Professional Development for Staff in Higher Education Professional Development for Staff in Higher Education Erasmus +


‘You live a new life for every new language you speak.’  -- An old Czech proverb Here at Dorset College, we believe in paving the way to proficiency in English and setting you on that path to a new life. Our small, intimate groups are designed to cater for all students’ needs and to ensure that everyone gets the results that they want, from general fluency in the English language to polishing off Business 
English skills for a job application or interview. We are always very happy to welcome groups from abroad who are looking for a rich cultural experience in a positive environment where they can improve their English and life skills. While the content of each course is carefully designed and prepared, we continuously try to adapt the programme to suit the needs of each group and, more importantly, to each individual learner. 

Our Teachers

Each of our highly-qualified teachers has a number of years of teaching experience, both in Ireland and abroad. Their job is to involve each student in all tasks, from speaking to writing, in order to promote a balanced approach to language learning. This is done through a combination of specific topic-related tasks within all language skill areas to develop your English skills for special purposes such as in business or customer services. We look forward to welcoming you to Dorset College to share our love of language learning with you!

The course

The following course outlines a programme of 25-hours tuition over a five-day period and has been targeted at learners at CEFR B1. A group needs-analysis is suggested to take place before the course starts and items can be expanded or eliminated depending on requirements. Topics will be fully integrated and spread over a three-hour morning session (e.g. 9.30 to 12.30) and a two-hour afternoon (13.30 to 15.30). 

The focus is on the key skills of speaking, both face-to-face and by telephone or other media, listening, reading and writing. Attention will also be given to competence in grammar, lexis and pronunciation, and intercultural communication will also form an important component of the course. 

Through needs-analysis learners are encouraged to articulate their specific needs in order to tailor the course to their own requirements. 

Social and cultural suggestions:


  • Wednesday, 15.30 to 17.30 – tour of Trinity College campus. 
  • Friday, 15.30 to 17.30 – Temple Bar cultural quarter. 


Day One - Getting to know the place and the people 
  • Introduce self and colleagues (roles in institution /relationships within hierarchy/responsibilities) 

  • Welcome visitors 

  • Make invitations 

  • Accept or decline invitations 

  • Make small talk – travel/weather/hotel etc. 

  • Respond to small talk 

  • Outline itinerary/schedule 

  • Ask questions about itinerary/schedule 

  • Suggest/request changes to itinerary/schedule 

  • Understand introductions 

  • Understand job titles, functions and roles 

  • Understand times, dates and locations 

  • Follow extended small talk 

  • Recognise invitations 

  • Assess tone and content in order to interpret intention (e.g. Is an invitation genuine or a matter of form?) 

  • Follow an itinerary and identify key information quickly 

  • Select dates, times and locations from e-mails or social media 

  • Write an e-mail making arrangements 

  • Write an e-mail confirming arrangements 

  • Write an e-mail changing arrangements 

  • Write an e-mail making an invitation 

  • Write an e-mail accepting an invitation 

  • Write an e-mail declining an invitation 

  • Present (including for schedules) & present progressive (including for plans) 

  • Present perfect to describe experience & circumstances 

  • Simple past 

  • Future forms – will/going to 

  • Greetings & introductions 

  • Self, nationality, culture 

  • Appropriate topics for small talk 

  • Appropriate responses to small talk 

  • Greetings & introductions 

  • Self, nationality, culture 

  • Appropriate topics for small talk 

  • Appropriate responses to small talk 

Day Two - Paths to study – education & training
  • Describe own education and training to date 

  • Describe education system in home country and how education is funded 

  • Describe standard paths (directly from school/apprenticeships/training/further education/higher education) to work in home country 

