quarta-feira, 29 de maio de 2013

Learning a foreign language: five most common mistakes

By Anne Merritt

Learning a new foreign language is never easy – but it's a lot harder if you fall into these five common traps, says Anne Merritt.

It’s a myth that intelligent people are better at learning languages.

Sure, it doesn’t hurt, especially when innately academic types hold an arsenal of learning strategies. Most language learning skills, however, are in fact habits, which can be formed through a bit of discipline and self-awareness.

Here are the five most common mistakes language learners make – and how to correct them...

Not listening enough

There’s a school of linguistics that believes language learning begins with a “silent period”. Just as babies learn to produce language by hearing and parroting sounds, language learners need to practise listening in order to learn. This can reinforce learned vocabulary and structures, and help learners see patterns in language.

Listening is the communicative skill we use most in daily life, yet it can be difficult to practise unless you live in a foreign country or attend immersive language classes. The solution? Find music, podcasts, TV shows and movies in the target language, and listen, listen, listen, as often as possible.

Lack of curiosity

In language learning, attitude can be a key factor in how a student progresses.

Linguists studied attitude in language learning in the 1970s in Quebec, Canada, when tension was high between Anglo- and Francophones. The study found that Anglophones holding prejudices against French Canadians often did poorly in French language learning, even after studying French for years as a mandatory school subject.

On the other hand, a learner who is keen about the target culture will be more successful in their language studies. The culturally curious students will be more receptive to the language and more open to forming relationships with native speakers.

Rigid thinking

Linguists have found that students with a low tolerance of ambiguity tend to struggle with language learning.

Language learning involves a lot of uncertainty – students will encounter new vocabulary daily, and for each grammar rule there will be a dialectic exception or irregular verb. Until native-like fluency is achieved, there will always be some level of ambiguity.

The type of learner who sees a new word and reaches for the dictionary instead of guessing the meaning from the context may feel stressed and disoriented in an immersion class. Ultimately, they might quit their language studies out of sheer frustration. It’s a difficult mindset to break, but small exercises can help. Find a song or text in the target language and practice figuring out the gist, even if a few words are unknown.

A single method

Some learners are most comfortable with the listen-and-repeat drills of a language lab or podcast. Some need a grammar textbook to make sense of a foreign tongue. Each of these approaches is fine, but it’s a mistake to rely on only one.

Language learners who use multiple methods get to practise different skills and see concepts explained in different ways. What’s more, the variety can keep them from getting stuck in a learning rut.

When choosing a class, learners should seek a course that practises the four language skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking). For self-study, try a combination of textbooks, audio lessons, and language learning apps.


It doesn’t matter how well a person can write in foreign script, conjugate a verb, or finish a vocabulary test. To learn, improve, and truly use your target language, we need to speak.

This is the stage when language students can clam up, and feelings of shyness or insecurity hinder all their hard work. In Eastern cultures where saving face is a strong social value, EFL teachers often complain that students, despite years of studying English, simply will not speak it. They’re too afraid of bungling the grammar or mispronouncing words in a way that would embarrass them.

The key is that those mistakes help language learners by showing them the limits of language, and correcting errors before they become ingrained. The more learners speak, the quicker they improve.

Ten easiest languages for native English speakers to learn

Best foreign languages to study: employers' view

Anne Merritt is an EFL lecturer currently based in South Korea.


terça-feira, 28 de maio de 2013

How long does it take to learn English or Other Foreign Language?

Most people believe that to learn to speak a foreign language like English well, they need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars and pass through years learning grammar, vocabulary and practicing before they can develop any fluency.
How long does it take to learn English or another foreign language?
People think they need to struggle with long vocabulary lists, grammar rules and irregularities and memorization of irregular verb lists and language forms that only tend to distort, twist and confuse you. You are sheepishly led to believe that only after all this can you hope to "speak" any English, French, Spanish or whatever other foreign language you may wish to learn.

sexta-feira, 24 de maio de 2013

The Adventures of You: Quanto Tempo Leva para Falar Inglês

You está impaciente. Ele está naquela fase em que os learners começam a perder a paciência com os estudos e querem encontrar um meio de aprender imediatamente. 

- Quanto tempo leva, teacher?

- I beg your pardon, You?

- Quanto tempo...ok, ok, ok! How long time take?

- How long "time"?

- Yes, how long...time.

- You não precisa usar "time" nessa pergunta. Basta dizer "how long".

- E o "time"?

- O "time" já está incluido no "how long".

- Ok...How long take?

- How long "take"?

- Yes, quanto tempo leva.

- How do You say "leva"?

- Take?

