sexta-feira, 30 de dezembro de 2011

The Best Tips of 2011

Hello Everybody,

I would like to thank you all, the readers and the learners, for all the reading and comments throughout the year. Be sure that I will keep posting lots of hints about the English learning process and the the path that a real learner takes to master this language.

Until then, check out the best tips of 2011 ( copy and paste the links onto your browser):

1. Listening: A good way to learn English
http://cirandadoingles.blogspot.com/2011/03/listening-good-way-to-learn-english.html

2. Less is More
http://cirandadoingles.blogspot.com/2011/04/less-is-more.html

3. Porque não consigo aprender inglês!
http://cirandadoingles.blogspot.com/2011/05/porque-nao-consigo-aprender-ingles.html

4. Student or Learner?
http://cirandadoingles.blogspot.com/2011/05/student-or-learner.html

5. Are you WILLing to learn?
http://cirandadoingles.blogspot.com/2011/06/will.html

6. Brick by Brick
http://cirandadoingles.blogspot.com/2011/07/brick-by-brick-professor-vou-desistir.html

7. Do You have the guts?
http://cirandadoingles.blogspot.com/2011/10/do-you-have-guts.html

8. Input x Output
http://cirandadoingles.blogspot.com/2011/08/input-x-ouput.html

9. To be taught or to learn?
http://cirandadoingles.blogspot.com/2011/12/ensinar-ou-aprender.html

10. The stuff within
http://cirandadoingles.blogspot.com/2011/12/stuff-within.html

domingo, 25 de dezembro de 2011

Good news for Scrooges: Why giving Christmas presents is pointless and bad for the economy

By Hannah Roberts
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2078358/Why-giving-Christmas-presents-pointless-bad-economy.html

Most of us know what it's like to get a Christmas present we don't like or need.

But opening a novelty Billy the Singing Bass isn't just disappointing-it's also bad for the economy.

Christmas presents are a complete waste of money, and amount to global wealth destruction, a leading economist has claimed.

And much of this spending is in fact pointless- receivers value presents at on average 20 per cent less than what the giver paid, research by Joel Waldfogel, Professor of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota shows.

So a present that you paid $10 for may only be worth $8 to the recipient, Fox Business reported. And if it is regifted, the new recipient may believe that the gift is worth only $6.

Of an estimated $70 billion Americans spend on holiday gift-giving, $14 billion is wasted, he said in a webcast sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
Around the world, that figure doubles to $28 billion flushed away on what Waldfogel calls 'vaporized satisfaction.'

Pointless: While people shop sensibly when it comes to choosing items for themselves, they are hopeless at picking out gifts that relatives they don't see often will value.

The reason for the disparity in how we value goods is that, while people shop sensibly when it comes to choosing items for themselves, they are hopeless at picking out gifts that relatives they don't see often will value.

Retailers have created a whole industry of novelty gifts and useless gadgets to take advantage of this dilemma.

In his 2009 book, Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays, Waldfogel wrote: 'If Christmas were a government program, the Citizens against Government Waste would classify the entire...annual expenditure as 'waste,' 'The bucket Santa uses...isn't just leaking, it's gushing.'

The solution to the problem is to give cash which allows gift recipients to efficiently find value and satisfaction, while stimulating the economy .

But as some cultures consider giving money vulgar, Waldfogel says we should give gift vouchers instead.

This solution is not perfect -about 10% of gift-card value is never claimed, and retailers can't claim the unclaimed cards as revenues for years.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2078358/Why-giving-Christmas-presents-pointless-bad-economy.html#ixzz1hYduZdxB

quinta-feira, 22 de dezembro de 2011

Resolution of New Year


End of the year. Let's celebrate! Se você acabou esse ano e manteve seus estudos de inglês, congratulations! Não digo isso por vocês terem mantido suas aulas conosco da " Frank Experience"; refiro-me ao fato que 78% dos estudantes de inglês desistem dos seus cursos nessa época do ano. Por causa dessa alta desistência, a maioria das escolas cria cursos especiais ou intensivos para fazer dinheiro, pois os estudantes have just gone. Para comprovar isso, vejam os cartazes por aí.


Essa desistência ocorre por diversos motivos, não só pelo lado financeiro, mas também por insatisfação, fuga, medo de fracassar, etc, etc, etc.


A lista de razões é enorme, e demonstra para quem desiste o grau de importância que aprender inglês tinha em sua vida. Daí, culpar o professor e a escola por seu insucesso parece ser um tanto unfair; porém, nada mais natural e normal.


Nossa escola não fará intensivão nem cursos extras, pelo contrário, vamos parar duas semanas para estudar e planejar melhores caminhos para que você continue aprendendo bem conosco.


Moreover, para você que continuou, good tiddings we bring: você ficou muito mais inteligente. Sim, estudar um idioma estrangeiro melhorou a sua memória, desenvolveu o seu raciocínio lógico e ajudou a fortalecer suas " sinapses" - sim aquelas pontes que unem neurônios e que permitem que você possa juntar a palavra que veio antes com a palavra que veio depois e dar significado a elas.


Again, parabéns!


Qual foi a última vez que você fez um review do ano que passou e constatou que ficou mais inteligente?


Por isso, convido vocês, queridos learners, a preparar a sua lista de resolutions of new year. Sim, aquela lista cheia de coisas que prometemos fazer e não cumprimos nem half dela. However, coloque na lista também, as coisas que vocês gostariam de manter e no topo dela, escrevam:


" Eu vou continuar estudando e melhorando a minha inteligência"


Esses são os nossos votos para você e para toda a sua família.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !!!

quarta-feira, 21 de dezembro de 2011

A Few Steps


Gerson is not just my learner, he is also my friend - a brother. He called me around two years ago, asking me if I could help him with his English.

At the beginning, he had some difficulties, but after starting the exercises from the book I told him to buy, he got better. But it wasn't enough...

Although he has all the theory, it has been quite hard for him to remember it while trying to speak. He often forgets the tenses and still keeps translating to Portuguese the words he doesn't know.

The " forgotten words" is caused by the translation that he still does. It is clear that the dominance of the Portuguese language ( his mother language) is controlling his wish to speak the second language. The best solution is a continuous "describing" exercise to help him to avoid the use of translations.

Regarding his vocabulary, it is a matter of producing input. He needs to create the reading habit and practice self-study to increase his range of new vocabulary.

In other words, he might need a few more months of " Frank Experience" and it can be really effective if he keeps English as part of his routine of daily activities. Doing that he will train his brain to use both languages and diminish the dictatorship of his mother tongue.

Gerson is a few steps of his fluency, but now it is up to his behavior and attitude to achieve it. He has already the proper intonation and his Brazilian accent doesn't interfere with his English. As he already know all the tenses structure, it is just a matter of time for him to be able to get to the level he wants to get.

Keep up and Ultreya

Two Sisters - Aulas em Dupla


Dar aulas de inglês para duas pessoas é always um desafio, ainda mais quando a dupla em questão vem junto com um bebê, um husband ( ex-aluno) e a very crazy dog: Bob!

Larissa and Lidiane, Lidiane e Larissa. I don't know onde começa uma e termina a outra. As I said, aulas em dupla é sempre difícil pois uma pessoa tende à competir com a outra ( naturally) e o progresso de ambas no aprendizado da língua é afetado por isso, tanto para o bem quanto para o mal. But isso não ocorre com as duas, quite the opposite, pois uma ajuda a outra, ambas se cobram e estudam juntas.

Lidiane tem hunger de aprendizado. Quando aprende algo novo e coloca em practice, seus olhos brilham e o entusiasmo cresce a cada aula. Se ela estudar por conta própria com afinco, soon, conseguirá se comunicar.

