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Story Highlights

  • Meadowbrook High School's Errol Haughton, is the winner of the Spanish Jamaican Foundation’s (SJF) Spanish Teacher of the Year Award.
  • The award is an initiative of the SJF, given to a Jamaican teacher who has demonstrated excellence in the delivery of the Spanish language in the classroom.
  • Mr. Haughton received prizes worth over $100,000, which include an iPad, a stay for two at a Spanish Hotel, access to the Instituto Cervantes online course, a gift certificate for school materials and a membership in an international Spanish Teacher’s Association.

A teacher at Meadowbrook High School, in Kingston, Mr. Errol Haughton, is the inaugural winner of the Spanish Jamaican Foundation’s (SJF) Spanish Teacher of the Year Award.

This was announced by Spanish Ambassador to Jamaica, and President of the SJF, Celsa Nuño, during a reception celebrating Spain’s National Day at the Mona Visitor’s Lodge, on October 9.

The award is an initiative of the SJF, given to a Jamaican teacher who has demonstrated excellence in the delivery of the Spanish language in the classroom.

Mr. Haughton received prizes worth over $100,000, which include an iPad, a stay for two at a Spanish Hotel, access to the Instituto Cervantes online course, a gift certificate for school materials and a membership in an international Spanish Teacher’s Association.

With over 20 years of teaching Spanish, Mr. Haughton expressed his appreciation at being chosen the inaugural winner of the award.

“It is a very good feeling after teaching for such a long time and having been involved in Spanish teaching for a long time,” Mr. Haughton said.

He noted that his students are normally very interested in the subject and this is evident in how the students relate during teaching hours.

“They are interested in going on trips abroad to Spanish speaking countries. They try to make sure that they speak to me in Spanish as much as possible, although students nowadays don’t like to speak in the foreign language that they are learning. I always ask my students to try and speak as much in Spanish, as the language is more spoken than written. I have achieved that to some extent,” Mr. Haughton said.

The teacher added that he also uses teaching aides, such as music and trips abroad to enhance the learning experience of the students.

“Having been to a number of Spanish speaking countries, I have a wealth of the culture that is there, so in my classes when something comes up that deals with that culture, then I am able to speak from the point of view of someone who has experienced it. So, having known somebody who has gone there, that also serves as a motivation for them,” he said.

Mr. Haughton also lauded the work of the Spanish Department at Meadowbrook, while encouraging students to practise, so as to achieve the level of success that is desired.

“There are lots of opportunities out there. There are scholarships you can get to go and study in Spanish speaking countries, so if you study Spanish you are widening your horizon. I am encouraging students who are in high schools to make Spanish your priority,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Spanish Ambassador expressed her appreciation for the assistance received from the Ministry of Education and the Jamaica Teaching Council in assessing the nominees.

“I am pleased to say that some very sound nominations came from deep rural Jamaica and we are particularly impressed by a teacher from Westmoreland, whose knowledge of Spanish was mostly self taught,” Mrs. Nuño said.

The Ambassador said she is a strong advocate for the teaching of Spanish in Jamaica, as the language has the potential to facilitate economic and political integration for Jamaica in the region.

“In this task, both the Embassy and the Spanish Jamaican Foundation work hand in hand with the Ministry of Education, and in technology we have found our best ally to expand our reach to teachers in particular,” Mrs. Nuño said.

For his part, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. A.J. Nicholson said that since the formal establishment of diplomatic relations in 1977, Jamaica and Spain have had warm relations.

He noted that the partnership has  been reinforced through the development and administration of several economic, technical, educational and cultural co-operation projects, which have benefited  both countries.

“In the last ten years, bilateral relations have grown significantly, particularly at the level of private sector interface and government to government interaction. While many have described it as a kind of renaissance, a second wave of Spanish interest, we see it as a return to a land of tremendous opportunities,” Senator Nicholson said.

He also expressed appreciation for the Spanish investment in the expansion of the hotel sector, while adding that Spanish investment in Jamaica has yielded tangible benefits in the form of direct and indirect employment of thousands of Jamaicans.

Co-operation between both countries has also been in the areas of agriculture, health, education and the environment.

“As we seek to strengthen our existing partnership, Jamaica looks forward to closer collaboration and co-operation with Spain at the bilateral, regional and multilateral levels, even as we face the constant pressures of the myriad global economic challenges which confront us as a small island developing state. However, with the support of our international partners like Spain, we will endeavour to overcome the sternest of challenges,” Senator Nicholson said.