The Burning Questionnaire: Anne Robinson

Examining Anne….. (for image credits, see below)

Anne Robinson is based in Santander, in Northern Spain, and is a highly respected Senior Presenter for Cambridge ESOL, but what else do you know about her? Hm? I love her mosaic above – and how much four photos can give away about a person – but there’s more! When she sent me her post for Take a photo and…, Anne agreed to answer the Burning Questionnaire and, erm ‘bear’ her soul. Read on:


What is your full name, and where did it all start?

My full name is Anne Robinson. This caused quite a few problems here in Spain as I don’t have a ‘second surname’. This means that my mother’s maiden surname, ‘Beadling’, became part of my name for quite a few years and still appears from time to time on certain official documents! Computer programmes here in Spain weren’t designed for only one surname and rejected you!!!!

Image by @sandymillin at eltpics

What music do you listen to while driving/cooking/contemplating your navel?

When I set off to give a seminar (very often eastwards along the northern coast of Spain), I load up with CDs or my ipod. I love all kinds of music, and if I’m in the car alone, I love to turn up the volume and sing!!! I often giggle to think what I must look like! For cooking and housework, I turn on Spotify on my computer and ‘discover’ music. One track needs to another and I have started to build up some very interesting and eclectic collections!!!

What’s the most satisfying – or frustrating – aspect of your job?

Which job? I have lots of jobs – training teachers, teaching, writing books, writing the Cambridge ESOL Teaching Together Blog, Speaking Examiner, Young Learners Tests Organiser locally…. I enjoy each and every one of them. Stressful rather than frustrating is when I have to do too many of them at the same time and worry about making deadlines. Extremely satisfying and fulfilling is when a teacher comes up to you at a seminar and thanks you for inspiring them in some way. Or when I bump into a parent of an old student in the street and they tell me how useful English has been in helping their son/daughter secure a job.

Writing or teaching? Why?


A teacher from your schooldays:

Image by Anne Robinsons at eltpics

Mrs Luscombe. My French teacher in my second year of Secondary School. She inspired me and made me love languages. That inspiration then spread to all the other subjects. I’d love to bump into her one day and tell her!

What was the first thing you learnt as a TEFL teacher?

That I knew very little about my mother tongue!!! One thing I remember being told on my 4 week course in Norwich was that if you don’t know the answer to a student’s question, then don’t make up the answer! Take note, find out and give them an answer in the next lesson. Still apply this today when someone asks me a question in a seminar!!!

What motivates/inspires you most?

Meeting old students who are now English teachers themselves!!!! Sharing ideas with other teachers. These days, discovering and following blogs (like eltpics!).

Image by @aClilToClimb (Chiew Pang) at eltpics

Do you ever cry in the cinema?

Yes! Lots! And I’m not a bit ashamed to admit it! And I cry when films are sad and when they’re happy!!!

Beans on toast and a cuppa, or langoustine salad, steak au poivre and a 1995 Rioja? Where?

Definitely not beans on toast thank you! Never liked baked beans. A good wine, and a salad and definitely some different cheeses sounds so much more attractive. Incredible to think that I didn’t like cheese when I was little.

A dream?

To visit Australia and New Zealand – traveling First Class on the plane there and back please!

Beach, mountains or city?

Image by @asalinguist at eltpics

Definitely the beach. There’s something about the sea that fascinates me – even when it’s dark and stormy. Apart from four years in Madrid, I’ve always lived near the sea and I miss it tremendously when I can’t see it. I would certainly recommend a visit to Santander if you’ve never been here! Beaches, beaches, beaches!!!!

Tablet or pen & notebook?

Pens.s.s.s.s.s. …(different colours) and notebook. I always carry a small one in my handbag. You never know when inspiration will come! My friends and daughters often give me new ones as gifts. I could spend hours in a good stationers!

A sport?

Padel. A sport not widely known outside Spain or Argentina. Similar to tennis, with a little bit of squash thrown in. I play nearly every day if I can and am in a team at my local sports club. We play in the league. In fact my next (friendly) game starts in 58 minutes!) You need 4 players and you have to be very alert! But many of the games I play are also very relaxed, friendly and social and less alert! Lots of laughs and fun!


One thought on “The Burning Questionnaire: Anne Robinson

  1. Pingback: Buddha and Oral Exams | take a photo and….

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