Larissa tem facilidade com o idioma. Apesar de esquecer alguns vocabulários ( Uma revisão diária das palavras novas que aprendeu faria muito bem for her vocabulary memory), she remembers quite well, as estruturas que já aprendeu e pronuncia properly. Ela está à alguns steps de dar o salto que ela quer, she just needs a bit more of patience and a lot more of "guts" para se arriscar com frases mais complexas, sem traduzir as palavras que não lembra ou não sabe.

Both of them are lawyers, o que implica um pensamento mais analítico, pragmático, sometimes, em relação ao aprendizado do inglês, but all in all, as duas estão progredindo muito bem.

Realizing que seus estudantes estão improving é uma das grandes recompensas para um professor, however, dinheiro no mundo paga, perceber que seus estudantes estão naturalmente se tornando " learners".

- Teacher - diz Lidiane - Estou brava comigo mesmo.

- Why? - pergunto.

- Because eu não consegui fazer o meu self-study essa semana. - diz ela, virtualmente chateada. But I promisse que essa semana, vou estudar em dobro.

Com " learners" assim, nossa missão de ajudá-los a aprender, fica muito mais fácil, leve e divertida.

terça-feira, 20 de dezembro de 2011

Less is More ( Always)


By The Drucker Institute

OK, admit it: You’re not just reading this blog right now. You’re probably also glancing at a few other applications on your desktop, maybe talking on the phone or perhaps even sitting in the middle of a meeting.
The latest issue of the McKinsey Quarterly has some advice for you: Stop it.
“Always on, multitasking work environments are killing productivity, dampening creativity and making us unhappy,” the piece declares.
While this warning is very timely in our highly interconnected world, authorsDerek Dean and Caroline Webb note that it is not at all new. Their article citesPeter Drucker’s 1967 book The Effective Executive, which warned of the looming dangers of attention fragmentation that can result from multitasking.
“There was Mozart, of course,” Drucker wrote. “He could, it seems, work on several compositions at the same time, all of them masterpieces. But he is the only known exception. The other prolific composers of the first rank – Bach, for instance, Handel, or Haydn, or Verdi – composed one work at a time. They did not begin the next until they had finished the preceding one, or until they had stopped work on it for the time being and put it away in the drawer. Executives can hardly assume that they are ‘executive Mozarts.’”
To preserve maximum effectiveness, Drucker advised, executives actually needed to embed solutions such as carving out blocks of calendar time, ignoring the phone, and returning calls in short bursts once or twice a day.
Drucker understood 40 years ago what science is now proving. One study mentioned by Dean and Webb describes the delay in the brain’s ability to complete tasks if they’re attempted simultaneously. Another study also suggests that the practice of multitasking can actually cause anxiety and addictive behavior due to the repetitive release of dopamine, similar to what happens when one uses drugs.
So, how guilty are you of multitasking?

Source:
http://thedx.druckerinstitute.com/2011/01/less-is-more/

To learn more about " delay in the brain", go:
http://www.psy.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/marois/Publications/Dux_et_al-2006.pdf

segunda-feira, 19 de dezembro de 2011

Minority Ethnic English




English as a Global Language

For more than half a century, immigrants from the Indian subcontinent and the West Indies have added variety and diversity to the rich patchwork of accents and dialects spoken in the UK. British colonisers originally exported the language to all four corners of the globe and migration in the 1950s brought altered forms of English back to these shores. Since that time, especially in urban areas, speakers of Asian and Caribbean descent have blended their mother tongue speech patterns with existing local dialects producing wonderful new varieties of English, such as London Jamaican or Bradford Asian English. Standard British English has also been enriched by an explosion of new terms, such as balti (a dish invented in the West Midlands and defined by a word that would refer to a 'bucket' rather than food to most South Asians outside the UK) and bhangra (traditional Punjabi music mixed with reggae and hip-hop).

The recordings on this site of speakers from minority ethnic backgrounds include a range of speakers. You can hear speakers whose speech is heavily influenced by their racial background, alongside those whose speech reveals nothing of their family background and some who are ranged somewhere in between. There are also a set of audio clips that shed light on some of the more recognisable features of Asian English and Caribbean English.

Slang
As with the Anglo-Saxon and Norman settlers of centuries past, the languages spoken by today’s ethnic communities have begun to have an impact on the everyday spoken English of other communities. For instance, many young people, regardless of their ethnic background, now use the black slang terms, nang (‘cool,’) and diss (‘insult’ — from ‘disrespecting’) or words derived from Hindi and Urdu, such as chuddies (‘underpants’) or desi (‘typically Asian’). Many also use the all-purpose tag-question, innit — as in statements such as you’re weird, innit. This feature has been variously ascribed to the British Caribbean community or the British Asian community, although it is also part of a more native British tradition - in dialects in the West Country and Wales, for instance — which might explain why it appears to have spread so rapidly among young speakers everywhere.

Original influences from overseas
The English Language can be traced back to the mixture of Anglo-Saxon dialects that came to these shores 1500 years ago. Since then it has been played with, altered and transported around the world in many different forms. The language we now recognise as English first became the dominant language in Great Britain during the Middle Ages, and in Ireland during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. From there it has been exported in the mouths of colonists and settlers to all four corners of the globe. ‘International English’, ‘World English’ or ‘Global English’ are terms used to describe a type of ‘General English’ that has, over the course of the twentieth century, become a worldwide means of communication.

American English
The first permanent English-speaking colony was established in North America in the early 1600s. The Americans soon developed a form of English that differed in a number of ways from the language spoken back in The British Isles. In some cases older forms were retained — the way most Americans pronounce the sound after a vowel in words like start, north, nurse and letter is probably very similar to pronunciation in 17th century England. Similarly, the distinction between past tense got and past participle gotten still exists in American English but has been lost in most dialects of the UK.

But the Americans also invented many new words to describe landscapes, wildlife, vegetation, food and lifestyles. Different pronunciations of existing words emerged as new settlers arrived from various parts of the UK and established settlements scattered along the East Coast and further inland. After the USA achieved independence from Great Britain in 1776 any sense of who ‘owned’ and set the ‘correct rules’ for the English Language became increasingly blurred. Different forces operating in the UK and in the USA influenced the emerging concept of a Standard English. The differences are perhaps first officially promoted in the spelling conventions proposed by Noah Webster in The American Spelling Book (1786) and subsequently adopted in his later work, An American Dictionary of the English Language (1828). Both of these publications were enormously successful and established spellings such as center and color and were therefore major steps towards scholarly acceptance that British English and American English were becoming distinct entities.

Influence of Empire
Meanwhile, elsewhere, the British Empire was expanding dramatically, and during the 1700s British English established footholds in parts of Africa, in India, Australia and New Zealand. The colonisation process in these countries varied. In Australia and New Zealand, European settlers quickly outnumbered the indigenous population and so English was established as the dominant language. In India and Africa, however, centuries of colonial rule saw English imposed as an administrative language, spoken as a mother tongue by colonial settlers from the UK, but in most cases as a second language by the local population.

English around the world
Like American English, English in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa has evolved such that they are distinct from British English. However, cultural and political ties have meant that until relatively recently British English has acted as the benchmark for representing ‘standardised’ English — spelling tends to adhere to British English conventions, for instance. Elsewhere in Africa and on the Indian subcontinent, English is still used as an official language in several countries, even though these countries are independent of British rule. However, English remains very much a second language for most people, used in administration, education and government and as a means of communicating between speakers of diverse languages. As with most of the Commonwealth, British English is the model on which, for instance, Indian English or Nigerian English is based. In the Caribbean and especially in Canada, however, historical links with the UK compete with geographical, cultural and economic ties with the USA, so that some aspects of the local varieties of English follow British norms and others reflect US usage.