- O quê vem antes do "take" nessa pergunta?

- It?

- Is " it " a question?

- Yes, " it "is a question.

- Questions in English...

- Do, did, does, to be, modals na frente...ok, ok, ok! How long does it take?

- Almost perfect.

- O quê falta?

- O assunto!

- Speak English, teacher. How long does it take to speak English?

- It is up to You!

To be continued..

quinta-feira, 23 de maio de 2013

How long does it take to learn English or Other Foreign Language?

Most people believe that to learn to speak a foreign language like English well, they need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars and pass through years learning grammar, vocabulary and practicing before they can develop any fluency.

How long does it take to learn English or another foreign language? 
People think they need to struggle with long vocabulary lists, grammar rules and irregularities and memorization of irregular verb lists and language forms that only tend to distort, twist and confuse you. You are sheepishly led to believe that only after all this can you hope to "speak" any English, French, Spanish or whatever other foreign language you may wish to learn.


Unfortunately, in many societies, many "institutions" use English or foreign language teaching only as a vehicle to make more and more money. Their interest is NOT in you learning English or a foreign language as quickly, fluently and easily as possible. Their interest is primarily in getting more and more of your tuition money for English language classes. They may not have native language speaking teachers or their teachers (native English speakers or not) may not be trained as English or foreign language teaching professionals.

This may help to explain why many people can "study English" or Spanish, French or another foreign language for two, three, five or more YEARS without any substantial progress. Why? Because if you ever do "learn English" or the foreign language you’re studying you won't need to pay them any more money. They won't make another peso or cent off of you.

So what?

Well … 

They have bills to pay.
They have teachers who need a weekly paycheck.
They have company expenses.
They need profits to stay in business.

So then, what's their incentive to have you quickly become fluent in English or whatever the foreign language you’re studying is?

Think about that. Then answer the question for yourself.

Integrating into an English or Foreign-Language-Speaking Society 
NEVER in my nearly 20 years of English language teaching experience have I had a student more than 10 months to one year. After that they really don't need me any more! They have the skills to continue, grow and develop their English language speaking skills for the rest of their life - for whatever reason they might need.

Many of my students don’t even need ten months or a year. They’re off – integrated into American or Canadian society after a much shorter time. Not with “perfect” English mind you, but with solidly-based English language acquisition skills that will enable them to continue on their own at their own pace for as long as they need.

Consider This 

In much of Europe, many parts of Asia and on the African continent, many “ordinary people” like you can fluently speak three, four or more languages quite easily. They don’t need or take years of “studying” each language to develop conversational fluency either. If they did, it could be years before they could even “chat with the neighbors”! Even children in many parts of Europe laugh, talk and play together in two or three different languages while still being as young as five, six or seven years old. Are they any smarter or better than you?

Most certainly not! 

If you truly want to learn and effectively communicate in English or another foreign language in the shortest possible amount of effort and time, you must be selective in how you go about it.

For some of my greatest tips, tricks and techniques for quickly and easily learning virtually any of the world's 6912 living languages just go to:

Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. 

segunda-feira, 20 de maio de 2013

Top English Hints - Hear or Listen?

Hear and listen are verbs that we use to talk about our sense of hearing - using our ears. But they have important differences in meaning.
1. Hear
We use hear to mean simply that sounds come into our ears. It may not be deliberate. As soon as we wake up and walk around, we hear things.
I heard a knock at the door.
I suddenly heard a loud noise.
Can you speak louder please? I can't hear you.
2. Listen (to)
When we listen, we try to hear. We pay attention and try to understand every sound.
Listen! Is someone crying?
Listen to this song. Can you understand the words?
I'm listening but I can't hear anything.
When we use listen with an object, we say listen + to + object, for example:
John is listening to the radio.
Hear or Listen (to) for radio, concerts, talks, lectures etc?
In general, we use hear for public performances and listen for non-public performances.
We went to hear the President's big speech last night.
I heard Madonna singing "Like A Virgin" at the concert.
Do you ever listen to the radio in your car?
Have you listened to that recording I sent you?

sexta-feira, 17 de maio de 2013

Tuning: listen, hearing and respecting

Tuning é aprender a escutar - listening- e escutar requer certo esforço, uma vez que ouvimos o tempo todo. Ouvir - hearing- é só perceber sons sem a devida compreensão; numa conversa é não prestar atenção, é querer o tempo todo ocupar ouvido do outro com a nossa fala, pois não desenvolvemos a noção que uma conversa se faz ao exercitamos os silêncios para podermos enfim falarmos. 

