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Alumni Profiles

Staff profile
Lisa Madden

Lisa Madden

Associate Principal Lecturer, Institute of Childhood and Education, Leeds Trinity University




It is a real privilege to work with young people, to see and share their enthusiasm and then observe them gaining confidence.  

Lisa Madden graduated from Leeds Trinity in 1995 and returned as a Visiting Lecturer in 2010.  In 2013 she took up the post of PGCE Tutor for Modern Foreign Languages.  Having experienced life at Leeds Trinity as both a trainee and lecturer, Lisa teaches what she learnt, constantly keeps on learning and utilises her wealth of experience to inspire new teachers.  She is fluent in French, German and Spanish and is currently learning Italian.

Alumni Relations Officer, Brett Arnall caught up with Lisa to find out more about her memories of studying at school and Leeds Trinity, how her career panned out since graduating from Leeds Trinity in 1995 and how her journey brought her back to Lecturing on campus.

Why did you choose to study at Leeds Trinity?

I was aware of the outstanding reputation that Leeds Trinity had for training teachers and being based locally meant it was also very convenient.  

What were your favourite memories from your time at Leeds Trinity?

First and foremost I'd say the quality teaching and the friends I made.  It was, and still is, a really friendly campus with a great community spirit.

I'll never forget the enthusiasm of my tutor, Simon Green. He was inspirational and ahead of his time with his initiatives and teaching strategies. During the 2014/15 academic year the brand new Key Stage 3 Programme of Study echoed his philosophy of twenty years ago, encouraging modern language teachers to develop intercultural understanding and to be creative, encouraging teachers and pupils to maximise their use of target language and promote independent learning activities.

How did your career develop after you graduated?

I was delighted that my first job after completing my PGCE in 1995 was at The Holy Family Catholic School, Keighley, where I undertook my first teaching practice.  I worked as a Teacher of Modern Languages there until 2001; teaching French, German and Spanish. I have many fond memories of teaching in Keighley and particularly enjoyed teaching in the feeder primaries and introducing Spanish to the curriculum. 

I later went on to be Head of Modern Languages in four institutions – St Joseph's Catholic College, Harrogate High School, The Joseph Rowntree School and Skipton Girls' High School.  

How did this journey bring you back to Leeds Trinity and how did it feel to be back?

I worked at Leeds Trinity as a visiting Lecturer for three years from 2010.  This role involved helping with interviews, working as a Link Tutor and providing input into MFL teaching sessions.  I then began my current role as PGCE Tutor for Modern Foreign Languages in 2013.

It felt really nice to be back, but I had always maintained my links with Trinity throughout my career.  As a school-based tutor in my previous roles I had supported Leeds Trinity trainees develop as teachers.  One thing I always really enjoyed was working with Leeds Trinity and local primary schools to support early language learning.   

What are your favourite aspects of being a Teacher?

It is a real privilege to work with young people, to see and share their enthusiasm and then observe them gaining confidence.  I have worked with multi-talented people throughout my career and it feels great to be able to teach the next generation of teachers.

I believe it is extremely important to be a positive role model and promote multi-lingual education and development.  This involves maintaining effective links with local primary schools and promoting modern languages within their curriculum.   

I regularly enhance the programme by inviting inspirational guest speakers to talk to my students.

How do you think teaching has changed since you went to School and how does this impact on your specialism of teaching modern languages?

There has been an incredible transition in the last 20 years.  I never used a computer at school, they were only being introduced when I started teaching. ​They were initially introduced to the school offices and then to the classrooms.  Now all students have access to them.

When I was training to be a teacher at Trinity I had to make my own flashcards and OHP acetates. I used to collect magazines from overseas and do lots of drawing and cutting out of pictures to "jazz up" my resources!

The internet has brought about massive positive changes to teaching modern languages, it is now so much easier to make and access recordings, for example.  Teaching is so much more interactive now, it has made the world a smaller place and the opportunities for listening and speaking new languages have increased dramatically. 

What advice would you give to newly qualified teachers about to embark on their careers?

  • Never underestimate the importance of building strong relationships with pupils
  • Create peer support networks with each other and share available resources. Try not to "re-invent the wheel" making everything from scratch, can you adapt anything you have already seen?
  • Continue to develop your own language skills and share these with your students
  • Keep informed of local and national conferences. Maintain links with your subject association – try to attend as many events as you can
  • Don't stop learning!
Find out more about the PGCE courses at Leeds Trinity University