An international language
English is also hugely important as an international language and plays an important part even in countries where the UK has historically had little influence. It is learnt as the principal foreign language in most schools in Western Europe. It is also an essential part of the curriculum in far-flung places like Japan and South Korea, and is increasingly seen as desirable by millions of speakers in China. Prior to WWII, most teaching of English as a foreign language used British English as its model, and textbooks and other educational resources were produced here in the UK for use overseas. This reflected the UK's cultural dominance and its perceived ‘ownership’ of the English Language. Since 1945, however, the increasing economic power of the USA and its unrivalled influence in popular culture has meant that American English has become the reference point for learners of English in places like Japan and even to a certain extent in some European countries. British English remains the model in most Commonwealth countries where English is learnt as a second language. However, as the history of English has shown, this situation may not last indefinitely. The increasing commercial and economic power of countries like India, for instance, might mean that Indian English will one day begin to have an impact beyond its own borders.

Source: http://www.bl.uk/learning/langlit/sounds/case-studies/minority-ethnic/

sexta-feira, 16 de dezembro de 2011

Frases da Semana.



"Há pessoas que nasceram para ser ensinadas e outras que nasceram para aprender."

"O mundo de hoje já não possui fronteiras e outra língua é ingresso garantido no futuro."

"Learning isn’t simply about reading information in a book, that is only the first step."

‎" O que ensinamos é o processo de aprender, palavra que deriva do latim "apprehendere", que significa apanhar, apropriar, adquirir conhecimento."

Bom final de semana!

Why France Is Pushing Its Students to Master English


By BRUCE CRUMLEY / PARIS

The faces look a little nervous and the words are spoken a bit timidly — all rather normal for a group of French students learning to speak English. But the hesitant responses aren't coming in a classroom where foreign-language instruction is another obligatory grind in a long day of courses. Instead, these 18-to-25-year-olds are paying up to $6,000 annually to master a language they all took for six years in high school before earning their baccalaureate degrees and entering the job market.

"A lot of things in France have changed under globalization in order to keep us competitive, but teaching people English here has remained old-fashioned and inefficient," says Julien Petitpas, one of the 10 young adults who gather for 12 hours a week to improve their English at the Berlitz language school near the Paris Opera. "In school it's all structure, grammar and getting it right on paper and in your head before you ever speak — and even then, you don't do much of that. It just doesn't work."

L. "Pointing something that obvious out isn't futile in a country where Latin is an oral exam on the baccalaureate, while the leading modern language is evaluated in written form."

Compelling teachers in France's notoriously rigid education system to change their ways and encourage students to speak more in foreign-language classes will be one challenge to overcome. Another is confronting the contradiction that comes with promoting foreign-language study among students and continuing France's long-standing policies aimed at protecting and promoting the use of the French language at home. The Academie Française began its mission of purging the French language of impurities — often words taken from other languages — way back in 1635. The key objective of the country's 25-year-old exception culturelle is ensuring that French-language music, film and other cultural products are not dominated by English-language imports. And a law passed in 1994 requires that French translations accompany any foreign phrases in state documents, business contracts and even advertising.
(Read "The Class: A Year in the Blackboard Jungle.")

These efforts to trumpet the virtues of the French language may inadvertently decrease the allure of foreign tongues to many in France — especially among students who are made to feel they mustn't attempt to utter a word of what's often called la langue de Shakespeare until they've mastered it on paper. "I think a lot of French people are hesitant to speak another language at what could be considered the expense of French," says Karin Hull, who has taught English at Berlitz for four years. "The legacy of cultural protectionism is one factor, and the way foreign languages are taught in school is another. Students pass language exams only to discover they can't really speak [the language]."
(Read "Plagiarism Software Finds a New Shakespeare Play.")

Shifting the focus of foreign-language study from written to oral instruction is only one way of making classes more practical. Berlitz also offers First Jobs, an increasingly popular course in which students are taught business and financial English vocabulary and are given help improving their résumés and job-interviewing skills — in English. "These are students who've wanted to improve their English as part of many things they'll need in their careers," says Alain Nothern, the polyglot director of Berlitz's Opera center. "The focus is English, but it's a wider tool kit for the business world."

Becoming an Anglophone isn't cheap — but that's not stopping students from signing up. Laetitia Marcellesi says she had to get a job to pay for the course, while her classmate, Justine Boussin, took out a loan to finance a study-abroad trip to London. Only time will tell if future French students will start getting this type of practical training for free at school or whether they'll have to keep paying for it once they graduate.

Source: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1932422,00.html

quinta-feira, 15 de dezembro de 2011

Uma Crônica


Contribuição:
Fabíola Maciel
Professora Coordenadora LEM (Inglês)
Oficina Pedagógica - DER Jacareí

UMA CRÔNICA PARA SE PENSAR O ENSINO DE LÍNGUA ESTRANGEIRA

- Vou dizer o que penso, Roberto. Acho que aprender Língua Inglesa, além de sacrifício, é uma enorme bobagem...

-Bobagem? Porque você pensa assim?Não acredita que a possibilidade profissional de quem domina uma segunda língua é muito maior de quem não a domina?

- É exatamente isso que eu quero justificar. Dominar uma segunda língua é, de fato, muito bom, vale muito. Mas, o que se aprende no Ensino Fundamental é muito pouco para que a pessoa domine bem essa segunda língua. Além disso...

- Além disso? Além disso, o quê? Que outros argumentos você tem contra as aulas de Língua Inglesa, que por sinal, estou adorando?

- Como eu dizia, aprender algumas poucas palavras não vai melhorar muito seu currículo e com exceção de atividade na área turística, essa aprendizagem somente leva a perder tempo. Hoje em dia, poucos vestibulares ou concursos de admissão requerem o domínio do inglês e grande parte dos textos necessários para o uso deste ou daquele produto importado já trazem versão para nossa língua ou, pelo menos, para o espanhol. Por isso, eu repito, acho que o inglês deve ser banido nas escolas públicas e, em seu lugar, seria interessante colocar mais aulas de Matemática, Ciências ou mesmo de Educação Física. Estou errado?

- Não há dúvida de que você está errado! Pense que possuindo um vocabulário linguístico maior ou um pouco maior ainda assim, o fato de aprender Inglês vai ajudar minha capacidade geral de compreensão oral, meus pensamentos e minhas habilidades. Aprendendo uma língua que não falo, esforço-me em comparar, analisar, explicar, aplicar e, mesmo que mal consiga, tudo isso é ganho para mim. Estou empolgado com as aulas do Prof. Nelson, não porque tenha esperanças que saia do Ensino Fundamental dominando inteiramente outra língua, mas para que pense coisas que não costumo pensar, procure respostas na internet, compreenda melhor a computação, tenha maior interesse na literatura e assim aprimore minha capacidade em me comunicar na minha língua materna. Penso, meu caro amigo, que mesmo não podendo ao final do curso me expressar com transparente clareza em inglês, com o pouco que posso aprender ganho novas lentes para meus velhos óculos.

- Novas lentes? Óculos? De que você está falando? Você nem usa óculos?

