IH British School Reggio Calabria first opened its doors in 1964 as the first English Language School in Reggio Calabria. The founder Christa Willauer, set it up under the name “International School”. Since the very start, the school has invested a lot in the professional development of its entire staff, and this philosophy of being a learning organization is one of the main reasons its current owners, Patrizia and Marco, decided to join the International House network in 2015.
We start welcoming students from the age of 3 years old. The majority of our students are young learners between the ages of 7 and 17. We also offer adult classes. Many of our students study English for their future careers or to get into foreign universities. This means that they are generally very motivated and they often seek formal qualifications, such as Cambridge exams or IELTS. Teachers describe our students as friendly, outgoing and willing to participate in lessons. Italians have a natural desire to communicate with others and tend to enjoy speaking activities. They also have an excellent sense of humour, which makes teaching these lively learners an enjoyable experience.
We offer two main types of courses – “internal” (full courses held on the school premises with groups of max. 12 students or individual students) and “external” (usually shorter courses, often in preparation for exams, held in local state schools or kindergartens). All our courses range in level from Beginner to C2 (Proficiency) and are usually general English or exam preparation. With larger groups (e.g. pre-school or large classes), an assistant is present during the lesson.
In addition to English courses, we also offer teacher training courses, including the CELTA and Young Learner teaching certifications.
We aim to teach the learners, more than just the language. This means that we apply different approaches and methodologies, depending on what we deem best for each class or student. We strive to deliver engaging and enjoyable lessons, which are relevant to our students’ needs. Most importantly, we try to create a positive learning environment where each person is treated fairly and respectfully. Having worked with Italian learners for over 50 years, we know that they tend to excel when challenged, and therefore we push them to do their best during their time with us.
We know that moving to a new place and starting a new job can be a stressful time for teachers, so we provide support to help make the transition easier. We have a dedicated and bilingual member of our Italian admin team who accompanies new teachers to various offices to arrange residence, open a bank account and help with all other documentation required to work legally in Italy. The school also provides support with finding accommodation, by taking teachers’ preferences and needs into consideration and ensures that the place is ready upon the teacher’s arrival. We also provide assistance for healthcare and doctor’s appointments, if needed.
Just as we like to challenge our learners to do their best, we take the same approach with our teachers, encouraging them to progress in their careers. One of the things teachers consistently list as their favourite aspect of the school is the excellent opportunities for professional development.
With the wide range of class types that we offer, there are plenty of opportunities to develop in your career and explore different areas in ELT. Teachers who stay with us for more than a year can expect to be offered opportunities to develop in their career which may include taking on different roles, training to become a Cambridge or IELTS speaking examiner, becoming a CELTA tutor, attending national / international conferences, delivering workshops at conferences or attending a relevant professional development course, such as the DELTA or an IH online course.
All members of our academic management team are DELTA-qualified with several years of experience in ELT. In line with the ethos of any learning organisation, they too are continuously developing and seeking ways in which to become better language teachers. The team ensures that teachers are given all the support they need to be able to provide quality lessons to our students and they also play a key role in the professional development and wellbeing of the teaching staff.
As a learning organisation, professional development of all of our members is of the utmost importance to us. Teachers working with us can expect to benefit from a dedicated support network of DoSes, senior teachers, coordinators, and more experienced colleagues who are on hand daily to offer advice and a hand with lesson planning. We also have an INSETT programme and a reading group that cover topics related to the needs of the teaching staff. Furthermore our observation programme includes regular observations, which provide our teachers the opportunity to watch each other’s lessons as well as get feedback on their own. Appraisals are held twice yearly to give our teachers further input into their development, not only as a teacher, but also as an employee in general. Our International House World Organization and AISLI memberships give us access to further professional development opportunities, as well as access to a wealth of knowledge and experience in a variety of contexts.
One of the highlights of our school year is the annual teacher training conference, which has grown in popularity since its debut several years ago. We always invite at least one leading name from the ELT industry (past speakers have included Adrian Underhill and Jim Scrivener) as the keynote speaker.
In 2018, we were delighted to welcome teachers from all over the world to Reggio Calabria, when we were chosen to host the IH Young Learners conference. This is an important event in the ELT calendar and we were delighted to hear all the lovely comments from delegates about our team, our school and our city.
We also organize extra-curricular events for all our students, which provide a mixture of learning and fun, allowing them to practise their English naturally and in a relaxed environment outside of the classroom.