Spring Workshop 2015

The 2015 Workshop took place on March 7th in Dublin West Education Centre. Huge thanks to all who worked on the organisation of this day.

We were delighted to welcome Claire Matthews of the PDST to our Spring 2015 Workshop in early March. Claire treated us to a thought-provoking session on writing in the MFL classroom. Claire’s Prezi can be found below. This was followed by the Methodology Carousel. The results of our discussion at the Methodology Carousel were compiled by members of the committee and can be found below as well.  If you want to read tweets about the day with photos, links and ideas, click here.

Claire Matthew’s Prezi on Writing in the MFL Classroom and the link to the PDST MFL site where many of the resources that Claire mentioned are available.

Transition Year: MC TY

Trips: Home & Abroad: MC Trips

Drama techniques in the Classroom: MC Drama

Differentiation tips: MC Differentiation

As always, we wanted to reward our attendees for coming to CPD on such a glorious spring morning!

Deirdre McDonnell won the €50 all for one voucher from Euro Languages College.
Marie Therese Rasmussen won mini-boards for use in the classroom.
Jenna Dancey and Karla Medina MacNamara won a box of chocolates which they generously shared with other attendees!
Below are some photos taken on the idea of ideas, resources and participants!
A big thank you to all who attended and made it such an interesting day!

First ever Teach Meet for Language Teachers!

Last Friday nearly fifty teachers (mostly teachers of Spanish, but all with an interest in language teaching) met up in Dublin to share teaching ideas and tips. Despite being a Friday evening, there was plenty of energy and enthusiasm to go round, even after a busy week of teaching. Everyone was delighted to share ideas on teaching particular topics or grammar as well as favourite websites and games – all in an informal way.  The three hours flew by and was an ideal opportunity to ‘think outside the box’ and approach our teaching in different, and perhaps more creative, ways.

A big thank you to Susan and her team for coordinating the whole event – an inspiring evening all round.

Some new tools this committee member learned about and liked:


QR Stuff


A successful AGM – southside this year

The President Susan Leahy updating the members on the achievements of the ATS during the 2014-15 year.
The President Susan Leahy updating the members on the achievements of the ATS during the 2014-15 year.

A Committee Member writes:

As always, the annual meeting of Spanish teachers was a lively affair – with a wide variety of speakers and topics up for discussion. In addition to addresses from the Instituto Cervantes, the Consejería, Leárgas, PPLI and the PDST, delegates were treated to two workshops, one focussing on grammar and the other on assessment. In common with every year, the teachers’ passion for their subject shines through and I really feel we are privileged to be able to network with such a professional and committed group of teachers.

This year the event relocated to the Hilton Hotel Kilmainham, on the outskirts of the city centre and despite some technical difficulties during sign-in, we began the day with coffee at 9.00 and were up and running by 9.45am. In addition to a packed agenda, the 135+ delegates were able to visit an array of stands from publishers, bookshops, educational travel companies and suppliers who all generously donated prizes that were raffled during the event.

One of the slides from the talk by Charo Hernández on Assessment for Learning.
One of the slides from the talk by Charo Hernández on Assessment for Learning.

The mid morning coffee break and relaxed coffee and soup lunch served in the Cinnamon restaurant were a great way to meet up with old friends and colleagues and to exchange news and views on a wide variety of topics.

Muchísimas gracias a Susan Leahy y a todos los miembros del Comité por un día bien organizado y lleno de oportunidades para todos.

Agenda and Sponsors AGM 2014

ATS Conference and AGM


Saturday October 11th 2014                                             Hilton Hotel Kilmainham


The ATS is delighted to collaborate with the Consejería de Educación, the Instituto Cervantes, Leárgas, the PDST and the PPLI to promote the teaching and learning of Spanish in Ireland.




9.00-9.30                Registration


09.30-09.45            Patrick Coffey (PDST)

“The new Scoilnet – Sharing your resources”.


9.45-10.00           Carlos García de la Santa Delgado, the new Academic Director of the Instituto Cervantes Dublin


10.00 – 11.15         Ana Sanchez Pérez (Colegio Delibes):”Taller teórico-práctico: pronombres   complemento directo e indirecto, ¿un caso de confusión?”


11.15-11.45           COFFEE BREAK – register for raffles at stands.


