Skip to main content

When one language doesn't cut it ....

When we decide to formally learn another language, we tend to have a solid command of the essential structures to be able to communicate with and understand others.

Unless we are in constant contact with highly proficient speakers of that language - or quite simply, native speakers - we are deprived the chance to deepen our lexicon so that we can REALLY express ourselves, 

When we find ourselves in higly emotional situations, we usually react in our first language to express anger, frustration, discontent, anxiety, and so on. 

This fact re-inhabited my thoughts while watching MTV Brasil this morning. The VJ is interviewing singer Shakira about her then new CD in English and wants to know what the experience is like. The chat is in Portuguese, but it can be easily translated

How would you complete her answer in English? 

It was a ............. ....................., perhaps, the biggest of my life and my artistic career, because ... you know, I can talk to my lawyer in English, to my manager in English, I can think in English, but I feel and live in Spanish, I .................. in Spanish, so to talk of the most ............. and intimate emotions in a language that is not your ........... is about the same as an adventure, an expedition, a voyage to the ...............

This makes me think of what happens in the classroom when we expect students to talk about really personal issues in another language. 

What about you? Can you express the deepest sentiments in another language that you master well?



Popular posts from this blog

My takeaways from BrELT on the Road

Just in!

Coincidence or not, propositions and concepts echoed through the plenaries and concurrent sessions I attended (apologies in advance to those I could not even attend in spirit at the same time).
Jamie Keddie encouraged us to use video to let students create their own narratives and not to limit this resource to practicing target language. Thru video, students can see there are multiple perspectives that contribute to a story and we have individual interpretations of that story. In so doing, they understand there is no right or wrong - we construct meaning based on our pre-conceived notions of reality. This awareness pivotal to critical thinking. The beauty of it all is that we benefit just as much from this method as our students.
Prodding students to see differently or see the unobvious was at the heart of Claire Venables' session "Not a box". By asking students to find new uses and meanings for a box, we are giving young learners a chance to learn language that i…

Yes we can speak English

Guess I'm a sucker for projects and project-based learning. Although this latest endeavor might not be considered a project in itself.
A simple Google search on the use of Whatsapp or other instant communication tools for English-speaking skills development came up with an extensive list of results.
The idea of creating a group to practice speaking had a specific target group - English teachers who are taking an online postgraduate course on language teaching. Many of them miss the chance to brush up on their oral skills, for the simple reason that the classes are online and interaction with the professor and colleagues comes only through text. 
The initiative rekindled a professional goal I had set for myself when I created the blog Help a teacher with their English (it has been discontinued - all related posts will show up here in the future). Nothing like being able to follow through on an idea and see it materialize into something you had not even fathomed in the first place.

Managing Project-based learning: a dual view

This post is the result of a promising collaboration between myself and +André Hedlund : the start of more to come. 
Coordinating PBL - Stephan's part 
Implementing project-based learning in a content-based syllabus has become the order du jour in educational contexts in general and in ELT in particular. Academic directors and coordinators face the responsibility of delivering meaningful, student-driven, student-generated learning opportunities, which, in turn will foster the much sought-after skills of communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. This post outlines my role as coordinator responsible for implementing projects in a language centre as a prelude to André Hedlund’s narrative of his experience with projects at CCBEU Goiânia.
Based on the core design elements of PBL, the text analyses, therefore, the implications in managing projects and ensuring minimal success. The first important point to consider in any project-based or program-oriented learning pro…