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Dr Mara Fuertes Gutierrez

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Professional biography

I have more than 20 years' experience teaching Spanish and Linguistics in higher education institutions, mainly in Spain and the UK. I am currently the Head of Spanish at the School of Languages and Applied Linguistics and  I have worked on all Spanish modules. I have been an Academic Conduct Officer and I currently sit at the Student Research Project Panel as the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies representative, and at the Praxis steering committee. I am also a member of the Inclusive Curriculum Task and Finish group at the Open University.

Before joining the Open University, I was a Senior Lecturer in Spanish at Leeds Becket University for a number of years, where I carried out several roles, such as Period Abroad Academic Leader or Course Leader for all the Languages Full-Time Undergraduate Courses. Previously, I held several research fellowships, including a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Manchester funded by the Spanish government, and taught Spanish at several institutions, namely the Instituto Cervantes in Manchester.

Over my career, I have conducted extensive research in the areas of Spanish Language Teaching, Historiography of Linguistics and Linguistics Typology, among other fields. I have experience in theoretical research, as well as mixed-methods of data analysis applied to research related to these fields. Within Spanish Language Teaching, at the moment I am interested in exploring the relationship between theoretical linguistics and applied linguistics, in particular how linguistic theories support and inform language teaching and sociolinguistics applied to Spanish Language Teaching. I also investigate how language teachers’ identities, background and cognition impact on their practices.

I have received several prizes, amongst others two Undergraduate Extraordinary Academic Achievement Awards and a PhD Academic Achievement Award. In addition, I have been nominated or shortlisted for several “Achieving Excellence Awards” (granted by Leeds Beckett University) and “Golden Robes” (granted by the Student Union at Leeds Beckett University) including Innovative Teacher of the Year (2010); Course Leader of the Year (2012); Fantastic Feedback (2015); Innovative Tutor (2015); Motivator of the Year (2015); Personal Tutor (2015).

Outside the Open University, recognition of my expertise in Spanish Language Teaching is evidenced in my executive roles in the Association of Spanish as a Foreign Language Teaching (Vicepresident), the Association of Hispanists of UK and Ireland (Secretary), and the International Association of Spanish in Society (Mentoring Scheme). I am the review coeditor of the Journal of Spanish Language Teaching, the only journal on the subject indexed in Scopus.

Research interests

I have recently co-lead the Diasporic identities and politics of language teaching strand of the AHRC-funded Language Acts and Worldmaking project and have lead the Erasmus+ Project MOOC2Move, and led the Open University SIG "Linguistics in Language Learning and Teaching". I have been the Open Languages Research Group (OLRG) convenor for a number of years and I am currently the Languages Postgraduate Research Convenor. 

I am interested in the following research fields:

  • Spanish Language Teaching, particularly Sociolinguistics applied to Spanish Language Teaching
  • Linguistic Theories in Language Learning and Teaching
  • Language Teachers' professional development
  • Using corpora for Language Learning and Teaching
  • Open Educational Practices and Resources


In the past, I have also conducted extensive research in the area of Historiography of Linguistics, Linguistic Typology and Sociolinguistics, and have lead or been involved in different research projects, such as The E-Portfolio Toolkit, funded by the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (ALPS) or The Pragmatic Change in Spanish, funded by the Spanish Council of Science and Technology. I also collaborated in the CORDE Project, conducted by the Spanish Royal Academy.

I am currently co-supervising several PhD researchers in the fields of Languages Education, Spanish Language Teaching and Teachers' Professional Development. 

Teaching interests

I have experience in teaching Spanish language and culture, Cross-Cultural Capabilities, Linguistics and various related fields to a wide range of levels in Higher Education; in addition, I have taught Research Methods applied to Modern Languages and collaborated as a guest lecturer on a MA in Materials Development. I am qualified as a DELE Examiner and I am currently participating in the Council of Europe’s Education Department validation workshops of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages Mediation descriptors. I am also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

External collaborations

I am an external examiner at the University of Westminster. I have previously been an external examiner for the University of Leeds and Canterbury Christ Church University.

I am a Member of the Research Group GIEL (Language Teaching – Enseñanza de Lenguas), lead by Dr Carmen Rodríguez Gonzalo (University of Valencia, Spain).

