quinta-feira, 10 de março de 2011

Where's my chinelo?

That's what my friend's son, who lives in the US, said during his vacation here in Brazil.This fact reminded me of a polemic subject we all have heard at least once: Should we, English teachers, use Portuguese in class? If so, what are the occasions we can do it? I found on the Net a nice article about it: "Using Portuguese in the teaching of English" from Ana Frankenberg (http://anafrankenberg.synthasite.com/resources/FG2000UsingPortugueseInTheTeachingOfEnglish.pdf).The writer says that some time ago English should never be used in class and after a while the usage of a first language became acceptable in classrooms. Nowadays, the idea is that we should not use our first language in class but in proper situations it's okay to do so. According to Ana "it is acceptable to use the first language to translate abstract words which are difficult to mime or draw, to check whether students have understood something which has been previously explained in English, and to give instructions and explain things to beginners who otherwise wouldn't understand." I agree with her. I really think that using English in class is much more effective and advisable. Students get even more motivated when they feel they can understand the language they're studying, and it's obvious that their listening improve a lot because they start getting used to English in first place. But we cannot deny that there are certain situations in which we just can't use English at all, and the article above mentions them brightly. So, in my opinion, using English in class is always the best idea, but we got to keep in mind that using our native language is sometimes necessary in order to transmit the content we're supposed to and help our students reach their main goal - learning English. I wish you a great class, colleague!

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