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The University of Southampton
Lifelong Learning

Meet our tutors

Please find below further information on our tutors.

(The tutors are listed alphabetical by surname.)

Bianca Belgiorno - Italian

"My teaching experience has its roots in the training courses I developed and delivered in the Corporate Finance department of a large multinational, teaching employees how to use business information management systems. My passion for teaching has led me to develop a new career as a language teacher in which I have a particular interest in digital innovations as a means to diversify learning.

After graduating in Economics in Italy I  worked for Pirelli Group for 11 years in the Accountancy, Finance and IT departments. Following to my relocation to  England I worked as a Business Analyst in a small high tech company and then decided for a change of career that would give me the chance to work part time and do a job that I love. Teaching Italian language and culture keeps me linked to my roots. I have been teaching Italian for more than 15 years.

I have worked in different colleges in Colchester and Southampton teaching evening courses and have been working at the University of Southampton  for 10 years. I teach to under-graduate students from all faculties as part of their degree and I am the Coordinator for Italian Beginners courses (Stage 1); I also teach on the Lifelong Learning Program (non-vocational courses) in the evenings and in the short intensive courses.

I hold a UK qualification for teaching and I keep myself updated by attending  conferences and workshops in England and abroad.  I also teach in a secondary school and privately preparing children for Italian GCSE and A-level exams.

I believe everybody can learn a language. What is most important to me is to teach the students to communicate in Italian. Even if in my lessons all four skills - writing, reading, listening and speaking - are taught the emphasis is on speaking and listening.

To be able to start to communicate in Italian gives the students self-confidence and motivation and to me the feeling that I am doing the right job. My classes are informal and students can ask questions at any time. The lessons are varied; a typical lesson starts with an activity to revise what was done in the previous lesson, it will also include a short presentation of the grammar and  vocabulary and many different activities. The exercises will be done in small groups, in pairs or individually. They can be role plays, reading exercises, listening to songs or short dialogues, watching videoclips etc.

The students are engaged at all times. While part of any class session will always involve direct teaching, the emphasis is on students’ participation and they will take part actively in the class.  As much of the class as possible will be taught in Italian. While all this may seem daunting, I will give the students plenty of support to build their confidence, and I will provide feedback which will help them to make progress.

I like to help students to memorise new words and I often create targeted online flash cards to make vocabulary learning, easier. Sometimes I also use some Apps to create online exercises to do in class and I ask the students to reply in groups or individually using their own mobile phones.

I am passionate about my country and students will also learn about Italian culture and way of life."

Alison Daniell - Creative Writing, English Literature

Alison is a student, practitioner and teacher of literature. Writing as Allie Spencer, she has published five novels, two of which were short-listed for the prestigious Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance and her first winning the Joan Hessayon Award for best debut novel. She is also an experienced creative writing tutor, having devised and run courses for, amongst others, the Writers’ Workshop, the Winchester Festival of Writing and the Dorchester Literary Festival. Currently, Alison is studying for a PhD at the University of Southampton, researching attitudes to married women’s property ownership in female-authored fiction of the long eighteenth century.

Creative writing has three essential elements: theory, practice and – most important of all – enthusiasm. As a student of literature and an experienced author, Alison will help you understand the key techniques used by established writers in their work, show you how to deploy those in your own writing and ensure that you enjoy the process. Alison’s classes are a mixture of discussion, workshop and analysis – with the emphasis always on creating the knowledge and practical expertise you need to continue to develop your skills as a writer outside (as well as inside) the classroom.

Stephanie Evelyn-Wright - Osteoarchaeology/archaeology

"I graduated from the University of Southampton with a BA Archaeology in 2010. During my degree I developed a fascination for funerary archaeology and identity in the Roman period, especially after digging in the Roman sites of Noviodunum, Romania and Portus in Italy.

Having grown up with a disabled sibling and had several job roles working with disabled people, disability is a theme I am passionate about and has become a key theme within my academic studies. Over the course of my MA Archaeology of Rome and its Provinces (2011-2012), I was able to develop this subject as my main field of study, along with additional skills in human osteology.

In October 2014 I started studying for a PhD under the joint supervision at the Universities of Southampton, Reading and Exeter with the assistance of the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership. In my thesis I am researching the themes of impairment and disability through the study of human skeletal remains from late Roman period Dorset. My aim is to use skeletons to glean as much information as possible about an individual’s experience of disability within their environment.

My aim whilst teaching is to make the material relatable, enjoyable and memorable. I prefer to vary my approach to teaching as much as possible and I enjoy experimenting with new teaching styles and ideas. I am, therefore, able to be flexible and take into account the preferences of the students.

Throughout this course, I will use multiple teaching styles, from more formal lectures to interactive activities and creative group work. Where possible, I encourage a hands on approach with archaeological material. I also really enjoy and encourage class room debates on relevant topics and welcome discussion and ideas."

Rada Getova - French

"I have been teaching French for the Centre for Language Study LLL courses at the University of Southampton since 2006. I have also  previously taught French for several years on undergraduate courses at Modern Languages, Southampton University, to adult learners preparing for the IOL Diploma and Intermediate Diploma, Advanced level students, students preparing for the International Baccalaureate, and in a secondary school.

I hold a degree in French Philology  (Linguistics and Literature) with Pedagogy and Teaching qualification. I also have a Masters degree in Translation Studies with French, followed by a PhD in French Cultural Studies from the University of Southampton. I have a number of research publications both in English and French.