Externally funded projects

Language Acts and Worldmaking
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Co-investigator01 Jul 201630 Jun 2021AHRC Arts & Humanities Research Council

Our project is inspired by the conviction that language learning plays a vital role in our globalised world, not as a neutral instrument of globalization—a commercialised skill set—but as a means to understand and critically engage with the world. As Franz Fanon put it: ‘To speak a language is to take on a world, a culture’. For us, ‘to take on’ means both to acquire and to combat. Our context, therefore, is recent research that places language and multilingualism at the heart of attempts to rethink, from transnational and post-national perspectives, the dominant academic paradigms of national literature departments, programmes and research. The Open University will be leading strand 5 of the project: “Diasporic identities and the politics of modern language teaching”. As cultural transmitters, modern languages practitioners must make sense of and transfer cultural concepts, behaviours, values and attitudes as they seek to establish inter-connectedness among distinct worlds. Embodying Astrid Erll’s concept of ‘traveling memory’ (Erll, 2011), they are in a position to take advantage of new possibilities—in a world of communication flows and great migrant mobility—‘for shaping post-national citizenship and for creating new lines of solidarity within the global arena’ (Assmann, 2014, p. 548). The importance and sophistication of their work—which is fundamental to any contemporary discussion of ‘language acts and worldmaking’— is often under-valued or neglected and too often accorded second-class status in research-based Modern Language departments. Teachers’ cognition about their work—as well as their actual pedagogical practice—is influenced by beliefs and contextual factors that determine the values and attitudes they reveal to learners. As Duff and Uschida explain, socio-cultural identities and beliefs, very important in educational practice as in other aspects of social life, ‘are co-constructed, negotiated, and transformed on an ongoing basis by means of language’ (1997, p. 452). This strand investigates this vehicular role of language in making sense of the world and its history and culture. We examine this in relation to the ways in which modern languages practitioners construct and express their professional and personal identities through language, as well as through consideration of how they go about the teaching of cultural concepts.


Team teaching in languages: a scoping review of approaches and practices in higher education (2024)
Álvarez, Inma; Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara and Gallardo Barbarroja, Matilde
Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 18(1) (pp. 59-77)

Interactional patterns in the online language classroom: a quantitative analysis across proficiency levels and lesson types (2023)
Muñoz-Basols, Javier; Fuertes Gutiérrez, Mara; Strawbridge, Tripp and Acosta Ortega, Laura
Computer Assisted Language Learning ((Early access))

Descolonización y enseñanza del español (2023)
Fuertes Gutiérrez, Mara; Márquez Reiter, Rosina and Moreno Clemons, Aris
Journal of Spanish Language Teaching, 10(2) (pp. 79-91)

Asociacionismo y enseñanza del español en Europa (2023)
Muñoz-Basols, Javier and Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara
Archiletras Científica, 10 (pp. 107-119)

Enfoque AICLE y enseñanza del español en la educación superior británica: perspectivas del profesorado de ELE [Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) and Spanish Language Teaching in British Higher Education: perspectives from language lecturers] (2021-12)
Floriano Ramos, Carmen and Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara
Doblele, 7 (pp. 31-49)

Sociolingüística aplicada a la enseñanza del español / Applied Sociolinguistics in Spanish Language Teaching (SLT) (2021)
Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara; Soler Montes, Carlos and Klee, Carol A.
Journal of Spanish Language Teaching, 8(2) (pp. 105-113)

Introducción (2020-07)
Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara and García Folgado, María José
Revista de Didáctica Español Lengua Extranjera, 31 (III-V)

El español como lengua extranjera en contextos anglófonos. Propuestas para la reflexión interlingüística (2019)
Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara
Textos. Didáctica de la Lengua y de la Literatura, 84 (pp. 19-25)

Dialectal Variation and Spanish Language Teaching (SLT): Perspectives from the United Kingdom (2019)
Barkanyi, Zsuzsanna and Fuertes Gutiérrez, Mara
Journal of Spanish Language Teaching, 6(2) (pp. 199-216)

Lo que se sabe de Hervás: ideas lingüísticas, errores y revitalización de su figura en el marco de la historiografía lingüística (2015-09-30)
Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara
Estudios de Lingüística del Español, 36 (pp. 197-234)

Planificar, Personalizar, Implementar (PPI): La enseñanza de lenguas mediada por tecnología [Planning, Personalization, Implementation (PPI): Technology-mediated language teaching] (2024-02-14)
Muñoz-Basols, Javier; Fuertes Gutiérrez, Mara and Cerezo, Luis
In: Muñoz-Basols, Javier; Fuertes Gutiérrez, Mara and Cerezo, Luis eds. La enseñanza del español mediada por tecnología: de la justicia social a la Inteligencia Artificial (IA) (pp. 1-19)
ISBN : 9781003146391 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London

Oportunidades de la Inteligencia Artificial (IA) en el aprendizaje y la enseñanza de lenguas

Opportunities for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Language Teaching and Learning
Muñoz-Basols, Javier and Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara
In: Muñoz-Basols, Javier; Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara and Cerezo, Luis eds. La enseñanza del español mediada por tecnología: de la justicia social a la Inteligencia Artificial (IA) (pp. 343-365)
ISBN : 9781003146391 | Publisher : Routledge