Tuning é aprender isso, esse isso de ter paciência para escutar o outro e dai, yes, podermos pedir que tenham paciência com a gente também e que nos escutem - listening. Afinal, para ser compreendido pelo outro, precisamos descobrir se sabemos also compreender o outro e essa compreensão começa com um efetivo listening - do you know how to do it? Do you know what I mean?

Tuning é estudar, as a learner, que todos nos absorvemos as coisas do mundo no nosso ritmo. Há pessoas que absorvem as coisas do mundo mais rapidamente, há outros que levam mais tempo. Percebemos quem respeita esse ritmo alheio quando estamos em grupo.

Em grupo, geralmente, mostramos se estamos preparados para ser compreendidos pela demonstração que damos da nossa tolerância com os erros alheios. Quando aprendemos uma língua estrangeira, por exemplo, pode ser que haja algumas palavras ou tópicos que compreendemos mais rápido que os nossos colegas e por eles não compreenderem tão rápido quanto a gente, pode ser, que em um momento ou outro, tenhamos uma atitude com os nossos colegas de aprendizado que lembra a atitude que alguns estrangeiros assumem quando tentam conversar com a gente e obviamente não demonstram nenhuma vontade de tentar nos entender. Are you like that?  Do you really  have patience with your classmates?

Os estrangeiros, em sua minoria ( Thanks God!) que falam conosco possuem essa atitude de não ter paciência com os nossos erros em inglês e com o ritmo da nossa fala porque eles ( esses) são ignorantes das dificuldades e desafios que é estudar e dominar uma língua estrangeira ( THEIR problem!) ; os alunos que não possuem paciência com os seus colegas numa sala de aula e criticam seus peers por não serem tão rápidos quanto eles são, estão apenas reproduzindo o comportamento dos estrangeiros.

Contudo, os alunos que reproduzem em sala de aula o comportamento intolerante dos estrangeiros possuem um papel importante para seus peers que enfrentam essa dificuldade (mas eventuallly chegarão lá). Como não é possível convidar um desses estrangeiros para reproduzirem seus comportamentos egoístas em classe ( turistas idiotas ou executivos sem noção que precisam se comunicar para conseguirem o que desejam), os alunos sabichões e intolerantes desempenham esse papel do gringo intolerante melhor do que os próprios estrangeiros; sendo assim, precisamos ter em cada grupo, alguém que possa play this role e criar um certo atrito para mostrar para o resto do grupo que para se comunicar numa língua estrangeira, todos os alunos devem aprender a lidar tanto com quem os respeita quanto com quem não terá a menor paciência com os seus erros.

Se eles aprenderem essa lição bem, teremos criado em sala de aula um cidadão global que respeitará qualquer falante de língua inglesa de qualquer parte do mundo, mesmo se esse falante cometer erros ou tenha gaps em sua estrutura de fala - tuning - e tudo o que esse cidadão global precisou fazer foi listening.

quinta-feira, 16 de maio de 2013

Silence speaks more than words

By Angela Smyth

Movie theatres like us to believe that silence is golden; when it comes to watching a show that just cost £20 for the tickets and another £30 in snacks I do not think that many people would argue that at least in that case, silence is golden.

It may sound strange to think of silence as an anger management tool, but when used in the right situations it can be a very effective one.

Often times when we are in an argument with someone we are so concerned with getting our point across that we do not even make an attempt to listen to what the other person is saying. After all, there is no way you are wrong- it must be them, right?

Keep those same arguments in mind and try to remember how the ones that had a healthy resolution ended. In some of those cases it is likely that you either realized that you were wrong, the other person figured out they were wrong, or the two of you came to some sort of compromise.

The key element to success in all three scenarios is one thing- silence. Often times your silence can speak and say more than any words that you could say. People often get angry and feel the need to argue because they do not feel as if they are being listened to. Take the time to do just that (and understand what they are saying) and you can go a long way towards finding a solution.

Silence can not only help diffuse the other person’s anger, but it can go a long way to quieting yours. Sometimes all you need to do to calm down is stop doing or saying anything. The act of practicing silence can be a calming one simply because you are no longer arguing.

Well, how are you going to resolve an issue if you don’t talk it out? While the talking can be a very important tool in conflict resolution and anger management, you first have to be willing to listen to someone else before you can have a chance of resolving even the smallest of issues. That silence shows your willingness to get those issues resolved telling the other person that you are ready to do what it takes to end the argument.

segunda-feira, 13 de maio de 2013

Top English Hints

Tags: unreal situations

1.    It's (high) time + past subjunctive expresses that something should be done and that it is already a little late:
It's time you went to bed. You'll have to get up early tomorrow.
It's high time I bought a new pair of jeans.
It's about time this road was completed. They've been working on it for months.
2.    When we say that the right time has arrived for something and we are still in time, we can use the following patterns:
It's time (for you) to goto bed.
It's time to say goodbye.
It's time for breakfast.
Source: http://m.grammaring.com/its-high-time

sexta-feira, 10 de maio de 2013

The Adventures of You: Aulas em Dupla

You sugeriu: 

" Teacher, acho que já passou da hora de eu me arriscar um pouco mais e ter aulas com outras pessoas." 