11.45-12.05          Lisa Fox ““Léargas 

Opportunities for Schools and Teachers”


12.00-12.05          Kenia Puig i Planella

“Current projects in the PPLI


12.05-12.15          Alvina Byrne Mulloy

“Spanish in Ireland: Past, Present and Future” / One Voice For Languages


12.15- 12.45        AGM


12.45-13.00          Adolfo Carbón, the new Education Advisor,Spanish Embassy “Consejería: programmes, resources and projects”


13.00- 13.50         LUNCH


13.50-15.20          Charo Hernandez (UCD) “La evaluación en el aula de



15.20                    Raffle results and closure.



We are very pleased to have the following sponsors with us this year and thank them for their raffle prizes.


We currently ask all exhibitors to donate a raffle prize which can go directly to our members instead of charging exhibitors a fee per stand.


Budget School & Group Tours                       €100 One for All Voucher


Donegal Language & Adventure Centre         One Teacher Pre-view voucher for 2 adults: this includes 2
nights in hostel accommodation, 1 surf session and 1
land-based activity.


Edco                                                                  An estar 7” tablet


Irlanda en español                                            €100 worth of Irlanda en español tours or10 free pupils on a Spanish day outing


Euro Languages College                                  €100 One for All Voucher


Folen                                                                    15 copies of Rapid Revision Junior Cert Book


Grasshopper Language Centre                        One Nespresso machine


International Books                                            To be confirmed


Learnforeignlanguageskills.com                      1st prize: ALL IN 8 package for either LC

                                                                             or JC class, a set of Spanish flashsticks and

a flamenco hat.

                                                                             2nd prize: A Spanish wig, a Spanish flag

(big), 2 little flags and a set of


                                                                              3rd prize: A flamenco hat, a set of

Flashsticks, 2 small flags


Stein Study                                                      2 theatre tickets





Post-Primary Inspector: Spanish

IMG_0585The Spanish teachers of Ireland are lucky to have had Joan Sutton as Chief Inspector over the last number of years. Those of you present at the workshop in May were present when she announced her retirement to the Association and shared some words of advice with us. We took the opportunity then and we do so again to thank her for her work in supporting and promoting the teaching and learning of Spanish in this country.

The next step, of course, is for a new Inspector to be appointed. Interested? Follow this link to read the job description and advertisement. You could be the new Inspector!


AGM and Conference 2014: save the date!


AGM & Conference 2014


JS Elcano
JS Elcano

This year’s AGM and Conference will take place in the Kilmainham Hilton Hotel on Saturday, October 11th. We have changed location in order to provide our members with a better experience during the AGM. This year, we are excited to announce that Saturday’s conference will be preceded by a Teach Meet on the Friday night, also in the Hilton. If you are not sure what  a TeachMeet is, click on the link to read a helpful Prezi by Paul Barrett on what they are and how they work. If you were at our May workshop, then you already know (and hopefully are as excited as we are!) about this. We will be putting out a call for presenters soon!

A provisional programme for the day of the formal conference will be published in September. During July and early August, our members voted on what language point they would like dealt with on the day, and on how they would like the language workshop to be slanted ie as a language lesson or as a methodology lesson. The results of the survey and vote will be published in September as well.
This year, we will be asking you to sign up and pay using Eventbrite. Those of you who attended the Quiz and the May Workshop will now be familiar with this format. Further details and information will follow soon. We look forward to seeing you in October!

May workshop

Statue of Admiral Guillermo Brown, Irish born founder and Commander-in-Chief of the Argentine Navy.
Statue of Admiral Guillermo Brown, Irish born founder and Commander-in-Chief of the Argentine Navy.

It takes the summer holidays to start catching up with all the work we did over the year and are planning for next year! I’ve just been around the website today tidying up bits and pieces and some of this post overlaps with some of the information available on our May Workshop page.

We were absolutely delighted that the 2014 May workshop was a great success. This workshop was free to register and open to all members of the ATS. We now use Eventbrite for registration for our events and we hope you are all getting used to it!

You can read the Twitter backchannel (what people were saying about the event on Twitter – really useful condensation of what was said) here.

We were delighted that Fátima Gónzalez Gómez (Academic Director of Cuenca, the True Spanish Experience project and experienced teacher of Spanish as a foreign language with experience gained across the world) could lead a workshop on how to integrate teaching cultural components with the teaching of the Spanish language. She shared tips and ideas as well as leading us in the creation of teaching activities, which were shared in a short presentation at the end of the first session.  Fátima has since shared the teaching activity on the Tres Culturas which she used as a guide for creating CLIL activities.

