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Why is Motivating Students Challenging? - An Interview with a Spanish Teacher

Updated: Jun 16, 2023



Last week our founder, Iacopo Di Rico, sat down with Jordi March, a Spanish teacher at the British School of Barcelona and a Pearson examiner. Jordi has 9 years experience as a Spanish teacher, three of which he spent as a Head of Spanish at Epsom College.


Read on to find out about Jordi's views on why motivating students is challenging, his experiences with teaching languages in the UK and Spain, and his teaching tips!


If you would like to read the full interview you can find it here.




His Teaching Journey:


Jordi discovered his passion for teaching after teaching Spanish to some of his course-mates whilst he was doing his MA on Conference Interpreting. He found this experience very rewarding, so when he was offered a scholarship to do a PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) in the UK, he decided to this career change a go.


Jordi has 9 years of teaching experience during which he has lead the transformation of the Spanish Department at Epsom college and he is currently teaching at the British School of Barcelona. Throughout his teaching experience, he has found that motivating students to study languages is one of the biggest challenges he has faced, both in the UK and in Spain. He highlighted that in both countries, students feel like they can get away with just knowing English due to the availability of technology such as Google Translate. He also highlighted that his current students are mostly English speakers living in Barcelona, who's experience has been that they can go about their daily lives with a limited grasp of Spanish, so it is hard to convince them that they need to know the language.



Teaching Methods


In the classroom, Jordi doesn’t use paper anymore, instead he uses OneNote for everything except for assessments. He took this decision following the COVID-19 pandemic. By having his materials online, all his students can follow along, even the ones who are not in class. He also uses Teams to set assignments and Blink to look at textbooks.


At pervious schools he has also used This Is Language, LingaScope and Quizlet along with other online resources. Jordi highlighted that this got too cluttered and difficult to manage because the problem for him was that these platforms were offering a similar product but it wasn’t well rounded enough, so all of them had to be used. Now, he just uses OneNote and Teams, he finds this more manageable and he believes that this makes his classes easier to follow.



Tips and Tricks:


Jordi has found that students struggle with ‘Type 3’ questions the most in the exam. These are questions where the student has to do some critical thinking to get to their answer. To prepare students for these questions he teaches students to “Use the question to phrase the answer.” To reinforce this, he starts exposing students to these question types at an earlier age.


His 3 tips as a Pearson A-level examiner are:

  1. Read the question carefully.

  2. Use the question to phrase your answer.

  3. Check how many items the question is asking for and only add this many to your answer.



 

This week's worksheet is a reading exercise based on this interview, download it below! It is also be available in our worksheet section which can be found here.


A Teacher's Insight - Jordi March (Reading Exercise)
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Download PDF • 221KB
A Teacher's Insight - Jordi March (Mark Scheme)
.pdf
Download PDF • 220KB










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