You vinha tendo aulas privadas até então,  porém, desde que começou a namorar, ele começou a me perguntar sobre o que eu achava dele ter aulas junto com a namorada dele.

 - How do You say... 

- Ok, ok, ok! Teacher, I think that it has passed the right time for me to take some more risks and have classes with other people.  

- Brillant, You, but in English, every time we want to say something like " já passou da hora de eu fazer algo", we say " it is high time I was doing it"  or " it is about time I was doing it". Como se já tivesse passado da hora de estar fazendo algo. 

- It is the high time I was having classes with other people?  

- That's right. But someone quando você sente que já passou da hora de fazer algo, quando você quer dizer que "é hora de fazer algo", You can use simplesmente "it is time to do something"  

- So, I think it is time to have classes with other people. Can I invite my girlfriend to have classes with me? 

- Are you sure about it, You?  Eu perguntei porque You havia me dito que a namorada dele falava um pouco mais de inglês; and as far as I could remember, salvo raras exceções, essa combinação de casal tendo aulas juntos não era nenhuma garantia de sucesso nem para o relacionamento nem para o inglês de cada um.  

- Yes, I have sure! 

- Are You sure or do You HAVE sure? 

- I AM sure!  

- Ok, You, go ahead!  

And You foi ahead e trouxe a sua namorada para fazer aulas com eles. SHE era o nome dela: inteligente, sagaz, divertida e super alto astral, SHE começou a se divertir e savor as aulas tanto quanto You. Tudo estava indo bem e eu estava começando a mudar as minhas opiniões sobre pessoas de diferentes níveis tendo aula junto, when... 

- C'mon, You! You know it - She disse - Speak up! 

- Eu não lembro, ok? - disse You, nervoso - Espera um pouco. You sabia. Estávamos conversando sobre as diferenças entre o inglês falado no Reino Unido e nos Estados Unidos e perguntei ao You como se dizia " lawyer" nos Estados Unidos, uma vez que She havia respondido que " lawyer" era "barrister or solicitor" no Reino Unido.  

- I don't know, ok! 

- Don't worry, You - I said - It is ok to forget it, but you have the right to call your attorney to help you to remember - eu disse , esperando que You tivesse captado o nome "attorney" no meio da minha frase, mas You continuou a me olhar, apenas me dizendo:  

- Eu já falei que eu não lembro! 

Eu havia acabado de dar a resposta para ele. Geralmente, You pega no ar as minhas dicas e sabe ler como ninguém as entrelinhas do que eu ensino, mas ele estava virtualmente nervoso e sob pressão; e conhecendo You, eu sabia que ele não aprenderia nada a mais enquanto estivesse sendo pressionado. Eu parei de perguntar, mas SHE... 

- O teacher acabou de falar, You, meu Deus, você não notou... 

- Não, não notei!  

- Mas é tão claro! Qualquer um notaria - disse She. 

- Então, chama esse " qualquer um" para ter aulas com você - disse You se levantando

- It is time, teacher, to return to my private classes! 

E You saiu. At least, foi bom saber que ele continuava aprendendo e usando as expressões que ele estava tendo em nossas aulas.  