One of the (many) worksheets at the Methodology Carousel
One of the (many) worksheets at the Methodology Carousel

We also held a Methodology Carousel. At all of our events, we always hear people asking each other for tips and advice and so on this occasion, we built time for that right into the workshop and formalised the process. We voted on topics for discussion on our Facebook page. I’d like to thank members of the committee Rodica Darii, Kay Macken and Lorna McCudden for their help in editing, tidying and putting hotlinks into the notes I took on the day. I personally found this one of the best CPD days in which I’ve had the pleasure of participating, and I was blown away by all the ideas shared by members. There was an incredible buzz and energy in the room, despite the glorious sunshine outside the building!

These ideas – typed up – are available on our Resources page and I would like to extend my thanks to all present for being so generous and sharing and presenting their ideas with and to us all. If you think there was an idea that we missed, check out the photo section of our Facebook page as photos of all the worksheets have been shared there.

It was a bittersweet occasion as well as we were very pleased to welcome Joan Sutton, Chief Inspector for Spanish to the workshop after Fátima’s session. However, it was with some regret that members learned of the Chief Inspector’s plans to retire this year. We presented her with flowers on behalf of the members and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Joan again for her work throughout her career in the promotion of Spanish as a subject. She kindly shared some words of advice with those present on the day and attendees wrote furiously as Joan spoke about good practice that she has seen around the country and encouraged us to keep up the good work. Joan has a particular interest in differentiation and shared this very useful document with us as well: teachers’ handout on differentiation from Joan Sutton Chief Inspector.

We held this year’s workshop in Dublin West, for the simple reason that it is bigger than our previous workshop venue and we wanted there to be space for everyone who wanted to come. It’s likely that we will use it in the future so I will leave the directions up: Get directions here. Here is a link to the Dublin West Education Centre contact page if you want to contact them for further information regarding how to get here by public transport. The centre is easily accessible via the LUAS red line and Dublin bus, and is very close to the M50.

Many thanks to all who attended and contributed on the day.


Debating Finals 2014

This post about the Debating Finals is long overdue but with the busy lead-up to Easter, it just wasn’t possible to get everything done.

A huge congratulations to the teams which reached the finals of both the Plate and the Cup Competition! The motion debated was the same for both competitions and the schools were as below:

Las redes sociales tienen un efecto negativo sobre la juventud.

The team from Templeogue College
The team from Templeogue College

Plate Competition 

Templeogue College v Loreto Beaufort

Cup Competition 

Castleknock College v The King’s Hospital School.

Both finals were incredibly closely debated and the students impressed all present with their speeches and their rebuttals. In the end, though, only one team could win each final. Well done to Loreto Beaufort and Castleknock College who were, in the end, the victorious teams!

The best speakers on the night were Seán O’Keeffe of Templeogue College and Liam Forbes of the King’s Hospital School. Both young men received vouchers from Euro Languages College, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Eurolanguages for their generosity.

Thanks also to the Instituto Cervantes Dublin, who once again kindly hosted the evening, and to our judges for both debates.

Finally, a word of thanks to Nicola Cronin, who organises the entire Debating Competition for her hard work and dedication throughout the year, and to all of the teachers and ATS committee members who gave of their time to make this competition possible.

I can’t emphasise enough how beneficial this competition is for the students who take part. Keep an eye on the website and on your inbox as soon as the 2014-15 school year starts to see how to get involved next year, and – in preparation – read all about how the competition works here.

The Quiz: March 11, 2014

Visit our Quiz page to read about this year’s quiz and to sign-up your teams. This year’s Quiz takes place on Tuesday, March 11th in Rathdown School in Glenageary.

There’s lots of prizes for students (and a few for teachers) and it promises to be the usual evening of fun and frustration as the students vie for both first prize and the coveted spot prizes!Queso

As you will see from the quiz page above, we are using Eventbrite to carry out our registration. It is free for you to use Eventbrite, though you will need to set up an account with it (it requires your email address for this). As we are planning to use Eventbrite for future events, this is a good opportunity to get familiar with it.

Many thanks to Wilma Slevin, who is organising – among other things –  the registration for the evening, and to Frieda Burke, whose school is hosting the event, and who is therefore handling the on-site organisation.

We look forward to seeing you on the night!