- Estou usando uma metáfora.As lentes de que falo são lentes de mentirinha, mas com o esforço para dominar palavras estrangeiras levo essa vontade em minhas paqueras, ao cinema, carrego comigo toda vez que assisto um filme na TV. Não vou aprender tudo, mas sei o quanto posso ajudar as lições de minha irmã, as letras musicais que meu primo canta sem saber as bobagens que diz, as pequenas dúvidas do meu pai e da minha mãe com o controle remoto e com o manual do DVD, a minha tia quando está navegando na internet. Novas lentes, porque cabeça que se envolve em domínio linguístico, maior é o cérebro com pensamentos mais amplos, com focos mais abrangentes, que por aprender mais outra fala ainda melhor a sua língua, inventa trocadilhos, reforça diálogos, cresce em sua autopercepção como ser humano. O mundo de ontem, meu amigo era um mundinho regional e uma só língua chegava; o mundo de hoje já não possui fronteiras e outra língua é ingresso garantido no futuro. Será que estou falando bobagem? Vamos aprender a pensar como o nosso Prof. Nelson!
Extraído e adaptado do Livro: Língua Estrangeira e
Didática – Coleção como Bem Ensinar – Editora Vozes

quarta-feira, 14 de dezembro de 2011

Aula de ponta-cabeça


Domingo, Dezembro 11, 2011
CLAUDIO DE MOURA CASTRO


REVISTA VEJA
"Uma boa ideia que se captializa na existência de comunicadores brilhantes e dispostos a gravar aulas, na Conveniência e ubiquidade do YouTube, somando-se a insubstituível interação pessoa entre mestre e estudante"


De dois ou três séculos para cá, o jeito das aulas se fixou em uma fórmula clássica: o professor explica e depois, em casa, os alunos fazem o "dever", exercitando o que aprenderam. As variações sobre o tema têm sido mínimas, longe de, serem revoluções. Mas eis que pipoca uma novidade: quem sabe virar a rotina da aula de ponta-cabeça? O aluno aprende em casa e depois vai à aula. Nela, com a ajuda do professor, vai se exercitar no que estudou.

Essa possibilidade e suas muitas variantes sempre existiram, pois nada impede os alunos de abrir seus livros para aprender a lição em casa. Na prática, por ser bem mais árdua, jamais foi uma solução adotada amplamente.

Mas eis que um jovem graduado do MIT, Salman Khan, recebe um pedido de primos, para que explique passagens mais complicadas da matemática. Se estivessem pertinho; ele explicaria pessoalmente, mas, como moravam longe, usou o YouTube para gravar a preleção. Deu certo. Surpresa: deu mais certo do que esperava.

Logo Sal se vê produzindo aulas sobre variados temas de matemática e outros assuntos, conquistando uma freguesia cada vez maior. Bill Gates ficou sabendo e o presenteou com 1,5 milhão de dólares para criar a Khan Academy. O sucesso tem sido espantoso, com seu site (www1hanacademy.org) ultrapassando 60 milhões de acessos para suas 2700 aulinhas de vinte minutos.

O que Khan fez foi mostrar uma porta aberta, levando a muitas soluções no mesmo espírito e não apenas à sua. No YouTube, ou onde quer que seja, pode morar uma aula expositiva, mostrando a matéria, tal como apresentada por um bom professor. Mas, como está gravada, não depende do humor do mestre naquele dia ou da preparação, na véspera, além de poupá-lo da enfadonha repetição, dia após dia. Alguém no mundo deve ser o campeão de ensinar, por exemplo, regra de três. Por que contentar-se com uma aula pior? Faça um experimento. Faça um aluno de boa escola. assistir a uma aula do Telecurso sobre algum assunto que ele já viu ao vivo do próprio professor. Aposto que ele achará melhor e mais clara a do vídeo. Aliás, a fórmula do Telecurso tem essa peculiaridade, pois os alunos olham o vídeo e depois interagem com o professor da telessala.

Desemprego maciço de professores, se der certo? Sob tal cenário, seria fracasso assegurado. Mas não é nada disso. Pelas restrições de tempo de aula, explicar regra de três - ou o que seja - é um processo inevitavelmente unidirecional, só o professor fala. Se o aluno não entendeu a explicação, há pouco tempo para insistir. No YouTube, em casa, continua unidirecional, mas basta clicar para repetir, até entender. Ou seja, a tecnologia serve para congelar a melhor aula possível, sobre qualquer assunto. Quando precisar, está lá, pai-a ser instantaneamente descongelada, na tela do computador. O professor ao vivo é importante na hora de discutir o assunto e tirar as dúvidas. Isso porque na aula expositiva o aluno acha que entendeu. Só descobre que não havia entendido quando precisa aplicar o conhecimento. Sendo assim, se - o exercício vai ser feito na aula a dificuldade emerge justamente no momento em que o professor está presente para ajudá-lo e com amplo tempo para tal. De fato, a graça da fórmula é que o professor passa todo o tempo interagindo com os alunos onde é insubstituível, em vez de desperdiçar a aula repetindo uma preleção estacionada no YouTube, com direito a bis.

A história da educação é uma sequência de fórmulas mágicas que vão sendo anunciadas, com promessas redentoras. Livro, cinema, TV, vídeo, computador, CD e mais outras tantas novidades tiveram suas promessas e, mais adiante, esquecimento. Será esse o destino chocho da minirrevolução desencadeada pelas dificuldades dos primos do Khan? Depois de tantos fracassos, não há como ser excessivamente otimista. Mas a ideia é boa. Capitaliza-se na existência de comunicadores brilhantes e dispostos a gravar aulas, na conveniência e ubiquidade do YouTube, somando-se a isso a velha e insubstituível interação pessoal entre mestre e aprendiz, na hora de aplicar os conhecimentos. Finalmente, cada ingrediente do aprendizado pode ser usado no seu lugar certo.

terça-feira, 13 de dezembro de 2011

To be taught or to learn?

By Kylie

I have found it very interesting to note that there seem to be two different types of students. Those that want to be taught and those that want to learn. In the day of readily available information I wonder if we are becoming a little lazy. Many years ago some of the most influential people were self-educated and used projects in order to learn.

Amongst these were Abraham Lincoln, Walt Disney, Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison, to name but a few. These people were able to take the information they had to hand and build on it in order to make something of it. It seems today that the ability to self-educate is becoming a lost art when in reality it should be something we are embracing more and more.

Learning isn’t simply about reading information in a book, that is only the first step. In order to really learn you need to take the basic information you have been given and apply it in a practical way.

This involves research and the ability to think outside the normal confines of our minds. Take things a little further, stretch them, play with them and manipulate them until you have explored every part of them. It is the only way you will truly learn. People who want someone to show them exactly how to do something never actually get started.

Source: http://www.eventexperts.com.au/chit-chat/to-be-taught-or-to-learn/

segunda-feira, 12 de dezembro de 2011

Ensinar ou Aprender?


- Você ensina inglês há quanto tempo? – ela perguntou.

- Na verdade, não ensino inglês – respondi.

- Deve ter ocorrido algum engano – ela diz – Eu chamei uma tal de “Frank Experience”, pois eu quero aprender inglês. Eles deveriam ter me enviado um professor de inglês.

- Eu sei – respondo – mas como falei, eu não ensino inglês. Ensinar vem do latin “insignīre”, verbo composto do prefixo "in" (dentro) + "signire" (significar) colocar alguma informação “signo” dentro da sua cabeça. Nós não fazemos isso. Como poderíamos? O que ensinamos é o processo de aprender, palavra que deriva do latim "apprehendere", que significa apanhar, apropriar, adquirir conhecimento. O verbo aprender deriva também de preensão, do latim "prehensio-onis", que designa o ato de segurar, agarrar e apanhar, prender, fazer entrar, apossar-se de. That´s why, não ensinamos inglês. Volto a dizer: como poderíamos?
Como poderíamos ensinar algo se não sabemos quem você é, como aprende, quais são os seus limites e como gosta de estudar? Você só vai conseguir falar inglês se aprender de verdade e nunca aprenderá realmente se eu apenas ensinar. O professor de línguas não deveria “ ensinar”, e sim, educar, palavra que vem do latim "educare" , por sua vez ligado a "educere", verbo composto do prefixo "ex" (fora) + "ducere" (conduzir, levar), que significa literalmente 'conduzir para fora', ou seja, preparar o indivíduo para usar seu conhecimento no mundo.

- Engraçado! – disse ela rindo – Pensei que você falaria de inglês e você está me dando uma aula de latin.