Interacción en entornos virtuales de aprendizaje / Interaction in Virtual Learning Environments (2024)
Muñoz-Basols, Javier and Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara
In: Muñoz-Basols, Javier; Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara and Cerezo, Luis eds. La enseñanza del español mediada por tecnología: de la justicia social a la Inteligencia Artificial (IA) (pp. 186-217)
ISBN : 9781003146391 | Publisher : Routledge

Language teachers and researchers as worldmakers (2022-02-17)
Álvarez, Inma; Cobo Palacios, Isabel; Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara and Puntil, Donata
In: Boyle, Catherine and Kelly, Debra eds. Language Acts and Worldmaking (pp. 1-40)
ISBN : 978-1-529-37230-4 | Publisher : John Murray Learning | Published : London

Translanguaging: navegando entre lenguas – pedagogical translanguaging for multilingual classrooms (2021-03-22)
Fuertes Gutiérrez, Mara
In: Beaven, Tita and Rosell-Aguilar, Fernando eds. Innovative language pedagogy report (pp. 29-33)
ISBN : 978-2-490057-86-3 | Publisher :

Working with online communities: translating TED Talks (2019-07-26)
Comas-Quinn, Anna and Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara
In: Comas-Quinn, Anna; Beaven, Ana and Sawhill, Barbara eds. New Case Studies of Openness in and beyond the Classroom (pp. 101-113)
Publisher :

Pedagogical Grammar and Spanish Subjunctive: Findings, Attainments and Challenges (2019)
Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara
In: Briz, Antonio; Martínez Alcande, María José; Mendizábal, Nieves; Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara; Blas, José Luis and Porcar, Margarita eds. Estudios lingüísticos en homenaje a Emilio Ridruejo (pp. 477-491)
ISBN : 978-84-9133-234-3 | Publisher : Universitat de València | Published : València

Español como segunda lengua y como lengua extranjera (2019)
Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara
In: Ridruejo, Emilio ed. Manual de lingüística española. Manuals of Romance Linguistics (14) (pp. 657-684)
ISBN : 9783110362084 | Publisher : Mouton-De Gruyter

The Language Exchange Programme: plugging the gap in formal learning (2017)
Beaven, Tita; Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara and Motzo, Anna
In: Kan, Qian and Bax, Stephen eds. Beyond the language classroom: researching MOOCS and other innovations (pp. 127-140)
Publisher :

Teknologiak bideratutako hizkuntzen irakaskuntza. Justizia sozialetik adimen artifizialera (AA) (2024-01-17)
Muñoz-Basols, Javier; Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara and Cerezo, Luis eds.
ISBN : 978-84-96769-13-7 | Publisher : HABE | Published : Gipuzkoa (Donostia), Spain

La enseñanza del español mediada por tecnología: de la justicia social a la inteligencia artificial (IA) (2024)
Muñoz-Basols, Javier; Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara and Cerezo, Luis eds.
Routledge Advances in Spanish Language Teaching
ISBN : 978-1-003-14639-1 | Publisher : Routledge

Five years of ELEUK conferences: a selection of short papers from 2019 (2020-07-13)
Lallana, Amparo; Hernández Martín, Lourdes and Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara eds.
ISBN : 978-2-490057-64-1 | Publisher :

Estudios lingüísticos en homenaje a Emilio Ridruejo (2019)
Briz, Antonio; Martínez Alcalde, María José; Mendizábal, Nieves; Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara; Blas, José Luis and Porcar, Margarita eds.
ISBN : 978-84-9133-234-3 | Publisher : Universitat de València | Published : Valencia

Innovative Language Teaching And Learning At University: Integrating Informal Learning Into Formal Language Education (2018-06-04)
Rosell-Aguilar, Fernando; Beaven, Tita and Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara eds.
ISBN : 978-2-490057-11-5 | Publisher :

La enseñanza del subjuntivo en el aula de ELE: 1987-2017 (2019)
Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara
In : III International Conference on Teaching Grammar (22-25 Jan 2019, Valencia (Spain))

‘An interest in translation and a great addition to the CV!’ An evaluation of learners’ experiences of an online volunteering task (2017-04-06)
Comas-Quinn, Anna; Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara and McGill, Lou
In : OER17: The Politics of Open (5-6 Apr 2017, London)

Enseñanza de la gramática en ELE: resultados de investigación y nuevas propuestas (2020-07)
Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara and García Folgado, María José
MarcoELE, Valencia.

Supporting the teaching of pronunciation in the language curriculum (2020-04)
Álvarez, Inma; Fuertes Gutiérrez, Mara and Bárkányi, Zsuzsanna
European Association of Distance Teaching Universities, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Spanish varieties in the language classroom: questionnaire to teachers
Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara and Barkanyi, Zsuzsanna