Q&A with Stef Mcloughlin – Director of UK Juniors
At the end of 2017, St Giles Juniors welcomed a new member to the team – Stef Mcloughlin, who was appointed Director of UK Juniors!
We sat down with Stef to get to know her a bit better and to discuss the action-packed summer that the Juniors team have planned…
Q: Hi Stef! Can you tell us a little bit about your background? What were you doing before you joined St Giles?
A: I’ve been in the English language teaching industry all of my adult life. I discovered ELT when I was 18 and I worked as a residential Activity Leader at a summer camp outside of Cambridge. I absolutely loved running the activities, organising excursions and taking care of the children I was living with. I qualified as a teacher not long after and I’ve never looked back. Before joining St Giles, I taught English for quite a few years and I also worked as a Director of Studies at a school in Malta. I moved to Brighton in 2010 to do an MA in TESOL and while studying, I started working at St Giles as a teacher at our Platinum centre in Brighton and later in the year joined the St Giles Juniors summer team as Director of Studies at our Oxford centre. I’ve been at St Giles for seven years now and I spent four of those years working for St Giles Juniors as the UK Director of Studies before recently becoming Director of Junior Courses.
Q: Can you tell us a little about what you and the Juniors team have planned for summer 2018?
A: Lots of fun! We’ve included lots of exciting activities and excursions in our social programmes such as outdoor adventure days in the Peak District for our Nottingham students, drama classes with local children at our Brighton Family Course and days out at Stamford Bridge (Chelsea Football Club stadium) for our London young learners.
We are also looking into how our young students can get the most out of their English classes by monitoring them more closely and creating a course portfolio they can take home to their parents at the end of their trip. We also have some new courses planned: an Explorer Tour, an English for Coding course and an English for Future Leaders Course.
Q: Can you give us a bit of insight on the new Junior courses you mention, the Specialised Courses and the Explorer Tour?
A: So many of our students, even some of the very young ones, have come to the UK for many years in a row so it’s so great to be able to offer something different where they can still improve their English but also explore other areas of interest.
On our English for Coders course, students are going to be working together to create projects such as websites and apps. They will learn specialised technology vocabulary and also functional language that is needed for project work such as language for problem solving and delegating tasks. Our other specialised course is called English for Future Leaders. This course will include confidence coaching, public speaking, learning how to take initiative and team leading. All of the course content ties really well with improving communicative skills and strategies.
We are also very excited about launching our Explorer Tour this year. We will be showing our young learners and their families around the north of the UK and we will be going as far north as the Lake District and Edinburgh. The tour will be led by a qualified St Giles teacher who has lived in every place we are taking the students to. As well as practicing their English with a teacher, students will be getting a lot of insider knowledge from their teacher and tour guide.
Q: What advice do you have for parents sending their children to spend the summer with St Giles?
A: Firstly, you should pick your centre very carefully. Think about whether you and your child would like a more sporty programme, one which is more academic or one which is more excursion based. We are always ready to help you make the right decision so parents should feel free to ring us at any time. Remember also to take advantage of our special interest options such as Performing Arts, Exam Skills and Football. Some centres offer some of their options at no extra charge. It is a great way to personalise your course and make the most of your time in England. Once children arrive at our centres, it is time for the parents to relax. Our high staff ratios, secure centres and the systems we have in place should give you peace of mind, your child will be in very safe hands. You are welcome to keep in touch with our on site managers throughout the course to ask about your children’s language progress.
Q: What should the students expect from their time at a St Giles Junior summer centre?
A: Students should expect a trip of a lifetime, to make friends from all over the world, become more confident in using English and to see a lot of the UK.