LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||25/ABR/2006 11:19 AM|
|Assunto:||English as an international language|
English is required for many jobs in Brazil. It's often part of the very competitive "concurso" or open examination for job seekers. The Internet has increased the need to communicate in English, and nowhere in Latin America is the Internet used more than in Brazil. University studies are often written in English. (I've translated papers for students in Minas Gerais. One paper will be presented in July in Greece. Yesterday I met a fellow who does the same work for a university in Santa Catarina.) Even if students live where they have little contact with other English speakers, they still have contact with the written word and are expected to have a knowledge of the language.
Lots of Brazilian speak at least a little English. It's rare, of course; to find someone who is conversant in it. Most English teachers here are teachers in name only. I know one who is giving private classes although simple questions such as "What is your name?" leave her staring into space. She's a sweet person and possibly a good teacher. However, she does not have a knowledge of the subject that students are paying her to teach them. Perhaps 10% of the teachers I've met should be in the classroom with the remainder selling pasteis, driving taxis, or bagging groceries. And of the 10%, few have a true grip on the language. This morning I received several e-mails from one of the best known private teachers in the area. There were entire sentences that I could not understand. He seems to get by on his charm and chutzpah. Most of the private classes I've visited have been jokes. The teachers had terrible pronunication, there was heavy emphasis on using DVDs, questions related to anything not on the screen often went unanswered, etc. If these methods are so modern, good, and scientific, why aren't the instructors good?
In the Forum, you are not meeting typical Brazilians. Most participants in the Forum are almost fanatical in their quest to learn the language or improve their already existing knowledge of it. If they stick to it, it's going to happen.
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