quinta-feira, 9 de maio de 2013

The Great Pretenders: China’s “Unfire-able” English Teachers

By Monica Tan

“I’m hungover every time,” said Michael Weiler with a grin. Michael is a 20-year-old English teacher in Beijing, and every Saturday at 10am he tutors a 14-year-old Chinese girl called Daisy. “Sometimes I’ll go straight from partying to teaching, and because I stink I spray on loads of cologne.” Although Michael is from Austria, the school that hires him tells his students that he’s American because they prefer a native speaker. Sometimes he forgets whether he told a student he was from Connecticut, or Chicago. Michael was hired without any previous teaching experience and given no training. Just thrown into a room with students and told, “go teach”.
If you’re in China and the kind of person with foreign friends under 30, chances are you know an English teacher. And chances are, they don’t take the job very seriously. While the rest of the world flails in the wake of recession-related disasters, the world’s second largest economy is only finding itself a larger and larger presence on the international stage. And with this comes the people’s thirst to master the only, true international language. Last year China Daily reported that 400 million Chinese people are studying English – one-third of the country’s population. (The majority of these would fall into the school age bracket.) And the value of the English-training market is estimated at 30 billion RMB ($4.5 billion US).
This insatiable demand for English teachers has led to a situation that Samuel Cowell, a 29-year-old (genuine) American teaching English in the south of China, has meant teachers like him are “unfire-able”. He says, “the school basically just works as a matchmaking service between teacher and student. So if I’m consistently late, or am not a very good teacher, they could fire me, but it just means they miss out on the commission. And there are just so many students here, and such a limited supply of teachers.”
When Sonia Ross, a 25-year-old Italian student came to Beijing to study Chinese she found herself wanting to stay on after her course finished. For many young foreigners such as herself, lacking the language skills or work experience to join the professional class of expats in China, teaching English is their only answer. And an attractive one at that: work conditions are usually flexible, while the pay, for Chinese standards, can be exceptionally high. For casual teaching in Beijing 120-180 RMB/hour ($18-27 US) is standard. A local tutoring Chinese with similar conditions will be lucky to make 50 RMB/hour ($7 US).
English schools in China run into the hundreds – with some schools each operating hundreds of branches across the country – so naturally the quality ranges. Universities and international schools offer the best working conditions for teachers who are serious about their work, including high salaries, accommodation benefits and visa sponsorship. And the expectation with these positions are that applicants come with qualifications, experience and signed contracts. However, the large proportion of China’s private ESL institutions are considerably less legitimate in nature.These schools will hire English teachers with one, basic requirement: “a white face”.
One look at Michael and you know you’re standing before a quintessential European. He’s tall, with pale blue eyes, white skin and sandy blonde hair. He landed his job at a private teaching school through a friend, and found it as easy as just turning up. “They wanted me straight away, no demo class, no interview. They just showed me a card that was red and asked me what colour is it. ‘Red,’ I answered. ‘Oh OK. You’re in’.”
Not only was Michael hired without experience, he has been teaching with no guidance or training. In his classroom he sits encircled by three tiny desks, and three tiny chairs, for his three tiny students: Danny, Rabbit and Wei Wei. They are just four-years-old. “Man, Danny is such a fucker,” sighs Michael. “He never listens to me and often gets really angry. Sometimes if there are no teachers or parents around, I’ll say to him ‘you’re such a bastard’ in English very fast, so he can’t really understand. Or, ‘hey read this you fatass’. I’ve only ever really told him off once. And never again, because he started to cry.” I asked him if it looked bad in front of the other parents to have one of your students cry. But Michael shakes his head, “Mama Rabbit is always there, but sheknows how much Danny’s a bastard.”
At least Michael stopped short of actually teaching his kids how to swear, unlike thisforeign teacher who not only directed her students to recite a Russian swear word, but wrote the word on the board, as reported on The Shanghaiist earlier this year.
For both Michael and Sonia the fact that they’re not native English speakers means they can’t command a hiring price as high as that of an American or Brit. One private kindergarten in Beijing answers job applicants with an email outlining their different pay brackets based on nationality: “10K for native speakers, 8-9K for experienced European teachers and 6K for African or Asian teachers.” Which is why the intermediary company that hired Sonia – they take a cut of any jobs they land for her – told her to tell schools and students that she’s Irish. Unfortunately Sonia’s pronounced Italian accent is a far cry from the lilting tones of an Irishwoman. “Of all the English-speaking countries, why Ireland?” she complained to Roddy, her agent. “Do you know how hard their accent is?” Roddy had this stroke of inspiration after Sonia had told him she spent two months working as an au pair in Ireland. And, as he had correctly presumed, turned out none of the Chinese teachers who hired her, or the students she taught, could tell the difference.
While Sonia has become apt at faking her nationality (at one school where she was passing as an American she turned to Wikipedia in order to prepare for a presentation on Thanksgiving) sometimes it saddens her that she can’t be honest about her background. She has begun telling people that her father is Italian, as a way of introducing into the conversation some of her true heritage. Michael too finds ways to sneak in his Austrian background. “Once I asked Daisy to name the world’s most famous pianist. She started saying Beethoven, Bach, and so on, so finally I asked if she knows Mozart. She did, so I asked her where’s Mozart from? And she said Germany.”
While teaching pre-kindegarteners is often just a mixture of singing, playing games and running through flashcards, Michael’s sessions with Daisy, whose English is fairly advanced, can be a touch more demanding. Occasionally she queries him about words he isn’t familiar with. “In those cases I ask her to check it in the dictionary and write it down. I say it’s because she’ll remember it better, but actually it’s because I don’t know!” Other times he’s flubbed that it was because of her poor pronunciation.
While Samuel has never had to lie about his ethnic background, it seems most of the schools he’s worked at has had no qualms with lying about his professional background. Having taught in multiple locations across China, he says it’s commonplace for institutions to write fake bios or pump up teacher credentials to students. “There’s always an end of school rush with kids wanting to do a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) test to enter Hong Kong University. So the school will say, ‘hey this guy’s students have all passed TOEFL, he’s our TOEFL expert!’ Meanwhile I’m like, ‘what’s TOEFL?’” In other instances they exaggerated the length of time he’s been at the school or in China.
If there’s any one reason why these young teachers seem to lack any guilt about their small deceits and lax teaching standards, it’s because they realise it’s the schools themselves, and to some degree the parents as well, who don’t really care.
“I’m not a real teacher, I’m an actress pretending to be something I’m not. These kids are so little, sometimes only three or four-years-old, so they’re not learning English seriously,” says Sonia. “I used to find it weird that the parents are always telling me how I’m beautiful. Then I realised these lessons are just about giving them status. In China, if your kids go to school and they have a foreign teacher – a beautiful Irish teacher – everybody in the neighbourhood knows and you gain face. So it doesn’t really matter what happens in class.

