Alison joined SOAS in September 2014 as one of a team working on the English Language and Academic studies programme (ELAS). While at SOAS, she has been active in revamping, perfecting and adapting the programme to current needs. As one of two ELAS programme tutors (EPTS) she is involved in exchange, partnership and sponsored (principally Alphawood scholars) students at a course level. This has given her an excellent understanding of their, the HEI’s or sponsor’s needs and requirements. Since March 2020, with a shift of responsibilities, recruitment for ELAS passed from the Head of ELAS to the EPTS role which means dealing directly with the exchange and study abroad coordinators within SOAS and overseas as well as across other relevant SOAS departments.
She has also taught on our in sessional courses, IFCELS’ TEAP course and conducts a reading circle and discussion group on key pertinent issues within academic teaching. In addition, she has helped develop and teach on a bespoke teacher training course for South Korean secondary school teachers. When given the opportunity, she joined the Student Experience and Engagement committee to contribute on behalf of IFCELS ensuring it had a voice within the main school’s agendas as well as highlighting the needs of their international students.
Having worked with most nationalities, she has a good understanding of the learning issues for international students at all levels of English language attainment. Alison has extensive teaching and educational management experience, both in the UK and overseas (Burma, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Romania, Spain, Sri Lanka, and Ukraine) in centres varying in size. Her teaching experience prior to SOAS has been varied and includes general English language development, English language exam preparation and examining (including IELTS), CLIL (Content and Language integrated learning), Business English, ESP (English for Specific Purposes), EGAP (English for General Academic Purposes), ESAP (English for Specific Academic Purposes) as well as teacher training for pre-service and in-service English language teachers. Harking back to her initial training, one particular speciality has been the development English language courses for pre-school children and training courses in order to help teachers understand child language acquisition and bilingualism.
Throughout her career, she has designed bespoke courses and programmes for individuals, groups and organisations. Five notable projects have been:
- A PHARE funded project for Hungarian Ministry of Foreign affairs for the negotiators and background experts for EU accession. (International House, Hungary)
- FCO funded provision for INGO staff as well as lawyers and journalist at the British Council, Burma (Myanmar)
- A collaboration between Cairo University, BP, Egypt, and the British Council to develop and enact a programme of English language development, business skills and the development of behavioural competencies for 350 petroleum engineering undergraduate students. (British Council, Cairo)
- CLIL training and field liaison on a project designed to improve understanding and cooperation between three ethnic groups in Sri Lankan civil service based in the North East and North. (British Council, based in Trincomalee and Jaffna)
- Development of a programme as part of a new pre-undergraduate foundation course at St. George’s University of London; consisting of English language & Academic practices development, study skills, interview and assessment preparation for potential medical students (INTO St. George’s)
She has also been responsible for obtaining new contracts and maintaining existing contracts; an example of the latter was when she was made interim Distance Learning Services manager at British Council, Hong Kong. Here, she enabled the continuation of the unit which dealt with 21 TNE arrangements through 11 Higher Education institutions. This involved improving external customer care; offering new products; re-negotiating contracts; re-forming the DLS department.
Due to this work in Hong Kong, she was offered the position of Regional Education and Training Advisor for East Asia, a strategic post within the British Council, UK. Her role was to ensure cultural understanding and create an effective environment for future mutual development within education projects across all sectors. Her main task was to advise on and enable links between educational institutions and ministries in the UK and East Asian region (Australia, China (including HK), Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, North Korea, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam).
The last task as an advisor, was to organise and co-ordinate an Education update conference for around 80 of education colleagues from British Council offices around the world.