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About Shona

Shona O’Callaghan has been teaching both children and educators across Europe for almost 20 years. As a fully qualified and experienced secondary teacher with a Master’s degree in Education focusing on multilingual learning in mainstream classrooms, she is a specialist in her field. Certified by the British Dyslexia Association as a Dyslexia and Literacy specialist teacher with ATS status she excels in driving the awareness of learning challenges and helping students and teachers realise their true potential.

Having led English departments in schools, taught education courses at a university level, advised on IGCSE examination textbook material and delivered courses on teaching and learning to trainee teachers whilst acting as a mentor, she has curated extensive experience and knowledge. In 2019 she was published in the EAL Journal, presented a poster at the NALDIC annual conference 2021, published in The Chartered Teaching Journal (Impact) 2022, presented a poster at the Conference for Bilingual and International Education, Universidad de Atlantico, 2022 and published a joint reseach paper on Post-graduate Training in the Competence Development of CLIL Teachers (2023).

Shona's ongoing pursuit of a PhD in Dyslexia and Multilingualism reflects her unwavering commitment to cutting-edge research, while her extensive experience as a teacher trainer, university lecturer, and esteemed education consultant for British and International schools underscores her profound knowledge and expertise.

Her Methodology

Shona, founder of Empowering Creative Minds (ECM), is a Dyslexia and Literacy specialist teacher with ATS status recognized by the British Dyslexia Association.

She excels in addressing learning challenges while nurturing the potential of students and educators alike, fostering an inclusive, multisensory and supportive learning environment. Employing a comprehensive approach integrating Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Cognitive Load Theory (CLT), Second Language Acquisition (SLA), and other strategic methodologies, Shona equips teachers with essential tools to enrich their learners inclusive educational experiences both at home and in classrooms. Her expertise and tailored techniques are meticulously crafted to meet diverse audience needs, ensuring a profound impact on learning outcomes and fostering a community of empowered learners poised for success in the digital age.

“Creativity is the key for any child with dyslexia, or for anyone for that matter. Then you can think outside of the box. Teach them anything is attainable. Let them run with what you see is whatever they need to run with.”

– Orlando Bloom (Dyslexic)

“Creativity is the key for any child with dyslexia, or for anyone for that matter. Then you can think outside of the box. Teach them anything is attainable. Let them run with what you see is whatever they need to run with.”

– Orlando Bloom (Dyslexic)

“Creativity is the key for any child with dyslexia, or for anyone for that matter. Then you can think outside of the box. Teach them anything is attainable. Let them run with what you see is whatever they need to run with.”

– Orlando Bloom (Dyslexic)

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Why She Founded Empowering Creative Minds

Through her work, Shona acquired a deep understanding of the challenges placed on the schools and teachers in providing students with dyslexia, particularly in a multilingual/EAL mainstream learning environment, with the right support and guidance to learn. She, therefore, founded Empowering Creative Minds (ECM) as an independent consultancy service to provide schools with the awareness and practical strategies they need to help their teachers and students.

ECM was created on the principle that with the right tools and support, schools and teachers can be empowered to ensure that every student is able to thrive. Her unique combination of experience, qualifications and personal understanding, as someone with dyslexia herself, allows her to provide recommendations, processes and resources that provide meaningful change.

Supporting Students, Teachers, Parents  and Schools

Her commitment to ensuring that her students succeed means that alongside ECM, Shona still provides individual one-on-one tutoring with students to ensure she does not lose touch with her first love, teaching. Her passion for building relationships with her pupils to help them grow and develop the systems to reach a positive outcome has many of her students stay in touch as they go on to achieve their dreams.

Through her knowledge of learning challenges and individual barriers that EAL/multilingual literacy challenged students face, Shona and ECM are able to provide evidence-based insights that will help schools ensure all their students can achieve progress and success in school and in life.

Qualifications

  • British Dyslexia Association Level 5 Certificate in Dyslexia; Literacy, Support and Intervention (BDA ATS accreditation)
  • Certificate in Dyslexia and Foreign Language Teaching (Lancaster University)
  • Certified Social Media Specialist for Educational purposes (Digital Experts)
  • Master’s in Education (with Distinction) focusing on Multilingual Education in the Mainstream Classroom University of Nottingham
  • International PGCE University of Nottingham
  • QTS Buckinghamshire Trust
  • DELE Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera Universitat de Valencià
  • TEFL English Language Teaching Cert i-to-i
  • BA Hons Theology and English (2:1) Liverpool Hope University

Published Articles

  •  'Identifying good practice in CLIL and BSO schools in Spain: a case for more collaboration' EAL Journal 2019.
  • Poster presentation NALDIC Annual Conference 2021'Identifying ‘good practice’ language acquisition in English as an Additional Language (EAL) classrooms in Spain. A Cross Case analysis of British Schools Overseas (BSO) and Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) settings.
  • Identifying 'good practice' in English as an Additional Language (EAL) classrooms in Spain. The Chartered College of Teaching 'Impact': Issue 15. 2022
  • Post-graduate Training in the Competence Development of CLIL Teachers (2023)  https://doi.org/10.26907/esd.18.1.04 (doi: 10.26907/esd.18.1.04)

Other Experience

  • PGCESpain International Development and Training Manager (Teacher Training, mentoring, ECT support)
  • University Teaching: Universidad Católica de Valencia Lecturer (Teacher training)
  • Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera (Castellon) Lecturer of Education (Teacher Training)
  • School Teaching: Head of Secondary English dept. Head of Whole School English KS4 Coordinator English Teacher
  • Cambridge International Examinations Assistant Examiner
  • Edexcel Assistant Editor for new curriculum course material Pearson

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