For Chinese parents who are serious about their child speaking English, Samuel concedes that these informal classes are of use, but they require years of participation to take effect, not months. And he dishes some sound advice for those shopping for a reputable school: “I would get someone who already speaks very good English to go to the demo class with you, and if you have any questions about the teacher ask the teacher themselves not the school. Also, if you don’t believe someone’s qualification, ask for proof. If they say that they have a certificate, ask to see a copy.”
Some names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.

sexta-feira, 3 de maio de 2013

The Adventures of You Tuning: The Boy From Brazil

- I can't believe it - disse You - Eu consegui falar com a moça. Que legal! 

Na aula passada, You teve a chance de conversar com uma amiga da Nova Zelândia que eu trouxe para a aula. Em principio, ele ficou bem nervoso, mas depois conversou com ela naturalmente. 

- Tem certeza que ela não é casada? - Perguntou You.

- Até onde eu sei, você tem namorada, don't You? 

- C'mon, teacher. Eu estou apenas brincando. I am just pulling your leg, right? 

- Right, You. But you made it and I am very proud of you. As I told you so many times: Every time you have a blockage...

- ... Keep the calm and carry on. I did it.

- Of course. 

- É claro que eu devo ter falado como um índio, mas...

- You!!!

- Ok, teacher. Brazilian English. The Brazilian English! 

- Eu ja tinha te falado que você conseguia falar.

- É! Mas você é meu teacher, a sua opinião não vale.

- I beg your pardon!!!

- Sorry, teacher. Don't get me wrong. Você é brasileiro, é meu professor. Uma coisa é ser julgado por você, outra coisa é escutar de um nativo que a gente fala bem.

- It doesn't matter, You. No final, o mais importante é se comunicar, não importa se estamos falando com nativos ou não. O mundo inteiro fala inglês.

- Sim, o tal Global English. Mas teacher, a gente quando é aluno, fica sempre inseguro em relação se estamos sendo compreendidos ou não, dai a importância de nos colocarmos a prova. Por isso, acho, que falar com um nativo nos dá mais confiança. 

- E se eu te disser que a moça da Nova Zelândia era, actually, brasileira. Isso vai mudar alguma coisa?

- Hein??? Você não faria isso...faria?

- E isso importa? My dear You. O goal era receber bem em inglês alguém e você o fez. Se ela é da Nova Zelândia ou se é americana,  isso realmente importa? Aqui no Brasil, nós temos a tendência de valorizar sempre o que é dos Estados Unidos ou da Inglaterra em detrimento do que é do resto do mundo. Quando novos alunos ligam para a escola, você sabe qual é a primeira pergunta que elas fazem?

- Quanto custa?

- No! Do you have native speakers? Are they English or Americans? Existe uma supervalorização por parte dos brasileiros em querer ter aula com alguém que é nativo desses países, e muitos alunos, nem se dão ao trabalho de perguntar se aquele americanos ou inglês  é professor de verdade ou apenas alguém que fala a língua. 

- Antes de ter aula com você, eu nem sabia que havia outros países no mundo onde as pessoas falam inglês como primeira língua. 

- That's what I am talking about, You. We need to be prepared to be able to talk with everybody, not just with people from the  USA or the UK. That's why you had the class with the Kiwi lady. 

