LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||11/FEV/2015 1:48 AM|
|Assunto:||The shortcomings of ELT in Brazil|
I just have read the item in the newspaper Estadão and yes, if the municipal program in partnership with the USP seems like off to a good start.
It only seems like I was in the right path when I said teachers needed recycling and help with the language learning.
Second. It (the feature) shows the European attitude towards the language, and I think it´s not only towards English, other languages as well.
As for English courses, they should be regulated, why universities (most of them) have to be accredited and English courses don´t have to? sometimes they open a course in a week, then they disappear in the next! this is not difficult to happen, many people would confirm that to me right now.
The Ministry of Education devised the Enade to assess some universities courses, why don´t devise something to test English courses? on the other hand, the Science Without Frontiers initially paid English courses to Brazilian students, and played ostrich (head into the sand) when an English University (rightly) criticized the substandard level our students had when they got there! now they lauched an online English course, I hope it works!
As for graduation, perhaps the very SWF might do for our undergraduates more than tons of books in Brazil, because there they will have to fend for themselves in this area. It´s a pity that many or the majority of them won´t set their foots on any school to pass on their English and other experiences, or will they?
The motto "quem não estuda não aprende" (he who doesn´t study doesn´t learn) when they say that (I mean, my mother, uncles, aunts, and others used to say), indeed I take it they mean well.
And actually what they mean is "he doesn´t want to study...", at least I heard that mostly in this context, sort of. So, they do meant it, they didn´t meant harm if we interpret in this way.
The problem arises when people think that studying is only "going to school", or have all their books subjects covered in a year, and the homework done...
We (the Brazilian people and politicians and the ones that have a say in these subjects) deal with education (and most of the issues at hand) in a certain "unplanned" and ''amauterish" way (trial and error, sometimes), when there is a problem we/they scramble for a solution.
An example of that, is when they scrambled for teaching of English to taxicabbies in Brazil when the FIFA world cup was around the corner. Well they found a way around it, they taught the phrasebook English - that of a travelbook you see everywhere - (learn by route, one couldn´t ask much, or speak much, could they?), now at this time ask how many cabbies are none the English-wiser!
Back to the crux, studies abroad found that struggling students have become succesful when they are accompanied by extra tutoring and support programs. The learner on his own, mainly the one in difficulty to grasp the subjects, will take ages to get there!
Other side of that, I think, is to get to the hands-on teachers, why not to go out of that air-conditioned room and ask what teachers think of their trade, opinions etc, instead of issuing education policies and curriculums from far-far away? Many times without having given a single class (okay, I have exaggerated, for effect...)
And finally, how about the students themselves? read this A Mathematician’s Lament -
by Paul Lockhart:
Everyone knows that something is wrong. The politicians say, “we need higher standards.”
The schools say, “we need more money and equipment.” Educators say one thing, and teachers3
say another. They are all wrong. The only people who understand what is going on are the ones
most often blamed and least often heard: the students. They say, “math class is stupid and
boring,” and they are right...
By removing the creative process and leaving only the results of that process, you virtually
guarantee that no one will have any real engagement with the subject. It is like saying that
Michelangelo created a beautiful sculpture, without letting me see it. How am I supposed to be inspired by that? (And of course it’s actually much worse than this— at least it’s understood that there is an art of sculpture that I am being prevented from appreciating).
Let´s make education a serious thing, but let it be fun and creative/participative.
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