Annual conference and workshops

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Annual Conference dedicated to the teaching of English

Free event open to all teachers

At the beginning of each school year, we at International House Milan organize a conference dedicated to the teaching of English for teachers from public and private schools of all levels. This year’s conference, entitled “Championing Creativity: Curiosity and Wonder in the ELT Classroom“, will take place Friday 13 October 2023 at the FAST Congress Center in Piazzale Rodolfo Morandi, 2 in Milan. Our conference is a must-see opportunity to stay up to date on the latest trends in the EFL world, listen to renowned international speakers and network with colleagues.

Annual conference and workshops

All participants receive a certificate of attendance. International House is a member of AISLI (Associazione Italiana Scuola di Lingue), Accredited Body for the training of School Teaching Staff (Decree 177/2000 and Directive 90/2003 of the Ministry of Public Education). Participation is free, reservations required subject to availability. State school teachers, in addition to the mandatory registration on Eventbrite to reserve their place, can also register for the conference on the SOFIA platform (ID 85610) so as to be able to download the certificate of attendance directly from the platform.

Participation is free, reservations required subject to availability.


  • 8.30 – 9.00 | Registration
  • 9.00 – 9.15 | Sarah Stats | Deputy Director IH Milan & San Donato | Welcome
  • 9.15 – 10.00 | Nicky Hockley | Sponsored by Cambridge University Press | Creative conversations with AI: the good, the bad and the weird
  • 10.00 – 10.45 | Stephanie Holme | Head of Teacher Training IH Milan & San Donato | Keep them wondering and speaking
  • 10.45 – 11.00 | Coffee Break | Time to have a coffee and get to know our sponsors
  • 11.00 – 11.45 | Alex Warren | Sponsored by Gruppo ELI & National Geographic Learning | Harnessing Curiosity in the YL Classroom
  • 11.45 – 12.30 | Josefina Ares | Sponsored by Macmillan Education | Social Learning
  • 12.30 – 14.00 | Lunch | A break to eat something and go back to visit our sponsors’ stands
  • 14.00 – 15.00 | Afternoon sessions | IH Milan Teachers | Secondary strand
  • 15.00 – 15.45 | Michael Lacey Freeman | Sponsored by Oxford University Press | Reaction Creation – The Creative Circles that Reading Makes
  • 15.45 – 16.30 | Silvia Minardi | Sponsored by Pearson | The Role of Language in Global Citizenship Education: Exploring Learning Through Multiple Literacies
  • 16:30 – 16.45 | Thank you & Wrap Up

Speakers and presentations

As every year our conference will be attended by leading names from the EFL world! Open the tabs below to find out the topic of their presentations.

Creative conversations with AI: the good, the bad and the weird

The recent arrival of ChatGPT has foregrounded the advantages and challenges of artificial intelligence (AI) in language teaching. Access to generative AI is clearly going to be a game-changer for our field. This plenary talk focuses on AI and what it means for ELT. We’ll examine creativity, big data and digital literacies in the context of the emergence of generative AI tools. We’ll explore the ramifications, especially around issues of privacy, surveillance, equity and creativity. In short, we take a critical look at where AI is taking us and consider how to get there in one piece.

Nicky Hockly is the Director of Pedagogy of TCE ( She has worked in the field of English Language Teaching since 1987, is an international plenary speaker, teacher trainer, and consultant specialising in the evaluation of large educational projects, especially in the global south. Nicky has written several prize-winning methodology books about new technologies in language teaching. Her most recent publications are 50 Essentials for Using Learning Technologies (Cambridge University Press; 2022) and Digital Literacies (second edition; Routledge; 2022). Her research interests include blended, hybrid and online learning, digital literacies and artificial intelligence in ELT.

Keep them wondering, keep them learning

I will be drawing on my experience as a teacher of English as a foreign or second language, and that as a Teacher Trainer, and the conclusions I have made as a result of observing the learners in the classroom and they ways they respond to tasks set by teachers.

This talk is aimed at sharing ideas on what motivates teen learners, what keeps them engaged and interested and why, to then move on to how to exploit this information to promote learning in the classroom via suitable task selection.


Studies show that for successful learning to take place, the teacher needs to keep the learners engaged and motivated, this can be done by providing students with tasks that interest them, tasks that require students to interact, to collaborate with each other, and that encourage them to build on previous learning.

In this talk we will be looking at how to promote this in the classroom with teen learners. We will look at the parts of Bloom’s Taxonomy that relate to this talk and these ideas and how we can promote critical thinking skills, such as analysis, evaluation and creation to make the learning more memorable and improve students’ performance.