- Kiwi? Eu me perdi? Em que momento, você mudou de assunto? Eu estava achando que estava compreendendo tudo, dai, você começa a falar de kiwi...

- Kiwi é o nome que usamos para falar sobre as pessoas da Nova Zelândia.

- Como assim?

- Well, this is for me to know and you to find out.

- Ok, teacher. I will research about it. Quanto a questão da moça, eu ainda acho que eu detonei na aula passada.

Agora, me diz a verdade. Ela era da Nova Zelândia ou era brasileira? 

- This is for me to know and You...

quinta-feira, 2 de maio de 2013

Supervalorization of the Native English Teachers

Sobre a postura irresponsável da Open English, a carta aberta de Vinícius Nobre, presidente do BRAZ-TESOL

Em sua estratégia de entrar no mercado brasileiro, a Open English, uma escola de inglês fundada pelo venezuelano Andrés Moreno, lançou mão de uma propaganda anti-ética e apelativa que ridicularizava professores de inglês não-nativos (ou seja, quem não nasceu em um dos 75 países que tem inglês como uma língua oficial). A propaganda era tão desrespeitosa que acabou sendo tirada do ar depois de inúmeras reclamações e da proibição de veiculação pelo CONAR (Conselho Nacional de Regulamentação Publicitária). Para ler uma análise da propaganda, clique aqui.

Transcrevo abaixo a resposta – excelente e bem fundamentada – de Vinícius Nobre, presidente do BRAZ-TESOL – Associação Brasileira de Professores de Inglês como Segunda Língua. Obrigada, Vinnie, por sua posição, sempre sábia e informada, a respeito desse comercial tão mal feito.

Ah, e por uma dessas ironias do destino, é bom lembrar que nem o fundador da escola nem os professores são “nativos” se é que isso ainda serve de algo num mundo tão globalizado quanto o nosso…



Como presidente da maior Associação de professores de inglês do Brasil, eu sinto a incontrolável necessidade de me posicionar e expressar meu desapontamento e choque em relação ao comercial que está sendo veiculado em rede nacional promovendo um curso de inglês online.

Eu NÃO sou um falante nativo da língua inglesa, eu não tenho longos cabelos loiros, não moro na California e não visto uma camiseta justa para ensinar meus alunos. Na verdade, eu NUNCA tive um professor de inglês “nativo”. Eu nunca sequer morei em um país falante da língua inglesa. Eu simplesmente estudei inglês no meu país em desenvolvimento e depois cursei quatro anos de linguística, literatura, aquisição de idiomas estrangeiros, morfologia, pronúncia, sintaxe, educação, pedagogia, métodos e abordagens. Eu simplesmente dediquei 16 anos da minha vida ao desenvolvimento pessoal e profissional dos meus milhares de alunos.

Nunca exibi meu passaporte ou minha cidade-natal, porque eu estava ocupado demais me preocupando com as necessidades comunicativa e afetivas dos meus alunos. Eu NÃO sou um falante nativo de inglês; portanto – de acordo com esse comercial – não me qualifico para ensinar. Provavelmente me qualifico apenas para ser uma imitação grotesca e irresponsável de um professor.

Assim como eu, milhares de educadores esforçados, talentosos, comprometidos, apaixonados e desvalorizados (do Brasil ou de qualquer outro país não falante de inglês) são definidos em 30 segundos de uma desesperada e inaceitável tentativa de seduzir alunos. Eu conheci professores fantásticos, independente de suas nacionalidades e muitos que inclusive eram “falantes nativos de inglês”. Os melhores educadores, no entanto, sempre tiveram a dignidade de reconhecer e respeitar as qualidades de um colega “não-nativo”.

O ensino de línguas estrangeiras desenvolveu-se tremendamente para garantir a justiça e o respeito que todos os profissionais sérios da área merecem (nativos ou não). Pelo menos entre nós mesmos. Se alunos ainda insistem em dizer que um professor “nativo” é melhor, pelo menos temos o conforto de saber que dentro da nossa profissão encontramos o reconhecimento que profissionais comprometidos e qualificados precisam ter. É triste, no entanto, ser ridicularizado por um centro (que alega ser) de ensino.

Como presidente do BRAZ-TESOL, como um falante “não-nativo” do inglês, como um admirador de profissionais do ensino, independente da sua nacionalidade, eu me ressinto por ser transformado em uma piada tão irresponsável. Mas quem sou eu para ousar falar qualquer coisa sobre o ensino de inglês. Não sou a Jenny da California – o maior exemplo de educadora de inglês como língua estrangeira.


As the president of the largest association of English teachers in Brazil, I feel I have to take a stand and express my outrage and disappointment with regards to the TV commercial that has been broadcast on national television promoting an online English course.