- Actually, você está tendo uma explicação sobre o inglês mesmo.
Cerca de 50% do inglês vem do latin, por influência da antiga dominação do império romano e porque o francês já foi a língua nacional da Inglaterra por quase três séculos.

- Aula de história agora! – ela ri.

- Perceba que sem compreender o que você está aprendendo, você jamais conseguirá falar inglês ou qualquer outra coisa que você queira aprender. Precisamos que você não apenas compreenda como aprende, mais também que faça parte do processo, assumindo a responsabilidade de aprender. Há muitas pessoas que nos procuram, pensando equivocadamente que temos alguma mágica lingüística ou pílula do idioma para fazê-los falar automaticamente. Isso não existe.

- Já sei, como é mesmo aquela frase do inglês...”No pain, no gain!”:
sem sofrer, não chegarei lá.

- Quite the opposite! – respondi – Para aprender, você precisa se divertir com o processo: “No fun, no gain!”. Toda informação que chega ao cérebro passa por alguns filtros que “censuram” o que deve ou não deve ser guardado em sua memória. Estes “filtros” defensores, ajudam a discriminar e colocar atenção no que realmente importa aprender. Esses filtros são conhecidos pela sigla RAD, ou seja, sistema radicular (R), amígdala (A) e a intervenção da dopamina (D).
Para que uma informação nova (uma palavra nova em inglês, por exemplo) consiga passar pelo primeiro filtro “R”, ela necessita se apresentar como novidade que seja, no mínimo, interessante. Toda informação que consideramos “chata” ou “sem graça” é imediatamente bloqueada por esse filtro. Se, ao contrário, a informação é sugestiva, saborosa (savoring), ela passa por esse filtro e enfrenta a amígdala, o segundo filtro “A” que também é conhecido por filtro “afetivo” ou “emocional”.
Fica claro, que se a informação que chega ao filtro “A” não for agradável ou emocionante, o segundo filtro vai bloqueá-la. Vencido o segundo filtro, a informação “banha-se” de “D”, a famosa dopamina, que é o neurotransmissor do prazer. E tudo que é bom, divertido e prazeroso fica com a gente para sempre.

- Aula de neuropsicologia? – ela pergunta – Nossa! Como é mesmo o seu nome?

- Frank!

- Olha, Frank! Não me interessa “aprender” isso aí que você está falando, não! Eu quero apenas falar inglês, sabe? Isso tudo aí é muito confuso e deve haver algum jeito melhor e mais rápido para eu fazer isto. Muito obrigado pelo seu tempo.

- Thank you pela oportunidade de conhecê-la e boa sorte em sua busca.

Moral da Crônica: há pessoas que nasceram para ser ensinadas e outras que nasceram para aprender. Qual delas é você?

Professor Frank.

sexta-feira, 9 de dezembro de 2011

Frases da Semana.


"Ensinar inglês possibilita descobertas bem interessantes."

"...os gambits trabalham como sinalizadores de conversação, possibilitando a quem está falando uma maior fluência ..."

"The Stuff Within é basicamente, you know, um recurso da língua que, like, possibilita ao falante ganhar... a kind of tempo ..."

‎" Se o conteúdo que se pensa ensinar não está no cotidiano do aluno, se não se reflete em sua realidade e em suas emoções, existe conteúdo, mas não existe aprendizagem." Celso Antunes

‎"Quando caminhar, caminhe. Quando se sentar, fique sentado." Yun Men


Bom final de semana!

2010 Language Teaching Christopher Brumfit Award winner Dr Susy Macqueen discusses her award winning dissertation

BY CAMBRIDGE EXTRA, ON OCTOBER 17TH, 2011


When we become highly proficient in a language, we tend to use it in chunks or patterns. For a native language especially, we learn and become adept at manipulating masses of word patterns such as absolutely not, as it were, in light of the fact that, curry favour, I think that, scattered showers, it’s worth –ing, just a sec, etc. Language patterns like these make communication efficient – we don’t need to spend time piecing together the smallest bits of language. Rather, we work with larger bits that are easily accessed in the memories of both the user and the receiver. However, the pervasiveness of patterning makes it quite a challenge to sound ‘natural’ in second languages. Grammatical rules themselves are patterns, but they are more broadly applicable. Beyond these general patterns, there are masses of idiosyncratic lexicogrammatical patterns that form the stuff of communication. I set out to find out how second language users deal with the massive task of learning such patterns. In order to do this, I traced the development of chunks in the writing of four ESL users as they prepared for university study and later once they were in their university courses.

Second language users embark on a program of chunk-making and chunk-breaking. That is, they build up a stock of formulae and at the same time, they start learning how these can be applied and manipulated. One way the students in my study did this was through experimentation with patterns they had seen or heard. For some language learners, receiving teacher feedback can be an opportunity to experiment with chunks of language. If it doesn’t ‘work’, the teacher will provide feedback. The feedback process is therefore a safe place where students can take risks with language. This is significant for language teachers who may think that their students always aim to produce language they believe to be nativelike. In fact, students may be trying something they suspect is not nativelike, even if they know a nativelike alternative.

The language users in my study also actively sought to imitate the language of expert users. Imitation has a troubled history in the field of second language learning; it has behaviourist overtones and, in university contexts, it is haunted by the spectre of plagiarism. Imitation is, however, central to language learning. Chunks have to come from somewhere. It isn’t necessarily a mindless copying activity, however. The process revealed in the writing of these language users was one of adaptive imitation – ‘the purposeful detection and imitation of lexicogrammatical patterns which are adapted in order to participate in a discourse community’. Over time, it was possible to see how the learners gained increasing control over the discipline-specific language patterns that they gleaned from expert sources. Since lessons, language textbooks and teacher feedback can only provide a small sample of the number of patterns required to operate in a university context, it is arguable that most pattern learning occurs through this transformative process of imitation-for-learning.

Dr Susy Macqueen

Find out more -http://languages.unimelb.edu.au/about/staff/profiles/macqueen.html

quinta-feira, 8 de dezembro de 2011

Stages of Second Language Acquisition


by Judie Haynes


All new learners of English progress through the same stages to acquire language. However, the length of time each students spends at a particular stage may vary greatly.


Stage I: Pre-production
This is the silent period. English language learners may have up to 500 words in their receptive vocabulary but they are not yet speaking. Some students will, however, repeat every thing you say. They are not really producing language but are parroting.

These new learners of English will listen attentively and they may even be able to copy words from the board. They will be able to respond to pictures and other visuals. They can understand and duplicate gestures and movements to show comprehension. Total Physical Response methods will work well with them. Teachers should focus attention on listening comprehension activities and on building a receptive vocabulary.

English language learners at this stage will need much repetition of English. They will benefit from a “buddy” who speaks their language. Remember that the school day is exhausting for these newcomers as they are overwhelmed with listening to English language all day long.

Stage II: Early production
This stage may last up to six months and students will develop a receptive and active vocabulary of about 1000 words. During this stage, students can usually speak in one- or two-word phrases. They can use short language chunks that have been memorized although these chunks may not always be used correctly.