We will also be looking at appropriate task types to bring about this type of learning and why they are effective.

Stephanie Holme is the Head Teacher Trainer at IH Milan & San Donato. She holds the Cert TEFLA, Dip TEFLA, the CELTYL, CERT IBET, and the CERT ICT. She has been a CELTA trainer since 2006, a CELTYL/IHCYLT Trainer since 2009, a DELTA trainer since 2010.

Stephanie has worked in the EFL/ESOL sector all of her professional life. She is both a teacher and a teacher trainer. Her experience encompasses a wide range of levels, ages and teaching/learning contexts. As a language teacher and trainer, she is deeply interested in helping learners to develop to the best of their ability in a safe and inclusive learning environment. Stephanie trained as a French and Physical Education teacher at secondary level in the UK and taught these subjects there before moving into ELT.

She has accompanied hundreds of teachers, both new to the profession and experienced teachers, on their training journeys, as well as having accompanied thousands of learners on their learning journeys, covering a range of ages from 2 to 75 years old!

Harnessing Curiosity in the YL Classroom

To be successful teachers we need to be able engage our learners by developing activities that appeal to their basic psychological and intellectual needs – and at the heart of that is curiosity. In this interactive session we’ll explore the importance of appealing to our learners’ natural curiosity and how exactly being curious helps learning and also motivates them. Referencing National Geographic Learning’s New Close-up series, we’ll then look at a number of different ways in which we can harness this natural curiosity in the English language classroom to spark a love of learning English.

Alex is a DELTA trained teacher trainer with over 20 years’ experience of working in ELT as a teacher, academic director and teacher trainer. Prior to his experiences in ELT, Alex worked as a journalist before a chance encounter in the Indonesian jungle began him on the path which has led him to working with National Geographic Learning. A firm believer in a communicative approach to language learning and student-centred learning, Alex enjoys working with innovative, thought-provoking materials and presenting on a wide range of ELT-related topics, all the while driven by his passion for developing teachers on a global scale and helping them to reach their true potential.


Social Learning

Social Learning: what exactly does social learning mean? Why is it important for the English language classroom? Can it help us to improve the English learning process? We will look at the characteristics of social learning and explore how it is related to teaching English and what benefits it has for our learners. We will then look at how to use it to tap into the students’ creativity and get them to produce an end product which has been guided but essentially is theirs. The idea is to give teachers the tools and real examples of how to involve students in activities which they will find stimulating and which they can relate to while at the same time allowing them space to display their creativity in English.

Josefina Ares has been teaching English and training teachers for more than twenty five years. Her experience comes from teaching all ages and levels. She has worked for many different academies around the world including International House and The British Council. She is also a Cambridge examiner and examines from Young Learners to IELTS. She is a freelance speaker and collaborates with Macmillan, Cambridge and Mondadori at a variety of teachers’ events. Apart from this, she has many different passions and hobbies which include watching films, dancing tango, acting and singing in a choir.

Inquiry-based Learning: Curiosity ‘didn’t kill’ the cat

Inquiry-based Learning (IBL) encourages students to be curious about what they learn by asking questions, so that they are fully engaged in the learning process. How can teachers apply this pedagogical method in the EFL classroom? In this session, I am going to reflect on my experience of using mini-projects with teenagers as an example of IBL lessons. We shall explore four crucial aspects of planning and teaching: lesson procedures, learning materials, classroom roles, and assessment of learners.

Daniel Tse went into ELT in 2019 and started teaching at IH Milan and San Donato in the same year. He works with Young Learners, teens and adults across the full range of CEFR language levels. As a language teacher, he lays great emphasis on developing learners’ autonomy and communicative competence. Prior to ELT, Daniel trained as a classical musician and delivered outreach workshops for a number of major performing arts organisations in the UK.

Spreading creativity: classroom activities inspired by coaching 

Coaching is a profession of its own, yet there are indeed several aspects it shares with language teaching. We can see this in the aim of nurturing our students’ ability to envision success, structure progress and empower its achievement. So how can teachers dive into this immense field of knowledge to stimulate creative thinking in the classroom? In this session, we shall take a few steps into this world and focus on adapting the use of mental images to spread creativity with practical classroom activities.

Alexandra is a member of the teaching community of IH Milan & San Donato and a freelance English teacher. With two MAs in Communication and a professional background in marketing, her teaching spans through ages and levels, animated by her keen interest in student-centricity and the development of 21st Century skills in teens and adults.