I am NOT a native speaker of the English language, I do not have long blonde hair, I do not live in California and I do not wear a tight T-shirt to teach my students. In fact, I NEVER had a native speaker of English as a teacher. I never even lived in a foreign country. I simply studied the English language in my own developing country, and then four years of linguistics, literature, second language acquisition, morphology, pronunciation, syntax, education, pedagogy, methods and approaches. I have only dedicated 16 years of my life to the personal and professional growth of thousands of students. I have not bragged about my passport or my birthplace because I was too busy trying to understand my students’ linguistic and affective needs. I am NOT a native speaker of the language; hence – according to this TV commercial – I do not qualify to teach. I probably qualify as an irresponsible and grotesque mockery of a teacher.

Like me, thousands of hard-working, gifted, committed, passionate and under-valued educators (from Brazil or ANY other non-English speaking country) are depicted in 30 seconds of a despicable and desperate attempt to seduce students. I have met outstanding teachers regardless of their nationality and many of which who were native English speakers. The best English speaking educators I have met, however, were always dignified enough to acknowledge the qualities of a non-native speaker colleague.

Foreign language education has developed tremendously so as to guarantee the fairness and respect that all serious language professionals deserve (native speakers or not). At least among ourselves. If students still insist that a native speaker is better, we should at least rest assured that in our own profession we can find the respect and the recognition that a committed and qualified professional needs to have. It is sad, however, to be ridiculed by another (so-called) educational centre.

As the president of BRAZ-TESOL, as a non-native speaker of the English language, as an admirer of teachers regardless of their nationality, I resent such an irresponsible joke. But then again, who am I to even think about saying anything about the learning and the teaching of English? I am not Jenny from California – the utmost example of a foreign language educator.


Como presidente de la mayor asociación de profesores de Inglés de Brasil, Creo que debo manifestar mi posición y expresar mi decepción y desacuerdo en relación al anuncio que está siendo trasmitido en red nacional promoviendo un curso de inglés en línea.

NO soy hablante nativo de lengua inglesa, no tengo cabello rubio, no vivo en California y no uso una camiseta ceñida al cuerpo para enseñarles a mis alumnos. De hecho, NUNCA he tenido un maestro de inglés “nativo”. Ni siquiera viví en el extranjero. Simplemente estudié inglés en mi país de origen y después hice cuatro años de estudio en lingüística, literatura, adquisición en idiomas extranjeros, morfología, pronunciación, sintaxis, educación, pedagogía, métodos y enfoques pedagógicos. Simplemente he dedicado 16 años de mi vida al desarrollo personal y profesional de miles de alumnos. Nunca he mostrado mi pasaporte o mi ciudad natal pues estaba demasiado ocupado tratando de entender las necesidades comunicativas y afectivas de mis alumnos. NO soy un hablante nativo del inglés; por lo tanto – de acuerdo con ese anuncio – no estoy calificado para enseñarlo. Probablemente sólo califico como una imitación grotesca e irresponsable de un maestro.

Así como yo, miles de educadores trabajadores, talentosos, comprometidos, apasionados por su trabajo y desvalorados (de Brasil o cualquier otro país donde el inglés no es su lengua nativa) son caricaturizados en 30 segundos en una desesperada e inaceptable tentativa de seducir alumnos. He conocido maestros sobresalientes, independientemente de sus nacionalidades y muchos que, incluso, eran “hablantes nativos del inglés”. Los mejores educadores nativos, sin embargo, siempre tuvieron la dignidad de reconocer y respetar la calidad de un colega “no nativo”.

La enseñanza de lenguas extranjeras se ha desarrollado tremendamente para garantizar la justicia y el respeto que todos los profesionales serios de este sector merecemos (nativos o no). Por lo menos entre nosotros mismos. Si los alumnos aún insisten en decir que un maestro “nativo” es mejor, debemos por lo menos estar seguros de saber que en nuestro gremio profesional encontraremos el reconocimiento que todo profesional comprometido y calificado necesita tener. Es triste, sin embargo, ser ridiculizado por un centro (que se supone sea) de enseñanza.

Como presidente de BRAZ-TESOL, como hablante “no nativo” del inglés, como un admirador de profesionales de enseñanza, de cualquier nacionalidad, me siento ofendido por haber sido transformado en un chiste tan irresponsablemente. Pero quién soy yo para osar decir algo sobre la enseñanza de inglés. No soy Jenny, de California – el más grande ejemplo de educadora de inglés como lengua extranjera.


Leia mais em: http://educacaobilingue.com/2012/05/23/cartavinnie/