Here are some suggestions for working with students in this stage of English language learning:

Ask yes/no and either/or questions.
Accept one or two word responses.
Give students the opportunity to participate in some of the whole class activities.
Use pictures and realia to support questions.
Modify content information to the language level of ELLs.
Build vocabulary using pictures.
Provide listening activities.
Simplify the content materials to be used. Focus on key vocabulary and concepts.
When teaching elementary age ELLs, use simple books with predictable text.
Support learning with graphic organizers, charts and graphs. Begin to foster writing in English through labeling and short sentences. Use a frame to scaffold writing.
Stage III: Speech emergence
Students have developed a vocabulary of about 3,000 words and can communicate with simple phrases and sentences. They will ask simple questions, that may or may not be grammatically correct, such as “ May I go to bathroom? ” ELLs will also initiate short conversations with classmates. They will understand easy stories read in class with the support of pictures. They will also be able to do some content work with teacher support. Here are some simple tasks they can complete:

Sound out stories phonetically.
Read short, modified texts in content area subjects.
Complete graphic organizers with word banks.
Understand and answer questions about charts and graphs.
Match vocabulary words to definitions.
Study flashcards with content area vocabulary.
Participate in duet, pair and choral reading activities.
Write and illustrate riddles.
Understand teacher explanations and two-step directions.
Compose brief stories based on personal experience.
Write in dialogue journals.
Dialogue journals are a conversation between the teacher and the student. They are especially helpful with English language learners. Students can write about topics that interest them and proceed at their own level and pace. They have a place to express their thoughts and ideas.

Stage IV: Intermediate fluency
English language learners at the intermediate fluency stage have a vocabulary of 6000 active words. They are beginning to use more complex sentences when speaking and writing and are willing to express opinions and share their thoughts. They will ask questions to clarify what they are learning in class. These English language learners will be able to work in grade level math and science classes with some teacher support. Comprehension of English literature and social studies content is increasing. At this stage, students will use strategies from their native language to learn content in English.

Student writing at this stage will have many errors as ELLs try to master the complexity of English grammar and sentence structure. Many students may be translating written assignments from native language. They should be expected to synthesize what they have learned and to make inferences from that learning. This is the time for teachers to focus on learning strategies. Students in this stage will also be able to understand more complex concepts.

Stage V: Advanced Fluency
It takes students from 4-10 years to achieve cognitive academic language proficiency in a second language. Student at this stage will be near-native in their ability to perform in content area learning. Most ELLs at this stage have been exited from ESL and other support programs. At the beginning of this stage, however, they will need continued support from classroom teachers especially in content areas such as history/social studies and in writing.


Source: http://www.everythingesl.net/inservices/language_stages.php

quarta-feira, 7 de dezembro de 2011

Chunking

By BEN ZIMMER
Published: September 16, 2010

My ebullient 4-year-old son, Blake, is a big fan of the CDs and DVDs that the band They Might Be Giants recently produced for the kiddie market. He’ll gleefully sing along to “Seven,” a catchy tune from their 2008 album “Here Come the 123s” that tells of a house overrun by anthropomorphic number sevens. The first one is greeted at the door: “Oh, there’s the doorbell. Let’s see who’s out there. Oh, it’s a seven. Hello, Seven. Won’t you come in, Seven? Make yourself at home.”

Despite the song’s playful surrealism (more and more sevens arrive, filling up the living room), the opening lines are routine and formulaic. The polite ritual of answering the door and inviting a guest into your house relies on certain fixed phrases in English: “Won’t you come in?” “Make yourself at home.”

As Blake learned these pleasantries through the song and its video, I wondered how much — or how little — his grasp of basic linguistic etiquette is grounded in the syntactical rules that structure how words are combined in English. An idiom like “Make yourself at home” is rather tricky if you stop to think about it: the imperative verb “make” is followed by a second-person reflexive pronoun (“yourself”) and an adverbial phrase (“at home”), but it’s difficult to break the phrase into its components. Instead, we grasp the whole thing at once.

Ritualized moments of everyday communication — greeting someone, answering a telephone call, wishing someone a happy birthday — are full of these canned phrases that we learn to perform with rote precision at an early age. Words work as social lubricants in such situations, and a language learner like Blake is primarily getting a handle on the pragmatics of set phrases in English, or how they create concrete effects in real-life interactions. The abstract rules of sentence structure are secondary.

In recent decades, the study of language acquisition and instruction has increasingly focused on “chunking”: how children learn language not so much on a word-by-word basis but in larger “lexical chunks” or meaningful strings of words that are committed to memory. Chunks may consist of fixed idioms or conventional speech routines, but they can also simply be combinations of words that appear together frequently, in patterns that are known as “collocations.” In the 1960s, the linguist Michael Halliday pointed out that we tend to talk of “strong tea” instead of “powerful tea,” even though the phrases make equal sense. Rain, on the other hand, is much more likely to be described as “heavy” than “strong.”

A native speaker picks up thousands of chunks like “heavy rain” or “make yourself at home” in childhood, and psycholinguistic research suggests that these phrases are stored and processed in the brain as individual units. As the University of Nottingham linguist Norbert Schmitt has explained, it is much less taxing cognitively to have a set of ready-made lexical chunks at our disposal than to have to work through all the possibilities of word selection and sequencing every time we open our mouths.

Cognitive studies of chunking have been bolstered by computer-driven analysis of usage patterns in large databases of texts called “corpora.” As linguists and lexicographers build bigger and bigger corpora (a major-league corpus now contains billions of words, thanks to readily available online texts), it becomes clearer just how “chunky” the language is, with certain words showing undeniable attractions to certain others.

Many English-language teachers have been eager to apply corpus findings in the classroom to zero in on salient chunks rather than individual vocabulary words. This is especially so among teachers of English as a second language, since it’s mainly the knowledge of chunks that allows non-native speakers to advance toward nativelike fluency. In his 1993 book, “The Lexical Approach,” Michael Lewis set out a program of action, and the trend has continued in such recent works as “From Corpus to Classroom: Language Use and Language Teaching” and “Teaching Chunks of Language: From Noticing to Remembering.”

Not everyone is on board, however. Michael Swan, a British writer on language pedagogy, has emerged as a prominent critic of the lexical-chunk approach. Though he acknowledges, as he told me in an e-mail, that “high-priority chunks need to be taught,” he worries that “the ‘new toy’ effect can mean that formulaic expressions get more attention than they deserve, and other aspects of language — ordinary vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and skills — get sidelined.”

Swan also finds it unrealistic to expect that teaching chunks will produce nativelike proficiency in language learners. “Native English speakers have tens or hundreds of thousands — estimates vary — of these formulae at their command,” he says. “A student could learn 10 a day for years and still not approach native-speaker competence.”

Besides, Swan warns, “overemphasizing ‘scripts’ in our teaching can lead to a phrase-book approach, where formulaic learning is privileged and the more generative parts of language — in particular the grammatical system — are backgrounded.” Formulaic language is all well and good when talking about the familiar and the recurrent, he argues, but it is inadequate for dealing with novel ideas and situations, where the more open-ended aspects of language are paramount.

The methodology of the chunking approach is still open to this type of criticism, but data-driven reliance on corpus research will most likely dominate English instruction in coming years. Lexical chunks have entered the house of language teaching, and they’re making themselves at home.

Ben Zimmer will answer one reader question every other week. Send your queries to onlanguage@nytimes.com. You can follow Mr. Zimmer on Twitter at twitter.com/OnLanguage.


Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/19/magazine/19FOB-OnLanguage-Zimmer.html

A version of this article appeared in print on September 19, 2010, on page MM30 of the Sunday Magazine.

terça-feira, 6 de dezembro de 2011

O que são os tais chunks of language?

Por Denilso de Lima

Chunks of Language tem sido um assunto que ganhou notoriedade no ensino de língua inglesa no Brasil. No começo, tratava-se de algo misterioso e praticamente impossível de ser tratado em sala de aula. No Brasil, o assunto ainda é relativamente novo. Há sim um grande interesse por parte de professores em saber o que são os tais chunks of language e como ensiná-los. No blog Inglês na Ponta da Língua, já escrevi muito sobre o assunto. Porém, lá o foco sempre foi aprendizes de inglês. No entanto, aqui posso tratá-los com uma linguagem voltada especificamente para professores.

