Teacher of the Year Award winners 2016

Sara Montero Vazquez

 Primary Language Teacher of the Year 2016

Sara Montero Vazquez

Sara was nominated by Taranum Baig, who said “Sara researches and implements new and different approaches to teaching Spanish – role-play, songs, CLIL and using gestures to aid long term memorization… Sara created an assessment tool to monitor the progress of the pupils throughout KS2. Pupils show sustained progress throughout KS2 and have a positive attitude towards the subject: in yearly pupils surveys Spanish was one of their favourite subjects… Sara has organised and supervised clubs for Spanish; an Annual International Feast (with flamenco show and Spanish food stalls); a Spanish day, including whole school assembly in which each class sing a different Spanish song; flamenco workshops and Spanish story telling”.

In 2016, the awards were conferred at ALL’s flagship conference, Language World, which took place at Dunchurch Park, Rugby. Sara Montero Vazquez is pictured with ALL's President (2014-2016), Rene Koglbauer, and Routes into Languages Programme Director, Mike Kelly, at the winner's award ceremony.

About Sara

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

“I am originally from Spain where I obtained a teaching degree specialised in teaching MFL in primary schools. I am currently working at Miles Coverdale Primary school, an Outstanding (OFSTED 2013) inner-London primary school. The School is located in Shepherd’s Bush and it is one-form entry with 243 pupils on roll of which more than 75% have EAL (English as an Additional Language) and more than 65% qualify for FSM (free school meals). I started working at Miles in 2010 as the language teacher, but my role has evolved and currently I am also MFL joint co-ordinator, International Link co-ordinator and PPA cover teacher. As all members of staff at my school, I am usually involved in extracurricular activities and after school clubs. Therefore, at some point we have offered Flamenco and Karate after school clubs (mainly in Spanish), flamenco workshops, storytelling sessions, singing assemblies (with some songs in Spanish), Math and Spanish week and once a year we celebrate Spanish day. I also try to make Spanish ‘visible’ for pupils with Spanish displays across the school.”

What has winning the Primary Language Teacher of the Year 2016 meant to you?

“Winning the Primary Language Teacher of the Year 2016 has been a great achievement. I love teaching Spanish and I don’t expect to be prized for doing my work. However, it is incredibly rewarding to feel appreciated, not only by my Headteacher (who nominated me) but also by a whole community. This has infused me with renewed positive energy to continue my teaching and learning journey. Let’s face it, being a language teacher is hard as most of the time our labour is not regarded as important and hardly ever appreciated.”

How has it changed your teaching practice?

“Rather than changing my teaching practice, it has motivated me to keep improving and growing as a professional.  It has also given me more confidence in myself as a MFL teacher to share my practice with colleagues. My Headteacher and governors are really pleased with the award; therefore, it is easier to get them on board when I try to implement new approaches to the teaching and learning of Spanish and projects.”

What would you say to those wishing to nominate one of their colleagues for this year’s awards?

“If you are thinking to nominate one of your colleagues, please, don’t hesitate. It is a great compliment to your colleague’s practices the mere act of nominating them. When my Headteacher told me that she had nominated me I was ecstatic just to know that someone thought I deserved to be nominated as Primary MFL teacher of the year.”

Natalie Campbell

Secondary Language Teacher of the Year 2016

Natalie Campbell

Natalie was nominated by Alison Rogers, who said: “Natalie has transformed teaching and learning not only within the MFL department, but also within the school where she is known as ‘Mrs iPad”. She understands that technology speaks to students in a language they understand, and she builds her teaching, learning and assessment around technology. Technology is a second skin, a vital tool in learning, and Natalie embraces and exploits it… The focus on technology in Natalie’s lessons means that most youngsters are already on board as the lessons are seen as fun! The enjoyment and engagement shown by the pupils translate into a high take-up for GCSE and post-16. Spanish is the second language in the school but for the past 5 years there have been more candidates in public exams for Spanish than French.”

In 2016, the awards were conferred at ALL’s flagship conference, Language World, which took place at Dunchurch Park, Rugby. Natalie Campbell and ALL's President (2014-2016), Rene Koglbauer, are pictured with Routes into Languages Programme Director Mike Kelly at the awards ceremony.

