Image of Toni Ibarz

Toni Ibarz BA, PGCE, MEd

Programme Director: Spanish and Latin American Studies


Toni worked in the steel industry in Sheffield as a turner, went to university as a mature student and taught mainly Spanish in secondary schools in Rotherham and Sheffield. He job shared for several years spending the other half of his time becoming involved in a range of teaching and academic activities, some at international level.


Toni is a lecturer in modern languages and course director for the part-time Certificate and Degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies taught by the Department for Lifelong Learning. This involves the co-ordination and development of a programme of accredited language and culture modules delivered by a team of hourly-paid tutors. The great majority of the students are over 25. Teaching adults is a privilege and a fascinating challenge at the same time. Adults have specific expectations and motivations and bring with them a wealth of experience. At the same time many of them left school at an early age and require additional support or are anxious about going back to university after a long break from formal learning. Designing learning programmes for them takes all these factors into account. The programme uses a combination of taught modules, online modules and independent study modules to satisfy their needs. Toni usually teaches the level 2 and 3 language modules, most online modules and all the independent study modules.

At national level, he has played an important role leading other modern languages course directors in University departments of lifelong learning in the creation of models of accreditation and assessment of foreign language courses for adults. He has also held posts of responsibility in the Anglo-Catalan Society.

Research interests

Toni´s research is closely linked to his teaching and in particular the independent study modules and the online modules for which he is responsible have benefited from his research. He researches mainly the use of new technologies to facilitate second language learning. He is interested in the pedagogical and social implications of language learning courses which rely heavily on the use of technology for their delivery.

From the perspective of the learner, he is interested mainly on the impact such courses have on groups for whom a technology-based option is the only choice, such as migrants unable to attend conventional classes or learners of the so called 'lesser taught' languages for whom face-to-face taught courses are rarely available. From the perspective of the tutor, the interest is in the changing roles and the potential and limitations of online tutoring.

He has also researched the complementary role technology can play in taught courses, giving students greater autonomy and a wider range of possibilities of combining formal with informal learning. For example: a foreign language DVD with subtitles in the same language may allow a learner to identify colloquial language which would normally not be taught in the classroom. He has investigated the potential of feature films as learning and teaching materials; he has found that these offer a very suitable point of departure for the introduction and the in-depth discussion of aspects of the target culture.

Currently he is researching the challenges of language learning later on in life. Comparing the different strategies used by younger and older learners, exploring the benefits of practices such as language coaching, informal learning, andragogy, etc. and considering the role of language learning in active ageing.



Ibarz, T and Ibarz, A. (2005) Colloquial Catalan; The Complete Course for Beginners, Routledge, London. 290 pp. with two CDs.

A. Yates and A. Ibarz, (1995) Curs de Català per a estrangers. Generalitat de Catalunya, Departament de Cultura. Barcelona.
Edited books

Hubner, A. Ibarz, A. & Laviosa, S. (Eds), (2000) Assessment and Accreditation for Foreign Languages, CILT, London.
Chapters in books

Ibarz, A. (2000) Multilingual and Multicultural HRD, in Human Resource Development: Learning and Training for Individuals and Organisations, Wilson, J. P. (ed), Kogan Page, London, 327-350.

Ibarz, A. (2000) 'The Teaching of Modern Languages in University Departments of Continuing Education: Credits, Credentials and Credibility', in Assessment and Accreditation for Foreign Languages, Hubner, Ibarz & Laviosa (eds), CILT, London.

Ibarz, A. and Sporing, M. (2000) 'Measuring the Impact of Accreditation', in Assessment and Accreditation for Foreign Languages, Hubner, Ibarz & Laviosa (eds), CILT, London.

Research reports

Webb, S., Cole, P., Franklin, A., Hyatt, D. and Ibarz, T. (2002) The ELLIS Pilot: Researching the appropriateness of the ELLIS packages in Ufi/learndirect learning centres to support English for Speakers of Other Languages, (2002-v3.55), Report to Ufi Ltd, (Sheffield, University of Sheffield, School of Education).

Webb, S. Ibarz, T. Logan, P. and Hyatt, D. (2004) A review and evaluation of Computer Assisted language learning (CALL) of English by Adult Speakers of other Languages (ESOL): A Case Study of Auralog´s Tell me More (2002-v3.55), Report to Ufi Ltd, (Sheffield, University of Sheffield, School of Education).

Papers in refereed journals

Ibarz, T. and Ibarz, A. (2007) Film in the Spanish Class: Contrasting Representations of Franco´s Spain in El andén and ¡Bienvenido, Mr Marshall!, Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies, 13 (1).

Webb, S. and Ibarz, T. (2006) Reflecting on `what works´ in education research-policy/practice relationships, Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 58 (2): 205-222.

Webb, S. and Ibarz, T. (2006) Mediating learning media: (re)-placing the tutor in EFL/ESL language learning. In Current Developments in Technology-Assisted Education, Formatex, Badajoz. Pages 559-564.

Ibarz, A. and Monaghan, A. (2000) 'Identifying issues in the introduction of Information and Communication Technologies with adult learners of Spanish', in Vida Hispánica, Volume 21, pp 8-13.

Wilson, J. P. and Ibarz, A. (2000) 'National Language Standards: a decade of development', in Language Learning Journal, winter 2000, No 22, 38-44.

Ibarz, A. 1995. "Working with Digui, digui...: the preparation of a communicative course in Catalan", Catalan Review, Volume VIII, pp. 229-237.
Published conference papers

A. Ibarz. (1995). "Supporting the Cultural and Training Needs of the Latin American Community in Sheffield", proceedings of the Symposium on Adult Education for a Multicultural Society, Queen´s University of Belfast, pp.57-61.

Wilson, J. P. and Ibarz, A. (1995). "Using Vocational Competences to Develop an Alternative Framework for Modern Language Teaching", in Vision, Invention, Intervention (Papers from the 25th Annual Conference), SCUTREA (Standing Conference on University Teaching and Research in the Education of Adults), pp. 195-202.