My research interests also include Translation Theory and Practice. Among my published fiction translations are several books from French and English, including novels by Nancy Houston and Ian McEwan.

Since early childhood, I was brought up bilingual. I have always been interested in how languages work and have learned several languages to different degrees of proficiency. I believe that learning a new language helps a better and deeper understanding of a new culture.

My teaching approach is tailored around the students’ needs and requirements. Over the years I have taught students from various backgrounds and nationalities, of different ages and abilities. My classes are always student centred, informal and friendly. I try to create a relaxed atmosphere and encourage pair and group work and my goal is to make everyone feel at ease and learn at their own pace."

Xiaohan Gunter - Chinese (Mandarin)

"Being influenced by both my parents who were very successful teachers for over 30 years,I gained my degree in Chinese Language & Literature in China, I’ve worked as a Chinese teacher in a high school and college for 7 years in China, After I moved to the UK and continued to teach in a Chinese school and the university of Southampton, as a competent qualified Chinese teacher who has 16 years of invaluable experience, also  fully conversant with Chinese culture and history for students of all ages and abilities.

A second language opens up a student’s eyes to ideas and cultures completely different from their own. Helps the students to become excited about their subject, so for me as their teacher, the most important concept is student participation in small groups, role play and individual presentations to express themselves."

Dr Maria Palaska - Modern Greek Language, Ancient Greek Language, Classical Greek Mythology, Classical Greek Theatre and Drama, European Medieval Fold Epic

Dr Palaska holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Essex, UK.   As a Comparatist she is versatile in a variety of languages including her native Modern Greek Language as well as Ancient Greek.

Dr Palaska’s teaching philosophy is centred around interactive teaching and self-confidence building.

Elisabeth Ruggles - German, Dutch

"With a Dutch mother and an English father, I spent my childhood living between England and the Netherlands, so am bilingual in English and Dutch. I was always fascinated by languages and spent a lot of time with relatives in Germany. As a result of this interest I completed a German degree at the University of Reading.
I worked for a private bank in the Netherlands, dealing with queries from customers and then moved to England to work as an auctioneer. I have also worked for an international engineering company in the sales department, where my role included international marketing, organising trade fairs and the design and  translation of brochures and machine instruction manuals. I then completed my teaching qualifications and have been working at the university for over 15 years. I teach on the evening course programme as well as, more recently, being a part-time undergraduate lecturer. I also work in two secondary schools, where I teach children to GCSE and A level.

Students' needs and requirements are at the core of my teaching. I have taught students from different backgrounds and nationalities as well as different ages and abilities. Sessions are informal and I aim to create an informal, relaxed atmosphere, so that students feel able to ask questions. Pair work and group work
are used so that students can also learn from each other. The aim is for them to learn at their own pace and at ease. All four skills are taught in each lesson (reading, writing, listening and speaking), but the emphasis remains on listening and speaking, particularly at the lower stages. Points of cultural interest are also discussed as I am passionate about the countries whose languages I teach and I feel that this helps students gain a greater understanding as well. If students have a particular interest or find something difficult, I will always try to assist or help them. The greatest satisfaction comes from seeing 'the penny drop' or to hear how students got on during a successful visit abroad."

Dr Asuka Tsuchiya - Japanese

"My first experience of teaching foreign languages was to teach English as a trainee teacher at a Japanese junior high school when I was a BA student in Linguistic and Literature at the University of Tokyo.  It was much fun seeing my students’ confidence grow and shine.  This experience motivated me to proceed to postgraduate study in Education at the Department of School Education, University of Tokyo, where I received an MA degree.

In parallel, I was qualified as a professional psychotherapist. After some work experience of supporting people in schools and medical clinics, I went on to Ph.D. study in Psychology at the School of Humanities and Sciences, Nara Women’s University. My Ph.D. thesis on supporting human communication is awarded Best Student Award, and a part of my Ph.D. works was awarded by the Association of Japanese Clinical Psychology in Japan.

I have been currently teaching Japanese as a qualified teacher through the Japan Educational Exchanges and Services (JEES) organization, the most prestigious Japanese teaching authority in Japan.  Throughout my experience, I have found many Japanese learners struggle due to the big difference between the Japanese language and English and many other languages.

I am happy to support such learners by providing quality Japanese teaching based on my profound knowledge of Japanese language and education. And, as a professional psychologist and psychotherapist, I am also pleased to help learners have more confidence in speaking Japanese.

I will be providing you fun and informative Japanese learning experience. In particular, the following 3 points are characteristic features of my classes.

You can study Japanese even though you are busy.
I have been aware that students in evening courses are very motivated and enthusiastic, whereas very busy in most cases. Sometimes you may not manage to attend the class or not be prepared due to other commitments, unexpected events and so on. I will be happy to support you to catch up the class so you can continue learning despite your busy life.
You can study Japanese in a friendly class atmosphere. In language learning after a long day of work or study, I am sure you need friendships and enjoyable experience. My class will offer many small group activities with your peer learners that have made many previous students feel welcomed and enjoyed. You may find new friends in our class.
You can establish the excellent foundation of the language with ease. The Japanese language is different from English. Once you start learning Japanese, you will soon realize the interesting aspects of Japanese, such as writing system, particles, counting system, and so on.
It may seem daunting at first, but do not worry.

My class will use best-known quality textbooks and offer various kinds of exercises. I have received many positive responses from my ex-students about how quickly their Japanese knowledge has been improved. Now it is your turn"

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