Reaction Creation – The Creative Circles that Reading Makes

With screen time at an all-time high, it has never been more important to encourage learners to move. Surprisingly, there are benefits not just for health but for learning outcomes and language development, too. In this session we will see how there is an important relationship between movement, language and learning, and consider how we can introduce movement into language classes in a principled, manageable way.

Michael Lacey Freeman has taught English at the Università di Ancona for more than 20 years, during which time he has also written numerous graded readers. He has won several Language Learner Literature Awards for both his adaptations and original stories. In 2017 he was appointed to the board of directors of the prestigious Extensive Reading Foundation. He has worked on several projects for Oxford University Press, including the popular podcast “Tea at 5:00: Authentic Listening with Michael Lacey Freeman,” longlisted for a British Council ELTons Award for Local Innovation. He authored the reading for pleasure pages in Oxford’s lower secondary course for Italy, Think Big, co-authored level 3 of Oxford’s lower secondary course, Kickstart, and most recently co-authored New Identity with Carla Leonard.

Here is a video link of one of his talks.

The Role of Language in Global Citizenship Education: Exploring Learning Through Multiple Literacies

Language plays a pivotal role in shaping our understanding of the world and facilitating meaningful interactions across cultures.

Through the exploration of various literacies, learners gain the necessary tools to critically analyze and evaluate information, navigate digital spaces, and engage with different cultural artifacts and texts. Language acts as a medium through which learners acquire and apply these literacies, empowering them to become active global citizens. Drawing upon practical examples and materials from Pearson publications, the presentation explores strategies for integrating multiple literacies into language classrooms.

Silvia Minardi holds a PhD in Linguistics from the University for Foreigners – International University – of Siena. She teaches English at Liceo Statale “S.Quasimodo” in Magenta (Milan) and at Insubria University (Varese) in three courses: English at Biology, Scientific English in the Master’s Degree in Biotechnology and English for Computer Studies in the Master’s Degree of Computer Studies.

She is an associate member of the LCT Research Centre for Knowledge-Building (Sydney University) and a member of the Center of Excellence for Research (University for Foreigners, Siena). She is currently involved in the COST Project “CLIL Network for Languages in Education: Towards bi- and multilingual disciplinary literacies” (CA21114 – CLILNetLE).

She is the author of educational materials, articles and publications on language teaching and an active member of various committees, councils and advisory boards at national and international levels.

Her main areas of expertise are language education, second language acquisition, second language curriculum design, learning-oriented assessment, CLIL and bilingual education.


We sincerely thank the sponsors who make our conference possible every year. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit their stands before or after the presentations of the speakers to discover the most interesting editorial proposals from the EFL world.

Cambridge University Press
Gruppo ELI & National Geographic Learning
Macmillan Education
Oxford University Press

Online training for English teachers

Training for Excellence 2022/2023

An innovative training program for state school teachers, developed by AISLi (Italian Association of Language Schools – Associazione Italiana Scuole di Lingue) and recognized by the Ministry of Education, which includes 14 interactive seminars held by internationally renowned experts. Training for Excellence is a project full of new ideas and educational insights with relevant, original and cutting-edge themes for today’s teachers.

By subscribing to the program you will have access to the Training for Excellence Online Community platform, within which you will be able to deepen topics and content covered in seminars, share learning and teaching experiences, refine, develop, and acquire theoretical knowledge and professional skills after the course training carried out.

Each seminar will be recorded and can be used by each participant for their own classes, as an additional in-house training resource, or for individual professional development.

The 2022-2023 Training for Excellence program will begin with a free and open seminar, presented by Sarah Mercer, Professor of Foreign Language Teaching and Head of the ELT Methodology Department at the University of Graz, Austria, and will close with a interesting speech on multilingualism, by some members of the TFE team, and by the former INDIRE President prof. Giovanni Biondi. The complete program follows.

  • 30/09/2022 – Understanding Learner Psychology, Sarah Mercier >> FREE SESSION <<
  • 27/10/2022 – Humanistic Approaches to Continuous Assessment, Julie Wallis (The London School, Schio)
  • 17/11/2022 – Dictation Fixation, A Fresh Look at an Old Technique, Jennifer Holden, IH Palermo Language Center)
  • 15/12/2022 – Story Telling for Empathy and Change, David Heathfield
  • 12/01/2023 – Formative Assessment, Rober Martinez (IH Spain)
  • 26/01/2023 – The Role of Technology in Language Education Post Covid, Russel Stannard
  • 09/02/2023 – From Meaning Less to Meaning Less, Adriano Iacono (Eurolingue Agrigento)
  • 23/02/2023 – Destination: Motivation, Lucie Cotterill – IH British School, Reggio Calabria)
  • 03/03/2023 – Creativity and Engagement, Alistair Grant
  • 17/03/2023 – Homework: Promoting Creativity Through It, Theresa Dyer (Globally Speaking, Rome)
  • 06/04/2023 – Integrating Technology in Language Learning, Vivien Centi Colella & others (Language Point, Milan)
  • 27/04/2023 – Making Critical Thinking a Practical Part of your Lessons, John Hughes
  • 11/05/2023 – Adapting Coursebook Materials or Encourage Communication d Creativity, Giorgia de Musso and Alex Camozzi (LDA Language Center)
  • 25/05/2023 – Teamwork in the Language Classroom, Palmina La Rosa (Giga International House)

