Meet the team: Ann

Hola, I’m Ann and I joined the Radio Lingua team in 2018. I speak Spanish, French and some Italian and I combine my role at Coffee Break with teaching language in a Scottish secondary school.

What is your role in Coffee Break?

I joined the team as Spanish Curriculum Manager so my role is to develop the content of all our Spanish learning materials and to support our Spanish learning community. I am absolutely delighted to be part of this language loving team.

What experience have you had speaking and learning other languages?

I graduated in Marketing with French and Spanish from the University of Strathclyde and have used my languages in many different fields of work and life. I spent several years in Spain mainly teaching English as a foreign language then I worked for various multinational companies in Marketing and Customer Services on my return to Scotland. I had many opportunities to travel and use my language skills. I then decided I wanted to share my enthusiasm for language learning with others so I completed a post graduate qualification in teaching. For over 20 years I have been a language teacher in several secondary schools in Scotland as well as spending some time in two different universities working with trainee language teachers.

I have recently been learning Italian using the Coffee Break Italian resources to further increase my understanding of how Italian works. Grazie Francesca!

What are your favourite memories of working with Coffee Break?

As a relatively new member of the team I am confident I have many favourite memories still to be made with Coffee Break. However, many years ago I worked with Mark on a schools based project where pupils were learning to use their languages through technology so I have great memories of a weekend in Dunoon with 40 16 or 17 year olds improving their language skills, their knowledge of technology and making new friends. My eldest son also took part in a language trip to Mallorca while he was learning Spanish and many of his peers went on to further their language skills at university.

Where would your ideal coffee break be and with whom?

If Brad Pitt or John Cusack weren’t available (or even if they were) I would be happy to have a relaxing cup of cafe con leche with my three sons on a lovely terraza overlooking a beach at sunset, preferably on the Costa Brava in Spain.

What’s your best language-learning tip?

That you should aim for accuracy but not be too worried if you don’t achieve it first time. Language is communication between people so a big smile and a sense of humour is vital. Practise, practise and then practise some more and ask people to correct you if you keep making the same mistake.

Quick-fire round

  • Favourite language: Spanish
  • Favourite word/phrase in the language: paulatinamente which means step by step or gradually
  • Favourite film: in Spanish – The Olive Tree
  • Favourite TV Show: Vis a Vis is a Spanish prison series with a French title but the English translation is Locked Up
  • Favourite singer: Juan Manuel Serrat
  • Favourite destination: any beach, from the wild Scottish ones to the lively Spanish ones

Any further thoughts?

My advise is to keep trying to improve your language skills, a little at a time, and if possible, try and travel to places where that language is spoken. Even if people respond to you in your native language, being able to communicate at any level with other human beings in a foreign language can only improve your life experiences.

Learning a language is good for your brain, your social skills and your job prospects, so keep on learning and laugh at your mistakes – they are the best lessons!