Antes de explicar o que são, quero informar a todos que tecnicamente falando os chunks of language são conhecidos como formulaic sequences ou formulaic language. Há ainda outros nomes: lexical chunks, lexical units, lexica items, chunks, multi-word units, ready-mades, prefabricated language, holophrases, entre outros. Independente do nome usado, saiba que todos se referem a uma coisa só.

Alison Wray, linguista inglesa e especialista no assunto, afirma que formulaic language é um “termo usado por muitos pesquisadores para se referir às grandes unidades de processamento – ou seja, unidades lexicais que são formadas por duas palavras ou mais” (Formulaic Language: Pushing the Boundaries, p. 3). Essa é a mesma definição dada por Scott Thornbury no livro An A-Z of ELT, página 85: “formulaic language refere-se àquelas sequências de duas ou mais palavras que operam como uma se fosse uma coisa só, uma unidade”.

Essas unidades – formulaic language – não são formadas e nem mesmo processadas palavra por palavra. Elas são armazenadas e puxadas da memória como se fossem um conjunto. Para facilitar a compreensão, seguem abaixo alguns exemplos de formulaic language bastante comuns na língua portuguesa:

“Por falar nisso…”; “Sinto muito!”; “Me desculpa!”; “Não foi essa a intenção”; “Foi sem querer!”; “Me dei mal!”; “Ai meu deus!”
“Bom dia!”; “Boa tarde!”; “Boa noite!”; “Tenha um bom dia!”; “Como vai?”; “Tudo bem?”; “E aí?”; “Tudo joia?”;
“Até amanhã!”; “Te vejo na (segunda)!”; “A gente se vê!”; Até mais (tarde)!”; “Até qualquer hora!”;
“Você quer…?”; “Que tal…?”; “Quer um pouquinho de…?”; “O lance é o seguinte…”
“Onde você quer chegar com isso?”; “O que você quer dizer com isso?”; “Para encurtar a conversar…”; “Essa é uma longa história…”; “Você não sabe da missa a metade…”; “Ajoelhou, agora tem de rezar…”;
“redondamente enganado”; “dar uma festa”; “tomar vergonha na cara”; “arrumar a mesa”; “lavar as mãos”; “escovar os dentes”; “distorcer a verdade”
“Agué mole em pedra dura…”; “A cavalo dado não se olha os dentes”; “passar dessa para melhor”; “chutar o pau da barraca”

Todas as expressões (sentenças) listadas acima são excelentes exemplos de chunks of language (formulaic language) em português. Nós aprendemos cada uma delas da forma como são. Ou seja, aprendemos a dizê-las e interpretá-las como se fossem um conjunto e não palavra por palavra. Ao batermos papo com alguém ou mesmo ao escrevermos um email, por exemplo, esses conjuntos saem da cabeça como se fossem uma única coisa. Nós não as formamos palavra por palavra.

Em inglês, os exemplos de formulaic language são inúmeros também. Aliás, no ensino de inglês somos expostos a formulaic language desde o primeiro momento que começamos a aprender a língua inglesa:

“How old are you?”; “Where are you from?”; “What’s your name?”; “How are you?”
“I’m sorry!”; “Excuse me!”; “I beg your pardon!”; “Thank you!”; “You’re welcome!”; “Never mind!”; “No problem!”
“The thing is…”; “Would you like…”; “What’s … like?”; “What does … look like?”; “By the way”; “So to speak”
“What’s up?”; “What’ve you been up to?”; “What’ve you been doing lately?”; “Where’ve you been?”
“Get up early”; “Get up late”; “flag down a taxi”; “run out of (money, gas, sugar, coffee, etc.)”;
“Very much mistaken”; “set the table”; “throw a party”; “brush your teeth”; “send an email”; “stretch the truth”
“Water dripping day by day…”; “Kick the bucket”; “Go by the book”;

Como você pode ver a ideia representada pelo chunks of language (formulaic language) não é nada complicada. Observe que qualquer conjunto de duas palavras ou mais que possui um significado próprio e só pode ser interpretado em conjunto é um chunk of language.

Em termos de ensino de vocabulário (ensino lexical), você pode dizer que de um lado temos as palavras isoladas e de outro os chunks of language. Ou seja, podemos ensinar as palavras isoladas (casa, carro, vermelho, por, falar, nisso, como, você, está, o, que, você, acha, disso, etc.); como podemos ensinar também os chunks of language do modo como eles são usados em inglês.

De modo simples e prático, essa é a explicação para o que são os tais chunks of language. Espero ter esclarecido o assunto. Caso você tenha algum comentário ou dúvida deixe um comentário. Em um post futuro, falarei sobre os tipos de chunks (a classificação que fazemos) e também como eles podem mudar o modo como você ensina inglês (a aplicação deles no ensino de inglês). For now, that’s all! Take care!

Source: http://www.denilsodelima.com/por-que-ensinar-chunks-of-language/

segunda-feira, 5 de dezembro de 2011

The Stuff Within


Ensinar inglês possibilita descobertas bem interessantes. Na escola para professores, somos ensinados que para que um aluno possa falar bem uma língua estrangeira, tudo o que ele precisa é aprender gramática, ter um bom vocabulário e com uma pitada de prática: Shazam! Inglês fluente. Na vida real, não ocorre assim. Com a exceção de alguns poucos estudantes dotados de uma facilidade única para absorver e usar qualquer informação, os outros ( a grande maioria) patina na fluência. Por mais que esses consigam, muitas vezes, escrever, ler e até escutar muito bem; na hora de falar: nothing.

O que falta para esses estudantes conseguirem deslanchar? "The Stuff Within" parece ser a resposta.

The Stuff Within é basicamente, you know, um recurso da língua que, like, possibilita ao falante ganhar... a kind of tempo para que ele consiga, you know, lembrar de uma palavra, (what else?) pensar em como descrever algo or apenas ganhar tempo numa conversação. Do you know what I mean?

Aparentemente, when it comes to learn how to speak a second language, levamos mais tempo para conectar idéias, por mais que saibamos o que dizer e como dizer. Muitos estudantes pagam uma fortuna em imersões ou viajam para diversos países, tentando resolver esse problema de comunicação, mas tudo o que conseguem é mais frustração. Observando meus estudantes e suas dificuldades para expressarem seus pensamentos e idéias, percebi que havia " gaps " - espaços e silêncios em sua fala e quando eles conseguiam emitir algum som, saia um " humm" ou um " hamm" que não os ajudava a finalizar aquilo que eles queriam dizer. Daí, conheci a mágica dos " gambits".

Os Gambits são expressões em inglês que não querem dizer lá muita coisa, mas é usado, entre outras coisas, para chamar a atenção ( Right? Did you get it?) ou para introduzir um assunto ( Well, as far as I know, in my opinion, etc) que, de alguma forma, ajuda a conectar idéias e construir melhor a fala. Como marcadores conversacionais, os gambits trabalham como sinalizadores de conversação, possibilitando a quem está falando uma maior fluência e para quem está ouvindo, uma impressão natural de conversação.

Comecei a trabalhar com gambits nas aulas e o resultado começou a aparecer: alunos que eram monossilábicos, passaram a se arriscar em construções vocais mais complexas, querendo finalizar a sua fala e expressar bem as suas opiniões. Os gambits ajudam a dar confiança durante o ato da fala, possibilitando ao aluno, uma ferramenta útil e eficaz para que eles puxem uma idéia depois da outra, possibilitando, finalmente a comunicação na língua estudada.

Alguns exemplos:

Oh, I almost forgot...Já ia me esquecendo...

Just a small point...Só mais uma coisa [coisinha]

Not only that but…Não somente isso, mas…

And besides…E ainda… / além disso…

I’ve no idea who told you that but…Não tenho a menor ideia de quem lhe disse isso, mas…

My Goodness where did you get that idea form?Meu Deus, de onde tirou essa ideia?