  • Describe attitudes to education and training 

  • Ask about education & training systems in other countries 

  • Express opinions of same 

  • Compare and contrast different systems 

  • Present and defend arguments in favour of or against different systems 

  • Present a breakdown of costs for a student in full-time education 

  • Suggest ways to fund education 

  • Accept & reject suggestions 

  • Offer alternatives 

  • Defend a decision 

  • Follow a detailed description of a person’s education and training 

  • Follow a detailed description of an unfamiliar education system 

  • Follow a detailed description of a variety of paths to work/study 

  • Follow a detailed description of attitudes to education and training 

  • Understand a variety of opinions of same 

  • Understand similarities and differences between different systems 

  • Understand arguments in favour of or against different systems 

  • Follow a breakdown of costs for a student in full-time education 

  • Follow suggestions of ways to fund education 

  • Follow arguments and discussion of suggestions, alternatives   and final decisions when presented by one person 

  • Scan authentic texts related to education to identify key information 

  • Skim same to identify general meaning before more intensive reading 

  • Identify purpose of text  

  • Identify audience 

  • Application forms (masters degree/grant or scholarship applications) 

  • Statement outlining personal skills and strengths and education to date 

Grammar Review
  • Modals of possibility, probability and obligation 

  • Conditionals zero to third 

  • Comparatives and superlatives 

  • Graded adjectives 

  • Connectors of contrast and addition 

  • Academic institutions 

  • Education systems 

  • Academic awards & related terminology 

  • Finance in context of education 

Pronunciation Review
  • Strong and weak auxiliaries 

  • Silent letters 

  • Sentence stress and linking 


Identify false friends in differing terminology regarding qualifications, e.g. Diploma in English has a different meaning to the German/Austrian ‘Diplom’ 

Day Three
Speaking (including on telephone)
  • Describe personal strengths, weaknesses, personality and character 

  • Ask about same 

  • Compare and contrast  same 

  • Respond to questions about strengths, weaknesses, personality and character  in a professional context 

  • Outline benefits and drawbacks of strengths and weaknesses in professional context 

  • Describe knowledge and experience 

  • Respond to questions about professional knowledge and experience  

  • Ask about professional knowledge and experience 

  • Describe areas of academic/professional interest 

  • Explain reasons for interest  

  • Explain plans for personal professional development 

  • Define transferable skills 

  • Define concept of customer (students/internal customers) service 

  • Respond appropriately to customer enquiries  

Listening (including on telephone)
  • Follow a detailed description of areas of academic/professional interest 

  • Follow a detailed description of different types of academic/professional knowledge and experience 

  • Follow interview-style questions regarding areas of academic/professional interest, knowledge and experience, hopes and plans for career development, strengths and weaknesses 

  • Follow detailed descriptions of responsibilities, duties and procedures related to a particular position within a company 

  • Follow all of the above by telephone at a less detailed level 

  • Identify suitable courses from print media (e.g. prospectus/newspaper) and the internet 

  • Identify requirements and qualifications from print media and the internet 

  • Extract key information regarding deadlines for application, details required (cover letter/cv/application form) and how (internet/regular mail) to submit to the person dealing with the application 

  • Basic CV 

  • Cover letters to support/introduce CV 

  • E-mail requesting further information/clarification 

  • Filling out application forms online/on paper 

  • Action verbs 

  • Comparatives and superlatives 

  • Nouns in word families 

  • Prefixes and suffixes 

  • Institutional policy and hierarchy
  • Names and titles (stress and emphasis) 

  • Rising and falling tone in questions/statements 

  • Cultural norms regarding use of job titles and names/titles, e.g. “Prof Wilson, Head of Faculty” or “Susan, who looks after exam scheduling” 

  • Levels of formality/informality in different  professions and countries 

Day Four - Presentations, interviews, meetings, offers, and rejections.
Speaking (including on telephone)
  • Participate in one-to-one interviews/meetings 

  • Participate in panel-style interviews/meetings 

  • Participate in group interviews 

  • Participate in telephone/video/skype interviews 

  • Conduct one-to-one interviews 

  • Conduct panel-style interviews 

  • Conduct group interviews 

  • Conduct telephone/video/skype interviews 

  • Make an offer 

  • Accept offers 

  • Reject offers 

  • Ask for feedback on an assignment 

  • Give feedback on an assignment 

  • Make a presentation (e.g. applying for a course or funding for a project) 

