Thursday, 16 May 2013

Interview with Cristina Cabal


Hi there! My name is Cristina Cabal and I am a teacher at the EOI Avilés (Asturias). I’ve been teaching English for a good 21 years and, believe it or not, I still feel enthusiastic about it. I also keep my own blog, “Blog de Cristina”; I have always thought I should change the name because it doesn’t sound very English, but I never get around to doing it . So Blog de Cristina it is. 

This blog has a bit of everything including different sections where you can practise English as well as daily posts where I post interesting tidbits about Technology and handy Tools that you can use in the classroom, students’ collaborations, funny stuff and everything related to the English language that I find of interest. 

I would recommend it to teachers wishing to integrate Technology and Education, and to students wanting to improve their English as there are different sections to practise all skills.

Cristina, when did you decide to become an English teacher?

I had been studying English and spending summers in England on and off during my adolescence and I loved English so it was just the natural choice.

What levels do you teach?

I teach all levels from Beginners to Advanced levels.

In your opinion, why do Spanish students have a poor level of English despite having completed their secondary education?

Well, this is a hot issue. On the one hand, not all Spanish students have a low level, some of them can communicate quite well when they finish their studies, but it is quite true that most of them don’t see the point of learning a language they won’t be able to use outside the classrooms. Unfortunately in Spain, every single film on TV is dubbed, even in the news when you are listening to a clip of an interview with a politician or a singer, you have someone translating everything they say. Why don’t they use subtitles and give learners a chance to see if they understand? 

On the other hand, there is the feeling that everybody speaks Spanish outside Spain, so again, what’s the point of learning English? It is said that Danish or Finnish people speak English very well. It is true but they are well aware that, otherwise, they would be completely isolated from the rest of the world.

What do you do in class to engage your students' interest and attention?

I cannot be so naïve as to think I always manage to engage my students’ attention, but I definitely do my best. I always use visual material to reinforce what we are working on and I try to practise the four skills in every lesson. My classes are also more student-centred than any other thing.

How long does it take for a student to go from "beginner" to "intermediate"?

I think it all depends on the level of commitment. It is difficult to say.

If you hadn't become an English teacher, what would you have done?

That’s a good question. I have always wanted to be a flight attendant but my parents never liked the idea. I still feel green with envy when one of my friends, who is a flight attendant, tells me about the places she’s been to.

What do you do in your free time?

I like doing sport and reading, but I also like being with family and friends.

Do you speak any other languages?

I studied French in primary school and spent some summers in France when I was a child with a host family, so I speak a little French and I have taken some Italian courses although I cannot say I speak it.


Thank you, Cristina.

I have been visiting Cristina's blog and stalking her (just kidding!) for some time and I highly recommend it. Here's the link to the blog again.

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