Modern languages staff win students’ union “Excellence in Teaching” awards

At a stylish ceremony held in the Students Union building on 2 May, the outstanding teaching of Modern Languages was recognised at the first ever students’ union “Excellence in Teaching” awards ceremony. James Minney, Principal Teaching Fellow in Modern Languages (French) and now also Associate Dean Education for the Faculty of Humanities, won the overall university award for “Outstanding Lecturer”. Students commented:

“James is a legendary teacher – full of energy, knowledge and witty impersonations.”

“James really makes the time to help each individual in the class and the passion for his subject really shows through and is infectious!”.

“There is no other lecturer quite like James. Whereas some favour the bog-standard black and white powerpoint presentations, James opts for rainbow colours, amusing pictures and hilarious sound bits/clips from songs which have the lecture hall in stitches. His amusing anecdotes and personal observations/experiences have the rare ability to engage each and every student, regardless of the topic, time of day or indeed length of lecture …. His passion for languages is incredible, and his enthusiasm is infectious. He is always willing to give up his time to provide students with that extra bit of help on a one-to-one basis … In short, James Minney is an Outstanding lecturer, a simple fact which deserves to be recognised.”

The Faculty award for “Most Innovative Teaching” was won by Patricia Romero, Senior Teaching Fellow in Modern Languages (Spanish). Among the many commendations, students said:

“Paty is an outstanding lecturer who is devoted to her students and enriches their studies with dynamic teaching methods.”

“Paty’s classes are so well-crafted it is genuinely astounding … every minute I was there, I felt like I was gaining something. The activities she uses never rely on the obvious and the basic; she uses songs, adverts, literature, websites…and then some! One week you’re translating Tetley’s adverts into Spanish to demonstrate the necessity for cultural awareness in translation (most Latin American countries don’t have kettles, so how to translate ‘put the kettle on’?!); the next, you’re reading a story about ham, which demonstrates the many uses of the word ‘hook’ in Spanish. Every activity is different and has a clearly-defined purpose. The best bit is the creativity that her assignments afford you. For my final assessment in Spanish, I got to write a piece of literature!”

Many other members of ML staff also received enthusiastic commendations, reflecting the challenging yet supportive teaching offered at Southampton and very much appreciated by ML graduates.

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