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Kristina Pla Fernandez

Lecturer (Teaching) - Spanish

Lecturer (Teaching) - Spanish in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures+44 (0) 191 33 42234


I joined the Centre for Foreign Language Studies at Durham in 2015. Before that I had taught Spanish Leeds University, Manchester University and at Instituto Cervantes, where I started my career in 2008. I also worked as a teaching fellow in Catalan at Leeds University between 2009 and 2011.

I studied my BA in Spanish Language and Literature at Universitat de Barcelona, followed by a teaching qualification at the same institution. Then I completed a MA Res in Chicano Literature at the University of Leeds. After that, I went on to study a PhD in Spanish Literature at the University of Manchester. The title of my thesis was "A comparative Study of Autofiction and Humour in the Works of Enrique Vila-Matas and Roberto Bolaño". Finally, I was awarded my Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice by the University of Durham.

When I chose my BA I already knew I wanted teaching to be my profession, except I always thought I would teach language and literature in secondary schools. Shortly after graduating though, almost by chance, I taught my first foreign language classes and it was love at first sight and I have always been doing it since! I have never stopped training in the field of second language teaching by attending numerous conferences, where I have also presented my own research, as well as completing training courses almost yearly since then in institutions such as Instituto Cervantes, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, International House, Campanento Norte and Pedagogías Invisibles.

These are my passions and research interests within the field of foreign language teaching:

• Classroom atmosphere and emotions: How can we best foster a pleasant learning environment where students can feel safe to participate, open to make errors which will scaffold their learning and overcome their language learning anxiety?

• Engaging assessment: Don't we all perform better when we are enjoying ourselves? How can we create assessments which stimulate and bring together both the student's interest in the culture of the target language and their personal interests outside the language classroom?

• Actionable and personalised feedback: In which ways can we provide feedback to students that leads to specific actions and strategies being put in place to help them achieve their learning potential and the set learning outcomes? How can feedback be best suited to each student’s needs and development? How can feedback be motivating for the student and the teacher?

• Language Learning Advising: How can we make students knowledgeable about their language learning skills, and their preferences, feelings, beliefs and strengths and weaknesses in relation to their language studies? Can we empower them to self-regulate and design their own independent learning plan?