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Ms Ximena Arias-Manzano

Profile summary

Professional biography

I am an academic at the Open University’s School of Languages and Applied Linguistics in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and an Associate Lecturer in Spanish; Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy; a teacher-trainer in the use of VLEs, as well as a part time Spanish language teacher at Queen’s University in Belfast. At the OU I am involved in the design and production of course materials; co-author of L194 Module books; critical reader for L150 Italian module; Co-autor of L226 Unit 5 and critical reader of the remake module L336 Spanish Studies 3: Language and Culture of the Spanish Speaking World; collaborator in early stages of design of L116 Spanish Studies 1: Language and Culture of the Spanish speaking world.  Critical reader for L106 Beginners Spanish and L108 Beginners Mandarin Chinese. 

My main role entails the line management, recruitment and Staff Development of Associate lecturers as well as student support in the Level 2 and 3 Spanish modules and Level 1 French beginners module; formerly I line managed Associate Lecturers in Mandarin module L197 and Italian Modules L195 and L150.  I have studied at the OU French (Dip), German (L193), Italian (Cert) as well as Mandarin Chinese (L197) and have continued my studies completing HSK1, HSK2, HSK3. I have studied Russian at A1 level and I'm currently studying Arabic language and BSL (British Sign Language) in my spare time. Languages, argentine tango dancing, cinema, reading and travel are my passions!

Research interests

My areas of research interests are on Multilingualism, Teaching languages through the medium of games and Teaching languages to adults with Dyslexia. I am currently researching and running a scholarship project on the use of Video Feedback in Assessments and (last updated June 2023).

Teaching interests

I teach Spanish language and culture at the OU as Associate Lecturer. 

I enjoy teaching through play and have designed several games to use in the classroom with the view of catering for all learning styles.  I'm particularly interested in the process of teaching languages to adults with learning difficulties and how to cater for their needs in the best possible way.

I am devoted to produce the best quality of feedback on assessment and have been leading a project to train teachers on the use of video platforms and pedagogy of teaching through feedback in distance learning, catering for neurodiverse students learning languages. 

Impact and engagement

I have presented my research in Playfulness at the Advanced Higher Education Teaching and Learning Conference (July 2022); research on Video Feedback has been presented at the 24th Association of University Language Communities annual conference (April 2023). 

External collaborations

I have been collaborating with Connected NI to present Knowledge Exchange events on Teaching Languages to Senior Learners in Care Homes (June 2023). 


Developing pedagogical expertise in modern language learning and specific learning difficulties through collaborative and open educational practices (2017)
Gallardo, Matilde; Heiser, Sarah and Arias-Mclaughlin, Ximena
Language Learning Journal, 45(4) (pp. 518-529)

Modern languages and specific learning difficulties (SpLD): implications of teaching adult learners with dyslexia in distance learning (2015-04-17)
Gallardo, Matilde; Heiser, Sarah and Arias-Mclaughlin, Ximena
Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-learning, 30(1) (pp. 53-72)