LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||27/NOV/2013 11:18 AM|
|Assunto:||Startup money - foreign language teaching in the U|
What I mean about England doing a better job in teaching English As a Second Language, is that it offers more alternatives for international learners who go to England seeking to learn more English, then the US. English centers, specially in London, offer very affordable tuition, and room and board plans based on a pay by week basis. For decades now England hasn't required tourists Visas for Brazilians. The US on the other hand has more strict Visa requirements and English schools offer quarter system. Student apartments usually required at least a 6 month commitment, and sometimes commuting in small towns in the US is more difficult.
English as a Foreign Language Teachers, in Brazil, find much more support from British companies, such as Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press, as wells as Macmillan, which created a Brazilian division that offers materials specifically created for the Brazilian market based on the Brazilian student needs.
In the US there have been too many mergers and acquisitions in the English As a Second Language publishing business and support from top American publishing houses now on the ground is rare to find. American materials are excellent, but the British also publish American titles with audio tracks recorded by Americans. In the US Cengage has acquired many brands that used to be great English As a Second Language providers, such as Prentice Hall International, and there has been a huge drop in support to teachers.
Cambridge and Oxford usually offer a lot of support throughout the year free of charge. Teacher who attend these workshops leave them feeling refreshed and recharged to go back to classroom with new ideas and renewed motivation.
The US English As a Second Language market is very focused on the TOEFL ( test of English as a Foreign Language ) that is required of students who want to pursue a college education in the US. TOEFL's total score is 120, but some American colleges require just under 70 points, and universities required 90 - 95 points on the exam. But after the TOEFL is done students don't have many more options to improve their English. I have friends who got 85 or 95 points in their TOEFL and they know that their English is not really great - it is good, but not great. But that's it, if they can afford tuition they can go to college in the US because colleges or universities look at the TOEFL as the sole language requirement to check their English before they start their undergraduate studies or even a masters degree.
On the other hand, the European Union has come up with a measurement system for languages called CEFR, which is not the best thing in the world but helps teachers out a great deal as they help students grow in their English proficiency ambitions.
The CEFR framework for language evaluation offers 6 levels (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2) A1 being the lowest and C2 being the highest.
Now standard quality books come with a small logo on the cover showing which CEFR level they are for, and this is specially helpful for the non-native teacher.
Portuguese teachers can use the CEFR too to help students advance across levels and reach language goals. If you'd like you can take a look at this I found for you
I agree with you 100 % that there are a lot of monolingualism in Europe, although there it would make a lot more sense to learn English at least, so that they could communicate across borders more easily.
As for Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia I don't know much, but I think that they've experienced very early a linguistic phenomenon that is happening all over the world now, which is English is becoming more and more widespread. A lot of the information people come across on a daily basis is offered in English ( and personally I dare say , and that might sound awful, but I think people from Holland, Germany, and Scandinavia are very open mind in comparison to Portuguese, Italians, Spanish, and Eastern Europeans ).
Romance languages are very wordy. I don't know anything about German, Dutch, or Scandinavian languages, but I don't think they are wordy as Romance languages.
I think that Dutch, Germany, Scandinavian, are more independent thinkers, and they've found in the English language a way to learn more about the outside world.
I'm in my 40's now, but it seems like just the other day I was a teenager in a small Brazilian town searching the short waves of our old family radio for any sign of anything spoken in English out there and some nights I'd come across segments of BBC or something else, although reception was horrible. It was that or listening to songs while reading the lyrics, and then movies in English spoiled by subtitles on Saturday or Sunday.
At the same time, I'm sure Europeans from Holland, Germany, Scandinavian were teenagers with a language guide on hand , a train ticket, backpack cruising across Europe.
This is why I think they learned it faster and better.
Now the English speaking phenomenon is wide spread all over Europe and it is very visible in the younger generation, now the Portuguese teenager, for example, speaks English at a comfortable intermediate level.
Brazilian teenagers are becoming a little bit more confident that they can learn how to speak English, they now see other teenagers speaking or "teaching" on YouTube and that opens their mind.
But it is a very new thing, this wave of new English speakers.
Going back to what you pointed out, the native speaker of English is at a comfortable situation in the foreign language learning because everybody else needs to learn English if they want to get ahead professionally and advance their careers. I don't see that as a problem.
English comes to break down with language patterns that were very much used to split populations into economic classes, and I personally believe that American English does a far better job in that sense of creating a Standard language that is accessible, although the foreign accent and a lack of cultural awareness, I believe, does create an economic challenge even to many legal immigrants in the US (but that's another point ). Just based on my personal views, I think that the original American English, from Noah Webster on, offered a Standard language that could offer more economic equality to new comers to the New World, as a factor of immigrant magnet - people could leave poverty behind, and a lot of poverty created by language mastery classes - where the rich folk would get educated and the peasants would not.
There's a lot of stuff for this topic, I guess, but I will stop here fearing that I am already sounding wordy. lol
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