About Natalie

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

"I did my PGCE at the University of Nottingham to teach both French and Spanish in 2000. I am currently the Subject Manager for Spanish at the Trinity Catholic School in Nottingham. I teach Spanish to A level and believe strongly in the use of technology to empower reluctant speakers. I was selected as an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2015 and am an active member of the global ADE community, sharing my research and ideas. I am also a Director of Learning at my school and have, so far, completed two action research projects on effective staff training with new technology and Flipped Learning. I have been doing some bespoke training on the use of iPad in MFL teaching at the University of Nottingham and for colleagues at Nottingham schools. I have been a PGCE mentor for beginning teachers for The University of Nottingham since 2012 and am part of the School of Education Language Education's Research Group and the Modern Languages Subject Advisory Group."

What has winning the Secondary Language Teacher of the Year 2016 meant to you?

“I feel so proud to have been selected for this wonderful award. It has been a real affirmation that my creative ideas and use of iPad to enhance my teaching are having a positive effect on my students. The reception I have been given by other linguists has been wonderful. I have been very flattered by the intrigue of fellow language teachers and their positive comments have been really encouraging in terms of me sharing my ideas more widely.”

How has it changed your teaching practice?

“How we teach languages should always be evolving. Flashcards were the norm when I started teaching and if I was lucky there would be an overhead projector I could use. I now have computers, iPad and a Clevertouch board which mean the evolution of my teaching has really sped up. The work that I have been doing as part of my action research with Flipped Learning has meant a redefining of my teaching style. Adapting the way in which I teach to include more use of technology to support and feedback to learners has had a really positive impact on their confidence and fluency. In addition, I have been able to rethink how to make homework a useful activity for my classes. Having received this award, I feel much more confident that what I am trialling is heading in the right direction and I am very keen to share the potential of my work with others.”

What would you say to those wishing to nominate one of their colleagues for this year’s awards?

It was a great honour to be nominated by my head of department Alison Rogers. It really brought home to me just how much faith she had in my ability, not only to teach, but also to inspire others in our department and beyond. I would really encourage fellow linguists to nominate their colleagues for the 2017 award. Their achievements do not have to be massive but their impact should be felt by their students and their colleagues. I always try to recognise the impact of my team and to have someone see your efforts as worthy of a nomination is very motivating and can have an enormously positive effect on the department as a whole.”

Stephen Way

 Student Language Ambassador of the Year 2016

Stephen Way

Stephen was nominated by Kathy Murdie, who said: “Stephen volunteers for all kinds of opportunities: from promotional work, to visiting schools, to delivering workshops or helping out at languages events. He approaches each job very conscientiously and in a very professional manner… Stephen has devised presentations to pupils to promote the benefits of languages and encourage continued language learning. He has delivered these presentations on various occasions and they have proved very popular. He has also devised a language workshop with some fellow students as part of the University HE days for year 8s. He was linked with a class whilst abroad as part of our Adopt-a-class programme and liaised with the teacher to ensure meaningful communication with the class.”

The award for Student Language Ambassador of the Year 2016 was conferred at ALL's flagship conference, Language World, which this year took place at Dunchurch Park, Rugby. Stephen Way is pictured receiving his award from ALL's  President René Koglbauer and Routes into Languages Programme Director Mike Kelly, at that event.

About Stephen

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

"I have just completed my final year at Leeds Beckett University where I studied French and Spanish. In September I am starting my teacher training in Secondary MFL in County Durham."

What has winning the Student Language Ambassador of the Year 2016 meant to you?

"With thousands of Language Ambassadors throughout the UK, I am very proud to have received such a prestigious award. My three years as an Ambassador have enabled me to understand the vital role they play in the future of foreign languages in the UK and I am honoured to be part of this."

How has it changed what you do?

"This award has, and will continue to, enhance my ability to make a difference in my career. The Language World Conference 2016 facilitated my engagement with experienced peers and enabled me to glean brilliant and innovative ideas regarding teaching and languages more generally; all of which will inform my teaching career. I am now fortunate to be a member of the ALL community, which will enable me to engage more closely with the teaching profession and develop important professional relationships with senior personnel in the field."

What would you say to those wishing to nominate someone for this year’s awards?

"It is crucial to award individuals who have been an inspiration to others either through their teaching excellence and / or their desire to promote languages in the community. It is excellent to see that those who work hard and show dedication are recognised and rewarded. I thoroughly recommend nominating a deserving individual."

Award Winners' Gallery 2016