Participation includes the possibility of receiving a certificate recognized by the MIUR issued at the end of the course, having participated in at least 75% of the meetings for a total of 28 hours. The initiative is also present within the SOFIA platform with ID 73558.

The cost is € 128 payable with Teachers Bonus or credit card.

Registration open. An English level of at least B1 is required to participate.

Saturday Workshops for Teachers

One of the main innovations of this school year with regard to teacher training

Given the great participation in last year’s workshops, we have organized a series of free workshops dedicated to the teaching of English which will be held on Saturday morning at International House Milano in Viale Brenta 27 (M3 Brenta).

The first of our Saturday Workshops for Teachers will be “Practical Ideas for Teaching Speaking and Pronunciation“, a session by Andy Townsend, and is scheduled for Saturday 30 September 2023 from 10 to 13 in Milan in Viale Brenta 27 (M3 Brenta).

Andy Townsend is a long-time CELTA trainer at IH Milan & San Donato. Andy’s ELT career spans over 20 years and speaking and pronunciation are two of his special interest areas.

All participants receive a certificate of attendance. International House is a member of AISLI (Associazione Italiana Scuola di Lingue), Accredited Body for the training of School Teaching Staff (Decree 177/2000 and Directive 90/2003 of the Ministry of Public Education).

The workshop was very helpful and gave me a lot of ideas for new ways to practice these features with my students. 


Thank you again for the training session on Friday. I really enjoyed it and am going to try out some of the activities tomorrow!


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Workshops and ad hoc training

Refresher and personalised courses based on teachers’ needs

International House Milan offers language teachers the opportunity to participate in dedicated workshops or to choose courses planned according to their needs.

Workshop Week

A full week devoted to refresher courses for teachers of first and second level secondary schools. During this event workshops are held specially for English teachers who have to prepare their students for a Cambridge exam or the IELTS test.



Time Monday 31 Tuesday 1 Wednesday 2 Thursday 3 Friday 4
1st lesson

15:30 – 17:00


Improving writing Skills

Exploring IELTS writing part 2


Improving speaking skills


Exploring IELTS Speaking


Assessments – the necessary evil


Break 15min 15min 15min 15min 15min
2nd lesson

17:15 – 18:45

Exploring IELTS writing part 1 Improving listening skills


Bringing Cambridge Speaking to life in the classroom


Improving Reading Skills


21st Century Skills & Exams –  What’s the link?


Cost:  €195 euro / person

Attestato will be awarded for your attendance.

Small, interactive online classroom, so don’t delay.  Call reception now to secure your place!

How do the International House Milan refresher courses work?

The refresher courses for teachers are organised each year with focus on different themes.

In general, the sessions aim to improve knowledge of the English language certifications, a theme which is naturally highly valued by teachers of this language. The occasion is also ideal for developing practical ideas and strategies along with the teachers to develop the students’ abilities in every skill (listening, reading, writing and speaking), and to illustrate in detail the assessment criteria of the exams and understand how to guide students to achieve the best possible score in each area of the test.

The course generally consists of two 90 minute sessions, with a 30 minute break to socialise and share ideas with colleagues. The workshops are held in English so participants should have a level of English of B1 or above.

But there is more than just the Workshop Week: International House Milan organises seminars and workshops during the year. These training sessions are aimed mainly at English language   teachers and take place both in Milan and throughout Lombardy.

Instead, if the teacher’s needs are more specific, ourad hoc training courses are the ideal solution: just contact International House Milan and ask for advice on more effective ways of keeping up-to-date.

Indeed, International House Milan has a team of expert trainers specialised in teacher training who hold courses and give presentations at conferences, including international ones. We will ensure that training is enjoyable, interactive and fully focussed on the participants’ specific needs.

All you have to do is send the  form to the Teacher Training Department of International House Milan: a consultant will get back to you to help you plan a training path. 

Would you like more information about our courses?

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