Because of that…Por causa disso…

Absolutely! Com certeza!

So do I. Eu também.

I don´t know. Eu não sei.

Oh, it’s slipped my mind. Oh… Esqueci!

I haven’t a clue. Não tenho a menor ideia.

I don’t believe. Não acredito!

I’m not sure. Não tenho certeza.

And so on... e por ai vai.

Essas expressões ao serem colocadas no meio das frases - The Stuff Within- no lugar das pausas e silêncio tem sido uma das melhores práticas para estudantes com bloqueios não só nos níveis mais avançados, mais também nos níveis mais básicos do idioma, onde o aluno, percebe que mesmo com poucos recursos da língua, a comunicação flui naturalmente.

As simple as that.

Professor Frank.

sexta-feira, 2 de dezembro de 2011

Frases da Semana.



"Quando um aprendizado de um novo idioma começa, o professor tenta criar um laço - a bond - com o estudante."

"... o estudante sem comprometimento só vai a aula quando quer e só estuda quando pode. E depois reclama que nunca conseguiu aprender..."

"Ensinar ou Educar? - in+signo: pôr um sinal em alguém, fora para dentro, implantar alguma coisa, input /// ex+duco: trazer para fora, tirar de, dar à luz, output. Então, ensinar ou educar?"

"Nem tudo o que se escreve se pronuncia...Nem tudo o que se pronuncia se escreve."

"Muita gente "erra" quando tenta "acertar" demais..."



Bom final de semana!

Bilingual Benefits Reach Beyond Communication

ScienceDaily (Nov. 9, 2010) — Speaking two languages can be handy when traveling abroad, applying for jobs, and working with international colleagues, but how does bilingualism influence the way we think?

In the current issue of Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, Ellen Bialystok (York University), Fergus I.M. Craik (Rotman Research Institute), David W. Green (University College London), and Tamar H. Gollan (University of California, San Diego) review the latest research on bilingualism and ways in which knowing two languages can change brain function, even affecting brain areas not directly involved in communication.

Children learning two languages from birth achieve the same basic milestones (e.g., their first word) as monolinguals do, but they may use different strategies for language acquisition. Although bilinguals tend to have smaller vocabularies in each language than do children who know one language, bilinguals may have an advantage when it comes to certain nonverbal cognitive tasks. Bilinguals tend to perform better than monolinguals on exercises that require blocking out distractions and switching between two or more different tasks.

The authors note that “when a bilingual speaks two languages regularly, speaking in just one of these languages requires use of the control network to limit interference from the other language and to ensure the continued dominance of the intended language.” The bilingual advantage in attention and cognitive control may have important, long-term benefits. Preliminary evidence even suggests that their increased use of these systems may protect bilinguals against Alzheimer’s.

The differences between monolinguals and bilinguals have important clinical implications. For example, vocabulary tests are commonly used in psychologists’ offices and bilinguals’ scores may not accurately reflect their language ability. According to the authors, “Bilinguals who score below average may be inaccurately diagnosed with impairment when none is present, or could be diagnosed as ‘normal for a bilingual’ even though impairment is in fact present and treatment is needed.” Clinicians need to be aware of the potential to misinterpret bilinguals’ test scores. Developing tests that specifically target bilingual populations may result in better outcomes for these patients.

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101109113028.htm

quinta-feira, 1 de dezembro de 2011

Bilingual Babies' Vocabulary Linked to Early Brain Differentiation

ScienceDaily (Aug. 29, 2011) — Babies and children are whizzes at learning a second language, but that ability begins to fade as early as their first birthdays.

Researchers at the University of Washington's Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences are investigating the brain mechanisms that contribute to infants' prowess at learning languages, with the hope that the findings could boost bilingualism in adults, too.

In a new study, the researchers report that the brains of babies raised in bilingual households show a longer period of being flexible to different languages, especially if they hear a lot of language at home. The researchers also show that the relative amount of each language -- English and Spanish -- babies were exposed to affected their vocabulary as toddlers.

The study, published online Aug. 17 in Journal of Phonetics, is the first to measure brain activity throughout infancy and relate it to language exposure and speaking ability.

"The bilingual brain is fascinating because it reflects humans' abilities for flexible thinking -- bilingual babies learn that objects and events in the world have two names, and flexibly switch between these labels, giving the brain lots of good exercise," said Patricia Kuhl, co-author of the study and co-director of the UW's Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences.

Kuhl's previous studies show that between 8 and 10 months of age, monolingual babies become increasingly able to distinguish speech sounds of their native language, while at the same time their ability to distinguish sounds from a foreign language declines. For instance, between 8 and 10 months of age babies exposed to English become better at detecting the difference between "r" and "l" sounds, which are prevalent in the English language. This is the same age when Japanese babies, who are not exposed to as many "r" and "l" sounds, decline in their ability to detect them.

"The infant brain tunes itself to the sounds of the language during this sensitive period in development, and we're trying to figure out exactly how that happens," said Kuhl, who's also a UW professor of speech and hearing sciences. "But almost nothing is known about how bilingual babies do this for two languages. Knowing how experience sculpts the brain will tell us something that goes way beyond language development."

In the current study, babies from monolingual (English or Spanish) and bilingual (English and Spanish) households wore caps fitted with electrodes to measure brain activity with an electroencephalogram, or EEG, a device that records the flow of energy in the brain. Babies heard background speech sounds in one language, and then a contrasting sound in the other language occurred occasionally.

For example, a sound that is used in both Spanish and English served as the background sound and then a Spanish "da" and an English "ta" each randomly occurred 10 percent of the time as contrasting sounds. If the brain can detect the contrasting sound, there is a signature pattern called the mismatch response that can be detected with the EEG.

Monolingual babies at 6-9 months of age showed the mismatch response for both the Spanish and English contrasting sounds, indicating that they noticed the change in both languages. But at 10-12 months of age, monolingual babies only responded to the English contrasting sound.

Bilingual babies showed a different pattern. At 6-9 months, bilinguals did not show the mismatch response, but at 10-12 months they showed the mismatch for both sounds.

This suggests that the bilingual brain remains flexible to languages for a longer period of time, possibly because bilingual infants are exposed to a greater variety of speech sounds at home.

This difference in development suggests that the bilingual babies "may have a different timetable for neurally committing to a language" compared with monolingual babies, said Adrian Garcia-Sierra, lead author and a postdoctoral researcher at UW's Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences.

"When the brain is exposed to two languages rather than only one, the most adaptive response is to stay open longer before showing the perceptual narrowing that monolingual infants typically show at the end of the first year of life," Garcia-Sierra said.

To see if those brain responses at 10-12 months related to later speaking skills, the researchers followed up with the parents when the babies were about 15 months old to see how many Spanish and English words the children knew. They found that early brain responses to language could predict infants' word learning ability. That is, the size of the bilingual children's vocabulary was associated with the strength of their brain responses in discriminating languages at 10-12 months of age.

Early exposure to language also made a difference: Bilingual babies exposed to more English at home, including from their parents, other relatives and family friends, subsequently produced more words in English. The pattern held true for Spanish.

The researchers say the best way for children to learn a second language is through social interactions and daily exposure to the language.
"Learning a second language is like learning a sport," said Garcia-Sierra, who is raising his two young children as bilingual. "The more you play the better you get."

Co-authors are Maritza Rivera-Gaxiola, formerly a UW research scientist; Cherie Percaccio, a postdoctoral researcher and Lindsay Klarman, a research technician at the UW Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences; Barbara Conboy, a speech-language pathologist at the University of Redlands; and Harriett Romo, director, and Sophia Ortiz, assistant director, of the Child & Adolescent Policy Research Center at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
The National Science Foundation Science of Learning Program grant to the UW's LIFE Center, a multi-institutional program, funded the study.

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110829070559.htm