructed over the roof. The pathway is created by a tensile fabric and in place of side barriers, walkers are secured by means of clips to a central cable running along the length of the path. From the central observation platform there are amazing views across central London and the Docklands. Our opinion: An exhilarating experience but not for the feint hearted or unfit!
May2014ThamesCableCar Thames River Cable car
Constructed in time for the 2012 Olympics, the cable car connects the Greenwich Peninsula with the Royal Docklands. The 5 minute aerial ride across the Thames River inside pretty glass gondolas gives wonderful views along the river, East London and the beautiful Greenwich Park. Our opinion: A novel addition to London’s transport and cheaper than all other viewing point options!
May2014Shard The Shard 
This 87 storey glass clad pyramidal tower nicknamed ‘the shard of Glass’ is the tallest building in Western Europe at 310 metres and it provides the highest viewing point in London . Possible to see up to 40 miles on a clear day, it has three viewing platforms on different floors. Our opinion: Great views, amazing architecture but best to avoid the ticket price by visiting the bars on the lower floors.
May2014LondonEye The London Eye
This huge Ferris wheel is perhaps the most iconic of our viewing points. Located across the river from the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, it was originally intended as a temporary structure to celebrate the Millennium but proved to be so popular that it is now a permanent landmark and has been widely copied in many cities across the world. During the New Year’s firework celebrations it is frequently used to spectacular effects. Our opinion: Worth a visit but get there early to avoid the lengthy queues.

Try our tips out and let us know your opinions at lon@lsi.edu .

Easter Celebrations at the LSI schools

Friday, April 25th, 2014
Spot the Easter Eggs at LSI San Diego

Spot the Easter Eggs at LSI San Diego

As is customary many of our LSI schools celebrated Easter this year with the eternally popular Easter Egg hunts around the school. This year however LSI London Hampstead decided to add even more fun and hilarity to the proceedings by turning it into a race.

Students were asked to assemble in the garden grouped in their classes and the rules were then announced. Each class or ‘team’ had 10 minutes to find as many tiny eggs as they could hidden somewhere around the garden with the winning team receiving a special prize. During ten minutes of mayhem, around 50 teachers, students and staff rushed around the garden with the occasional collision, ferreting around in bushes, clambering up trees and delving through the bins to root out the chocolaty treasures.

Way in the front with an amazing 42 eggs, the winning team was led by teacher James Butcher. The special winners’ prize? An even bigger chocolate Egg!

The Race for eggs at LSI London Hampstead

The Race for Eggs at LSI London Hampstead

LSI Berkeley gets a new school director

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

As LSI London Hampstead says a fond farewell to our wonderful ‘yankee’ director Greg Wickline, the doors are thrown open to a warm welcome at LSI Berkeley as Greg steps into the director’s shoes there in March. Greg has been with LSI since 2003 starting off as a teacher working in both our London schools.

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Greg says farewell to friends at Hampstead

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Greg with the team in LSI Berkeley

“My first ever class at LSI was teaching advanced English to a group of language teachers. It was a tough start so I was amazed when LSI asked me back!”So impressed was the school director that Greg was promoted to assistant school director in 2006 and finally took over the helm at Hampstead in January 2010. “I have loved my time at Hampstead and have met some wonderful people. I’m going to miss all my colleagues at Hampstead a lot but I am happy to be moving back to the US where I’ll be closer to my family.”What will Greg miss most about the UK (apart from all his many friends)? “Cricket and Arsenal football club!” It seems some English cultural pursuits will always have a place in his heart.

Now a new chapter is just beginning for Greg in Berkeley. “I am loving being here already. The staff here are so friendly and welcoming and are really helping me to settle into the job. It’s great to be able to walk around in T-shirts and soak up the sun – there wasn’t much opportunity to do that in the UK!”

From everyone at LSI London Hampstead we wish you well at LSI Berkeley. We miss you!

‘Certificate of Good Conduct’ required for Group Leaders accompanying Under 18s to the UK

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

All LSI UK schools accept students from ages 16 years and upwards and in addition LSI London Hampstead, LSI London Hampstead Residential (King’s College), LSI Oxford and LSI Cambridge accept students from 13 years and upwards on our summer English for Juniors course. Presently any group leaders that come with a group are now required by law to demonstrate their suitability to work with children by  providing a Police ‘Certificate of Good Conduct’ or ‘ Certificate of Criminal Record’ from their country of residence.

The UK schools have been informed by the British Council Accreditation Body that in cases where leaders arrive at the schools without the appropriate checks completed, the group leaders will only be able to have limited access and responsibility for their students and any additional supervision will be undertaken by the school staff and thus may result in additional costs for the group. LSI therefore stresses to all the groups we work with the importance of obtaining the necessary documentation before arrival.

Important Annoucement : TOEIC tests have been suspended in the UK

Friday, February 7th, 2014

LSI have received notification from the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the international body that administers the TOEFL and TOEIC exams, that TOEIC tests will be suspended in the UK until at least March 7. The TOEIC test scores are commonly used by applicants to demonstrate English language proficiency to the UK Visa an Immigration Office. ETS has been asked to suspend any further testing as a result of an on going investigation by the UKBA about the potential abuse of this testing system by some test takers.

Any students/test takers who have booked a TOEIC test at one of our UK schools will therefore have the test cancelled and the exam fee will be refunded. LSI will keep our students informed as to when the TOEIC will be resumed and students will be able to reschedule  the exam. LSI apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause. All other English language test (TOEFL, IELTS and the Cambridge Language Assessment examinations) remain unaffected by the UKBA decision.