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Modern Languages and LinguisticsPart of Humanities

Gabriela Adela Gánem-Gutiérrez MA Applied Linguistics for Language Teaching

Graduate Programmes Director and Lecturer at the University of Essex

Gabriela Adela Gánem-Gutiérrez's Photo

Hi, I'm Gabriela Adela Gánem-Gutiérrez and I studied MA Applied Linguistics for Language Teaching within Modern Languages at the University of Southampton.

Studying Modern Languages at Southampton has definately helped me in my career. I finished my PhD in December 2004 and got a job in the Department of Language and Linguistics at Essex University.

Gabriela is from Mexico and moved to the UK in 1996.

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

I was born in Mexico City where I grew up and lived till I was 26 when I came to the UK to study and then live permanently. I’ve lived here for 14 years approx.

I studied English Language and Literature at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) for my undergraduate degree and taught English as a foreign language for seven years at the Anglo-Mexican Institute in Mexico City. In 1996-1997 I took a Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics for Language Teaching at the University of Southampton. From 2000 to 2004 I worked on my doctoral thesis which is a study of collaborative activity in computer-mediated tasks. While doing my PhD, I worked as a language teaching assistant in the School of Modern Languages at the University of Southampton where one of the most satisfying experiences was the opportunity to develop and implement my own language course integrating CALL into the language teaching programme. Before joining the University of Essex in March 2005, I was a visiting lecturer at Southampton teaching, with Professor Ros Mitchell, a course in Second Language Acquisition theories to final year undergraduates.

What do you do now?

I am a lecturer in TESOL/TEFL/Applied Linguistics, Graduate Programmes Director and Director MA in CALL at the University of Essex

How did you get interested in Modern Languages?

My original interest was in English language and literature (hence my BA degree); then I got interested in Second Language Acquisition and in Applied Linguistics for language teaching, that’s why I did an MA at Southampton. I had great and inspiring teachers there. The late Chris Brumfit’s enthusiasm for Vygotsky (at least as I remember) led me to work on Sociocultural theory as a theoretical framework for my PhD.

Why did you choose to study Modern Languages at Southampton?

Its reputation although a contributing factor was that I used to live in Bournemouth and I didn’t particularly want to move. So I was also considering Reading, but when I had an interview with Ros Mitchell, who is also a great teacher and researcher (now the Head of Modern Languages), I made up my mind to go to Southampton.

What did you like most about your PhD programme?

It had a good supportive research environment.

Has studying languages at Southampton helped you in your career?

Definitely, I finished my PhD in Dec 2004 and got a job in the Department of Language and Linguistics at Essex University (one of the most prestigious departments of its kind) in March 2005. My experience as a TEFL teacher and teacher trainer in Mexico, as well as having been a Spanish teaching assistant at Soton helped.

Would you recommend studying Modern Languages to other people?

Absolutely, everybody should study at least one foreign language; this is not just for communication, but importantly, to enrich oneself as a human being by accessing other cultures, different ways of thinking and making sense of the world. It is also beautiful to be able to read literature in its original language.

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