Listening (including on telephone)
  • Follow one-to-one interviews/meetings 

  • Follow panel-style interviews/meetings 

  • Follow group interviews/meetings 

  • Follow telephone/video/skype interviews 

  • Recognise an offer  

  • Recognise a rejection 

  • Recognise terms and conditions  

  • Follow feedback after a meeting  - face-to-face or by telephone 

  • Extract information from an application form/ letter 

  • Extract information from a CV 

  • Deal with an online application process 

  • Find and select appropriate courses from a range advertised on a website/in a newspaper or journal 

  • Navigate a university website 

  • Reported speech 

  • Past simple and present perfect 

  • Countable and uncountable nouns 

  • Prepositions 

  • Separable and inseparable phrasal-verbs  

  • University courses and requirements 

  • University policy and hierarchy 

  • Keyboard symbols (used in e-mail addresses and other  ITC applications) 

Day 5 - Workshop

This is a one-day training event which will provide participants with a holistic and practical toolkit to effectively manage communication and feedback within a particular context. This one-day training event will ensure participants are capable of effective and efficient communication with all stakeholders; managers, colleagues, students and external parties such as partner universities.; 


This one-day session is fully interactive and engages the participants ensuring their confidence is built in a facilitated and structured environment. Facilitators will ensure the participants’ dynamic and fast-paced working environment is simulated and contextualize through interactive learning encouraging engagement and successful outcomes for real-life application. Specifically this module will achieve the following aims: 

Communication and Clarity

Provide a toolkit for agile and effective day to day communications and goal clarity. 

Performance and Feedback

Provide participants with the confidence to deliver effective feedback which improves performance and learner outcomes. 

Awareness and Flexibility

Provide participants with increased self-awareness around their communication style and impact of behaviours allowing them to adapt to a familiar and/or diverse and/or unfamiliar contexts. 

Objectives Session One - Essential Communication Skills

This session will focus on critical skills for communication within a University. This will be an interactive case-study approach using contemporary issues to illustrate appropriate approaches.

This session will include the following:


  • Identifying stakeholders: Interpersonal Skills; who do you interact with on a daily basis and how can you improve your interpersonal skills?
  • Working in a multi-cultural and diverse working environment.
  • Listening Skills.
  • Modes of Communication: Formal and informal.
  • Communication Skills: Message delivered versus Message received.
  • Engagement and Feedback.
Session Two – Active Learning – Overcoming Challenges and Opportunities in the workplace

This session will comprise of facilitated group work where participants will be provided with a number of case-studies. The case-studies will be centered on the following skill.

This session will include the following:


  • Communication – Listening and Feedback. 
  • Managing effective learner communications: inward and outward.
  • Time Management.
  • Group interaction and dynamics.
  • Self reflection.
  • Simulation of real-life challenges and opportunities within a particular context. Assessment At the end of Session Two participants will present findings, in groups, from their case-study analysis which will be based on the teaching and learning from Session One. Each participant will also fill in a Self Reflection-learning journal (the template will be provided to each participant on the day) to ensure the aims, objectives and learning outcomes are achieved.
Point Accommodation Kitchen
Point Accommodation Room
Accommodation Point Campus

In Dublin Dorset College offers accommodation in one of the city’s newest Student Residences. Point Village is an attractive, contemporary building located in one of Dublin’s coolest areas. Facilities include a gym and fitness studio, a cinema, games room, study rooms and pleasant courtyards for relaxation. Dublin’s tram line, the Luas, passes close by, and a short walk will bring you to Dorset College close by in Dublin 1 city centre.

  • Fully equipped kitchen
  • 7-8 bedrooms each with private bathroom
  • Shared living room
  • Shared, fully equipped kitchen and dining area
  • Cinema room, TV and Games Area
  • Gym and Fitness Studio
  • Wi-fi and Study Rooms
  • Bed linen and set of towels provided (students advised to bring extra towels)
  • Laundrette (Coin operated self service laundrette on site, €4 per wash)
  • Electronic door access, 24 hour cctv and on-site management